Wealth Determines Church Governance in Some Chinese Churches
By CCD contributor: Joshua, August 31, 2017 00:08 AM
Some Chinese Churches are experiencing a phenomenon where one's material wealth determines influence in the church. A portion of Christians who own business contribute to building up churches, while holding management power over the church. This pattern of the close integration of wealth and control over church affairs is called the "unification of church and wealth."
It must be clear that the church is the Lord's house. The purpose of tithes and offerings is to give thanks to the Lord rather than gain power in the church.
A large percentage of entrepreneurs are competent in the business field, but may not be knowledgeable in theology and truth. The worst problem caused by the pattern is the proliferation of prosperity theology. Some business Christians are more likely to accept prosperity gospel out of utilitarianism in business. The doctrine provides a "sacred" basis for them and even helps them become "saints" in the church. Holding sway over the church, they endeavor to preach the belief. However, it results in the secularization of the church and loss of sacredness.
It's good that the Lord has raised up many Christian merchants in China because many ministries need financial support and fervent Christian entrepreneurs provide solid assurance for that. However, some of them become proud on account of their wealth, forgetting that giving tithes and offerings is out of unconditional love. They turn the Lord's church into their personal possession or regard it as a business market, which reverses the proper order.
Therefore, we need to be alarmed and attach importance to the problems brought by the "unification of church and wealth" and correct mistakes in time to promote the development of the Chinese church.
- Translated by Karen Luo
(The author is a believer in Xiamen, Fujian Province. The viewpoints in the article represent the author's only.)
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