Forty-one years ago David Adeney joined the staff of the China Inland Mission (now Overseas Missionary Fellowship). He lived in China before and during the war with Japan and worked with the China Inter-Varsity Fellowship 1946–50, including fifteen months under the Communist regime. After leaving China he took part in Inter-Varsity’s missionary program in the United States and then returned to Hong Kong to serve with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students. Since 1968 he has been the head of the Discipleship Training Centre in Singapore. In his book entitled “China: Christian Students Face the Revolution” (InterVarsity Press), particularly its concluding chapter, he discusses what Western Christians can do to help the Church in China. The following is an edited interview with Mr. Adeney on the subject of mainland China today.
Question. Has there been a relaxation of religious restrictions in China recently?
Answer. From 1966 to 1972 the Religious Affairs Bureau was not mentioned in the Chinese press at all. But now it has appeared again, and there have also been references to members of this bureau attending certain party functions. For instance, when the Nobel Prize winner Dr. Yang was buried, members of the Religious Affairs Bureau were present. At Easter, 1972, the Protestant services began again. Catholic services started in 1971. But these are showcase services. Just recently a friend of mine went through Peking and was able to go to the service. You have to register on Friday to attend the service on Sunday. Perhaps twenty or so people attended, and the liturgy is old Chinese. Foreigners from embassies attend. That type of service is by no means typical of the real Church in China. ...1
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