Tian Feng (magazine)

Last updated

Tian Feng
Tian Feng (magazine).jpg
Editor-in-chiefMei Kangjun
Former editorsShen Derong, Shen Cheng'en, Y. T. Wu
Categories Christian media
FrequencyMonthly
Publisher Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and China Christian Council (CCC)
Total circulation
(2000)
130,000
Founder Y. T. Wu
Year founded1945
Country China
Based in169 Yuanmingyuan Road, Shanghai [1]
Language Chinese
Website www.ccctspm.org/skywind
ISSN 1006-1274
OCLC 182562933
Tian Feng: The Magazine of the Protestant Churches in China
Traditional Chinese 天風.中国基督教杂志
Simplified Chinese 天风.中国基督教杂志
Literal meaningHeavenly wind

Tian Feng: The Magazine of the Protestant Churches in China [2] (Chinese :天风.中国基督教杂志; literally: 'Heavenly wind' [3] [4] ) 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.

Contents

The magazine was founded in 1945 as Tian Feng: The Christian Weekly by Y. T. Wu and others as an initially liberal Christian publication published by the YMCA. In 1948 he published an article titled "The Present Day Tragedy of Christianity" criticizing foreign missionaries, for which he was fired as editor. Tian Feng became the official organ of the newly founded TSPM in 1949 [lower-alpha 1] representing Protestants in the communist government's official religious policy. The magazine would side with the government, suppress unapproved Christian sects, and discredit theologians who were out of line. At the height of the Cultural Revolution, writing on theology became increasingly rare, and the magazine was discontinued in 1964. Following the Cultural Revolution, Tian Feng returned with a new inaugural issue on 20 October 1980. While still promoting officially sanctioned religious policy, Tian Feng occasionally expresses hopes for ecumenism or criticizes certain impediments to the freedom of religion in China.

History

Y. T. Wu, the inaugural editor of Tian Feng fired in 1948 because of his Marxist views, had to apologize for not being Marxist enough just three years later. Wu Yao Zong .jpg
Y. T. Wu, the inaugural editor of Tian Feng fired in 1948 because of his Marxist views, had to apologize for not being Marxist enough just three years later.

Tian Feng was founded in 1945 as Tian Feng: The Christian Weekly. [5] It was initially published in Chongqing by the YMCA and had liberal Christian leanings. [4] [6] [7] Its founders included Y. T. Wu, [4] who became the first editor. Some of Wu's most important theological articles were published in the journal. [4] [7] These included "The Present Day Tragedy of Christianity", [8] which was published around Easter of 1948. In the article, he criticized foreign missionary activities in China and equated Protestantism with exploitative capitalism; he called them "two expressions of the same society". As a result, Wu was fired from his position as an editor of Tian Feng. [9]

Organ of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement

The People's Republic of China was proclaimed in 1949. Tian Feng writings in the late 1940s and early 1950s sometimes exhibited enthusiasm about the prospects of the new society brought about by the Chinese Communist Revolution. [10] Chinese Protestants ceased to credit foreign missionaries for their religious and humanitarian work in China and instead started criticizing them for being tools of Western imperialism. [11] In 1949, Tian Feng became the official organ of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM). [4] [lower-alpha 1] That year it published an open letter signed by 19 Chinese Christian leaders calling for the perceived relationship of foreign missionaries and foreign governments to be exposed. [13] The Chinese State Affairs Council had initiated a campaign to denounce foreign missionaries in 1951. Chinese Christian leaders now had to defile their former co-workers and confidants. [14] Many such statements of denouncements were published in Tian Feng. [15] Y. T. Wu, too, had to make a public confession in the magazine for not having supported the communists enough. [16] Others also wrote their confessions in Tian Feng, but were purged. This was the fate of Isaac Wei  [ zh ], the leader of the independent True Jesus Church, who confessed in 1952, [17] but ended up in prison. [18] In 1954, Tian Feng was used to discredit Wang Ming-Dao, [19] a prominent evangelist who was determined to keep his Christian Tabernacle church out of the TSPM. [20] [21] He had himself previously published uncompromising essays in the magazine. [22] In 1956 it was the turn of Watchman Nee, a leader of the anti-communist local churches affiliation who had been long persecuted by the government, to be attacked in an editorial of Tian Feng. [23] Hu Feng, a literary theorist who was opposed to politicization of literature, [24] was also discredited on its pages, in 1955. [25]

From "The Christian Manifesto" to the Cultural Revolution

During the 1950s and 1960s the contents of the magazine were markedly political. [4] It contained views of the newly founded TSPM and its "unique synthesis of Christianity and nationalism". [26] On 28 July 1950, the Chinese government set out "The Christian Manifesto", [27] largely masterminded by Wu, [28] that urged Chinese Christians to pledge allegiance to the new People's Republic. [29] Tian Feng closely followed the success of the manifesto and the number of its signatories that in 1954 had reached 400,000, although this figure has since been disputed. [30] During the 1950s it also published photos of the achievements of the Great Leap Forward. [31] In addition to overtly political material, Tian Feng in its early TSPM years provided an "open forum" for adapting Christianity to the new communist China and some positive results were yielded in public discussions published in the magazine. [32] At times, Tian Feng even acted as the "agony aunt" of Christian communities, coaching them on everyday practice. [26] Local pastors and seminary professors would answer questions submitted by congregations. [33] One article, for instance, gave advice about whether portraits of Mao Zedong needed to be hung on walls in churches. [26] Meanwhile, the publication of essays that continued to condemn missionaries as imperialists continued. [34]

With the mounting ultra-leftist tendencies that would ultimately lead to the Cultural Revolution, Christian activities became constrained. Although Tian Feng continued publication for the time being, its publication of theological articles ended in 1959. [35]

Although the political flavor was toned down from 1960 on, the magazine remained a "mouthpiece of the government". At the same time, issues became progressively thinner until publication ceased in 1964. [31] The paper was continued after the end of the Cultural Revolution. Its first new printing was on 20 October 1980 with 15,000 copies. [36] [37]

Throughout the years, Tian Feng acted as an important platform of publishing for K. H. Ting, the chairman of TSPM. [38]

Most recently, since the TSPM and China Christian Council (CCC) have begun their controversial "Reconstruction of Theological Thinking" project, Tian Feng has lost subscribers. [39]

Format

The office of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and China Christian Council (CCC). Tian Feng is jointly published by these lianghui (double organization) in Shanghai. CCCTSPM.jpg
The office of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and China Christian Council (CCC). Tian Feng is jointly published by these lianghui (double organization) in Shanghai.

Tian Feng is now the most popular Christian magazine in China [4] and is distributed on a nationwide basis. [40] At times, it has been the only such magazine available. It is the only Protestant magazine that is sold abroad. [4]

Since publishing restarted in 1980, Tian Feng has been a monthly magazine. [4] It is published jointly by the National Committee of the TSPM and CCC in Shanghai. [41] For CCC, its publishing activities are run by its Tian Feng Editorial Committee. [42]

The magazine disseminates the views of TSPM and CCC as well as religious policy of the Chinese government, along with devotional articles. [4] Typical contents also include poems, color photographs, [43] church news, sermons, and Bible studies. [44] Recent issues have shown a widening of its scope and an "outward-looking ecumenism" of the state-sanctioned Protestant churches of China. [42] [45] The magazine also publishes stories about coping with economic change in China, family problems and friction between different churches. [46] Recent themes have included criticism of Pentecostalism, cults, and the unofficial hymnal Canaan Hymns . [47] On the other hand, the magazine has also criticized the government and its State Administration for Religious Affairs for curtailing religious freedom. [40]

Tian Feng is distributed by local Three-Self Committees and Christian Councils [43] and has a circulation of 130,000. [48] Subscribers include overseas Chinese churches. [43] Its editor-in-chief is Mei Kangjun. [49] Previous editors include Shen Derong and Shen Cheng'en. [49] [50]

The magazine is published in Chinese. [51] Since 1991, the Hong Kong-based Amity Foundation, aligned with the TSPM and CCC, has published bi-monthly digests of the magazine in English. [52] In 2002, Tian Feng was given an award for being one of the best Shanghai-based magazines. [42]

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 Then called Three-Self Reform Movement [12]

Related Research Articles

House church (China) Christian assemblies in China outside of state-sanctioned churches

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 Three-Self Patriotic Movement 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.

China Christian Council Protestant religious organization in China

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.

Christianity in China Religious community

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.

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.

Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China

The Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China is a Protestant Christian church organization in Hong Kong. Its history can be traced back to the formation of the Church of Christ in China, which is a uniting church consisting mainly of churches with Congregational and Presbyterian traditions, including the London Missionary Society, British Baptist Missionary Society and others.

Y. T. Wu Chinese christian leader

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.

The Church of Christ in China was a coalition of churches in mainland China, established in the early half of the twentieth century. After missionaries were expelled from China in the 1950s, it would continue to exist primarily in the Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China.

T. C. Chao Chinese Christian thinker

Tzu-ch'en Chao (1888–1979), known as T. C. Chao, was one of the leading Protestant theological thinkers in China in the early twentieth century.

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.

Nanjing Union Theological Seminary Protestant seminary in Nanjing, China, managed by the China Christian Council

The Nanjing Union Theological Seminary is the flagship theological seminary of Protestant Christianity in China today. It is managed by the China Christian Council.

Liu Xiaofeng is a contemporary Chinese scholar and a professor at Renmin University of China. He has been considered the prototypical example of what is called a cultural Christian, meaning a believer who may lack a specific church identification or affiliation, and was, along with He Guanghu, one of the main forerunners of the academic field of Sino-Christian Theology. However, in recent years, his interest has shifted from studies in Christian theology to the political theories of Leo Strauss.

True Jesus Church non-denominational Christian church founded in Beijing, China

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.

Marcus Cheng, was a leading Chinese Protestant evangelical leader. Cheng became a prominent evangelical leader and Chinese nationalist and gained international attention in the 1920s. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Cheng joined other Protestant leaders to form the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, which promised independence of foreign financing and control in return for religious autonomy. He became disillusioned and openly criticized the government's policies on religion in 1957. Although he was not arrested, he was severely criticized and died in obscurity in 1963.

Shenzhen Christian Church Church in Guangdong, China

Shenzhen Christian Church is a Protestant church located in Meilin Road, Futian District, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.

Political theology in China includes responses from Chinese government leaders, scholars, and religious leaders who deal with the relationship between religion and politics. For two millennia, this was organized based on a Confucian understanding of religion and politics, often discussed in terms of Confucian political philosophy. At various points throughout its history, Chinese Buddhism presented an alternative to the political import of Confucianism. However, since the mid-twentieth century, communist understandings of religion have dominated the discourse.

The Christian Manifesto 1950 political manifesto of Chinese Protestants drafted by Y. T. Wu et al.; condemns missionary activity in China as imperialist, pledges loyalty to the communist leadership, and encourages an indigenous Chinese stance toward Christianity

"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.

Lianghui (Protestantism)

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.

References

  1. Towery 2000, p. 213.
  2. Si, Barbara Hoster,; Kuhlmann, Dirk; Wesolowski, Zbigniew (2017). Rooted in Hope: China - Religion - Christianity / Festschrift in Honor of Roman Malek S.V.D. on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday. Taylor & Francis. p. XLI. ISBN   978-1-351-67278-8.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  3. 天风.中国基督教杂志杂志官网. zhazhi.com (in Chinese). Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Fällman, Frederik (2009). "Tianfeng". In Davis, Edward L. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture. Oxon: Taylor & Francis. p. 832. ISBN   978-0-415-77716-2.
  5. "Dianfeng = The Christian weekly. (Journal, magazine, 1945) [WorldCat.org]". worldcat.org. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  6. Ling, Oi Ki (1999). The Changing Role of the British Protestant Missionaries in China, 1945-1952. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 17. ISBN   978-0-8386-3776-0.
  7. 1 2 Wickeri 2011, p. xxiv.
  8. Peter Tze Ming Ng (2012). Chinese Christianity: An Interplay Between Global and Local Perspectives. Leiden: BRILL. p. 208. ISBN   90-04-22574-9.
  9. Wickeri 2011, p. 122.
  10. Wickeri 2011, p. 127.
  11. Keating 2012, pp. 61–62.
  12. Junio, Diana (2017). Patriotic Cooperation: The Border Services of the Church of Christ in China and Chinese Church-State Relations, 1920s to 1950s. Leiden: BRILL. p. 296. ISBN   978-90-04-34176-0.
  13. Keating 2012, p. 95.
  14. Wickeri 2011, p. 134.
  15. Wickeri 2011, p. 136.
  16. Aikman 2012, p. 149.
  17. Starr 2016, p. 229.
  18. Hoke, Donald E., ed. (1975). The Church in Asia. Chicago: Moody Press. p. 173. ISBN   978-0-8024-1543-1.
  19. Aikman 2012, p. 202.
  20. Aikman 2012, p. 60.
  21. Aikman 2012, p. 63.
  22. Wickeri 2011, p. 167.
  23. Wickeri 2011, p. 163.
  24. Wickeri 2015, p. 183.
  25. Wickeri 2015, p. 183n5.
  26. 1 2 3 Starr 2016, p. 232.
  27. Keating 2012, p. 91.
  28. Starr 2016, p. 230.
  29. Keating 2012, p. 92.
  30. Keating 2012, p. 93.
  31. 1 2 Keating 2012, p. 121.
  32. Deng Fucun (2010). "The Basis for the Reconstruction of Chinese Theological Thinking". In Ruokanen, Miikka; Huang, Paulos (eds.). Christianity and Chinese Culture. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 299. ISBN   978-0-8028-6556-4.
  33. Wickeri 2011, p. 259.
  34. Wickeri 2011, p. 174.
  35. Wickeri 2011, p. 273.
  36. 中国基督教三自爱国运动五十周年纪念影集 [Three-self patriotic movement of the Protestant churches in China]. Shanghai: 中国基督敎三自爱国运动委员会. 2000. p. 4.
  37. Wickeri 2015, p. 527.
  38. Wickeri 2015, p. 551.
  39. Zhu Xiaohong (2010). "Call for Dialogue and Cooperation: Reflections on Jianshe or the Reconstruction of Theological Thinking". In Ruokanen, Miikka; Huang, Paulos (eds.). Christianity and Chinese Culture. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 320. ISBN   978-0-8028-6556-4.
  40. 1 2 Miller, James (2006). Chinese Religions in Contemporary Societies. ABC-CLIO. p. 314. ISBN   978-1-85109-626-8.
  41. Anderson, Allan; Tang, Edmond (2005). Asian and Pentecostal: The Charismatic Face of Christianity in Asia. OCMS. p. 431. ISBN   978-1-870345-43-9.
  42. 1 2 3 Chen Meilin (February 2002). "The Publication Work of the Church in China". Heritage Congregational Church. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  43. 1 2 3 Towery 2000, p. 98.
  44. Bohr, P. Richard (1983). "State and Religion in China Today: Christianity's Future in a Marxist Setting". Practical Anthropology. 11 (3): 330. doi:10.1177/009182968301100305. ISSN   0032-633X.
  45. Faries, Nathan (2010). The "Inscrutably Chinese" Church: How Narratives and Nationalism Continue to Divide Christianity. Plymouth: Lexington Books. p. 279. ISBN   978-0-7391-3959-2.
  46. Bays 2003, p. 499.
  47. Aikman 2012, p. 110.
  48. Summary of World Broadcasts: Asia, Pacific: Issues 3920–3933. London: British Broadcasting Corporation Monitoring Service. 2000. p. G–8.
  49. 1 2 Keating 2012, p. 63.
  50. Wickeri 2011, p. 190.
  51. "Tian feng. (eJournal / eMagazine, 1981) [WorldCat.org]". worldcat.org. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  52. Bays 2003, p. 490.

Works cited

Further reading