There Is Going To Be An Explosion Of Christianity In China

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series in which a pastor involved with CP explains why he became involved and why he believes the Chinese church matters for the global church today. This pastor serves a large church in New England and assists the work of both Redeemer City to City and The Gospel Coalition.

You can see part one at this link


China Partnership: How did you choose to get involved with China Partnership?

Pastor P: For me, there has to be certain, non-negotiable, core values in place when I decide whether I’m going to be a part of something. The first is the gospel — is it gospel-centric? The second is cities, and the third would probably be leadership development. If I’m going to get involved with any ministries outside of my local church, I usually look for those three things. With China you’ve got all three. I see it as a great privilege to be a part of this movement with CP.

CP: Why do you think it is important to be involved with China specifically?


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Pastor P: Some of the attention that we should be placing on China and the Chinese church is providential and sociologically strategic. 

God grew the early church through an emphasis on certain key cities and of course Paul ultimately wanted to end up in Rome. Rome was the center of the ancient world as we know it; but as Rodney Stark has shown, every city where Paul planted a church had a population of over 30,000 people, which in the ancient context was a pretty large population. God’s plan in establishing his early church was essentially urban-centric. God knows that as the city goes, so goes the wider culture and he uses the sociological phenomenon of urbanization and globalization. Right now, the world is about 55% urban and in another twenty-five or thirty years it will be about 70% urban. People might not realize it, but China’s urban population will grow to about 350 million in around ten to fifteen years. That is more than the population of the United States! And that is why China is going to emerge as a very, very strategic place. China is an emerging global leader in so many different markets. 

Strategically, sociologically, China is important. China is going to be a very urban country. They are going to be a major economic force for many decades to come. When you look at the culture of globalization, China no longer sees itself as inferior to the United States. That shift happened a while back. They see themselves as at least being an equal world power. You can even tell when the dignitaries of the two countries meet. In the past, a lot of Asian countries would defer to the United States. Not anymore! Clearly China views itself as an equal power.

The way I look at it — and this is just my humble opinion since I’m not a professional sociologist — God is going to use the secular forces of the West to grow his church. What I mean is that when you look at China as the number one international student sending country in the world, you see that they are sending their brightest. It’s almost like self-imposed captivity. In the ancient world, the brightest and the smartest and the most competent people were initially escorted and brought into captivity to live in Babylon when they were displaced out of Israel. Daniel and his friends were part of it – they were the smartest and they received the best Babylonian education. In some ways, China is doing this to itself. They are sending their best to live under “Western captivity,” because no country can compete with the United States when it comes to higher education. So they are going to keep sending. And they are going to be educated and then they are going to go back and their thinking is going to change. So while this is happening, while the free market is taking place, God is going to open up all sorts of opportunities for the church. He is going to seize that moment. 

This is why I think training Chinese pastors is one of the most important things we can do as a church. The experts tell us the number of Christians in China is anywhere from 70 million to 90 million, which is the largest number of Christians in any country in the world. But one scholar from Princeton has written that in about twenty years that number will grow to about 300 million. It’s very, very important for the church, if we are thinking strategically, to be in China – for us to be able to develop, to recruit, to train, to coach, and to care for Chinese pastors.

CP: Why should we be involved if there are already so many Christians in China?

Pastor P: There is going to be an explosion of Christianity in China. My concern is that if we do not train pastors then all sorts of opportunities for heterodoxy to enter Chinese Christianity will arise. The Chinese church has passion – they have heard the gospel (or at least part of it), and they are going out to teach other people. But if they have not been catechized or trained, if they do not have a strong theological vision, if they do not have a robust hermeneutic for understanding the scriptures (and therefore understanding God, themselves, and their mission rightly), then you are going to have all sorts of heterodoxy all over the place. We must curb this danger by teaching correct doctrine, and that is what we are trying to do. 

That is why China Partnership exists.

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Further Reading

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Qingdao: How to Pray
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Qingdao: Locals and Outsiders
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Qingdao: Good Soil for the Gospel
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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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Stories from Shenyang

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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Stories from Qingdao

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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Stories from Xiamen

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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Stories from Chongqing

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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Stories from Nanjing

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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Stories from Changchun

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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Stories from Guangzhou

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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Stories from Kunming

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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Stories from Shenzhen

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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Stories from Chengdu

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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Stories from Beijing

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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Stories from Shanghai

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