Home grown

Church and state in China
In antiquity China acquired a beautiful name, Shen-zhou, which literally means “state of God.” Unfortunately, the title probably was used as a political term meaning that God had given the elite the divine right to rule rather than that Yahweh claimed China as the chosen land and the Chinese as a chosen people. From its seventh-century beginnings, Chinese Christianity has never been able to detach itself from its political context.

The current state of indigenous Chinese Christianity is shaped largely by very recent developments, including the dark days of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), when churches were closed by the government. It comes as something of a surprise, then, that in the past two and a half decades the number of Chinese Christians has grown from an estimated 1-2 million in 1979 to between 21 and 80 million, and the number of converts continues to increase staggeringly.


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