Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A sobering thought. . .

[M]ore people go to church on Sunday in China than in the whole of Europe."1  China is now home to more evangelical believers than any other nation, and the church continues to grow and make inroads in every level of Chinese society. Today, tens of millions of Chinese profess faith in Jesus Christ. Such dramatic growth, against the backdrop of modern China, has produced profound and urgent church development needs

1. Tim Gardam, "Christians in China: Is the Country in Spiritual Crisis?," BBC News Magazine, Sept 11, 2011: 

The big challenge in China is what kind of Christianity is growing.  As separate as Christian groups are from the churches of the West and as individualized as the house churches are, the doctrine and faith of these groups is largely unknown to us.  It is most likely more akin to a conservative evangelical identity but it represents a great opportunity to influence these groups toward a more classical orthodox Christian confession.  The problem is that we do not have access to these groups and the hierarchy of leadership is either missing entirely or secretive given the suspicion with which the government views churches in China.

Still, the statistic is amazaing -- on a given Sunday, more people are in church in China than in the whole of Europe.  Perhaps China is the next Africa.  With Africa, the key to maintaining solid Christian confession has been the training of clergy.  Liberals gained influence by offering to pay for an provide theological education.  Conservatives need to step up and do the same.  This is not a bidding war for influence but the way we can make sure that orthodox and creedal Christianity flourishes for the sake of the believers as well as the faith.  


Anonymous said...

As long as this type of Christianity is not being taught in China, then that country has little to worry about:

David Gray said...

That was a very interesting statement but it tells us at least as much about Europe as it does about China. When I lived there it was a grievous thing to see how many grand churches were being used as bookstores, art boutiques and restaurants.

Anonymous said...


In China, churches were closed down by force; In the West, churches were closed down by choice.


By the way, I am still unclear why the elite in countries such as China view Christianity as a threat to their power.