China plans its own ‘Christian theology’


CHINESE authorities say they may try to create a theology based on Christianity – that integrates the religion with Chinese culture and is compatible with the country’s socialist beliefs..

Wang Zuoan, a senior official for religious affairs, says China supports the development of Christianity within the country. But “the construction of Chinese Christian theology should adapt to China’s national condition,” the state-backed China Daily website reports. His comments came at a conference in Shanghai.

Official 2010 figures put the number of Christians in state-sanctioned churches at 23 million believers, but The Pew Research Center estimated that 58 million Protestants in the country practiced the religion in 2011, along with 9 million Catholics counted the year before. The country also has vast numbers of believers who meet in secret.

Some experts say the total could be more than 100 million.

But China’s ruling Communist Party is officially atheistic and relations with the church have sometimes been strained. People are only supposed to worship in places approved by the government, but many underground churches operate in China too.

In Wenzhou – sometimes called China’s Jerusalem, where more than one in 10 people are Protestant – state authorities are cracking down on what they say are illegal church buildings, taking away or threatening to remove crosses at more than 130 Protestant churches and demolishing some entirely, the Taipei Times says. It cites experts and church leaders saying they believe the authorities are alarmed by the quick growth of Protestantism in the area, and are trying to suppress it.
Experts and church leaders say the government, which is skilled at heavy-handed persecution of religious believers, is scared by the massive growth of the Christian faith.


18 thoughts on “China plans its own ‘Christian theology’

  1. This is nothing new. it is generally accepted that Buddhism in its current form dates from about 200AD-300AD. Around that time Rome and China finally established diplomatic ties. Together with this, Christianity came to China, and… Buddhism came up with the concept of Botthishavas (Buddhist Redeemers) who delayed their own nirvana to help other people get to their nirvana. Historical research indicates that fierce competition from Christianity resulted in Botthisavas being created to help Buddhists become saved, by imitating Jesus Christ (poorly) in His work of helping people to be saved.


    • Davinci, if you google for “Bodhisattvas BCE” you will find many references to them in various times before Christianity.

      The most important celestial bodhisattvas are Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion; Manjusri, the bodhisattva of wisdom, and Maitreya, who in heaven awaits birth as the next buddha. Some say Maitreya already has been born into this world, approx 2014 years ago, and called Jesus.


  2. Interesting, davinci,
    But it still strikes me that there doesnt appear to be any single bit of evidence you can produce that will prove that any single human being on this earth past or present, has actually been ‘saved’. (whatever that may truly mean.) And that has to apply to both Christian and Buddhist varieties of salvation. And, I would go on to point out that this applies regardless of whether or not Jesus was resurrected from the dead.

    I recall too that long prior to such Buddhist innovations that you refer to, the Hindu Bhagavad Gita made a big point of Sri Krishna assuring Arjuna, that in every generation He ‘comes back’ to save humans, and to destroy the sin of the sinners.


    • Rian,

      You know this how? Since you come from a religious background that believes in the immortality of the soul let me ask you a few questions:

      Did you ever die and then got resurrected to tell the tale?

      If you can’t say you did, you have even less evidence to prove whether:
      a) The Buddhist is correct and we become reincarnated
      b) The Unitarian/Catholic Christian is correct and we either go to heaven or hell?


      • Sorry davinci,
        But I cant immediately determine just what I’m supposed to be claiming to KNOW.
        My words were not about knowledge, but rather the careful statement that ‘there doesnt appear to be any evidence’.

        (And funny, but no, I must confess that I have no definitive knowledge or memory of ever dying and getting resurrected to tell the tale. But there again, I doubt whether you have either.

        Sure, I have NO evidence to prove that anyone ever gets to heaven or hell. Nor have I any evidence that Reincarnation (of any variety) occurs. And at this point, I dont believe that you or anyone else in incarnation on this earth can produce genuine evidence for any of these matters no matter how strong your/his personal conviction. I am open to being convinced. In the meantime, each is a matter of faith.

        Interesting, but the way you worded your last alternative there, seems to imply that you and your denomination (7th Day Baptist, was it?) dont believe in an immaterial Heaven and Hell. So do you guys side with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and anticipate that the after death destination for the ‘saved’ is actually on a renewed earth? I think our Mormon brothers carry a related concept on this too.


  3. This is similar to what happened in the council of Nicaea when Constantine was looking for a state religion that would unite the pagans and Christians so they would have half a chance to defeat the Persians. The Jesus is God camp were flexible in introducing pagan aspects into the religion to appeal to the pagans so they had Constantine’s backing. The other camp never had a chance. In China there is some more twigging to be done for Christianity to take off.


    • Interesting, Nonno. It’s difficult for us so removed from those times to appreciate the politics involved in formalising Christian doctrine.


    • It is all about marketing. Getting your product to have appeal to the “modern” audience. The law of Moses would be tough sell to the gentiles so it was dropped off. It is quite an eye opener on how much the religion has changed over the years.


      • Yep it’s overthere with the giant woodchipper and WMD and stolen humdicribs. You’d think by now folk would be a little cautious of wild claims from that part o the world.


      • Indeed. ” It was all over the news a couple of weeks ago and then revealed to be a hoax.”
        All over the (same) “news” which revealed the atrocities in the first place. Right?

        Are you saying the catholics (heathens that they be) are faking fotos?
        ……and that the bogus beheadings of photographers is all a plot to justify the americans chucking bombs around?……again!


      • No, the photos were faked by ISIS to scare the pants off the west. For example, the picture of the decapitated girl shown above had been circulated two years earlier as an example of an atrocity committed by the Assad government in Syria when a helicopter gunship reportedly open fired on unarmed civilians.


        Still, it’s obvious that atrocities have occurred.


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