10 Hot Issues Christians Should Follow in 2018
By CCD contributor: Paul Wu , January 16, 2018 09:01 AM
As we enter the 2018, many churches and Christians are making new year plans.
What will be the hits for Chinese Christians in 2018? Here are ten hot issues for reference.
1. The revised regulations on religious affairs
The revised regulations on religious affairs will come into effect on February 1, 2018.
A great deal of new content was added in the new rules in contrast to the old version issued in November 2004. Chairman Fu Xianwei of TSPM claimed, "The principle of 'protecting the legal, stopping the illegal, containing the extreme, resisting infiltration, and combating crimes' is added. By attaching importance to 'institutes for religious education' and 'religious activities, the two parts are set as two chapters; new content also include the registration of religious activity sites as legal persons, religious information services on the Internet, and tax administration; moreover, the amendments to and perfection of government responsibility, public undertakings and charities carried out by religious communities, financial management, and penalties for infringement and unlawful practices.
2. The sinicization of Christianity
Although the sinicization of Christianity is a hot topic in churches and academic circles in recent years, giving rise to many relevant seminars, articles, and books, the debate on it will continue.
Two totally different standpoints are held inside the church. People who back sinicization claim that theological construction, ministries, and organizations in China should adapt to the Chinese context. However, the opponents believe that the sinicization will contribute to losing the essence of the gospel and fait and regard it as unnecessary for Christianity to adapt to local cultures since it surpasses culture.
Supporters of nationalizing Christianity are mainly pastors of TSPM churches and social scholars, whereas the majority of the opponents are house church leaders and local believers.
3. Christian social service
For Christians, social service is the best means to express the beauty of Christ and loving your neighbor as yourself.
What is more, nonbelievers' misunderstanding of the Christian faith can be eliminated through public service, particularly under conditions where heretics and extremists are rampant and many Chinese people feel unfriendly to Christians.
How to promote all kinds of social service in 2018, especially targeted poverty alleviation, will be a hot topic.
4. The church and the Internet
With the arrival of the information age, the Internet has played an essential role in Chinese people's lives. More and more Chinese Christians have gained access to all types of Christian resources through the Internet and found satisfaction in their spiritual needs.
But the Internet also brings problems: many Christians rest content with online resources instead of going to church; an epidemic of all sorts of heretical and extremist theologies exist on the Internet; rumors and false testimonies rush everywhere; a lot of people make use of their Christian networks to promote fake goods online.
However, the revised religious rules may have a great impact on online gospel ministries since the religious administration on the Internet will be tightened.
5. The 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up
The Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the CPC convened in December 1978, marking the beginning of the reform and opening-up. This year will be the 40th anniversary of China's opening-up policy.
The past four deades have seen tremendous changes in the Chinese church: the rapid increase in the number of Chinese Christians has made them a fast-growing religious body in China; the country has produced the most bibles of all the world and constructed grand churches in various areas.
On the other hand, problems have appeared. For instance, heresies and cults have been on a rampage; denominations have judged one another; internal dissension, fighting for fame and gain, and corruption occur in the church.
Therefore, it is important to review, reflect on, and summarize the development of the Chinese church ever since the opening-up.
6. A trend of resisting Christmas
Last year, messages on resisting Christmas were spreading on websites and WeChat groups, gaining a lot of attention from Christians. Different from the past experiences, the resistance to Christmas 2017 produced more rumors, followers of the rumors, and marches initiated by extremists.
The war on Christmas 2018 may "rage all over China".
7. Rampaging heresies, cults, and extreme theologies
Different kinds of heresies and cults have run wild inside the Chinese church. What is worse, various categories of extreme theologies have affected a great number of Christians. Even a few non-Christian organizations have invited pastors to give lectures that help nonbelievers distinguish good from bad.
Heresies and cults will move on to savage China in 2018.
8. Rumors among the Chinese church and Christians
In 2017, all kinds of rumors and false testimonies flew among the Chinese church and believers, having disturbed Christians in their life of faith.
Compared with previous false testimonies, they became more diversified and spread through more advanced means last year. In the past, many people just forwarded fake testimonies, but a large percentage of Chinese churches, pastors, and believers were convinced of their authenticity and even lost time and money due to them.
9. The 10th anniversary of the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake
A deadly earthquake broke out in Wenchuan, Sichuan, and the surrounding areas on May 12, 2008, leaving 69,227 dead. Lots of Christians joined in the disaster relief and post-disaster reconstruction.
The whole country will remember the Earthquake in 2018, the 10th anniversary of the disaster, and media outlets will release programs and articles to mark it.
Chinese Christians will recall the catastrophe alongside the Chinese people.
10. The 2018 FIFA World Cup
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held in Russia from June 14 to July 15, 2018.
Chinese Christians, including pastors, will watch the football international tournament with Chinese fans. There will be nothing wrong with watching games or becoming fans of some sports stars, but it will be bad if they are obsessed with someone or do something affecting their faith.
So Chinese pastors' had better guide their congregations to watch games rationally and explain the truth of the gospel in combination with the football stories.
(The author is a worker of a church in Fujian. The viewpoints in the article represent the author's only.)
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