Despite tensions within and pressures from without, the church in Taiwan is growing and the people are prospering

The most frequent greeting on the lips of Chinese Christians is “Ping-an!,” the word for peace. “Ping-an!” is usually spoken with a lilt to the voice, a nod of the head, and, above all, a smile of welcome. This is the peace, not of the grave, but of genuine, warm-hearted fellowship.

The current testimony of the Chinese church in the one free province of Taiwan, off the China mainland, is that it has largely maintained peace among the brethren despite tensions within and pressures from without. Looking at the fragmented churches in South Korea, the multiplied church councils and missionary associations in Japan, and the division between some of the older and younger church groups in the Philippines, the churches of Taiwan sometimes wonder whether they can continue their mutual toleration and cooperative activity. So far, the basis for fellowship has been a conservative theological consensus, common participation in evangelism, and strictly informal interchurch relations. Certain sharp exceptions can no doubt be made, but the basic pattern is harmonious. A major factor is the absence of restrictive church councils, for these latter-day oligarchies cultivate a party spirit. If they were to develop in Taiwan, they would be a decidedly disruptive force.

One of the tensions the churches have survived is that between the Chinese who are native to the island and the refugees who fled to Taiwan from the mainland. Any who remember the wartime friction between the Szechuanese in west China and the loyalists who followed the Nationalist government to its temporary capital in Chungking have not been surprised at the difficulties ...

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