China Christianity: Top 10 Christian News Stories of 2016

Daqing Panshi Church
Daqing Panshi Church (photo: CCD)
By CCD EditorialDecember 31st, 2016

China Christian Daily's Top 10 News Stories about Christians and Christianity in China, and 2016 Year in review.

10. Public Church: New Churches Dedicated Across China

A considerable quantity of new churches dedicated across China, including allegedly largest Church in China, located in Dating, NE China. Others including totally at least 39 new church dedicated in Shenzhen, Henan, Jiangsu, shenyang, Guangxi, Fujian, etc,.

See full report: Allegedly Largest Chinese Church Dedicated, Costing USD 20M and the whole gallery.

That being said, cultural conflict still exists between Christianity and local traditional culture. In Qufu, Shandong, some hold the view that as the hometown of Confucius and original place of Confucianism, Qufu is the holy city of the Chinese people; if it suffers damage, national sentiment will burst out like a tsunami, even the history may be rewritten. They ask if Chinese should have sovereignty over culture, values and national cultural wealth as a nation has sovereignty over territorial sea, territory and airspace. 

See Confucian Scholars Call for a Ban on Churches in Qufu, Confucius' Hometown.

9. Religious Law: State Council Issues Draft Revision to Regulations on Religious Affairs.

Much has been written this September about the draft revision to the Regulations on Religious Affairs, the main policy document that spells out how religion is to be managed in China.

The newly revised draft has more than 9600 characters and the contents consist of nine parts: general provisions, religious bodies, religious schools, and universities, sites for religious activities, religious personnel, religious property, legal liability and supplementary provisions. 

With the draft revision published, many religious leaders post their suggestions including. See here Priest Wu Bing: Suggestions on Draft Revision to Regulations on Religious Affairs.

8. Overseas connections: Over 100 pastors participated in GPro-Congress -- Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers.

Global Proclamation Congress for Pastoral Trainers (The GProCongress) held in Bangkok June 16 to 22 was attended by more than 3000 local pastors and ministers from 112 countries all over the world, including over 100 pastors from China.

Several representatives of the Chinese church gave speeches in an evening plenary on June 21. Rev. Zhang Heng from Beijing spoke first, saying that the number of Chinese Christians has grown to hundreds of millions or more from seven hundred thousand number in the past 60 years. Meanwhile, he said China is facing a lot of challenges like churches going public, and mission training, and called for the international prayer for the church in China. See the Series report Here.

7. Discussions on the Role of Christianity in China’s Urbanization

China's rapid urbanization brought about economic growth as well as the progress of science and technology. However, a series of conflicts and social problems have arisen during this process such as the destruction of the environment, the lack of personal beliefs and the collapse of traditional values. This lead to discussions on the role of Christianity in China’s urbanization.

Check the series stories about The Role of Christianity in China’s Urbanization.

6. In Dilemma: the Rural Churches and the Seminary Graduates

The rural church is an important topic in Chinese Christianity. Although more and more new churches are being established in cities due to China's current urbanization, the majority of churches in China are still rural. The huge amount of believers in these churches cannot be ignored.

More and More people are migrating to the city, leaving fewer people in the rural, fewer members in the rural churches. Priests are also needed, while with thousands of seminary graduates stepping into churches, the pastors-to-be are even rejected. This is the great dilemma both the rural church and seminary graduates are facing.

See the Series Dilemma Stories.

5. Among Christians: Big Debates Show Doctrinal Tension among Chinese Christians.

Besides getting widely popular among Chinese Christians, Desmond Doss in Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson’s latest film, has triggered big debate among Chinese Christians.

The bone of the contention, of course, falls on Doss’ non-orthodox belief. There are praise and flames, together with theology and ethics. “The debate shows that Chinese Christians are getting more involved with in-depth and wider-raging public issues.” observed and commented by a "we-media" professional. 

The Reformed insists that faith must agree with the doctrine. While the evangelists advocate acting out Jesus’ love to God and people. These are the main two sides of the debate, showing the tension between Christians of these two Theological dimensions in China.

4. “So simple minded to be deceived.” Analysis And Reflection of False Testimony

 Canaan Xiu Publicly Confesses his Lie "Evangelizing Former Premier Wen Jiabao" is one of the most irritant story to those who love testimony while simple-minded. This results in a writer contributing to CCD's “Why Are Chinese Christians So Easy to Be Deceived? ” He wrote that “The spread of false testimonies shamed the church and ruined the reputation of Christians. In some non-Christians' opinion, the habit of telling lies is a feature of Chinese Christians. The false testimony also prevented people from believing God. As Christians, we should reflect on false testimony. We also owe those kind people an apology.”

3. Discussions on the Great Leap Forward of Evangelism of China

With the development of the economy, the rising power of churches in China has aroused an idea that China shall be a large mission-exporting country. Foreign churches look forward to more responsibility on the shoulder of churches in China. Some domestic churches have taken overseas evangelism as the central task.

Are churches in China ready for all these? See the series report on China for Mission.

2. Religious Crowdfunding by Non-Religious Groups to be Banned on WeChat

WeChat, China's most used messaging APP announces in late December that the official accounts of non-religious groups or unregistered religious venues for religious activities are banned to launch any religious crowdfunding in any form.

This ban starts from a public issue that a Middle-class father, a claimed Christian, crowd-funded for his 5-year old daughter, drawing heated attention among Christians besides non-believers. Luo Er, a former Editor-in-Chief of a lifestyle magazine in Shenzhen, Guangdong, posted the article with the title "Jesus, Stop Forcing Me to Be Your Enemy" on Sept. 13, 2016, expressing his sorrows about his 5-year-old loved daughter's leukemia. This heart-breaking post went viral among Christians and even non-believers after a marketing company helped promoting the journal. In a matter of days, the journal was forwarded millions of times and received donations of more than 2 million yuan. The public issue stirred up trouble that Christians and Christianity were embroiled in the discussion for the journal talked about Jesus and the Bible. 

1. Seminars and Discussions on “Sinicization of Christianity”

The International Seminar of "Sinicization of Christianity in China" was opened in Beijing, on Nov. 20th, 2015. The seminar was sponsored by the World Religion Research Institution of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Chinese Religion Society, the CCC/TSPM of Beijing, and the Christianity Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Check the series reports and discussion on "Sinicization of Christianity"

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