The Lantern

Considering the Challenges Facing Families in China

Young Christian families in China face pressure both from long-held traditional beliefs about family structure and from China’s contemporary materialistic society. As most of these Christians are first-generation believers, they have no frame of reference for understanding the biblical basis for family life. ChinaSource seeks to bring to light the issues facing these families so that those who come alongside Christians in China may better understand their needs.

Together for his glory in China,

Brent Fulton

For many outside of China, any discussion of the family in China focuses on the one-child policy that had been in effect for 35 years. That policy was recently relaxed to allow for two children per family but still leaves couples under the authority of the State for deciding the size of their families.

But there are many other issues that Chinese families, and Chinese Christian families in particular, face in China today.

A quick glance at recent issues of Chinese Church Voices confirms this. Last month we read one woman’s story of domestic violence and learned of the government’s attempt to deal with it through the implementation of a new law

In other publications we’ve looked at marriage, the increase in the divorce rate, and the need for care for the elderly.

Obviously, there is much more to be said on the topic of family for Christians in China. We asked our friends, Li Jin and Ma Li who worked with us last year on the 2015 summer issue of ChinaSource Quarterly, “Theological Reflections on Urban Churches in China,” to help us once again by bringing to us the insights of Chinese Christians who are grappling with the challenges facing Christian families in China. It is their hope that this issue of the Quarterly will serve “as a starting point for further reflection and discussion on how Christian families in mainland China can live as faithful witnesses of God’s hope, faith and love.”

We invite you to dip into “Christian Ethics and Family Living in China.”


Reflections on the Chinese Family
Li Jin and Ma Li, Guest Editors

Feature Articles

The Preeminence of Love in Chinese Families
Wang Jun

The Decay of the Chinese Family
Ma Li

A Theology of Family for the Chinese Church
Li Jin

View from the Wall

Families, Churches, and China's Transition
Wei Zhou

Peoples of China

Intergenerational Challenges in Christian Marriages: A Sociological Case Study of Urban Young Christians in China
Ma Li

Book Review

Bringing up Men of God
陈织娘的一生 (A Wind in the Door) by Mrs. Chong-Ping Tong. Available in Chinese only.
Reviewed by Axin

Resource Corner

Sharing Christian Marriage and Family Testimonies Online
Two online resources that share Christian marriage and family testimonies.

News and Notes

  • On June 21 Hannah Lau spoke at Island ECC’s women’s ministry, The Village
  • Brent Fulton spoke at Missoula Alliance Church on June 26.
  • On June 26 and July 3 Hannah Lau spoke at Emmanuel English Church in Hong Kong. You can listen to her talks here.  
  • Brent Fulton spoke at Bridge Christian Fellowship in Pasadena, CA on July 10th.
  • Brent Fulton participated in a workshop on changing policies toward religion in China held at the University of California San Diego on July 12th.

Ways to Pray

  • Chinese families often live apart due to economic constraints. Pray that parents will find ways they can be with their children and be active in raising them.
  • Pray for young people who desire to marry and want to find a mate who is also a believer.
  • Uphold young couples who face family and societal pressures as they plan weddings and then desire to start a family.
  • Pray that Christian parents would have the freedom to form families based on scriptural principles that follow the order and responsibilities for family life that God has given.
  • Ask that Chinese churches will develop a scriptural theology of the church and how it relates to the family.
  • Pray for churches as they create materials and venues for teaching young believers how to have a Christian family and raise their children according to the Scriptures.
  • Pray that Chinese society will gradually be transformed by Christian families who are living examples of God’s plan for the family.
  • China’s new law on foreign nongovernmental organizations goes into effect January 1, 2017. Pray for wisdom in knowing how best to serve leaders of Christian organizations that will be affected by the new law.
  • Lift up members of the ChinaSource team who are speaking in various churches and conferences this month.

In Case You Missed It 

A selection of recently published items

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Header image credit: Chinese Lanterns by Craig Piersma via Flickr.
Text image credit: Birthday banquet-Lee family by Vivian Lee via Flickr.
ChinaSource Team

ChinaSource Team

Written or edited by members of the ChinaSource staff.          View Full Bio

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