[b]Christianity spreads by 'house churches' in China[/b]Zhao Xiao, a former Communist Party official and convert to Christianity, smiles over a cup of tea and says he thinks there are up to 130 million Christians in China. This is far larger than previous estimates.The government says there are 21 million (16 million Protestants, 5 million Catholics). Unofficial figures, such as one given by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity in Massachusetts, put the number at about 70 million.But Zhao is not alone in his reckoning. A study of China by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, an American think tank, says indirect survey evidence suggests many unaffiliated Christians are not in the official figures. ...read more: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/381684_chinaonline05.html
_________________SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
I am surprised that this is printed in the Seattle Post Intelligencer. That is newsworthy by itself.[i]After the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 many disenchanted democrats turned to Christianity: six of the 30 or so student leaders of the protests became Christians....In a widely debated article in 2006, Zhao wrote that "the market economy discourages idleness ... But it cannot discourage people from lying or causing harm. A strong faith discourages dishonesty and injury." Christianity and the market economy, in his view, go hand in hand....Because most Protestant house churches are non-denominational (that is, not affiliated with Lutherans, Methodists and so on), they have no fixed liturgy or tradition. Their services are like Bible-study classes.... The smiling Zhao says finance is no problem. "We don't have salaries to pay or churches to build."....They cannot so easily find experienced pastors. "In China," says one, "the two-year-old Christian teaches the one-year-old."....[/i]Disenchanted with political solutions, knowing the change that occurs in heart and character, Bible-study services, no need for large sums of money for buildings and salaries. Biblical truth to combat false teaching appears the only concern (always a concern in any Body). I wonder how many house churches we have in America. Over this past year I have come to respect and understand why people here might want to move in that direction. (guess I am pretty sheltered.)I was in China 1979-80, in Shanghai and know Haining Road. China is quite different now, of course, but there were Christians there at that time. Not house churches, as they are visible today, but twos and threes in extreme secrecy.