Quality of Chinese Christians Can Be Improved Through More Teaching

A picture of praying hands on the Bible
A picture of praying hands on the Bible (photo: Canva.com)
By RuowangJanuary 18th, 2024

Many pastors and scholars in China often point out that since the reform and opening-up policy in 1978, the number of Christians has grown significantly, but the quality has not improved. After years of interaction and research, I found this to be true. Some believers, though baptized, lack enthusiasm for faith, and their understanding of the truth is shallow. So, what is the reason behind this?

A Christian man surnamed Chen is not only my neighbor but also baptized on the same day as me. We often meet in the neighborhood and frequently discuss football topics due to our shared interests. Once I asked him, "Where do you go for worship on Sundays?" He replied, "I haven't been to church for a long time. Sundays are for hanging out with friends and relaxing." His mother also told me that her son is indifferent to faith and that he was only baptized because it's a family tradition of being Christians for four generations. She hopes that I can talk to him about faith when I meet him and encourage him to attend church services.

Similar to Chen, a Christian woman by the name of Yang also comes from a Christian family. However, she is a bit better than Chen, as she used to be actively involved in ministry as an essential member of the choir. However, after her baptism, she left her ministry position due to conflicts with staff workers. She also believed that being baptized had ensured her salvation, and she didn’t pursue God like before. Unfortunately, after leaving the church, she made bad friends in society, and her behavior was regrettable. While improper friendships played a role in Yang's experience, the fundamental issue lies in her lack of understanding of the truth.

The situations of Chen and Yang are prevalent in many Christian families. Despite hearing the gospel since childhood, they lack faith interest but get baptized because of family members. I have encountered several descendants of elders and deacons who almost all face similar circumstances. There is even a case where an elder's son ended up in prison due to criminal activities.

Li is a girl who loves reading and has explored both Chinese and foreign history during her university years. Interested in Hebrew civilization at one point, she started reading the Bible and attended worship services. After she was baptized, she felt that she had a sufficient understanding of Christian beliefs and didn't need to delve deeper. Consequently, she started "researching" other religions and eventually left the church. From a secular perspective, Li seemed to be enjoying life with romantic ideals. However, from a faith perspective, she never truly grasped the gospel; it was merely a tool for satisfying her intellectual curiosity.

Unlike others, another Christian woman with the surname of Hong has been actively serving in the church, even becoming the leader of a visitation group. Her mother was a dedicated believer who failed to pass down the faith properly, resulting in Hong having a vague understanding of the gospel. After her mother's passing, church members helped with the funeral arrangements, which deeply moved her and led her back to the church. However, even after baptism and years of service, her understanding of the truth did not progress. After more than a decade, she still struggles to grasp the content of the Bible, frequently making perplexing statements. Despite her sincere and diligent service to the church, Hong has a blurred understanding of faith, which might be attributed to her limited intellectual abilities and inadequate church teachings.

While some believers lack enthusiasm and understanding of the truth due to personal reasons, it's essential to recognize that some churches are lax in teaching the truth. This has led to many believers not embodying the characteristics of Christ. Several church members have expressed concerns that the baptismal class in their churches is a mere formality and offers little educational value. The individuals mentioned above attended similar catechism classes in their respective churches.

To ensure that believers truly comprehend the truth, there is a need to improve the teaching in baptismal classes, as the quantity is greater than the quality of believers. The gospel not only saves believers but also helps them overcome challenges.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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