This Friday, April 11, the Trinity Chinese Fellowship is hosting a conference titled Churches In China: Now and Future. We asked the co-leaders of the Trinity Chinese Fellowship, Arthur Ang and Joshua Xie, to give us some insight on churches in China in advance of the conference.
1. Please introduce the upcoming conference. Give us an overview of what’s happening at the conference and what some of the main discussion topics will be.
The purpose of the conference is to give those who have a burden for ministry in Mainland China an overview of contemporary Chinese churches. The topics covered are: theological education (Dr. Joseph Yang), urban church (Dr. Ezra Jin), church-state conflicts and legal framework (Attorney Kai Zhang), and future prospect (Dr. Fenggang Yang). At the end of the conference, there’s a panel discussion that focus on the tension between Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) churches and House churches.
2. What are some myths about churches in China that you perceive many western Christians believe?
Many western Christians believe that (1) churches in China are still under severe persecution from government, (2) churches are more “spiritual” and mission minded. (3) Some believe that churches in China are charismatic, (4) some believe that a certain people (e.g. Brother Yun) is an outstanding leader for all house churches. In fact, China is so big and diversified that not any single figure or movement can represent it.
3. Do Chinese churches look very different from one another depending on where the church is located in China? What are some of the differences between various Chinese churches?
As mentioned, churches in China are very diversified. Due to the long-time segregation from the world and even separated from each other, churches in China have developed very different forms. Though all denominations were eliminated by communist party, some believe that every single church is a denomination and has her own culture and context.
4. How can western Christians pray for and support Christians in mainland China?
China is in great need of theological training and mission support, but the former ways of sending missionaries to evangelize and build the church might need to be changed. It’s wiser to pour financial and human resources to develop local leaders, sponsor them to get better theological training, or go into China to train local leaders.
For those at Trinity, if you are interested, you are welcomed to join the Trinity Chinese Fellowship activities (e.g. Friday Morning Prayer Meetings or Welcome Dinners) and learn more about Christianity and ministry in China. Contact us at: Arthur Ang (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Joshua Xie (email@example.com).
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