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General Interest

Implications of the Explosive Growth of Christianity in China

By March 5, 2015 No Comments

In recent years I have visited China’s largest-attendance church, and reported on the nation’s explosive growth of Christianity by blogs and tweeted articles, the most relevant herehere , and here.

Christian Science Monitor recently gave a very helpful overview of the Chinese government’s current response to the deepening establishment of the Christian faith in that land. Below is a summary of key ideas:

chongyi church

Chongyi Church

 o Church Accessibility. The opening story is of Chong Yi Church, one of China’s largest, and how there’s nothing secret about it. “Nearly everything at the church is conspicuously open: the front gate, the front door, the sanctuary, the people, the clergy. Chinese or not, you are welcome seven days a week.” This church is an official, registered Protestant church.

 o More Christians than Community Party Members. This growth, though welcome, raises questions. “As evangelical Christianity grows sharply, officials fear it could undermine their authority. Already, Christians may outnumber members of the Communist Party. That has far-reaching implications both for Chinese society and for a party that frowns on unofficial gatherings and other viewpoints. In China, party members cannot be Christian.”

 o Over Half Meet in Unregistered House Churches. More than half of China’s Protestants attend illegal “house churches” that meet privately.

cross removal o Christianity Also Grew Prior to the Cultural Revolution. The first Protestant church was built in 1848. “Every city of importance had a church.” Christians also contributed to other fields: “Missionaries founded China’s first 16 colleges.”

 o Removal of Crosses. In January of 2014, Gulou Church officials were informed by Chinese officials that the large cross atop their 134 year old church was scheduled to be removed. In the past year, authorities have “stripped or desecrated” more than 426 church crosses. “Crackdowns on Christians are nothing new in China. What is different is how broad and systematic the suppression has been and how the state, for the first time, is attacking official churches.”

china bibleo Your Bible Could Come from China. In recent years China has become the world leader in Bible printing. In 2012 Amity Printing Company in Nanjing passed the 100 million mark in Bibles published in China since the opening in the early 1980s.

What God is doing in China is something to watch, pray for, and support as possible. Please add your thoughts below.

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Warren Bird

Author Warren Bird

Warren Bird, Ph.D. has been named a Leadership Network Senior Fellow in light of his exemplary service 2006-2018 as Director of Research and Intellectual Capital Development at Leadership Network. He serves as full-time VP of Research for ECFA.org (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). An ordained minister with background as both a pastor and seminary professor, Warren is an award-winning author or co-author of 31 books for ministry leaders including Hero Maker with Dave Ferguson, How to Break Church Growth Barriers with Carl George, and Next: Pastoral Succession that Works with William Vanderbloemen. Other recent titles are Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work with Jim Tomberlin, and Wisdom from Lyle E. Schaller. Some of Warren’s recent online reports include "Leadership Network/Generis Multisite Church Scorecard," and "The Heartbeat of Rising Influence Churches." See also research reports at leadnet.org/megachurchleadnet.org/salary and leadnet.org/portable. He is widely recognized as one of the nation's leading researchers of megachurches, multisite churches, large church compensation and high-visibility pastoral succession. He also oversees the world's only active, sortable list of global megachurches. Follow him on Twitter @warrenbird.  Click here to subscribe to Leadership Network Advance to get updates from Leadership Network.

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