Date of Award
James W. Crowl, Ph.D.
Before the days of Communist China, religions were widely accepted. This is how many religions like; Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam became present in China. Unfortunately the strong Chinese culture and dedication to Confucian principals halted this; Chinese Christians were cut off from the rest of the Christian world. This was an ongoing change and different leaders took control of China. Yet through it all Christianity hung on by a thread. When Communism was established fully, a few Protestant-Christian leaders works closely with the government leaders to establish the Three Self church and strict laws were put in place to government the Christian religion.
Now, in China, the practice of Christianity is only legal if sponsored by the government. Three Self Patriotic church is an example of a sponsored Christian church. On the flip side, people still risk being caught to practice Christianity in their own way. They normally do this under the cover of night where they won’t be seen. While you would think that just the secret church would be raided if discovered, the Chinese government will still raid their sponsored church to make sure there isn’t anything going on that they don’t want happening. As a student I was able to go, and witness this first hand. At first we though we brought on the raids, because the two churches (one legal and one underground) we visited were raided within days of each other. The locals told us this was not the case, these raids are apparently common.
The underground pastor was arrested and deported before a trial could even happen. The house that it took place was searched for any excessive Christian material. The legal church was raided for any practices or contraband that was not allowed by the government. While it seems like there would be many differences between the two practices, there are some similarities between them.
Clapp, Jennifer, "The Cross Beyond the Wall: Protestant Christianity in Communist China" (2008). Theses, Dissertations & Honors Papers. 190.