All Christians in China Once Underground:
During China's decade-long Cultural Revolution, all Christians worshiped
underground. Not one church - Protestant or Catholic - was open
in the entire land of China!
But China became more open in the late 1970s. In
1980, the China Christian Council was formed and many Protestant
Christians began to worship openly (although many others remain
"underground" to this day, albeit fairly vocal.) This
China Christian Council is an umbrella organization of former mainline
denominations in China who are united in open witness to their faith.
China's mainline churches are more theologically conservative than
are their U. S. counterparts.
Uniting Across Former Divisions: For many
years now there have been no denominations in China Christian Council
churches. What unites these Christians far outweighs the differences
that have divided the church into denominations here in the West.
They place high priority on Jesus' prayer: "Father may they
[my disciples] be one, even as you and I are one." Or, as expressed
in Chinese phraseology, these Christians "seek common ground,
reserving their differences." Believers claim that this oneness-in-uniqueness
has greatly enriched the Church.
Protestant Churches Now Open Legally: After
the Cultural Revolution, the China Christian Council began negotiating
with the government for the return of once-confiscated church properties.
In late 1979, the church churches were returned by the government
and re-opened in Ningbo and Shanghai. This return of church assets
continues at a rate of about three church properties returned every
Today - less than 27 years later - there
are more than 15,000 legal Protestant churches in China.
That's well more than all of the Presbyterian Churches
(PCUSA) in the entire United States and one and a half times the
number of all Episcopal churches in the USA.
And China has accomplished this in less than 27 years!
And today in China . . . there are also 35,000
groups of Christians now meeting legally in homes.
Together, these legal Protestant churches and
these 35,000 groups of Christians now worshiping legally in
homes account for 43 percent of all of China's legal places of
religious worship for all religions. This is an enormous advance
for Protestant Christians . . . especially when this has happened
in less than 27 years.
China continues to build new churches, both large
and small. China Connection continues to help with Free
Bibles for the Poor, Seminary Scholarships,
and Assisting Churches.