House churches

Published December 2, 2008

Hong Kong
Recently elected leaders of China’s officially-sanctioned Protestant churches have said they care about house churches that sometimes operate underground and that they are willing to provide them with Bibles.”For those house churches without registration, we will try our best to be with them, to recognize them and to help them, so long as they have an orthodox faith, don’t stray from the truth and don’t follow heretics,” Elder Fu Xianwei, chairperson of the National Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), told some 200 Hong Kong church leaders at an Oct. 22 seminar titled “Chinese Church – New Leaders, New Challenges”.

The 12 member-delegation of TSPM and China Christian Council paid their first visit to Hong Kong and Macau from Oct. 16-19 since assuming the national leadership of their church organizations in January. Fu, the leader of the delegation, said that CCC/TSPM was willing to help house churches by, for example, providing them with Bibles, and also desired to work with them in building the Chinese Protestant church.    

The officially-sanctioned Chinese Protestant church estimates there are at least 18 million Protestants in China, but many other Christians belong to “house” or underground churches, say some analysts. The Three-Self Patriotic Movement was conceived in 1951 and formed in 1954 as the only legitimate umbrella for Protestant activities. The China Christian Council emerged with the support of the TSPM after China’s Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, when the expression of religious life was effectively banned.


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