To the outside world, China is a country without religion. Thanks to Mao’s purge of the established faiths, worship became illegal in the PRC. However, since the reforms and opening of the 1970s, religious tolerance has increased, leading to a swelling of the official congregation numbers for the main monotheistic faiths, as well as Buddhism and Daoism. Christianity in particular has grown in popularity.
A population on the fringe
Generally speaking, it isn’t easy being a Christian in China. Luo Wei, who turned to Jesus about six years ago when he was at university in Shandong Province says, “Unfortunately, I feel that I need to keep quiet about my faith because Christians are still persecuted here. I attend a house church, not one of the official worship places, so there’s a risk that I will be caught and punished.”
Christians like Luo Wei practise their faith in home churches – underground congregations that meet in members’ homes, mostly in rural areas – but others toe the line and attend official services and government approved worship halls. State-controlled Christianity in China is overseen by several associations. The China Christian Council was established in 1980 and governs Protestantism, publishing Bibles and hymn-books and overseeing official churches. The Three-Self Patriotic Movement also governs the Protestant sector. Catholicism is administrated by the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association that was set up in 1957 by the Religious Affairs Bureau of the PRC. The Communist Party refuses to recognise the Pope as the supreme head of the Catholic Church because he is the leader of a foreign state, causing diplomatic tension between China and the Vatican. The current Pope has denounced the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.
For Christians that don’t wish to be a part of the official churches (either because of the Pope’s denunciation or the very fact of state control), one alternative is house churches. Another is the Free Church movement that is flourishing in cities and urban areas, attracting more affluent congregations. Free Churches are similar to house churches in that they operate outside of the official bodies, but are less secretive. Meeting in office blocks instead of underground, they challenge the authorities and refuse to co-operate with the government. Most prominent is the Zion Church in Beijing led by Jin Mingri, a pastor who studied at the Fuller Theological Seminary in the USA. Mass migration from rural areas into the cities means a growth in the Free Church movement.
It is unclear exactly how many practising Christians there are in China. Many are reluctant to make themselves known in surveys and censuses due to the risk of persecution, so the official figures are skewed. In the year 2000, the PRC announced that there were four million Catholics and 10 million Protestants, a figure that had risen to 10m and 20m respectively by 2003. Editor-in-chief of the Economist John Micklethwait’s estimate is 12 million Catholics and 65 million Protestants – hugely inflated from the official numbers.
A turbulent history and promising future?
Christianity in China is not a new phenomenon. It is unclear exactly when the faith came to the Mainland, but historical records report the arrival of Alopen, a Nestorian monk from Syria, in the 7th century. Catholic missionaries arrived throughout the Ming Dynasty, the most famous of which was Matteo Ricci, who ingratiated himself with the Emperor. The Jesuits established a centre of worship in Shanghai’s Xujiahui (then known as Zikkawei) and built the twin-spired St. Ignatius Cathedral, as well as the basilica on Sheshan in Songjiang. The first Protestant Missionary was Robert Morrison, and pockets of Christian Orthodoxy flourished in Harbin thanks to Russian influence. The Cultural Revolution ended organised Christianity, making it illegal along with all other religions. Despite growing tolerance in recent years, the Communist Party is still suspicious of any movement that could be viewed as a cult. The Shouter Movement (brought over from the USA in the 1960s by Watchman Nee and Witness Lee) was banned in the 1990s, when its evangelical and apocalyptical dogma was deemed cultish.
History bears witness to the modern geographical spread of Christian worship. There is a strong tradition of Christianity in Hebei Province thanks to the sighting of the Virgin Mary (thereafter known as Our Lady of China) in the town of Donglü in 1900. Although the government has banned pilgrimages to the site in recent years, religious fervor is still strong. Henan Province also has pockets of Christian practise thanks to the work of a Presbyterian from Canada between 1888 and 1925. It was in Hebei that Bishop Li Hongye was arrested in 2001, and thousands of house church members were taken for questioning by the police in 2004.
Modern Chinese Christians turn to the faith for many reasons, most interesting of which is weariness with the materialism of the modern PRC. Shanghainese Lu Jing became a Christian after becoming disillusioned with the rampant capitalism she witnessed daily. “For me, being a Christian is about renouncing the excesses of modern life, and striving for a simpler existence. Lack of religion has made many people greedy and thoughtless, and I want something different from that. Also, in a world that is so uncertain now, it’s comforting to have something to believe in.”
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Keywords: Christianity in China rise of Christian faith in China house churches in China being a Christian in China
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I personally prefer a non-Christian China u.u; Last thing we need is for China to be like those annoying Korean ajumma that stuff their religions down your throat. =__=; I like China's morals and values as they are without the Christian influence. ^-^
Jul 14, 2011 12:22 Report Abuse
Is the Church of England has allegiance to the Vatican? NO!! So, why should the catholic of China be disloyal and have any allegiance to the Vatican. Go figure. Chinese people really need to think and not be brainwashed by the insidious western media controlled by the likes of Robert Murdoch.
Jul 15, 2011 05:19 Report Abuse
First of all, Anglicanism - that is, the Church of England - is a protestant church: it originated specifically for the purpose of breaking its allegiance from the Vatican. As stupid as it is, a blood-rivalry exists to this day throughout some pockets of the world between Catholics and Anglicans because of this. Secondly, according to Catholic doctrine, the pope is the intermediary between the everyday catholic person and God - that is why he commands the authority he does throughout world Catholicism. So technically (although I personally don't see a problem with it), a Catholic who does not acknowledge the Pope is actually not Catholic - they're technically not anything; doctrinally speaking they are just a confused "christian" of somekind. And I am aware that a loyal Catholic would beat the crap out of me for making that statement.
Nevertheless 'God', you raise an interesting connundrum for the modern Christian: how to reconcile national/political loyalties with one's faith?
Though I'm not Christian myself, I can tell you the educated Catholic will reply back:
"Give on to Caesar what is Caesar's; Give on to God what is God's".
[in other words, no disloyalty is implied to Beijing if the Chinese Catholic recognises the spiritual authority of the Vatican]
Finally, its Rupert, not Robert. And you wish you were as good as he was at brainwashing.
Jul 17, 2011 18:58 Report Abuse
I personally think being a christian is very important as the world changes alot..Like Earthquakes, Floods, etc. However, I felt the need of an existance of a true and living God is very important in everywhere around the world not just china alone. As you know where you are going when your life had come to an end.
When we talk about politics, when you have the ability to rule the whole world but remember one earth quake or one natural disaster can end up everything that had been built. Japan is a very good example of a very flourish economy. But one tsunami has wipe out the some part of the state including the people.
Therefore, having a God to protect you is very important these days. And at least you know when disaster come. He will still be able to save you and your family.
Sorry, maybe some of you might not like what I say. But at least I experience what I been thru then I am able to share. My family been thru those disaster during the most troubled times. And I had also been thru those difficult and troubled times. Therefore, I know that God is true. He saved the lives of my family and myself.
Having to know christ is a blessing. At least you know in the future. Where you and your family will be going..Jesus also said, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can go thru the father (God) except thru me. Which he had strongly emphasis the truth.
If you and your family truly believe and trust in God. Your life will be saved.
Jul 14, 2011 14:35 Report Abuse
Sorry Rudolph the Reindeer,
And you probably believe in Santa Claus too... spare us the Christian-right speech & start to respect humanity (the Crusades finished a long time a go). Confucianism & Bhuddism have been in China a long time so they are not a totally moraless society without a (Christian) God. I agree with the first writer that we don't want another Korean style Christian evangelical movement. I have more respect for humankind then that!!!
Jul 14, 2011 16:12 Report Abuse
your bitterness proves that your worldview is sad, synical, dark. you are the one who pushes your non-belief on everyone else. why are you trying to force people not to believe. and for the record, confucianism and budhhism are atheistic religions, and that means they don't believe in any God.
this blabbering about the crusaides and reindeer, makes you sound brainless. respect for humanity huh, you respect other people's beliefs? you are open minded?
you people blather about christians being closed minded but atheists are about as closed minded as they get. just because not everyone believes that all of live came from some crystals, and those crystals came from other matter came from a big bang.. so what.. where did the big bang come from.. how can you look at a child and say this person came from nothing just like the rest of us? to me that must be real faith to believe something so infinately improbable.
Jul 15, 2011 00:43 Report Abuse
Sorry, but being an American, I've had to hear this rubbish for my entire life, and as an atheist, it never ceases to amaze me that Christians think that they have some kind of extra protection by blindly believing in ancient mythology. Jesus didn't protect the mostly Christian victims of 9/11 or the thousands of butchered Sudanese of Darfur by the Muslim Janjaweed and Sudanese government and there are countless other examples of the total absense of this so called "loving God." Believe in whatever ancient superstition and mythology you want, but don't be surprised if you run into more and more critical thinking people who will explain to you how, not only silly, but how dangerous your comments are. Remember that the Taliban are just as sure, probably even more sure that their "god" exists too and that they know what the future is for the "non believer." We live in a world that requires and demands people with critical thinking skills, not a fear of life and a need of an ancient belief in an invisible "sky daddy."
Jul 20, 2011 00:55 Report Abuse
So, as a Christian, you do know that as a basic tenet of your religion you must do your best to convert all the non-believers to Christianity, right? So, are atheists the most close minded or is your "god"? After all the punishment for not believing in the invisible sky daddy is eternal damnation, right? Sounds pretty close minded to me! And any person who decides without any evidence that they have the right god to worship and must convert all other's is the very essence of close mindedness. And please, as a Christian don't talk about tolerance of other faiths. That's ridiculous. If you're god demands you as a follower to convert the heathens and you don't try are you really a Christian, or do you just not care if roughly 4 billion non-believers are condemned to hell for eternity? So, give up your material belongings, including your computer and get out there and start converting, or you're not a Christian.
And just because Science doen's have all the answers yet, I suppose, we should just say "Jesus did it"?
You're the worst kind of close minded idiot. The kind that doesn't even know how intolerant and close minded they are!!!
Jul 20, 2011 01:03 Report Abuse
saying that what all those people died in japan because they weren't christians is sick. any god who lest people die like that just because they don't worship him is a class A a-hole. and even if he were real i would refuse to worship a royal a-hole like that.
gods message to humanity. LOVE ME OR ELSE...
Jul 14, 2011 16:14 Report Abuse
for Christians to become "born again" is only by reverting back to the religion given by God through Jesus. The way Christians have played with their religion is a main cause of people all over the world to go away from religions. Christians killed scientists because they challenged their bible as a result scientists became atheists.
If you are eating pork & drinking wine and saying that you believe in Jesus then I really doubt your belief. What a difference to believe in God versus those who have no religion? only visiting church once in a week? what else?
Jul 14, 2011 17:57 Report Abuse
Why would you doubt the belief of a Christian who drank wine and ate pork? Jesus himself gives wine to people, and I believe it is Acts in the New Testament that removes the Judaic prohibition on eating pork.
Just because those 2 things are prohibited in the Islamic tradition, it doesn't mean that they are in the Christian tradition - on the contrary, they are explicitly condoned! It would be akin to saying "I doubt the faith of a Muslim who does not regard Sunday as the true Sabbath", when it fact that makes no sense for the Muslim tradition.
Jul 14, 2011 18:13 Report Abuse
Dear Martel, I did not mean to offend anyone. I am sorry if it did.
What I mean to say was that Christians can only be true Christians when they start to live their life as per the Red Text Bible only. Whatever is modified by people in history is deceiving and ones' own perception which is bound to error.
FACTS TO KNOW
1) The Bible does teach total abstinence from alcohol. Both the main Hebrew word for wine and the Greek word for wine can mean either fermented grape juice or intoxicating wine. The English word wine originally had two meanings also - unfermented juice or alcoholic drink.
2) In the Bible, verses to show God approves of wine are speaking about unfermented juice. Verses that expose the evils of wine are speaking about intoxicating wine.
3) The Bible says alcoholic drink is evil. It is not just the amount one drinks that makes drinking a sin. God condemns the drink itself. (Prov 20:1 KJV) Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
4) God does not lead us into evil; He delivers us from it. He does not teach us to practice evil in moderation. Jesus did not make, use, approve, commend, or tell us to use intoxicating wine.
5) God made man to have fellowship with Him. Alcohol goes directly to the brain, the communication center of the body. It interferes with God’s purpose for mankind.
There is more Scripture condemning the use of alcoholic beverages than will be found on the subjects of lying, adultery, swearing, cheating, hypocrisy, pride, or even blasphemy.
1) Genesis 9:20-26 - Noah became drunk; the result was immorality and family trouble.
2) Genesis 19:30-38 - Lot was so drunk he did not know what he was doing; this led to immorality
3) Leviticus 10:9-11 - God commanded priests not to drink so that they could tell the difference between the holy and the unholy.
4) Numbers 6:3 - The Nazarites were told to eat or drink nothing from the grape vine.
5) Deuteronomy 21:20 - A drunken son was stubborn and rebellious.
6) Deuteronomy 29:5-6 - God gave no grape juice to Israel nor did they have intoxicating drink in the wilderness.
7) Deuteronomy 32:33 - Intoxicating wine is like the poison of serpents, the cruel venom of asps.
8) Judges 13:4, 7, 14 - Samson was to be a Nazarite for life. His mother was told not to drink wine or strong drink.
9) 1 Samuel 1:14-15 - Accused, Hannah said she drank no wine.
10) 1 Samuel 25:32-38 - Nabal died after a drunken spree.
11) 2 Samuel 11:13 - By getting Uriah drunk, David hoped to cover his sin.
12) 2 Samuel 13:28-29 - Amnon was drunk when he was killed.
13) 1 Kings 16:8-10 - The king was drinking himself into drunkenness when he was assassinated
14) 1 Kings 20:12-21 - Ben-Hadad and 32 other kings were drinking when they were attacked and defeated by the Israelites.
15) Esther 1:5-12 - The king gave each one all the drink he wanted. The king was intoxicated when he commanded the queen to come.
16) Psalm 75:8 - The Lord’s anger is pictured as mixed wine poured out and drunk by the wicked.
17) Proverbs 4:17 - Alcoholic drink is called the wine of violence.
18) Proverbs 20:1 - Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging.
19) Proverbs 23:19-20 - A wise person will not be among the drinkers of alcoholic beverages.
20) Proverbs 23:21 - Drunkenness causes poverty.
21) Proverbs 23:29-30 - Drinking causes woe, sorrow, fighting, babbling, wounds without cause and red eyes.
22) Proverbs 23:31 - God instructs not to look at intoxicating drinks.
23) Proverbs 23:32 - Alcoholic drinks bite like a serpent, sting like an adder.
24) Proverbs 23:33 - Alcohol causes the drinker to have strange and adulterous thoughts, produces willfulness, and prevents reformation.
25) Proverbs 23:34 - Alcohol makes the drinker unstable
26) Proverbs 23:35 - Alcohol makes the drinker insensitive to pain so he does not perceive it as a warning. Alcohol is habit forming.
27) Proverb 31:4-5 - Kings, Princes, and others who rule and judge must not drink alcohol. Alcohol perverts good judgment.
28) Proverbs 31:6-7 - Strong drink could be given to those about to perish or those in pain. Better anesthetics are available today.
29) Ecclesiastes 2:3 - The king tried everything, including intoxicating drink, to see if it satisfied. It did not. (Ecclesiastes 12:8)
30) Ecclesiastes 10:17 - A land is blessed when its leaders do not drink.
31) Isaiah 5:11-12 - Woe to those who get up early to drink and stay up late at night to get drunk.
32) Isaiah 5:22 - Woe to "champion" drinkers and "experts" at mixing drinks.
33) Isaiah 19:14 - Drunken men stagger in their vomit.
34) Isaiah 22:12-13 - The Israelites choose to drink; their future looks hopeless to them.
35) Isaiah 24:9 - Drinkers cannot escape the consequences when God judges.
36) Isaiah 28:1 - God pronounces woe on the drunkards of Ephraim.
37) Isaiah 28:3 - Proud drunkards shall be trodden down.
38) Isaiah 28:7 - Priests and prophets stagger and reel from beer and wine, err in vision, and stumble in judgment.
39) Isaiah 28:8 - Drinkers’ tables are covered with vomit and filth.
40) Isaiah 56:9-12 - Drinkers seek their own gain and expect tomorrow to be just like today.
41) Jeremiah 35:2-14 - The Rechabites drank no grape juice or intoxicating wine and were blessed.
42) Ezekiel 44:21 - Again God instructed the priests not to drink wine.
43) Daniel 1:5-17 - Daniel refused the king’s intoxicating wine and was blessed for it along with his abstaining friends.
44) Daniel 5:1 - Belshazzar, ruler of Babylon; led his people in drinking.
45) Daniel 5:2-3 - The king, along with his nobles, wives, and concubines, drank from the goblets which had been taken from God’s temple.
46) Daniel 5:4 - Drinking wine was combined with praising false gods.
47) Daniel 5:23 - God sent word to Belshazzar that punishment would be swift for the evil he had committed.
48) Hosea 4:11 - Intoxicating wine takes away intelligence.
49) Hosea 7:5 - God reproves princes for drinking.
50) Joel 1:5 - Drunkards awake to see God’s judgment.
51) Joel 3:3 - The enemy is judged for selling girls for wine.
52) Amos 2:8 - Unrighteous acts of Israel included the drinking of wine which had been taken for the payment of fines.
53) Amos 2:12 - Israel is condemned for forcing Nazarites to drink wine.
54) Micah 2:11 - Israelites are eager to follow false teachers who prophesy plenty of intoxicating drinks.
55) Nahum 1:10 - The drunkards of Nineveh will be destroyed by God.
56) Habakkuk 2:5 - A man is betrayed by wine.
57) Habakkuk 2:15 - Woe to him that gives his neighbor drink.
58) Habakkuk 2:16 - Drinking leads to shame.
59) Matthew 24:48-51 - A drinking servant is unprepared for his Lord’s return.
60) Luke 1:15 - John the Baptist drank neither grape juice nor wine.
61) Luke 12:45 - Christ warned against drunkenness.
62) Luke 21:34 - Drunkenness will cause a person not to be ready for the Lord’s return.
63) Romans 13:13 - Do not walk in drunkenness or immorality.
64) Romans 14:21 - Do not do anything that will hurt your testimony as a believer.
65) 1 Corinthians 5:11 - If a Christian brother is a drinker, do not associate with him.
66) 1 Corinthians 6:10 - Drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God
67) Galatians 5:21 - Acts of the sinful nature, such as drunkenness, will prohibit a person from inheriting the kingdom of God.
68) Ephesians 5:18 - In contrast to being drunk with wine, the believer is to be filled with the Spirit.
69) 1 Thessalonians 5:6-7 - Christians are to be alert and self-controlled, belonging to the day. Drunkards belong to the night and darkness.
70) 1 Timothy 3:2-3 - Bishops (elders) are to be temperate, sober, and not near any wine.
71) 1 Timothy 3:8 - Deacons are to be worthy of respect and not drinkers.
72) 1 Timothy 3:11 - Deacons’ wives are to be temperate and sober.
73) Titus 1:7-8 - An overseer is to be disciplined.
74) Titus 2:2-3 - The older men and older women of the church are to be temperate and not addicted to wine.
75) 1 Peter 4:3-4 - The past life of drunkenness and carousing has no place in the Christian’s life.
Jul 14, 2011 19:08 Report Abuse
Nobody's offended. :) The source you posted looks like it is a strongly fundamentally protestant one. Some Protestant fundamentalists think drinking is a sin. Except many of the passages quoted above suggest drinking to excess is not a good thing, but drinking in moderation is fine. And that's also the interpretation given to it by millions of people over the centuries. The Bible is a huge document with ambiguous and contradictory parts, and to claim you really know "the true" interpretation over certain ambiguities (without compelling evidence) seems rather dogmatic.
Personally, I find the claim that the parts in the Bible where people are drinking wine they are *really* drinking grape juice extremely unlikely, and frankly somewhat ridiculous. It's certainly one which I would not accept without significant evidence. Thus I find drinking is condoned in the Bible, but I certainly won't suggest that those who do not partake of wine as Jesus did are not "true Christians".
But ultimately, if there is a God out there, I'd hope He was less concerned with what I was cramming down my gullet, and rather more concerned with my treatment of my fellow human.
Jul 14, 2011 19:41 Report Abuse
I think you are a gentlman and appreciate the way your participate :)
Pork prohibited in the Bible
The Christian is likely to be convinced by his religious scriptures. The Bible prohibits the consumption of pork, in the book of Leviticus
"And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be cloven footed, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you".
"Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch, they are unclean to you."
Pork is also prohibited in the Bible in the book of Deuteronomy
"And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you. Ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass."
A similar prohibition is repeated in the Bible in the book of Isaiah chapter 65 verse 2-5.
I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;
A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon alters of brick;
Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, eating swine's flesh, and the broth of abominable things is in their vessels."
"They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the Lord."
Jul 14, 2011 19:45 Report Abuse
in 1 Corinthians 10: 30 - 31... if i can give thanks to God for the food and enjoy it, why should i be condemned for eating it? 31 so, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
excess of anything, be it food or drink isn't good and i bet we all know that.
Jul 15, 2011 07:31 Report Abuse
Mr. MorphCartel & Co
If you had spend those time in reading some history, you wouldn't resort to that lame argument. There are many versions of Bible. But the story of the Rules of the Benedict is a historic fact. Here are some text approximate translated (not by me) into English. From such text, it would show you not only what are the rules but also why so.
“Each one has his own gift from God, the one in this way, the other in that. Therefore it is with some hesitation that the amount of daily sustenance for others is fixed by us. Nevertheless, in view of the weakness of the infirm we believe that a hemina of wine a day is enough for each one. Those moreover to whom God gives the ability of bearing abstinence shall know that they will have their own reward. But the prior shall judge if either the needs of the place, or labour or the heat of summer, requires more; considering in all things lest satiety or drunkenness creep in. In deed we read that wine is not suitable for monks at all. But because, in our day, it is not possible to persuade the monks of this, let us agree at least as the fact that we should drink till we are sated, but sparingly. For wine can make even the wise to go astray. Where, moreover, the necessities of the place are such that the amount written above can not be found – but much less or nothing at all – those who live there shall bless God and shall not murmur. And we admonish them to this above all; that they be without murmuring. “
Jul 16, 2011 23:08 Report Abuse
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