A current SMS (text message) doing the rounds in South Africa warns Christians about a Chinese agenda to introduce the “Three-Self”, state-controlled church system in South Africa that will ultimately stop all Christian activities, including the printing and distribution of new Bibles, no baptism, control over Churches, no evangelism, etc.

The original SMS, in Afrikaans, reads as follows: (no changes made)

“EEN RSA STAAT/EEN KERK: 21Nov. Andrew Selly, Nadine Badenhorst + Ray McCaulley vra gebed (+ vra ook u vriende). Hulle onderhandel vandag met die Regering wat deur Sjinese druk MiSLEi word om THREE-Self Kerk in RSA in te stel. Ons kan ewenwel God verlaat/verraai. +-57,000 Sjinese kerke staan onder kommunistiese beheer waar Jesus VERWERP word! (Ons Regering is totaal onbewus dat die gees van die anti-chris reeds oor RSA spoel! Hulle beoog om n Een Staat/Een Kerk in te stel onder druk van Sjina. (Soos die komende antichris gaan doen) In Sjina geld die volgende reels reeds:

  • Bid alleen tot God (Jesus moet verwerp word)
  • Geen nuwe Bybels mag gedruk, versprei, geskenk, verkoop word.
  • Hul Staat bepaal WiE mag preek EN Wat hul mag preek.
  • Doopgetalle word onderdruk
  • Hul mag in geen kerk aanbid behalwe waaraan hulle “toegeken” is.
  • Geen ander kerke of bidure mag gehou/besoek word behalwe hulle staatskerke nie.
  • Niemand mag evangeliseer/traktate versprei.
  • Niemand mag TEEN aborsie preek nie
  • Niemand mag Jesus, Sy opstanding, Sy wederkoms/wegraping verkondig nie.
  • Die volgende mense mag nie Christene (die wie JESUS aanvaar) wees of word nie: Jeug, kinders, polisie-weermag-, regeringsamptenare, onderwysers + hofamptenare. Bid asb vir die Gees se wysheid oor ons mense en stuur asb kennis aan u familie/vriende!”


An English email version reads as follows (also no changes made):

ONE RSA STATE/ONE CHURCH: 21Nov. Andrew Selly, Nadine Badenhorst + Ray McCaulley asks for prayer (+that you ask your friends too). They are  negotiating with the government today which is being MISLEAD by the Chinese to initiate a THREE-Self Church in RSA. Nevertheless, we can leave/betray God. +-57,000 Chinese churches are standing under communist control where Jesus is being REJECTED! (Our government is totally ignorant/unaware that the spirit of the anti-christ is already moving through (coiling over) RSA! They are comtemplating to initiate a One State/One Church under the pressure from China. (As the coming anti-christ will do as in China) In China the following rules count:

  • Pray alone to God (Jesus must be rejected)
  • No new Bibles may be printed,given out as gifts, distributed, or sold.
  • Their State determines WHO may preach AND WHAT they may speak.
  • Baptism figure are being suppressed.
  • They may worship in no church except where they have been assigned.
  • No other churches or prayer groups/sessions may be held/visited except their state churches.
  • No one may evangelize/distribute tracts.
  • No one may preach AGAINST abortion.
  • No one may announce Jesus, His resurrection, His coming/rapture.
  • The following people may not be or become Christians (those who accept JESUS): Youth, children, police/army, government officials,teachers + court officials. Please pray that Holy Spirit would give Wisdom to us people & please send to your friends and family!

THIS MESSAGE IS A HOAX and sadly communicates a political agenda and not a spiritual warning.  Some of the points border on the absurd and it seems hard to believe that this text and email message reached an audience as widely as it has.  Using terminology like “the anti-Christ” is sensationalist, and whoever wrote the original message has little understanding of the situation in China and the work of God in this strategic nation.

As Christians we are called to WATCH and be ALERT, but we are also given a spirit of love, power and a sound mind.  Here are the facts and the origin of the message:


The original concerns about religious restrictions in South Africa stemmed from a call by the Commission of Religious Liberty – CRL (a Chapter 9 government institution) to investigate religion in SA in response to some pastors making people eat grass, rats and snakes, drink petrol, as well as others who abuse their position to manipulate the poor out of their money, for selfish gain.

The fact that the government intervened in this situation is plausible and is actually an indictment against the Church, that it did not speak out against such abuses in the first place.

Andrew Selley, founder and CEO of Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA [1]), was part of a delegation that met with the CRL on 17 November 2015 on the above-mentioned issue.  He reported on Facebook as follows: “We found massive favour with the Commission” and that after sharing a miraculous testimony of how his wife became pregnant, ”the Commission was silent with some in tears… this seemed to be a turning point in our negotiations and from that time, we had the Commission’s ear!

At the end of the meeting, the Commission singled out the delegation of FOR SA as “being helpful” and “asked us… to help them find acceptable solutions to the plague of bad, unscrupulous pastors in our beloved country”.

FOR SA reported that “the Commission wants to help the church, not persecute her and we are grateful that we are able to advise them so that they do just that! Thanks again for all who prayed!


Part of the original concerns by the CRL was obviously the foundation of the first message, but how China got involved as the message gained momentum remains a mystery.

Nadene Badenhort, who was a member of the FOR SA delegation, confirmed with INcontext that the rumour about China putting pressure on the government to implement state churches in South Africa is false and that it was never on the agenda. She did, however, confirm that the proposal on the table is for self-governance, which might explain the connection to the Chinese Three-Self Church.

The message creates animosity towards the government and suspicion of the Chinese community.  Neither of these attributes befit a Christian, as we are called to give life and not drain life.

The Bible is clear that we are to pray for our leaders. And even though we are called to declare the truth, we are not in the business of creating suspicion or an enemy image of those we need to pray for.

So, please do not forward this text message or email to anybody.

[1] FOR SA is a non-profit Christian organisation working to protect and promote religious freedom in South Africa, through creating awareness and influencing government and society regarding issues that affect our religious freedom