Aside from responding to the coronavirus, what issues should Christians in China monitor this year? From government policies to Christmas celebrations, this article from the Gospel Times gives five topics that are likely to be issues of particular concern for Christians in 2020.
Five Things Christians Should Pay Attention to in 2020
1. The Sinicization of Christianity
The sinicization of Christianity has been a hot topic in churches these few years, as well as a controversial topic. But no matter what position you hold on the topic, the ministry must continue, and this has become an unavoidable topic this year.
In reality, as a global faith, whatever area Christianity enters, it cannot avoid having to complete a process of localization before it can better adapt to society and further church development. British historian Peter Heather points out that after Christianity became the mainstream religion in the Roman Empire, on the one hand there was the Christianization of Rome, and on the other hand there was the Romanization of Christianity. From this we can conclude that the sinicization of Christianity is not, as some say, a unique phenomenon to China.
The sinicization of Christianity is meaningful, but the key is how to manage it so that Christianity can adapt to the situation in China while keeping its basic tenets. Therefore, thoughts on the sinicization of Christianity will continue, and are worth paying attention to.
2. The New “Administrative Measures for Religious Groups”
On November 20, 2019, Document No. 13 of the State Administration for Religious Affairs published the “Administrative Measures for Religious Groups,” which takes effect on February 1, 2020. The publication and enactment of “Administrative Measures for Religious Groups” has important implications for the thorough implementations of the new “Regulations on Religious Affairs,” for standardizing the administration of religious groups, for strengthening the religious groups’ self-improvement, and for further advancing the bridging and linking roles played by religious groups.
We do not yet know how great an impact the publication of the “Administrative Measures for Religious Groups” will have on the Chinese church, but without a doubt it is a topic worth paying attention to. Only when we better move forward with the times with greater wisdom, can we promote good development in the church.
3. The Rampant Spread of Cults
Last year various cults ran rampant, especially the Korean Sincheonji group, and severely affected the development of churches as well as the lives of believers. Not only so, but many people in society have grown distasteful of the Christian faith because of their encounters with these illegal groups, and this has damaged the reputation of the Christian faith.
Cults follow as closely as shadows, and I believe that they will not die down this year. The greater church needs to be on alert, and do the work of preparing and defending against religious cults, not letting them have any chance for infiltration. We must also build a good church environment, and do our part of preserving social harmony and stability.
4. Christmas Programs Turning into Entertainment
Beginning last year, more and more churches and believers are concerned about Christmas programs becoming too much like mere entertainment. Many people think that though a large amount of manpower, resources, and finances go into Christmas every year, the end product has plenty of entertainment, but lacks sincerity, so that it would be hard for people to learn the meaning of Jesus’ birth from the program.
We must be clear that the meaning of Christmas for a Christian is definitely not the indulgent partying of society. Instead, it is meditating on and thinking of Christ’s great redeeming love. If our Christmas programs offer people the same type of atmosphere they get outside of church, then what meaning is there? Therefore, this Christmas we must pay attention and reflect on the problem of Christmas programs becoming too much entertainment.
5. Christians Reading the Bible
In the last year there were two great events worth remembering in the Chinese church. The first was the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Chinese Union Version of the Bible, and the other was Amity Printing Company having printed 200 million copies of the Bible. Churches held many events to commemorate these two glorious moments.
But we know that the relationship of a Christian and the Bible is not simply to commemorate its publishing, or just copying passages. Instead, we are to develop the good habit of reading the Bible daily, and be a Christian who hungers and thirsts for righteousness. Only then can we better understand Jesus’ teachings, grow spiritually, be salt and light in society, and be a blessing to others.
Note: The author, Hammer of Dominic, is a Christian from Fujian province.
Are you enjoying a cup of good coffee or fragrant tea while reading the latest ChinaSource post? Consider donating the cost of that “cuppa” to support our content so we can continue to serve you with the latest on Christianity in China.