Chinese Calvinism flourishes

Chinese Calvinism flourishes November 23, 2012

The Guardian has a fascinating report on the incredible progress of the Chinese Church, and calvinism in particular:

Although Calvinism is shrinking in western Europe and North America, it is experiencing an extraordinary success . . .as an elite religion in China . . .There may be some parallels with the growth of Calvinism in South Korea, where the biggest presbyterian churches in the world are to be found, but it’s absolutely unlike the pattern in Africa and Latin America. There, the fastest growing forms ofChristianity are pentecostal, and they are spreading among the poor.

But in China neither of those things are to be true . . .

Calvinism isn’t a religion of subservience to any government. The great national myths of Calvinist cultures are all of wars against imperialist oppressors . . .

“The youngsters think it is very cool to be Christian. Communism has removed all the obstacles for them to come to Christianity.”

The most conservative estimates of the new converts to Christianity is 500,000; there is a new church built every month . . . “Very soon”, said Dr Tan, “Christians will become the majority of university students … that could happen.”

It would be astonishing if China were to become a great power in the Christian world, as well as in the economic one. But things just as strange have happened in the past. Who could have foreseen, when Augustine was writing those huge books now translated into Chinese, that barbarous Europe would become the centre of Christian civilisation, and his homeland in North Africa would become entirely Muslim?

READ MORE AT Chinese Calvinism flourishes | Andrew Brown | Comment is free |

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • God is changing the world map of Christianity in very unpredictable ways. 🙂
    “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Rom 11:33)

  • Are they converting because they believe, or because they hate their government and Christianity gives them an outlet to express their discontent? Whenever I see these trends in the developing world, I want to believe it’s sincere, but all too often a more worldly motivation is obvious. For example, the promises of material gain through faith that are give in Pentecostalism.

    As a result of my experience in international Christian relief work, I’ve seen how the poor will flock to a religious teacher for reasons that seem, shall we say, mixed. We need to understand that from their perspective, Christianity is not some old-fashioned, uncool cultural relic, as is often the case in the United States and Europe. Instead, they see the Christians as coming with their money, their food, their technology, their 1st world power and relevance, and hands open to give them whatever they ask for. Yes, there are sincere conversions. Yes, there is sincere worship. But just as we must approach revivals with caution in our own culture, I believe we must be cautious in others. As Jesus says, the road is narrow.

  • Calvinism is shrinking in N. America? What’s that based on?

  • The Church will leave the Western hemisphere due to achievements of the past Counterculture. Africa and Asia will flourish. I don’t believe Mexico, central and South America will make a dent; because its Catholic. Although some like to pretend… Especially thinking that anti-Trinitarian beliefs are going anywhere.

  • Rich Atterton

    Calvinism fits perfectly with Chinese totalitarianism.

    • Really? Some people just don’t know who the enemy really is…yes that’s right not flesh and blood at all! But surely any Arminian should be able to rejoice that the church is growing. If even Whitefield and Wesley could eventually put their animosity aside why can’t we in the 21st century? Would you rather they were all still communist atheists?