China’s 18th National Congress & The Future of Chinese Christianity

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While discerning China’s political landscape is about as simple as reading a map of Middle-earth in Elvish to predict the lunar cycles of Gondor in the Third Age, what is clear is that China’s 18th National Congress will hold major global economic ramifications. Essentially every decade, the Chinese hold a series of meetings to decide the future leadership and distribution of power. (It’s a lot more complicated than that, but that’s the gist.) The Politburo Standing Committee, which is the Chinese Communist Party’s top leadership, is made of up seven (probably, nobody is totally sure) members who make decisions by consensus. Essentially, these are the guys who introduced capitalism to the Chinese people and are the head honchos who keep the Chinese people simmering in low-grade persecution.

But with the 18th National Congress, two key figures that could have had a potentially (pseudo-)democratizing effect on China — Wang Yang and Li Yuanchao – were left out. This could be bad news for the Chinese people, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Neither Mr. Wang nor Mr. Li are liberals in a Western sense. Mr. Wang has crushed protests in parts of Guangdong, and Joseph Fewsmith, a Boston University professor who has studied Mr. Li’s experiments with political reform, says they were all tightly controlled by the party. But a Standing Committee without either of them would be more likely to be dominated by conservative figures, many of them with links to Mr. Jiang, the former president.

“If neither Li Yuanchao nor Wang Yang is on the new Politburo Standing Committee, it will send a negative signal to the world,” said Cheng Li, an expert on Chinese politics at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“People will be even more pessimistic about China’s much needed political reform.”

And with this, it seems as if things will not relent for the Chinese people, despite talk, according to The Wall Street Journal, that “China could hold competitive elections for the Politburo and Politburo Standing Committee in 20-30 years, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.”

As for the Chinese church, this will probably mean that persecution and a sterilized national church will continue to be the status quo. But with the steady drift towards capitalism, the inevitable glorification of individualism will probably, eventually, lead to democracy. And then, I expect China’s cultural landscape to look much like that of the West. As Christianity continues to grow in China exponentially in an exciting spiritual revival, I predict that it will soon come up against the Baals of the Western world as it conquers the false gods of the dying Communist system.

And while I do not pretend to understand the inner workings of China’s political system, I am fairly confident that, from a historical and theological perspective, China will be marked in the upcoming years by a subsequent outpouring of the spirit of God and continued spiritual attack. However, this attack may soon begin to take on a more “Western” form.

About Nick Rynerson

Nick Rynerson lives in Normal, Illinois (no, seriously). In his free time, He writes, attempts to play mandolin, reads and hangs out with his groovy wife. Nick has a soft spot for any song with a banjo and thinks Bruce Campbell is the best actor on earth. However, he is a terrible golfer and has particular distaste internet controversy . Nick is passionate about the Church, (lower case) orthodoxy and whatever he's been reading about recently.

Follow Nick on Twitter: @Nick_Rynerson
or at his website: nickrynerson.com


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