• Wed
  • Sep 24, 2014
  • Updated: 5:00am

China will create own Christian belief system amid tensions with church, says official

New Chinese theology must suit Chinese culture and values, State Religious Affairs director says

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 August, 2014, 12:50pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 August, 2014, 9:42am

China will construct a "Chinese Christian theology" suitable for the country, state media reported on Thursday, as both the number of believers and tensions with the authorities are on the rise.

China has between 23 million and 40 million Protestants, accounting for 1.7 to 2.9 per cent of the total population, the state-run China Daily said, citing figures given at a seminar in Shanghai.

About 500,000 people are baptised as Protestants every year, it added.

"Over the past decades, the Protestant churches in China have developed very quickly with the implementation of the country's religious policy," the paper quoted Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, as saying.

"The construction of Chinese Christian theology should adapt to China's national condition and integrate with Chinese culture."

China's ruling Communist Party is officially atheistic and keeps a tight grip on religion for fear it could challenge its grip on power. It requires believers to worship in places approved by the state and under government supervision.

Besides officially sanctioned churches, China also has "underground" or "house" churches which seek to exist outside government control and are occasionally raided and shut down.

In April, authorities in the eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou, known as China's Jerusalem, with more than a million Christians, demolished a church following government claims it was an illegal structure.

Though a registered church, state media reported that the building was far larger than originally approved.

"Over the past years, China's Protestantism has become one of the fastest growing universal churches," Gao Feng, president of the China Christian Council, was quoted as saying in the China Daily report.

It did not include a number for Catholics in China, who must also worship only in officially sanctioned churches which reject the Vatican's authority, though an "underground" church loyal to the Holy See also exists.

Experts estimate that there are as many as 12 million Catholics in China, split roughly evenly between the two churches.

As of the end of last year, China had published 65 million copies of the Bible, the report said, including minority-language editions.


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This article is now closed to comments

Sorry, I know I'm supposed to be tolerant of all religions and whatnot, but it's hard to take people who honestly believe in Bronze age fairy tales about a hippie zombie Jew too seriously.
In fact, the only reason to take them seriously is that they will occasionally launch genocidal campaigns of unbridled military aggression for the sake of said hippie zombie Jew.
Formerly ******
Yes, China marches on doing its best to emulate Inspector Clouseau. Does anyone in the Chinese government stop and consider how stupid are such comments?
Well now you have maybe the best example yet of the CCP's massive conceit: that a bunch of atheists can reinvent a version of the world's most widely practiced religion to serve their interests. How about somebody stop spiking the punch or whatever they're drinking that gives them these ideas.
Now I bear solemn witness to every man who hears the words of prophecy in this book: If anyone adds to these words God will add to him the disasters described in this book; if anyone takes away from the words of prophecy in this book, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city which are described in this book
Revelation 22:18-19J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
Throw away the King James Bible, that's obsolete, time we have the Xi Jinping Bible, may God bless China and all Chinese.....
Wow... how short honkie memories are.
Henry VIII created his own Church just so he could get divorced at a discount. What makes this Anglican Church any more or less legitimate than a Chinese Church created by the party?
People who actually believe Christianity in the literal sense deserve no intellectual quarter anyway. It's the year 2014, and grown men are too old to believe in Bronze Age Hebrew fairy tales.
To claim that the Anglican Church was only created for the whim of Henry the King is a sweeping and biased look on the Church itself, loosely based on Roman Catholic claims. It downplays the big role English reformers did in making this possible. The "Whitehorse" reformers, named after place where they met pre-secession at Cambridge, already talked about moving the English church towards reformed theology, discussing the writings of Luther and other Continental reformers. They were top theologians who eventually became bishops and top church officials in Catholic-era England. What Henry did was only to hasten the process and drive the last nail of separation from the Church of Rome.
Seems to me concepts from that so-called fairy tale such as 'love thy neighbor', 'kindness', and 'goodness' are all the more needed today...
They're 'in' there, not 'from' there. Very big difference. Religion didn't invent morality.
I still remember how, a few months ago, some people were discussing whether Xi Jinping could be China's Gorbatchev - and then he launched a crackdown on pretty much everything : dissent, "corruption", religion, internet "rumors"...




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