Recently, an alleged Christian relationship coach named Gloria Chen went popular in China, who launched many WeChat groups to attract female women with relationship problems.
Some Christians said that there were problems with some of her teachings that combined some Bible verses with secular psychology skills. According to her Sina Weibo account, she claims that she is a founder of an American NGO named "Singles and Couples.org" and obtains certificates in life coach, marriage, and juvenile justice.
The Chinese American woman speaks out some shocking words in some lectures, like "encouraging" sisters to "be the prostitutes of their husbands with joy and gladness".
From another perspective, her distinctive style takes advantage of many sisters' psychological needs, so she has received blazing responses.
Unexpectedly, the seemingly calm Chinese church has been stirred by Gloria who lives in the United States. Some female Christians around me were even invited to join her WeChat groups.
We should face the phenomenon and reflect upon it. The appearance of the relationship counseling groups has sparked a challenge to traditional churches and also revealed a few problems existing in the church.
I have found that most of her fans are sisters who fail to solve their marriage problems and to get concerns with traumatic experiences. Of course, some sisters are blind followers or desperately seek solutions.
A sister agreed with my point. She said, "I was dragged to be in a group, but I didn't have time to scan it. I feel that you are right. This kind of groups is targeted for sisters who suffer in marriage but don't get any help or improvement from the church. The church needs to be vigilant."
One of Gloria's audio lectures tells a story of a sister who wanted her counseling, which attracted my attention. She said that a couple of female believers in her church who had unhappy marriage were taught to read the Bible, pray, and attend meetings every day. Moreover, their preacher promised that their marriages and families would be definitely blessed if they followed the instructions.
However, the situation didn't turn better when they did that. Their marriage lives were still a complete mess, so they felt pretty confused in the church...
I believe that it is a real case that reflects a common phenomenon. Many churches in China do lack biblical marriage counseling and partially exalt the superstitious cure-all - Bible reading, praying and joining in services. If one succeeds in doing these three things, he will be a good Christian and prosper in everything.
But that is not the reality. For example, some sisters suffering from abusive relationships were told by the church that since domestic violence was a cross from God to train them, they needed to endure it and obey God. Another answer was that they need to review what sins they committed, confess their sins, and bear the consequences. As a result, some sisters had to undergo the difficulties and weep alone.
We can see two things from the popularity of the marriage counseling groups:
First of all, many Christians live in unhappy marriages that have many causes.
Secondly, a portion of churches doesn't value marriage counseling or provide a shallow counseling that doesn't solve problems.
I hold that the epidemic poses a challenge for traditional churches: to raise up practical and effective love and marriage counseling rooted in the Bible.
- Translated by Karen Luo