Monday, June 6, 2011

Why don't Chinese Christians register their churches?

Many in the West ask VOM why Chinese Christians don’t simply register their churches.

Today, our partner organization ChinaAid Association posted an intriguing article that is pulled from the Fall 2010 issue of Shouwang Church’s quarterly, Almost Flowers: “Why We Won’t Join the Three-Self Patriotic Association.”

Writer Sun Yi, writes,

When the question is raised overseas of why not join the Three-Self and thereby resolve the problem of the legality of these existing churches, a natural rejoinder is to ask: 'Do you think your church would be willing to be labelled a Three-Self church if, for instance, you discover one day that the pastor your church selected is no longer allowed to pastor and the Three-Self has arranged for someone whose theology is unacceptable to be your pastor, or the number of people your church baptizes each year has to await approval from above, or you have to wait for permission to evangelize in places outside the church grounds, etc., etc.?'
If you’ve been wondering why Chinese house churches and regular churches have shied away from registering, please take some time to read through Sun Yi’s article, which you can find here.

I’ll leave you with another of Sun Yi’s thoughts.
If a church demonstrates its patriotism by sacrificing its very basis for being, then this patriotism would be worthless because the church’s very existence is already worthless. It is just like what Christ said about the salt that has lost its saltiness: ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men’ (Matthew 5:13). Only by trusting in Christ to stand firm on its foundation as [part of] the universal [Christian] church can a church, out of its faith, demonstrate of its own accord its respect for the secular authorities God has put in place. This kind of respect for the authorities put in place by God, along with love for one’s neighbour, are what should be the real starting points for patriotism and love of the people.
Continue to pray for Chinese churches and believers who remain steadfast in being salt and light throughout their country.

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