Christianity is spreading rapidly in China. The number of Chinese professing Christianity — estimated at more than 70 million — is rising so dramatically that, by some projections, China will have the world’s biggest Christian population by 2030
Freedom of religion is technically guaranteed under China’s constitution but, in practice all religious organizations must be approved by the government and their activities are strictly regulated and monitored.
Unlike other religions, Christians in China become Christians by change of faith and not by birth. Becoming a Christian, in a hostile society, is a matter of faith and is voluntary. Chinese Christians must believe that a man born thousands of years ago and thousands of kilometers away, to an unknown people, was the Son of God. This belief is hard to accept and strange to Chinese people.
Religious conversion occurs primarily through social networks, and so is “invisible” to government officials. Chinese living in rural areas are more likely than city dwellers to be Christian, because their social ties are stronger, and thus Christianity can be transmitted there more easily.
It is suspected that the some Communist Party members are also fairly deeply involved in Christian growth. Out in the villages, many of the local communist leaders are very openly Christian. In the cities it’s more discreet and there are children of communist officials, who are now Christians. If you go to some university campuses, you are able to meet many Chinese Christians.
However, in some of the provinces, like Zhejiang province, churches have been ordered to stop displaying crosses, and a number of churches have been demolished. It is suggested that this persecution, localized as it is, may be because “the head of that province might be some corrupt communist who is in rebellion, against the loosening of reservations in the rest of the country”.
This loosening of reservations is notable – the whole notion of an underground church is very peculiar, since some of these ‘underground’ churches are four stories tall, and have crosses all over them. They’re underground only in the sense that they don’t have legal sanction – but they are not hidden from the public view.
Some facts to consider about Chinese Christians:
1. China will likely become the largest Christian nation in the world by the year 2030.
Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University, notes that in the year 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China, and he believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025 based on current growth trends. (The United States had 159 million Protestants in 2010.) By 2030, Yang predicts, China’s total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian population in the world.
2. More Christians attend church on Sundays in China today than in Europe.
Some people attend government-sanctioned churches like the 5,000-member Liushi megachurch, located 200 miles south of Shanghai in Zhejiang province. This church was forced to close in the 1950s, but it reopened in 1978 and has grown ever since. Many other Chinese believers prefer to worship in more covert “house churches” so they can stay away from any government interference.
3. Spiritual hunger is exploding in China, even though the country is officially atheist.
A recent study found that online searches for the words “Christian congregation” and “Jesus” are far more numerous than for “communist party.” And as more people have moved from rural areas to big cities, large numbers of young professionals have turned to Christ. Missiologists say between 10,000 and 25,000 people convert to Christianity every day in China.
4. Persecution of Christians is still rampant in China, but it does not seem to be slowing church growth.
A 2015 report by China Aid says leaders of the Chinese Communist Party remain worried about the popularity of Christianity, and this is the reason they have instigated recent crackdowns on churches and arrested house church pastors.
5. The growth of Chinese Christianity is linked to its economic growth.
Economists announced that China overtook the United States as the world’s largest economy in late 2014. China, with its population of 1.3 billion, now accounts for 16.5 percent of the global economy, compared with 16.3 percent for the U.S.A.
A recent study by Qunyong Wang of Nankai University and Xinyu Lin of Renmin University of China discovered there was robust economic growth in areas of China where Christian congregations are growing.
The New Apostolic Church in Asia
The New Apostolic Church (NAC) is active in almost all countries on all continents. Africa is home to the majority of members, with about 7.5 million members whilst the NAC membership in Europe is about 442,000 and in America about 230,000.
Whilst the New Apostolic Church records a worldwide membership of approximately 9 million, the membership in Asia, the world’s most populous region of 4.2 billion people (including Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc.) is only about 626 000 (Source: http://www.nak.org).
The District Apostles Mark Woll (Canada) and Urs Hebeisen (Philippines) are currently responsible for the development of the New Apostolic Church in this region.
After Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, he was buried and then resurrected on the third day. Before he ascended into heaven, he appeared to his disciples in Galilee and gave them these instructions:
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20 (NKJV)
This text is known as the Great Commission. It was the last recorded personal instruction given by Jesus to his disciples and is of importance to all believing and practicing Christians because it explains what Christians are expected to do in the period between Jesus’s Ascension and His return.
The Great Commission is Jesus’s command to take the gospel to every person throughout the world and to make disciples in all nations. It can be wisely concluded that Jesus called on every Christian to spread the Gospel. To put their faith into action! Wherever we go, every faithful Christian is compelled, through obedience, to share the Gospel, in Asia, China and “all the nations”.
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