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  • Monday, January 22, 2007

    Patriotic Christian Association &
    Three-Self Patriotic Movement

    Last week I came across this church picture and caption on the Chengdu Time web site. The church is only a few blocks from my apartment. In December we attended the Christmas Musical Program presented by the Sichuan Theological Seminary in this church. The Seminary is on the same grounds as the church.

    "This photo depicts the outside view of the Patriotic Christian Association of Sichuan Province building. It is one of the few places of worship for Christians in Chengdu. The name of this church sounds a bit strange, but this church is definitely the kind of "state church", as named by Hope Church Singapore. You can tell this by simply looking at the name of this church. Nevertheless, if you are a Christian, you can still go to this church to worship when you come to Chengdu." From Chengdu Time.

    I asked about the name: Patriotic Christian Association in our YMCA English class. They explained to me that the name came from the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. Wikipedia offers the following article on the Three-Self Patriotic Movement in China.

    "The Three-Self Patriotic Movement (officially 中国基督教三自爱国运动委员会, China Christian Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee; colloquially 三自教会, the Three-Self Church) and the China Christian Council (中国基督教协会) are two pro-government ("patriotic") Christian organizations in the People's Republic of China. These together form the only government-sanctioned ("registered") Protestant church in mainland China. They are usually referred to as the 'two associations' (两会). There are large numbers of house churchesin China which are outside of the registered organizations.


    In 1951, a Cantonese Christian named Y. T. Wu (吴耀宗, 1893-1979) initiated the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, which promoted a strategy of 'self-governance, self-support, and self-propagation' in order to remove foreign influences from the Chinese churches. This was to assure the communist government that the churches would be patriotic to the newly-established People's Republic of China. The strange-sounding name 'Three-Self' is a characteristically Chinese way of abbreviating 'self-governance, self-support, self-propagation' (自治、自养、自传). The movement began formally in 1954.

    From 1966 to 1976 the Cultural Revolution stopped the expression of religious life for Christians in China. In 1979 the church was restored, and in 1980 the China Christian Council was formed. Through the council, the registered Protestant church participates in the World Council of Churches.

    The two associations claim that Christianity in China is 'post-denominational': Protestant denominations prevalent in other parts of the world have no place in China. Christians are said to congregate on Sunday each week in service, implementing the principle of mutual respect. The public representation of the two associations is usually carried out by Bishop K. H. Ting (丁光訓, 1915-), an Anglican (or post-Anglican) bishop.

    Origin of the Three-Self Principles

    The three principles of self-governance, self-support (i.e., financial support) and self-propagation (i.e., indigenous missionary work) were first put forward by the Henry Venn the younger, General Secretary of the English Church Missionary Society in 1841.


    See also

    External link

    This entry is from Wikipedia, the leading user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors (see full disclaimer).

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