One Big Crisis of China Christianity Is Church Homogenization, Says House Church Pastor
By CCD contributor: Wang Zengmin, January 30, 2018 10:01 AM
When I was in college, I joined a student organization, a drama troupe. I rehearsed many dramas with the troupe for three years. After graduation, I kept in contact with the members. When one of them encountered a problem in life, the whole team participated in the conversation to solve the problem. Finally, a pragmatic solution was given after discussion. Those with money contributed money and others devoted effort to help him.
Later I became a pastor. I attended many church training programs and also gave training. I took a part in church retreats as well. Overall, these activities gave me an impression that all the church teachings were deeply homogenized and shared little difference. They were nearly the same.
Pastors always gave vulgar sermons, preaching around some familiar verses back and forth, When it came to group sharing, I found out that the group leader explained a lesson from a discipleship book routinely. After this, the group members perfunctorily shared their situation and prayed for one another.
I recognized that nobody could solve concrete problems. Our discussion was just empty talk and ended up committing problems to God and the need to pray for it. It was invalid communication.
Congregations are too homogenized, sharing similar identities and social classes. They regard a topic with basically the same perspective, so the discussion results in no actual result. Over time, all the church members are unwilling to talk about their actual problems with their groups and church.
Inside many WeChat groups initiated by a church, most of the members just repost messages and certain styles of articles that stir the blood, give chicken soup, or disseminate sufferings. A large percentage of the articles probe into the world situation and international events but have no connection with people's daily lives and who they really are.
Many times, Christian are knowledgeable. They know stories of Nepalese Christian martyrs but are unaware of which bus they should take.
Church homogenization is not a natural phenomenon. According to the law of church development, every believer has his own characteristics in terms of character and vocation. However, high homogeneity exists in today's Chinese churches and the makeup of congregations.
In my opinion, this kind of church is abnormal and defective. It turns out to be an ineffective and unvital civil society, particularly in a transforming society, failing to play its social role. For example, almost all churches advocate charities yet have no idea how to carry out charitable activities at the mention of church's social responsibility, just wishing to provide relief and donate clothes wherever earthquakes occur.
I hold that homogeneity in the church stems from a homogeneous theology that lacks substance and leads to unitary doctrines. As a result, a closed internal church ecosystem has formed. There is a universal explanation of society. As new social common sense is unable to enter the church, people who stay in the church are generally homogenized. Therefore, there is no way for the church to complete self-renewal and progress within itself.
I hope that the church can be humanized, diversified, and individualized. The teachings in the pulpit can offer a set of open source code that allows every believer to write code out of their Christian faith and the communion of the Holy Spirit.
I hope even that more accidents and emergencies can fall on the church to bring about more tense and liveliness so that routine group gatherings and devotionals can be reduced. I hope for more smiles that come from the heart, freedom, and calmness that come from God.
- Translated by Karen Luo
More from CCD
At the English Easter service held in Shanghai Community Fellowship, Dale Cuckow, the senior pastor, delivered a message of "Upset with A Resurrection" on April 21, 2019.
Guangzhou's Savior Church held celebrations to mark its 100-year history and the 34th anniversary of its reopening.
Shanghai Community Church held Tenebrae on Good Friday.
On April 19, Wafagndian Church of Liaoning Province held an evening prayer in Taize style with the theme of "Go Together with Lord" in the Lingxia Church.
On Easter, Beijing Chongwenmen Church held biblical and musical performances to honor the Lord Jesus' resurrection from the dead.
On the morning of last Thursday, the congregation of the Dalian Gospel Church in Ganjingzi District of Dalian City, held the worship service of the Fellowship Day.
On April 13, 2019, Shenzhen Xiangmihu Church of Guangzhou celebrated the first anniversary of its pastoring groupsl ministry.
On April 15, days prior to this Easter Sunday, Fuxing Church in Hebei launched a blood drive.
Lühuajie Church in Anshan, Liaoning, held a special service on Good Friday this year to commemorate the Lord Jesus Christ's passion.
Its lengthy statement on this date reports that a significant number of teachers - but not the rector - will be leaving the Union's 1999-founded „Irpen Biblical Seminary" („Irpin" in Ukrainian, near Kiev) in order to form a new schooling centre strictly under MacArthur's leadership.