Christians, Power, and Place in Contemporary Wenzhou
Nanlai Cao, a research assistant professor at the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, gives us a unique and comprehensive analysis of the Wenzhou revival. His study pursuits in both China and Western metropolises, as well as his intimate connection with Wenzhou (native family connections through his mother and grandparents) offers him a perspective not otherwise readily possible.
Editor's note: This editorial originally appeared in "The Structure of China's Urban Church" (CS Quarterly, 2011 Spring)
China's rapid economic and social changes have compelled the churches in China to transform. By far the factor that contributed most to the need for structural changes within the Chinese house churches has been urbanization. Other factors have contributed as well: the one-child policy, increasing availability of higher education, and increasing opportunities for theological education and leadership development.
Over the past sixty years, the Protestant church in China has grown exponentially. Most of this increase has taken place in what are often called house churches. Many of these congregations meet in large buildings and are still called house churches. Therefore, the debate of whether it is better to meet in smaller groups in homes or to gather together in a larger venue. In addition, there is also debate about whether individual home-based congregations should join together in larger networks. This article will examine the question of a proper place for Christians to meet together.
Peoples of China
Proposed Questions for Exploration
When interacting with church leaders in China, questions about the church inevitably emerge. At some point, issues concerning church structure will be brought up. How they respond will deeply affect the long term growth of the church. It is both exciting and agonizing to observe.
The ratio of men to women in the churches of China is about 1:2. Sometimes the ratio is even more skewed: as much as one man for every three to five women. This article explores the wide range of issues these gender inequalities create within the church.
The concept of four mainstream occupations or four types of people is deedly rooted in traditional Chinese culture: gentlemen (shi), farmers (nong), artisans (gong), and merchants (shang). Some see these as the cornerstones of a state or nation. This tradional background is still indirectly influencing the way men directly view religious occupations, in indirectly the church. And, yet, although women are within the same mainstream workforce and societal group as men, their attitude towards subcultures, including Christianity, may be different. This may be a factor contibuting to the gender imbalance.