I haven’t had the energy or time to post new entries during summer school, but I just read this encouraging article about the rise of Christianity in China in Time magazine. I taught English in the university district of Beijing from 1990-92, and I can hardly imagine the phenomenal growth of the Shouwang church there. Let’s remember these brothers and sisters who go to church knowing they’ll be arrested, and thank God that nearly 10% of the Chinese are now Christians.
Here are the most encouraging paragraphs from the article:
With its 40 Biblical reading groups, choir, catechism, its faithful (typically members of the new bourgeoisie — professors, doctors, lawyers, students, and even Party members), Shouwang gains dozens of new converts each month. For the regime, it is the strongest symbol of the wave of religious conversion that has swept over the country of late. Urban, educated, disgusted by the “red” discourse served by the media, and fed up even with the cult of consumerism, the new, Christ-conscious Chinese upper class is on a moral collision course with a government that it perceives as soulless.
The numbers speak for themselves. A survey conducted in 2006 suggests that about 300 million Chinese (31% of the population) practice a religion. Government estimates put that number far lower. Among Chinese religious practitioners, two-thirds declared themselves Buddhists or Taoists. The remaining third (100 million people) are Christians.
A leaked report dating from the same year suggests that the real number of Chinese Christians is closer to 130 million — up from just 5 million in 1949 when Mao came to power. Roughly four-fifths are Protestants. In the past 60 years, in other words, the number of Chinese Christians has multiplied by a factor of 25. They now make up between 7%-10% of the population, meaning that Christianity is quite possibly the second religion in China.