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ICC Note: China needs to step up to the plate and do something about the religious freedom situation in there!

CHURCH GOES TO CHINA

12/11/06 China (The Voice) In a recent visit to China , the chief executive of the World Council of Churches praised the work of Christians there and discussed with government officials the role of religion in building a “harmonious society”.

“If China wants to be the kind of global player that it is clearly becoming, then there are norms and standards in terms of religious freedom, which will be expected of its government and I think they are aware of this,” said the Rev. Samuel Kobia, a Methodist from Kenya , during a press conference in China .

TENSION

“It is hard to determine the number of Christians living in China , but it is clear that Christianity is a growing faith and continues to experience tension within what is still a totalitarian regime,” Pickens added.

“The World Council of Churches can play a vital role in regulating this tension by providing its ongoing witness and voice of justice in the region.”

Diane Allen, who directs the United Methodist China Program for the denomination’s Board of Global Ministries, said the Protestant churches in China have been guided by a “three-self” policy – emphasizing self-support, self-government and self-evangelization – for nearly six decades.

“The China Christian Council has always been keen to point out that, as Christians in China find their own way forward in theology, works, worship, language – that is, living out the Christian faith as they experience it – ‘self-isolation’ is not and never was, a criteria for church and spiritual development,” she said.

CULTURE

“As a post-denominational church, you are in a class of your own, and we want to learn more from you,” he said.

“Though Chinese culture is renowned for its ancient history, now when we think about Chinese Christians, we think about the future, because more and more Christians are realizing that if we are to live the prayer of Jesus Christ that all should be one, then we need to be post-denominational in character,” Kobia said.

Some 16 million Chinese today are members of congregations related to the Christian China Council, compared to 700,000 Christians living in China in 1949.

The council has 18 seminaries and Bible schools and about 2,700 ordained pastors and associate pastors.

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