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An Orientation to China’s Reforming Churches

When Sam Boyle and Charles Chao joined together to establish the Reformation Translation Fellowship back in 1949 they could not have imagined the changes which would take place in China over the following sixty-four years. Yet they were driven by the conviction that the Word of God cannot be bound and that, not only would the gospel continue to be preached in China, but the day would come when the gospel would prevail in China. With this hope before them they set out to translate those theological texts which articulated their hope, that is those which expressed the historic doctrines of grace. Before giving an update about the work of RTF Australia and other parts of the world, we would like to share with you the following article taken from the Reformation 21 website. It shows how God is at work in China. You can find the whole article at http://www.reformation21.org/articles/an-orientation-to-chinas-reforming-churches.php.

“More people go to church on Sunday in China than in the whole of Europe.” China is now home to more evangelical believers than any other nation, and the church continues to grow and make inroads in every level of Chinese society. Today, tens of millions of Chinese profess faith in Jesus Christ. Such dramatic growth, against the backdrop of modern China, has produced profound and urgent church development needs. As faithful Chinese ministers strive to meet these needs, an increasing number are discovering the rich biblical and theological resources of the Reformed tradition and Presbyterian polity.

The turn toward Reformed theology and church polity is geographically widespread but far from enveloping the majority of congregations. Arising out of the practical demands of pastoral ministry and the church’s mission, this movement is as vibrant and vigorous as it is young and tender. Critically, it is an actual reformation of the church.  We are not talking about a pocket of evangelicals who have just discovered Reformed soteriology, as good as that sort of thing is.  What is happening in China is of a different order, embodying a clear ecclesiastical form with concrete confessional and institutional dimensions and this, in turn, is reshaping the nature and scope of the Reformed and Presbyterian mission to China. It is likely to have deep and long-lasting influence on Chinese and, in time, global Christianity.

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