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11/28/12 at 10:39 PM 0 Comments

Leading Dutch Paper Features Latest CCTA Publication: Beware of Patriotic Heresy in the Church in China

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(Barneveld, Netherlands--Nov. 27, 2012) One of Holland's national newspapers has featured the latest publication released by the Chinese Christian Theological Association: founder Mark C.H. Shan's Beware of Patriotic Heresy in the Church in China: Drawing on the historical lessons of the Nazis' Volk Church in analyzing the Zhao Xiao phenomenon.

The Nov. 23 edition of Nederlands Dagblad (The Netherlands Daily) featured an interview with Shan about his booklet in a report headlined "'Nationalism greatest danger for church in China" by the foreign affairs editor Gerhard Wilts, who said the paper received "some positive and surprised comments from our audience.”

The Dutch-language report is here: http://www.nd.nl/artikelen/2012/november/23/nationalisme-grootste-gevaar-voor-kerk-in-china. Below is an English translation, kindly provided by Nederlands Dagblad.

The Nederlands Dagblad is one of Holland's seven national newspapers, and it sets itself apart by being a Christian newspaper whose "eventual purpose is – by choosing themes, topics and subjects, and commenting on them – to show that behind the reality of daily life there is a bigger reality, God’s Reality," the paper's website says. It was founded in 1944 as a semi-resistance paper called Reformatie Stemmen ("Reformatory Voices"). After the war it was renamed De Vrije Kerk ("The Free Church") and later Gereformeerd gezinsblad ("Reformed Family Paper"). In 1959 it became a daily and it obtained its current name in 1967.

The Chinese Christian Theological Association (CCTA) was founded in August 2009 in Boston by a group of Chinese Christians originally from mainland China. Its mission is to carry on and develop the theology of the church by combining philosophy, theology, ethics and related disciplines such as science, liberal arts, the fine arts, etc., with an aim to impact China’s academia, church and society. That goal is conveyed in its 3T slogan: Transform academia, Transform church and Transform society in China.

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The English translation of the Nederlands Dagblad report:

Gerhard Wilts

Nationalism greatest danger for church in China

In China new leaders have entered. Uncertain times now for Chinese Christians, while it is not clear if the change of power leads to less repression.

Former house church pastor Mark C. H. Shan warns against nationalist tendencies among Chinese Christians.

Boston

"The growth of the church in China is phenomenal. Chinese Christians around the world hope that Christianity gives a positive turn to China." But besides that optimism lurks an insidious danger, warns house church pastor Mark Shan. "The parallel with the German churches under Nazism is alarming: Already Chinese patriotism begins to replace the rightful place of God in church. With this tactic threatens the communist government both Chinese house churches as churches overseas. If we are not careful, we risk the same dark road ahead as the German Christians at the time of the Nazis. They placed their German identity and loyalty to the Nazi government over their responsibility as children of God to resist the evil of the Holocaust."

Mark Shan is involved in ChinaAid, an organization that supports faith persecuted in China. In 2009 he stood at the cradle of the Chinese Christian Theological Association (CCTA) and last year he wrote a book about the position of Christians in a stormy rising China. In October appeared the English translation of his book Beware of Patriotic Heresy in the Church in China.

Chinese Christians are better off now than ten or twenty years ago?

'Sure. The number of house churches in cities is increasing. Christian lawyers dare openly to defend those churches. But persecution increased, because the government is trying to control the Christian influence on society."

While we in the West often hear about an explosive growth of the Chinese churches, the actual number of Christians remains unclear. Estimates range from 23 million (state news agency Xinhua) to 130 million Christians (ChinaAid). How many do you think there are, and why is it so difficult to verify the numbers?

"I'm pretty sure that there are about 50 to 60 million Christians living in China. Besides the official government figures, there is a large number of house churches which remain invisible. Because the authorities do not have information, they usually lie about it."

This month in the Chinese People's Congress a new leadership took office. What does that mean for Christians in China?

"I expect Christians will be better off under Xi Jinping than under Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, the two who belong to the conservative wing of Mao that the country has made a secret police state. I expect you will see the Christian impact in three areas. First, on a spiritual level: Chinese thirst for spirituality after so many years of brainwashing with atheistic and materialistic education. Second, the impact of moral and ethical character, because the current Chinese society suffers from widespread corruption. And in the third place, Christianity is a practical solution to the Chinese society and politics, a new citizenship."

Many Christians in the West, including the Netherlands, are hopeful about the importance of Christians in China. Are they right?

'Christianity in China will have a historic opportunity to transform culture and society vigorously. Just as Christianity the Roman Empire has changed, and even Britain, France, Germany, Russia and America. I am hopeful about it."

Most overseas Chinese Christians are hardly interested in the fate of their fellow believers in China. How do you explain this?

"Almost all Chinese churches abroad were founded by Christians from Taiwan and Hong Kong. Those Christians are accustomed to a very different culture than Christians in mainland China. The narrow Chinese nationalism and the Confucianism and Buddhism that influenced church culture are the yeast of this problem. "

What is the role for the Christians in China to play when it comes to the rest of Asia?

"The Chinese church is a model for the growth of Christianity in Asia, such as the Korean church once was for the churches in China. But first have the Church in China to go through "the era of Paul”, the apostle who considers Christian theology academic training as crucial for the development of church, university and society. Only then can we think of Christian mission in other countries. "<

The print and Kindle versions of this book by Mark C. H. Shan are available at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=Beware+of+Patriotic+Heresy+in+the+Church+in+China

Press Release

Contact: Mark Shan—617-383-9120 mark@ccta.me

Twitter:ccta4me www.FaceBook.com/ccta4me

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