In a book that is part memoir, part polemic, Werner Burklin castigates overseas evangelicals that he says are perpetuating the gulf between state-approved churches and illegal house churches. Burklin, born in China to German missionary parents, returned in 1981 and was surprised at the warm reception he received from China's state-controlled church, contrary to warnings that he had received from underground Chinese house church leaders. Instead, Burklin saw a genuine Christian spirit.
In Burklin's China, the state-sanctioned China Christian Council (CCC) has "proven to be a binding force among churches. In a number of regions of China, house churches have now registered with the government and thus found fellowship with the CCC. The spirit of reconciliation, extended more readily by members of the CCC, is finally bearing fruit."
Last year, another portrait of the spread of "the spirit of reconciliation" by state-authorized churches was written by the director of the government's religious affairs office in Jiangsu Province. Of key house church leaders who refused to join a pro-government Three-Self church, according to the report: "199 people were arrested and 12 were sentenced to reeducation through labor. Thus, illegal preaching and external infiltration were efficiently contained."
The Chinese government continues to try to enforce a religious monopoly. Burklin is well placed to advise the state to open up the religious marketmuch like the nation's fast-growing and diverse economyto attain true reconciliation, rather than forcing churches to work with Communist Party ideologues, propagandists, and police.
China Partner has more information on the book, which is available ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more