It’s that time of year again in the blogosphere—the time to highlight the most popular posts/articles from the past year. Combining stats from our various original content publications (ChinaSource Quarterly, From the West Courtyard, and Chinese Church Voices), here is a list of what you were particularly interested in reading in 2015.
Reformed Theology: A Christian Thought Movement to a Church Movement (ChinaSource Quarterly)
In recent years, another fascinating phenomenon in mainland China has emerged: the Christian thought movement based on reformed theology has developed into a church movement. This change has been led by a group of church leaders who used to be Christian intellectuals and are now followed by more and more churches and pastors. It is a movement based on a reformed theological understanding of church planting and church polity restructuring.
A Government Mouthpiece Reports on a Missionary Movement (From the West Courtyard)
Lest we think this growing heart for missions in the Chinese church is something noticed and reported on only by Christian media outlets, along comes an article in The Global Times, a state-run English language daily newspaper, titled “Dangerous Mission: Chinese Missionaries Working in Muslim World Cause Safety Concern.” It is a surprisingly positive look at house-church based missions endeavors.
Social Media in China: Why Social Matters (From the West Courtyard)
First, it is helpful to understand just how impactful social technology is in China today.
According to this post from the CEO of the internet marketing company ByReputation.com there were 597 million active social networking users in China as of July 2013. In addition, social media usage is more common than in the U.S. as 91% of China's online population has an account on a social media site compared to only 67% in the U.S.
Launching China’s Biggest Missionary-Sending Initiative (From the West Courtyard)
More than 900 house church pastors and leaders from China gathered around the challenge of planting thousands of churches in China, reaching the hundreds of Chinese minority people groups, and mobilizing at least 20,000 Chinese missionaries by the year 2030.
The number 20,000 is significant, because Chinese Christian leaders estimate that about 20,000 foreign missionaries have been sent to China in the last 200 years. Beijing Pastor Daniel Jin said: “We owe a ‘gospel debt’ to the world. Only when our missions sending surpasses what we have received can China be considered truly a mission-sending country.”
What Are Our Young People Thinking: Post 90s Generation (Chinese Church Voices)
Sharing the gospel with this generation means first building a relationship, then passing on knowledge. When a trusting and loving relationship is built, they are often relatively more open to learning about faith. Their interests are broadened and there are many things they are open to learning about with others. What is more, once spiritually empty youth step into the halls of faith, they are on fire to grasp the entirety of the Christian faith. The new generation of post-90s Christians are enthusiastic for theology, indeed even more so than the previous generations. Quite a few of them hope to go to seminary when they graduate from university.
China’s New Two-Child Policy (From the West Courtyard)
A more accurate headline would be “China Adopts Two-Child Policy.” Instead of saying “you may only have one child,” it is now saying “you may only have two children.” In other words, the state still mandates the number of children and the bureaucratic mechanisms of enforcement remain in place.
The decision is based on demographics. China's population is aging rapidly, with fewer workers to support them, and the government needed to do something to address that. This relaxation of the policy is a first step.
Cross-Cultural Ministry in the Chinese Church (Chinese Church Voices)
Recently, the mainland ministry "Divine Love" held a monthly prayer meeting to introduce "cross-cultural ministry of the Chinese church" and call for prayer to carry out this ministry. These minority ethnic groups and Han ethnic groups are either culturally related or distinct cultures. Since they mostly inhabit relatively remote areas of the Northwest, Southwest, and the North, some ethic groups are very difficult to reach. Their culture and customs are very different from Han Chinese. In addition, the prevalence of spirit and idol worship among many of these ethnic groups means there is a resistance to the gospel. This leads to difficulties and challenges in cross-cultural ministry.
Baptism Questions (Chinese Church Voices)
Normally, a person who is preparing to be baptized will study certain lessons prior to baptism and will meet with one of the pastors. Moreover, the baptism service is usually conducted in public, and those that take place in a church normally take place during the Sunday worship. Before being baptized, the person ready to receive baptism will be asked to publicly respond to a set of questions. After the pastor receives a positive response, he will officially baptize them.
Worshiping in Chinese: Why Cross-Cultural Workers Don't Go to Chinese Church (From the West Courtyard)
It may surprise those less familiar with the China context to learn that it is quite common to find cross-cultural workers in China who do not attend Chinese worship services. No one intends to avoid going to church; rather, as they respond to a series of one or more seemingly reasonable observations, expatriates quickly find themselves in a situation where not worshiping in a Chinese church becomes an apparently perfectly acceptable habit. Many of the reasons given for not attending Chinese services have been around for so long that they are often accepted as true without consideration, and in some circles worshiping regularly in a Chinese church may even be considered odd. And yet a brief look at some of the more common objections reveals how it is often our own unhealthy attitudes towards China and ministry that are keeping us out of Chinese pews rather than any conditions inherent in the Chinese context.
Pentecostal Theology and the Chinese Church (From the West Courtyard)
The common thread that unites Pentecostals in China with other Pentecostals around the world is their sense of connection with the apostolic church as reflected in the book of Acts. Chinese Pentecostals pray for the sick, worship with joyful abandonment, speak in tongues, and seek the enabling of the Spirit for bold witness in the face of persecution because they find all of these experiences described in the New Testament. The message and methods of the early church are models for their lives and ministry.
Thanks for including ChinaSource as part of your reading list. We hope you’ll stick around for lots more great content in 2016.
Image credit: Staring at Mao, by La Priz, via Flickr
Joann Pittman is Vice President of Partnership and China Engagement and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University …View Full Bio
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