“The number of Christians in Communist China is growing so steadily that it by 2030 it could have more churchgoers than America.” [i]
According to Taylor, the battle of our time is “between neo- and post-Durkheimiam construals of our condition, between different forms of religion and spirituality.”[ii] He explains how “the gamut of beliefs in something beyond widens, fewer declaring belief in a personal God, while more hold to something like an impersonal force; in other words, a wider range of people express religious beliefs which move outside Christian orthodoxy. Following in this line of growth of non-Christian religions, particularly those in the Orient, and the proliferation of New Age modes of practice, of views which bridge the humanist/spiritual boundary, of practices which link spirituality and therapy. On top of all this more and more people adopt what would earlier have been seen as untenable positions, e.g., they consider themselves Catholic while not accepting many crucial dogmas, or they combine Christianity with Buddhism, or they pray while not being certain they believe.” [iii]
Isn’t it ironic that the West has increased in the growth of ‘non-Christian religions, particularly those in the Orient’, while huge numbers of people in the Orient are embracing the Christian religion? For example, the growth of the underground Church in China is growing to such a degree that it is believed that China is on course to become the ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years, according to an article in The Telegraph. [iv] In an online article it published today, the writer states, “Officially, the People’s Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied.” The writes goes on, “Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world’s number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.”
Who of us in the West would have imagined this in the Far East? China, a nation which has been deprived of religion in decades past, has in turn been left with such a spiritual hunger that it Christianity is flourishing. More than that – exploding. It is a hunger that is not only serving one’s own individual needs, but one that is expressing itself with a desire for mission and good works. As Ms. Shi, a Chinese preacher, said: “We have two motivations: one is our gospel mission and the other is serving society. Christianity can also play a role in maintaining peace and stability in society. Without God, people can do as they please.”
What is going on in the Orient with regards to Christianity and Religion is a far cry from what is happening in the West. Because of the growth that is taking place within the Church in China, there is a huge need for Christian education and literature. In fact, many underground house churches are led by women.
Who knows? Perhaps in years to come, we will soon see Chinese missionaries coming to the West to preach the Gospel. And may they come!
[i] As quoted in The Telegragh, 26 February 2015
[ii] Charles Taylor: A Secular Age (USA: Harvard Press, 2007), 510
[iii] Taylor, 513
[iv] The Telegragh, 26 February 2015.