How should Christians respond when others face disaster? What should they say? What shouldn't they say?
A recent Chinese Church Voices post featured one Chinese believer’s reflections on several related decisions she had made in her struggle to live out an authentic faith. Each decision involved saying “no” to the prevailing social norms, putting the author, Wei Chen, at odds with the expectations of co-workers, family, and even her fellow Christians. While Wei posed her decisions in the negative, they together represent a positive affirmation of the counter-cultural values to which many Christians in China aspire.
One of the growing challenges for the contemporary church in China is the swelling tide of secularism. Several Chinese Christians shared this concern with us in conversations at the Reformation 500 and the Gospel conference in Hong Kong last month. China’s increasing affluence provides society with opportunities, but also ever-morphing ideals. New and shifting norms for marriage, worklife and careers, parenting, and education confront Christians in subtle ways that more visible challenges (e.g. arrests, lack of resources, funding, etc.) have not.
In this blog post, originally posted by Oak Tree Publishing, Wei Chen shares the personal sacrifices she and her family have made in the face of secular values. She describes the troubling expectations of society on her and her family, and how her Christian faith pushed her to say “No!” to following along with the secular norms.
At the Reformation500 Conference in Hong Kong, we have had the opportunity to chat with believers from around the country about various topics. One of the questions we have been asking is this: What are the key challenges facing believers in China today?
Late last year, a Christian crowdfunding drive made headlines and sparked controversy on Chinese social media. Luo Er, the father of a five-year-old girl with leukemia, posted an article online in which he vented his frustration at God. Luo demanded that Jesus heal his daughter otherwise he would stop believing in him. Thousands of people read the article and donated over 2 million RMB ($290,000USD) to help pay for the medical expenses of the family. Tragically, Luo’s daughter died shortly after Luo started the campaign. Luo was later arrested for fraud and fined. Chinese Christians have hotly debated the incident, many questioning Luo’s intentions and asking how Christians should respond in the midst of such suffering. One response to these questions of suffering comes from a writer for OC Gospel. “Rachel” reflects on the Luo incident by remembering another tragic story of Christian suffering.
China was not exactly top of mind as my wife and I sat down to read a chapter of John Ortberg’s Soul Keeping. We hardly expected to find any profound insights into the thinking of Chinese Christians in a book written by an American pastor primarily for an American church audience.
Many Christians in China today are seeking to be salt and light in their communities and in society. But what does that look like? In the translated article below, originally posted on the mainland site Christian Times, the author summarizes a talk given by a pastor in Henan Province on the topic of being salt and light.
If you haven’t already read the recent Chinese Church Voices post on the prosperity gospel in China, you need to. Here’s why.
If you’ve lived in China at all during the past 10 or so years you’ve probably encountered the phrases “I believe in me,” and “I just need to be myself” fairly often. In fact, at times these phrases seem to be the mantra of the Chinese millennial. The phrases are often thrown out as the solution to friends who don’t understand you, trials you’re facing, and personal struggles with historical issues in your past.
In this article, originally published in Jingjie, author Wang Ming Li examines the very public and famous journey of singer Annie Yi, who ultimately decided that the path to overcoming rejection by her father was to “just be myself.” But is this really a panacea for our life problems? How do we as Christians respond to significant family of origin wounds? Wang first examines Annie’s journey, then shares her own personal experience and reflections.
A young Chinese Christian faces the challenge of honoring the faith of her Christian grandmother at her funeral in a rural community in China.
I recently received the weekly prayer list from our church. Each week we pray for a different nation of the world. This particular week we were to pray for China.
It’s been a long time since I have watched the Olympic Games on American broadcast TV, and not CCTV5, the Chinese sports channel, and there are several things that I miss. I miss the 24-hour coverage of events and watching them in their entirety, not just highlight reels. I miss watching ping-pong and badminton. And I miss getting to know the Chinese athletes.
The latest issue of ChinaSource Quarterly takes an in-depth look at the pressures facing young Christian families in urban China.
The author begins by explaining “love” as historically defined by Mohism and Confucianism, that is, universal love versus love based on blood kinship. He delves into the differences between these two kinds of love, especially as they relate to family structure and authority as well as to extended family relationships. He then turns to Christian love, its relationship to these two ideologies and how it can influence the culture.
The stresses and conflicts found within Chinese families are increasing with urbanization that often forces families to live apart. After discussing some of the major pressures that families face in today’s China, the author delineates some of the principles needed for building a good family foundation.
From the guest editors' point of view
Historical influences on family structure and how this structure has collapsed in recent decades are reviewed. The author then recognizes that family order has been established by God and must be restored. This is essential for China’s transformation. The role the Chinese church should play in this restoration needs to be thought through.
Two online resources highlighting Christian testimonies about marriage and family issues.
Items that require your intercession.
The testimony of a victim of domestic abuse and her journey to healing.
If you’ve been to China you have probably noticed that it is a society of walls. There are walls around schools, factories, and housing estates. Sometimes the entities within these walls are huge, covering many city blocks. In an attempt to alleviate congestion and open up more through ways through the cities, the Chinese government in February issued a new regulation calling for walled communities to open up their roads and streets to through passage. In other words, they want the walls to come down. In this article, originally published in the mainland online journal Territory, the writer uses this new regulation as a starting point for a discussion of the walls that we build in our hearts and how only through the cross can we tear them down.
Over the years, many stories have come out of China about believers who, having no access to the printed Word, painstakingly write out the Scriptures by hand. The 21st century has put a new spin on that practice—copying out the Bible by hand not because of its unavailability but in order to break an addiction to online games! This story, from the Gospel Times, tells of a man in China who has decided to write out by hand a chapter per day.
Brother Xu Guoyong, co-founder of Oak Tree Press in Beijing, was killed in an accident while attending a conference in the United States in January. In this excerpt from his writings he reflected on the life of his first daughter, Leyi, who died tragically during the time he and his wife were imprisoned for their faith.
Brother Xu Guoyong, co-founder of Oak Tree Press in Beijing, was tragically killed in an accident while attending a conference in the United States in January. In this excerpt from his writings he reflects on the times he spent imprisoned for his faith.
A Christian's story just before the Two-Child Policy goes into effect.
Recently the mainland-based The Good and Faithful Steward blog published a short post about what it means to be a disciple, reminding readers that being a disciple is more than just taking on the name of Christ (“Christian”), but actually following Christ.
In 2015, we had 52 posts to Chinese Church Voices; articles written by Chinese Christians translated into English, as well as videos—all providing a window into the issues that are top of mind among believers in China. Here are the most-read posts of 2015.
The blog Building Healthy Families recently posted a short piece about the importance of single and married Christians of the opposite sex setting boundaries in how they relate to one another.
Whether in China or anywhere else around the world the choice of which career path to take is one that elicits no small amount of hand-wringing and late-night anxieties. For the Christian, there are additional concerns of avoiding corruption and trying to be in God’s will. How then should a Christian approach this question?
Recently, a blogger at The Good and Faithful Steward blog site shared some insights into the struggle.
One popular new Christian blog in China is called iWorship (爱敬拜). A recent post featured an excerpt of some writing by Wang Mingdao, the famous Chinese evangelist of the early twentieth century. In it, he presents multiple scenarios where it is best to be slow to speak, reminding the reader of the importance of making sure that our words are being used for God’s glory. In the era of social media, which demands a comment or opinion or criticism of everything, it remains a good word for us all today.
On August 12, 2015, a series of massive explosions ripped through a container storage station in the Binhai New Area district of the port city of Tianjin. The station is known to have been a storage site for hazardous materials. The two largest blasts were the equivalent of three tons and 21 tons of TNT respectively, with the second being picked up by weather satellites orbiting earth. Over 150 people were killed and over 700 were injured. The cause of the explosions is still unknown.
Eyewitness videos of the blast quickly spread online, followed by earnest questions regarding safety and responsibility. The Christian publication Territory joined in the discussion by asking readers to share how they were affected by the blasts.
One issue for younger Christians in China is where to turn for good teaching on issues related to relationships and marriage. Because there are fewer Christians in the generation that preceded them, there are few role models. Therefore, the need for resources and training for the Chinese church in this area is great.
One man who is speaking to this need is Yuan Datong (Andrew Yuan), a Christian marriage counselor who conducts marriage workshops in churches all over the country. He has also authored a number of books on the subject, including Marriage: A Covenant for Life.
What is it to be a Christian singer? At Harvest Church Singapore’s June 28th evangelistic meeting, Huang Qishan shared that a Christian singer is one who carries within herself the gospel, and her life is a conduit to transmit that message.
On May 12, 2008 a massive earthquake struck the province of Sichuan, leaving close to 100,000 people dead and millions homeless. One woman affected by the tragedy was Liao Zhi, a dance instructor who lost her daughter and mother-in-law, and both her legs. Some rescue workers from Vancouver gave her a Bible, and helped her go to Canada for prosthetic legs. She became a Christian and was able to return to dancing. Her story inspired many people, both believers and unbelievers in China.
This is a translation of her story in the online magazine Territory, published to their WeChat page.
Making Pentecost Your Story: 50 Days of Reflection and Prayer by Robert Menzies
Reviewed by Peter S. Anderson
Following a brief overview of the church in China, this book provides 50 daily devotional readings covering seven weeks. Each reading begins with a well-chosen Scripture passage followed by a short story based on Dr Menzies’ own experiences with Christians in China.
Here at Chinese Church Voices, we often highlight articles written by Christians and posted on various websites, blogs, and/or micro-blogs. This week, however, we have translated a sermon by Pastor Chen, of the Fangshan Church in Beijing. It was delivered on February 8, 2015, and posted to the church website shortly after that. In it, Pastor Chen uses 1 Samuel 15 to remind the congregation of the importance of obedience.
This year April 5 was an interesting day for Christians in China as Easter coincided with Qingming Festival (grave sweeping). On the day they celebrated the empty tomb they were also expected to tend to the tombs of their ancestors. In some cases, the ancestors were themselves Christians, so ceremonies and services are conducted at Christian cemeteries.
Whether you are in the US or working in China, Holy Week offers a great opportunity to introduce Chinese friends to the gospel.
The annual Spring Festival migration has begun in China, with the transport ministry predicting that nearly 3 billion trips will be taken during the 40-day holiday period. Some have called it the world’s largest human migration, as millions of people head home to spend Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) with their families.
Inspired by the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Sacred Spaces offers daily meditations on Holy Scripture and personal reflections aimed at helping us get in touch with God and experience his presence in our lives.
After many years of devoted prayer and Christian living, we sometimes find it difficult to feel God’s presence. In our pursuit of a deeper prayer life, we often come up dry and wanting. Fr. Green provides an important understanding of prayer for many Christians who start to wonder why their prayers have begun to feel empty. Using the examples of some of the great mystics of the Christian tradition, he imparts to us some of their wisdom so we can better understand the journey of the interior life and the true call to faith in prayer that the Lord gives us.
The author shares from her experience as a mentor giving us glimpses of three different women she has shared her life with, and how her interactions with each of them have brought about changes in their lives. She closes with a summary of what being a mentor has required of her.
Mentor: “A good teacher and valuable friend.” With this definition, the author shares how three mentors have made an impact in her life and testifies to the reality, omnipotence, compassion, and greatness of her Heavenly Father.
China is facing some unique demographic challenges, not the least of which is an aging population. Currently, roughly 8% of the population is 65 or older. However, according to a report by the BBC, that number is expected to be 12% by 2020, and 26% by 2050.
The website Xuanjiao Zhongguo (Missions China) recently ran a post written by a university student in China, sharing his/her reflections on faith in modern China.
Adding to my recent list of Ten Books on Christianity, I'd like to also commend the three volumes of Salt and Light: Lives of Faith that Shaped Modern China, by Carol Lee Hamrin and Stacey Bieler.
A Chinese Christian blogger offers ten reasons for being a Christian.
A Chinese Christian blogger explores the similarities and differences between the Chinese concept of filial piety and the Biblical teaching to honor one's parents.
Many people are surprised to know that that there are numerous Christian books that have been published in China and as a result can be legally sold and distributed within China. This is something that has been going on for the past ten years.