Tag: Three-Self Patriotic Movement
Church Growth in the “New China” Era
Balcombe brings us into the present by telling us about the Pentecostal church at the end of the Cultural Revolution and on through the years to its present situation.
Legislation may technically render a host of Christian activities illegal, but these activities do not suddenly cease. While we may hear that “China” is clamping down on unregistered meetings or websites or online gatherings, the reality on the ground may tell a different story.
Wang Yi said, “We have an opportunity to demonstrate to society what the church is; why spiritual authority should not be in the hands of those who wield the sword; why we can…endure external governance but cannot allow our faith, worship, teaching, …and members to come under the state’s review and control.”
Doubtless the vigorous development of theological education since the 1990s is one of the important evidences of the growth of Christianity in China. Besides reflecting the growth of the church, it was itself a factor in the further expansion of the church.
A must read for anyone who wishes to work with the registered church in China or indeed the registered church or house church.
The reality is, there are good and not so good house churches, and there are good and not so good TSPM churches. The important question is the substance of the teaching and ministry of the church rather than how each church navigates the realities of the Chinese government.
When we talk about Protestant Christianity in contemporary China, two trademarks stand out: dual networks (Three-Self Patriotic Movement and house church movement), and strong governmental oversight or control of the church. However, they also point to a reality of great diversity, richness, and irony.