After a long winter, it is bursting through the political frost in many vibrant hues

To help our readers gain a better understanding of the current situation in China, CT invited David Adeney, one of the country’s most experienced and knowledgeable China hands, to comment on both the house churches and the recently opened city churches. Adeney represents the Pray for China Fellowship in Berkeley, California, a ministry of the Overseas Missionary Fellowship. He was a missionary to mainland China from 1934 to 1950.

How are the house churches rooted in the soil of China?

They are indigenous, unattached to outside organizations. They have maintained their faith during the days of trial with no help from Christians in the West. They cannot be accused of association with Western imperialism. At the same time they are eager to have fellowship in prayer with Christians outside of China.

How did Chinese believers learn to get along without things we think are essential to church growth?

House meetings in China have had to distinguish between essentials and nonessentials. The church had to exist without buildings, set times of worship, and a paid minister. Most of the organizations that we in the West associate with the church are missing. The church must be flexible, adapting to local needs. During the difficult days of the Cultural Revolution, Christians met in different homes each week. It was difficult for authorities to pinpoint who the leaders were. Christians tried to meet in homes with back doors through which people could slip out quietly. The owner had to be a person of good reputation, not under suspicion by the authorities. Even when there was no regular meeting, the Christian families constituted a part of the church of the ...

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