Recognition

Churches in China: Flourishing from House to House,
Christianity Today
by Jonathan Chao

Watchman Nee's group, the "Little Flock," was organized in Shanghai in 1928 and spread quickly to various parts of China as well as to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and overseas.

Practically, all of these independent and indigenous churches began from small prayer meetings that developed into regular worship services. They started with fellowship, prayer, and Bible study. Next came evangelistic work, and then some type of organization.

Christians were allowed to carry on their religious activities during the first few years of Communist control, but the government began to regulate them through the development of the Three Self Patriotic Movement (tspm). Practically all foreign missionaries were driven out of China by 1952, and by 1954, all Christian institutions–such as hospitals and schools–were taken over by the govermnent. Most pastors were removed from their congregations, and except for Sunday services in the tspm churches, normal church activities ceased.

From 1954 to 1958, under the leadership of the tspm, congregations renounced their former ties with foreign missions. Accusation meetings against Chinese believers and pastors were also conducted, including such men as Wang Mingdao and Watchman Nee, who refused to join the tspm. Many were arrested for being "unpatriotic," and were not released until the period of 1978-80.

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Source: Chao, Jonathan. "Churches in China: Flourishing from House to House", Christianity Today (June 18, 1982): 25.



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