|Three-Self Patriotic Movement|
|Theology||State-regulated and controlled|
|Secretary General||Xu Xiaohong|
|Founder||State Administration for Religious Affairs|
|Absorbed||National Christian Council of China|
|Official website|| www|
|Three-Self Patriotic Movement|
The Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM; Chinese :三自爱国运动; pinyin :Sānzì Àiguó Yùndòng) is a Protestant organization in the People's Republic of China, and one of the largest Protestant bodies in the world. It is colloquially known as the Three-Self Church (Chinese :三自教会; pinyin :Sānzì Jiàohuì).
The National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China (Chinese :中国基督教三自爱国运动委员会; pinyin :Zhōngguó Jīdūjiào Sānzì Àiguó Yǔndòng Wěiyuánhuì) and the China Christian Council (CCC) are known in China as the lianghui (two organizations). Together they form the state-sanctioned Protestant church in mainland China. They are overseen by the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China following the State Administration for Religious Affairs' absorption into the United Front Work Department in 2018.
The three principles of self-governance, self-support (i.e., financial independence from foreigners), and self-propagation (i.e., indigenous missionary work) were first articulated by Henry Venn, General Secretary of the Church Missionary Society from 1841 to 1873, and Rufus Anderson, foreign secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.The "Nevius Method," named for John Livingstone Nevius, a missionary to China and Korea, developed the three-self principle of Venn and Anderson into a plan for establishing indigenous churches.
By 1877 three-self principles were much discussed among missionaries to China.The principles were drafted formally during an 1892 conference in Shanghai of Christian missions reflecting an almost universal agreement that the future of the Chinese church depended on the indigenization of the leadership, and the finding of sufficiently Chinese modes of worship.
In May 1950, Y. T. Wu and other prominent Protestant leaders such as T. C. Chao, Chen Chonggui, and Cora Deng met in Beijing with Zhou Enlai to discuss Protestant Christianity's relationship with the young People's Republic of China. "The Christian Manifesto" was published in July 1950 and its original title was "Direction of Endeavor for Chinese Christianity in the Construction of New China." During the 1950s, 400,000 Protestant Christians publicly endorsed and signed this document.
The purpose of publishing this document was:
to heighten our vigilance against imperialism, to make known the clear political stand of Christians in New China, to hasten the building of a Chinese church whose affairs are managed by the Chinese themselves, and to indicate the responsibilities that should be taken up by Christians throughout the whole country in national reconstruction in New China.
It further stated the movement promoted the "self-governance, self-support, and self-propagation" (Chinese :自治、自养、自传; pinyin :zìzhì, zìyǎng, zìchuán) of the Chinese church.
In March 1951, after China's entry into the Korean War, the Religious Affairs Bureau directed religious groups to make elimination of imperialist influences a priority. In mid-April the State Administrative Council called together a conference in Beijing on the subject of "Handling of Christian Organizations Receiving Subsidies from the United States of America." This conference led to the formation of the Preparatory Committee for the Oppose-America, Assist-Korea Three-Self Reform Movement of the Christian Church (TSRM) under China's United Work Front policy. Those who attended the conference issued a "United Declaration" calling churches and other Christian organizations “to thoroughly, permanently and completely sever all relationships with the American missions and all other missions, thus realizing self-government, self-support and self-propagation in the Chinese church."The declaration had the unexpected effect of swelling the membership of congregations that identified themselves as “self-run.”
When the TSPM was established in 1954, it promoted a three-self strategy in order to remove foreign influences from the Chinese churches and to assure the government that the churches would be patriotic to the newly established People's Republic of China.Other Protestant leaders included Jia Yuming, Marcus Cheng, and Yang Shaotang.
When "The Christian Manifesto" was published in the People's Daily in 1954, it pledged the support of Christians for anti-imperialism, anti-feudalism, and anti-bureaucratic capitalism efforts.The movement, in the eyes of critics, allowed the government to infiltrate, subvert, and control much of organized Christianity.
From 1966 to 1976 during the Cultural Revolution, the expression of religious life in China was effectively banned, including the TSPM. The growth of the Chinese house church movement during this period was a result of all Chinese Christian worship being driven underground for fear of persecution.In 1979 the government officially restored the TSPM after thirteen years of non-existence, and in 1980 the CCC was formed. However, many Christians in China were skeptical of the government's intention in reinstituting the TSPM, partly because those entrusted in its local administration were often ones who had participated in repressive actions in the past.
The TSPM is not a denomination, and denominational distinctions do not exist within the organization. Pastors are trained at one of thirteen officially sanctioned seminaries.Current theological emphasis is on "a protection and promotion of the five basic tenets of Christian faith — the Trinity, Christ being both human and God, the Virgin Birth, Death and Resurrection and the Second Coming." The primary role of the TSPM was then delegated to liaison with the Government whereas the CCC serves as an ecclesial organisation focusing on the internal management and affairs of the Church.
However, the TSPM is often charged with being an instrument for the secular Chinese government, which persecutes Christians outside of it. Independent congregation are known as house churches.The attempt to bring house church Christians into the fold of "registered" meeting places has met with mixed results. Since the ascension of Xi Jinping the Chinese Government has cracked down on house churches and oppressed their members, actions which the TSPM has supported.
In March 2019 Xu Xiaohong, the chairman of the National Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee, gave a speech about the use of Christianity by western powers to destabilize China and the CCP. In addition he stated that "Anti-China forces in the West are attempting to continue to influence the social stability of our country through Christianity, and even subvert the political power of our country,” while speaking at the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.He also called for continued state action against independent Christians stating “For individual black sheep who, under the banner of Christianity, participate in subverting national security, we firmly support the country to bring them to justice.”
The Chinese New Hymnal , first published in the 1980s, is the official hymnal of the TSPM churches. Editors include Lin Shengben, a renowned hymn composer in Shanghai.
The Canaan Hymns hymnal associated with the house churches is also used in TSPM churches.Through its official channels, TSPM has criticized the hymn for supposedly questioning the Movement's view of Christianity in service of Chinese socialism. TSPM church services also feature non-Christian Communist Party songs.
The main periodical of TSPM is Tian Feng .
The following confession of faith was adopted on 8 January 2008:
The Chinese Church takes the contents of the entire Bible, the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed as the foundation of our faith, the main points of which are as follows:
Ours is a Triune God, everlasting and eternal.
God is Spirit. God is loving, just, holy, and trustworthy. God is almighty Father, the Lord who creates and sustains the cosmos and all that is in it, who keeps and cares for the whole world.
Jesus Christ is the only Son of God, born of the Holy Spirit, the Word made flesh, wholly God and wholly human. He came into the world to save humankind, to witness to God the Father, to preach the gospel; he was crucified, died, and was buried. He rose again and ascended into heaven. He will come again to judge the world.
The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, who enables people to know their sinfulness and to repent, who bestows wisdom and ability and every grace, leading us to know God and to enter into the truth, enabling people to live holy lives, and to give beautiful witness to Christ.
The church is the body of Christ and Christ is its Head. The church is apostolic, one, holy, and catholic. The visible church is called by God to be a fellowship of those who believe in Jesus Christ. It was established by the apostles as Jesus instructed them. The mission of the church is to preach the gospel, to administer the Sacraments, to teach and nurture believers, to do good works, and to bear witness to the Lord. The church is both universal and particular. The Chinese Church must build itself up in love and be one in Christ.
The Bible has been revealed by God and written down by human beings through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is the highest authority in matters of faith and the standard of life for believers. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, people in different times have gained new light in the Bible. The Bible should be interpreted in accordance with the principle of rightly explaining the word of truth. It should not be interpreted arbitrarily or out of context.
Human beings are made in the image of God, but cannot become gods. God has given humanity dominion over all God's creation. Because of sin, human beings have diminished God's glory, yet through faith and the grace of Jesus Christ, human beings are redeemed and saved, and are granted resurrection and everlasting life.
Christ will come again. According to the teachings of the Bible, no one knows the day of his coming, and any method to determine when Christ will come again violates the teachings of the Bible.
A Christian's faith and works are one. Christians must live out Christ in the world, glorifying God and benefiting people.
In China, house churches or family churches, are Christian assemblies in the People's Republic of China that operate independently from the state-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and China Christian Council (CCC) and came into existence due to the change in religious policy after the end of the Cultural Revolution in the early-1980s.
The China Christian Council was founded in 1980 as an umbrella organization for all Protestant churches in the People's Republic of China with Bishop K. H. Ting as its president. It works to provide theological education and the publication of Bibles, hymnals, and other religious literature. It encourages the exchange of information among local churches in evangelism, pastoral work and administration. It has formulated a church order for local churches, and seeks to continue to develop friendly relations with churches overseas.
K. H. Ting, Ting Kuang-hsun or Ding Guangxun, was Chairperson emeritus of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and President emeritus of the China Christian Council, the government-approved Protestant church in China.
A house church or home church is a label used to describe a group of Christians who regularly gather for worship in private homes. The group may be part of a larger Christian body, such as a parish, but some have been independent groups that see the house church as the primary form of Christian community.
A Christian mission is an organized effort to spread Christianity to new converts. Missions involve sending individuals and groups, called missionaries, across boundaries, most commonly geographical boundaries, to carry on evangelism or other activities, such as educational or hospital work. Sometimes individuals are sent and are called missionaries. When groups are sent, they are often called mission teams and they do mission trips. There are a few different kinds of mission trips: short-term, long-term, relational and those that simply help people in need. Some people choose to dedicate their whole lives to mission. Missionaries have the authority to preach the Christian faith, and provide humanitarian aid. Christian doctrines permit the provision of aid without requiring religious conversion.
Indigenous churches are churches suited to local culture and led by local Christians. There have been two main Protestant strategies proposed for the creation of indigenous churches:
Christianity in China appeared in the 7th century, during the Tang dynasty, but did not take root until it was reintroduced in the 16th century by Jesuit missionaries. Today, it comprises Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals and a small number of Orthodox Christians. Although its history in China is not as ancient as Taoism, Mahayana Buddhism or Confucianism, Christianity, through various ways, has been present in China since at least the 7th century and has gained significant influence during the last 200 years. The number of Chinese Christians has increased significantly since the easing of restrictions on religious activity during economic reforms in the late 1970s; Christians were four million before 1949 . Accurate data on Chinese Christians is hard to access. The government declared in 2018 that there are over 44 million Christians in China. On the other hand, some international Christian organizations estimate there are tens of millions more, who choose not to publicly identify as such, but these estimations are usually controversial and even suspected as deliberate inflation. The practice of religion continues to be tightly controlled by government authorities. Chinese over the age of 18 are permitted to join only officially sanctioned Christian groups registered with the government-approved Protestant Three-Self Church and China Christian Council and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Church. On the other hand, many Christians practice in informal networks and unregistered congregations, often described as house churches or underground churches, the proliferation of which began in the 1950s when many Chinese Protestants and Catholics began to reject state-controlled structures purported to represent them. Members of such groups are said to represent the "silent majority" of Chinese Christians and represent many diverse theological traditions.
Protestant Christianity entered China in the early 19th century, taking root in a significant way during the Qing dynasty. Some historians consider the Taiping Rebellion to have been influenced by Protestant teachings. Since the mid-20th century, there has been an increase in the number of Christian practitioners in China. According to a survey published in 2010 there are approximately 40 million Protestants in China.
Wang Mingdao was an independent Chinese Protestant pastor and evangelist imprisoned for his faith by the Chinese government from 1955 until 1980. He has been called the "Dean of the House Churches."
Y. T. Wu or Wu Yao-tsung was a Protestant Christian leader in China who played a key role in the establishment of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. Wu also played an important role in the theology of K. H. Ting.
Characteristic of Christianity in the 19th century were Evangelical revivals in some largely Protestant countries and later the effects of modern Biblical scholarship on the churches. Liberal or modernist theology was one consequence of this. In Europe, the Roman Catholic Church strongly opposed liberalism and culture wars launched in Germany, Italy, Belgium and France. It strongly emphasized personal piety. In Europe there was a general move away from religious observance and belief in Christian teachings and a move towards secularism. In Protestantism, pietistic revivals were common.
The Shouters, or more properly the Shouters sect (呼喊派), is a label attached by the People's Republic of China (PRC) to an amorphous group within China that was targeted by the government first as counterrevolutionaries and subsequently as a criminal cult after incidents in Dongyang and Yiwu counties in Zhejiang province in February 1982. "The Shouters sect" became the object of waves of arrests in 1983 and again in 1995. Several 1983 publications with ties to the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) accused the late expatriate Chinese Christian teacher Witness Lee of being the leader of "the Shouters sect" and of instigating the disorders. In practice, however, the appellation "the Shouters sect" has been applied far more broadly to many groups that pray openly and audibly and/or do not register or otherwise cooperate with the TSPM. There is considerable reason to doubt the veracity of the reports which led to the condemnation of "the Shouters sect" and the association of them with Witness Lee or the local churches, and the local churches distance themselves from the Shouters.
The True Jesus Church is a Christian Church that originated in Beijing, China during the Pentecostal movement in the early twentieth century. The TJC is currently one of the largest Christian groups in China and Taiwan, as well as one of the largest independent churches in the world.
Tian Feng: The Magazine of the Protestant Churches in China is the organ of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), the state-sanctioned body of Protestant Christians in China, and the most widely circulated Christian magazine in the country.
The three-self formula or three-self principle is a missiological strategy to establish indigenous churches. Its principles are: self-governance, self-support, and self-propagation. It was first coined in the late-19th century by various missions theorists, and is still used today in certain contexts such as in the Three-Self Patriotic Movement in mainland China.
"Direction of Endeavor for Chinese Christianity in the Construction of New China", commonly known as "The Christian Manifesto" or "The Three-Self Manifesto", was a political manifesto of Protestants in China whereby they backed the newly-founded People's Republic of China (PRC) and the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Published in 1950, the manifesto paved the way for the government-controlled Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) of Protestants. This movement proclaimed the three principles of self-government, self-support, and self-propagation. The drafting and content of the manifesto was, and remains, controversial to this day.
The National Christian Council of China (NCC) was a Protestant organization in China. Its members were both Chinese Protestant churches and foreign missionary societies and its purpose was to promote cooperation among these churches and societies. The NCC was formed in 1922 in the aftermath of the Edinburgh Missionary Conference.
Protestantism in China uses lianghui to speak of the two Chinese government-sanctioned Protestant organizations: the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and the China Christian Council (CCC). Due to the close relationship between these two organizations, they are sometimes mistaken as the same organization.
The Ecumenical China Study Liaison Group (ECSLG) is a group of mostly European China watchers who met intermittently in the 1970s and 1980s. Key members represented the Roman Catholic Church and mainline Protestant denominations, including state churches. Members gathered every one to two years to share research and consider developments in Christianity in China starting from the latter part of the Cultural Revolution through the death of Mao Zedong, the opening up of China under the Four Modernizations Policy of Deng Xiaoping, the reestablishment of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, and the persecution of the so-called "Shouters sect" in 1983.