A former president of Youth for Christ says the Chinese church is making a significant impact.

Earlier this year, a delegation of some 40 non-Chinese Christians traveled to Nanjing to meet with leaders of the Chinese church. Sam Wolgemuth, president emeritus of Youth for Christ, was invited to speak at the symposium.

Wolgemuth returned from the five-day meeting convinced that God is doing great things in China. He said the Chinese participants told of evangelism, church growth, theological education, and leadership training. One Chinese participant represented a house church. The others represented the Three Self Patriotic Movement, China’s officially sanctioned Protestant body (CT, Sept. 6, 1985, p. 46).

CHRISTIANITY TODAY interviewed Wolgemuth about the symposium on the church in China. An abridged version of that interview follows.

Did the Chinese leaders indicate how much freedom their churches are allowed?

They said Christians are free to witness at home and at their place of work. They are free to meet in churches and homes. They are free to carry on theological education with no government control, to publish books and journals, and to print Bibles and other materials. Bishop K. H. Ting Guangxun, head of the Three Self Patriotic Movement, referred to it as “a reasonable amount of freedom.”

Does that freedom vary from one region to another?

Bishop Ting said die-hard Communist cadres are making it hard for Christians in some regions. He said, however, that when those ultra-leftists are identified and complaints are registered, the government removes them from positions of authority.

Several of the speakers said they can’t understand the recent willingness of the Communist leadership to accept the church’s existence. The government ...

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