Recently a delegation of twelve from CCC&TSPM and State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) paid a visit to the church and seminary in Los Angeles. A conference was held with Chinese American pastoral staff from places including Southern California, Seattle, Denver in attendance.
On Feb 17, 2017, Elder Fu Xianwei, chairman of TSPM, talked about religious freedom in China and church development in an interview with World Journal, the largest Chinese-language newspaper in the United States.
According to World Journal, a top official of SARA spoke that the purpose of the visit was to share the present situation of Christianity in China with the world, get the picture of Christianity in the U.S. and discuss the relations between religious harmony and world peace with Christians and denominational leaders. He declared that China was open to religious belief and took effort to create an advantageous situation for religions including Christianity.
Similarly, Fu welcomed international exchanges with the Chinese church through seminars, sermons and working in Christian schools despite that overseas pastors and Christians are forbidden to establish churches in China. Meanwhile, the church in China sends delegations to communicate with people around the world each year.
He stated that China has 38 million Christians with annual baptisms of 400,000 to 500,000. There are also more than 60,000 churches and 22 seminaries. Chinese Christians develop from a fast growth phase in the number to a rational phase of quality enhancement, stressing on shepherding ministry and theological reflections. The congregation that used to be aging are becoming younger and more highly educated.
In addition, Christianity was regarded as a foreign religion and poorly accepted due to some historical reasons of overseas missions in the older generation. But in the recent years, the rigid view of Christianity has been changed and followers start to think on Chinese theology as the development of the Chinese church under the principle of independence and autonomy.
"Actually this could not be done without the support and open policies from the government in freedom of religious belief and religious internal development," Fu added.
According to CCC&TSPM, the Chinese delegation including Dr. Wen Ge gave speeches on the overview of China Christianity in the latest decade, the media ministry, social service and theological education. Besides, the delegation was invited to visit Fuller Theological Seminary. Besides a half-an-hour speech on the Chinese church development delivered by Fu, discussions concerning the dialogue between Christianity and Islam were held on the both sides.
Translated by Karen Luo