Celebrating 1 Year of the China Partnership Blog – Chinese Voices

During the month of October, we have been celebrating the CP blog turning 1 year old by looking back over our favorite posts from the year. So far, we’ve highlighted stories and various topics that exemplify the heart of our blog. Last, but definitely not least, we focus this week on the Chinese voices the CP blog has published. From commentary on traditional holidays to living out the gospel in parenting, China’s Christians are seeking to apply the gospel in all areas of life. Take a moment to read some of these posts and learn from the experiences of our brothers and sisters in Christ!

In Christ,

The China Partnership

1) A Light Shining, Part 2: Christmas in a “Flat” China

“Now there are approximately 100 million Christians in China. While non-Christians enjoy the Christmas sales, Christmas music, and Christmas food, Christians in China celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the true Savior, who suffered for the world and for the Chinese people. And it is for this Savior that the Chinese Christians have been suffering until now. Every year, every day, and every moment, more and more people are giving up their idols and becoming Christians! For Christians in China, Christmas is a sign of new belief and a victory of faith.”


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2) The State of Chinese Urban Churches

“Prosperity and power are the top two cultural idols in China. And through thousands of years of tradition, the size and magnificence of buildings is the most important way to show power and prosperity. After peasants made more money in the early 1980s, their first reaction was to build bigger and bigger houses in the villages. When the central, provisional, and even township level governments collected large amounts from taxation, they built amazingly large government buildings. For the same reason, building big church buildings has been the way people show their faithfulness and sacrifice to the Lord and to show God is true and real in the society. It is a cultural expression of piety.

But do we have a true understanding of the gospel? In other words, do we understand the weak, suffering, and crucified Jesus Christ? Are we controlled by that life?

We have long way to go.”

3) Spring Festival Belongs to Us: A House Pastor’s Reflections

“Brothers and sisters, the Spring Festival belongs to them, but it also belongs to us. In the final analysis, it belongs to us. In a Jesus-resistant people group, the highest ideal can only be a type of fragmentation. If we do not eradicate the root problem, the country cannot be saved. If the Spring Festival does not undergo a rebirth, it will become a great tragedy in the Chinese culture. For those brothers and sisters who are returning home, I hope that you can carry the gospel and its ideal to your families. I pray that the married couples in [this city] will open up your doors, and celebrate the Spring Festival with those who cannot go home. I also hope that you can step outside the door and bring your family to church to worship God.

Only we have the Spirit-filled wisdom in Christ; only we are consecrated to be his holy priests in this Spring Festival. It is not the Spring Festival, but us, who are selected by God for himself to be ‘humanity’s intangible cultural heritage.'”

4) Living Out Theology to the Utmost, Part 1: A Chinese House Church Pastor Visits American Churches

“There is a big difference between going on an in-depth tour and going sightseeing; this time, I had an opportunity to learn about the theological thinking that went into [various] phenomena. In these past few years, China’s house churches have had the chance to leave the country and come in contact with all sorts of overseas churches; I myself attended an overseas worship service for the first time about seven years ago.

I have to admit, however, that it was not until this trip that I was able to somewhat escape the attitude that I was sightseeing, and not just go on what I would call a Wow Trip: when a Christian goes overseas and looks at a church building, they will exclaim, ‘Wow!’ During the worship service, they will exclaim another ‘wow.’ When they hear the music or when they see the Sunday school classrooms, there is another ‘wow.’ And when getting the various publications, they will again say ‘wow!’ as they put them away, hoping that someday their own church can print such beautiful worship programs, church introductions, and welcome cards.

But once the excitement passes, how much of that [experience] can be brought back to China so that the church’s pastoral [ministry] is more Biblical and faithful to what God has given to us? Very little, because once we come back, we realize that we do not have such a big congregation, or as much financial offerings, or such a large piece of land, or specialized staff, or such a permissive environment. We don’t have anything except an admiration, jealousy, and [even] hatred of overseas churches.

What I took away from many of my trips to overseas churches was the feeling, ‘We can’t do any of this; what a waste of a trip!’ So in this recent trip, I kept asking myself two questions: ‘What theological orientation and what sort of contextualization formed the basis of these actions?’ I also sought verification of my observations from the elders, pastors, staff, and members, listening to their stories and the thought that went behind these decisions.

5) The Gospel and the Souls of the Chinese People, Part 1

“But in the midst of this fiery suffering and trial, God preserved his children and protected his church. He also used this opportunity to purify his church, cleansing the faith of his children. This is the testimony of many Christians who went through this period of tribulation. In the midst of trial, they recognized their own weakness and corruption, seeing the shortcomings in their faith.

But they also saw the merciful and chastising hand of God. God purifies, but he also grants revival. Even in the most difficult times, one could often witness the power of the gospel. Some people turned to the Lord through the testimonies of many ordinary Christians and evangelists. House churches began to spring up. According to a poll from 1982, the number of Christians at that time had reached about three million, three times of the number in 1949. How astonishing!”

6) Raising Children in the Gospel: Four General Rules

“There was a time when I parented my kids for my own honor. To exalt my righteousness, there were wrong ways and contents coming up, because my heart was already unclean. While meeting together at church, for example, there were conflicts among the children in which parents ought to intervene. Part of me was not only for discipline, but for showing how good I am at parenting. Later, I regretted this deeply, since it was indeed harmful to my girl, treating her as the sacrifice to honor myself without any love for her or God, but only with love for myself.

All of these are keeping me aware of how broken I am at parenting and any other aspects, so that I humble myself and live a life of depending on God’s grace. Otherwise I wouldn’t think it was God; I would think I have the ability. It is good to have these experiences so that my sinful nature will be revealed, so that I will come back to the cross for strength, and raise children “in Christ” with hope.”

7) The Rights and Freedoms of the Christian Cross, Part 1: A Reflection on the Recent Demolition of Christian Crosses in China

“For more than a year, with the worsening of the demolition of crosses, I have been thinking and asking: what is the nature of this event of the demolition of crosses? Why is it restricted to the province of Zhejiang and not happening in any other provinces? This recent course of events has reflected what types of characteristics? How are we to think about this series of events? How are we to respond?”

8) In Search of Holistic Ethics, Part 1: A Chinese Pastor Considers Sexual Identity and the Christian Faith

“For Christians, ‘lustfulness’ is not considered primarily as a relationship between two people. If you believe that mankind is created, rather than being a product of accidental evolution, then the meaning of ethics is primarily that of the relationship between the Creator and the created. In the Bible, ‘lustfulness’ primarily points to man’s betrayal of and infidelity toward his Creator. Therefore for a Christian, the basis of ethics is the relationship between God and his creatures.

Regarding this definition, you do not have to be a Christian. As long as you are not a total materialist (meaning you believe that there is a certain power and value in this world that transcends man’s physical life, even though you are not sure what that power is), I think you would accept my first proposition: man’s biggest ethical failure, or primary ethical failure, is betrayal and denial of values and beings that transcend themselves. This is the beginning of all ethical failures in human relationships. I hope that even as we come from different religious points of view, this is a consensus on which we can dialogue.”

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Further Reading

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Why Should I Love My Enemies?: Give Up Revenge, Love Enemies
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Nanjing: Bringing the Gospel Into Life
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Nanjing: A Welcoming City of Newcomers
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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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