As a follow-up to the current edition of ChinaSource Quarterly exploring the issue of denominationalism in China, I thought it would be a good time to tap into my inner Chinese teacher and present a brief language lesson. What, you might be wondering, are the Chinese names for some of the various denominations and sects in China?
Let’s start with the various broad terms for Christianity. As I wrote in a previous post titled “Christian or Catholic,” Protestant Christianity and Catholic Christianity are two of the five approved religions in China. It’s an odd distinction to those outside of China, but it is rooted in the language. Even though Eastern Orthodoxy has no official status in China, there are still pockets of believers, especially in Heilongjiang Province.
These are the terms used:
Catholic 天主教 Tiānzhǔ Jiào
Eastern Orthodox 东正教 Dōngzhèng Jiào
Protestant 基督教 Jīdū Jiào
The main Protestant denominations are:
Anglican 圣公会 Shènggōng Huì
Baptist 浸信会 Jìnxìn Huì
Lutheran 路德会 Lùdé Huì
Methodist 卫理公会 Wèilǐ Gōnghuì
Presbyterian 长老会 Zhǎnglǎo Huì
Some important descriptors, or classifications are:
Charismatic 灵恩派 Líng’ēn Pài
Evangelical 福音派 Fúyīn Pài
Fundamentalist 基要派 Jīyào Pài
Pietist 敬虔派 Jìngqián Pài
Reformed 改革宗 Gǎigé Zōng
And finally, there are two other sects from the West that have a presence in China today, but which we would not necessarily consider to be “denominations:”
Mormon 摩门教 Mómén Jiào
Jehovah’s witness 耶和华见证 Yēhéuá Jiànzhèng
Something to add to your stack of flashcards!
Image credit: Joann Pittman, 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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