Death of Chinese Church Leader Marks 'End of Important Era'
Bishop K. H. Ting, leader of China's official Protestant church, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, died last week at the age of 97. He was known for his efforts to lead Chinese churches through the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
The Los Angeles Times, in a lengthy obituary, noted:
Ting's close cooperation with China's Communist Party and central government earned him both praise and criticism throughout his long career. Supporters said he had helped protect and promote the interests of Protestants in China, while critics accused him of being too close to the government and at times even joining in the persecution of unregistered or "house" churches.
Associated Baptist Press offers more details regarding Ting's controversial reputation, noting the bishop was "both credited with saving China's Protestant church during severe persecution and accused of putting loyalty to the state ahead of following Christ."
Fuller Theological Seminary president Rich Mouw said in a statement that Ting's death represents "the end of an important era in the relationship of church and government in China."
"The situation in China regarding the role of religious groups continues to be a work in progress," Mouw stated. "And we do see much progress, for which we owe much to the bishop's leadership during complex and difficult times."
CT has previously discussed Ting's role in the emergence of China's official Protestant church.