China to establish its own Christian theology

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Aug 07, 2014 18:39 IST

China will establish its own Christian theology compatible with the Communist country's socialist principles, state media has reported, adding that the government will promote it in a correct manner through mass programmes.

The number of Christians in China is rising rapidly but so is, according to rights groups, the simmering tension with the government.

In April, one of the largest churches was demolished in the city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang province ending a standoff between members and authorities. Authorities said the 85000 square foot church was demolished because of permission issues and had nothing to do with religious persecution.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) ruled country does not have a formal relationship with the Vatican. China appoints its own bishops who are not recognised by the Vatican.

According to the state-run China Daily newspaper, China now has 23 million to 40 million Protestants, 1.7% to 2.9% of the total population.

"Each year, about 500,000 people are baptized as Protestants. According to the State Administration for Religious Affairs in 2012, the country has about 139,000 approved religious places. Among them, there are about 56,000 Christian churches and gathering sites," it said.

The newspaper was giving figures quoted at a seminar in Shanghai called "Sinicization of Christianity".

Speaking at the seminar, Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, said: "The construction of Chinese Christian theology should adapt to China's national condition and integrate with Chinese culture."

Wang added that Protestant churches in China have developed very quickly in the past decades with the implementation of the country's religious policy.

"In the future, we will continue to boost the development of Christianity in China," said Wang

"Chinese Protestantism's theological education, literature publishing, research, social services and foreign affairs have seen great development. Over the past years, China's Protestantism has become one of the fastest growing universal churches," the newspaper quoted said Gao Feng, president of the China Christian Council as saying.

The government had launched a five-year campaign in 2013 to promote its version of the religion. It will continue to promote "correct" Christian theology with a "range of publications, exchanges, discussions and evangelism".

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