Protestantism in China
Protestant Christianity (新教徒, literally "new religion followers") entered China in the early 19th century, taking root in a significant way during the Qing Dynasty. Some historians consider the Taiping Rebellion to have been influenced by Protestant Christian teachings. Since the mid-20th century, there has been an increase in the number of Christian practitioners in China. Nicholas D. Kristof, a columnist of the New York Times wrote on June 25, 2006:
Although China bans foreign missionaries and sometimes harasses and imprisons Christians, especially in rural areas, Christianity is booming in China.
In 1800 of an estimated 362 million Chinese, there were 250,000 baptized Roman Catholics and no known Protestant believers. By 1949, of 450 million people, 500,000 were baptized Protestant Christians.
Under the "fundamental laws" of China, one section is titled "Wizards, Witches, and all Superstitions, prohibited." The Jiaqing Emperor in 1814 A.D. added a sixth clause in this section with reference to Christianity. It was modified in 1821 and printed in 1826 by the Daoguang Emperor. It sentenced Europeans to death for spreading Christianity among Han Chinese and Manchus. Christians who would not repent their conversion were sent to Muslim cities in Xinjiang, to be given as slaves to Muslim leaders and beys.
The clause stated: "People of the Western Ocean, [Europeans or Portuguese,] should they propagate in the country the religion of heaven's Lord, [name given to Christianity by the Romanists,] or clandestinely print books, or collect congregations to be preached to, and thereby deceive many people, or should any Tartars [Manchus] or Chinese, in their turn, propagate the doctrines and clandestinely give names, (as in baptism,) inflaming and misleading many, if proved by authentic testimony, the head or leader shall be sentenced to immediate death by strangulations : he who propagates the religion, inflaming and deceiving the people, if the number be not large, and no names be given, shall be sentenced to strangulation after a period of imprisonment. Those who are merely hearers or followers of the doctrine, if they will not repent and recant, shall be transported to the Mohammedan cities (in Turkistan) and given to be slaves to the beys and other powerful Mohammedans who are able to coerce them. . . . All civil and military officers who may fail to detect Europeans clandestinely residing in the country within their jurisdiction, and propagating their religion, thereby deceiving the multitude, shall be delivered over to the Supreme Board and be subjected to a court of inquiry."
Some hoped that the Chinese government would discriminate between Protestantism and Romanism, since the law was directed at Romanism, but after Protestant missionaries in 1835-6 gave Christian books to Chinese, the Daoguang Emperor demanded to know who were the "traitorous natives in "Canton who had supplied them with books." The foreign missionaries were strangled or expelled by the Chinese.
In 1860 Protestant missions were confined to five coastal cities. By the end of the century, Western powers had forced the government to allow missionaries into the interior. During the second half of the century, increased numbers of missionaries entered the country. Scores of new missionary societies had been organized in the United States after the American Civil War and participation increased from Great Britain as well. Several thousand missionaries were working in all parts of China. The 1859 Awakening in Britain and the example of J. Hudson Taylor (1832–1905) were influential.
By 1865 when Taylor's China Inland Mission began, 30 different Protestant groups were working in China. The diversity of denominations represented did not equate to more missionaries on the field. In the seven provinces in which Protestant missionaries had already been working, there were an estimated 204 million people with only 91 workers, while there were eleven other provinces in inland China with a population estimated at 197 million, for whom absolutely nothing had been attempted. Besides the London Missionary Society, and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, there were missionaries affiliated with Baptists, Southern Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, and Wesleyans. Most missionaries came from England, the United States, Sweden, France, Germany, Switzerland, or the Netherlands.
In addition to the publication and distribution of Christian literature and Bibles, the Protestant Christian missionary movement in China furthered the dispersion of knowledge with other printed works of history and science. As the missionaries went to work among the Chinese, they established and developed schools and introduced the latest techniques in medicine. The mission schools were viewed with some suspicion by the traditional Chinese teachers, but they differed from the norm by offering a basic education to poor Chinese, both boys and girls, who had no hope of learning at a school before the days of the Chinese Republic.
The 1800s witnessed the expansion of Christianity beyond the isolated areas of the Treaty Ports by thousands of new missionaries who entered the interior of China. Western missionaries spread Christianity rapidly through the foreign-occupied coastal cities; the Taiping Rebellion was connected in its origins to the missionary activity. British and American denominations, such as the British Methodist Church, continued to send missionaries until they were prevented from doing so following the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Protestant missionaries played a significant role in introducing knowledge of China to the United States and the United States to China.
Protestant Christians in China established the first clinics and hospitals, provided the first training for nurses, opened the first modern schools, worked to abolish practices such as foot binding, and improve treatment of maids. They launched charitable work and distributed food to the poor. They also opposed the opium trade and brought treatment to many who were addicted. Some of the early leaders of the Chinese Republic, such as Sun Yat-sen, were converts to Christianity and were influenced by its teachings.
By the 1950s all foreign missionary work had ceased.
Contemporary Mainland China
Since the loosening of restrictions on religion after the 1970s, Christianity has grown significantly within the People's Republic. It has become an indigenous religion. It is still tightly controlled by government authorities. The Protestant Three-Self Patriotic Movement and China Christian Council have affiliations with government and follow the regulations imposed upon them. Three-Self Patriotic Movement by 2005 claimed to have 10-15 millions worshippers, while Protestant unofficial house churches may have up to 30 million members.
Protestant worship in the present
The Chinese Union Version of the Bible, the Chinese New Hymnal, the Lord's Prayer as it is written in the Chinese Union Version and the Apostles' Creed are usually used in the largest majority of Protestant worship in the present-day China.
Bible in China
A Chinese version of the Bible was translated by British missionary and linguist Robert Morrison. More than 300 million copies of the Bible in Chinese have been published and disseminated since 1823 with active participation of the Protestant missionaries between 1807-1953.
Names for Christianity and God
The Chinese language today typically divides Christians into two groups, believers of Jidu Xinjiao, Protestantism, and Tianzhu jiao, Catholicism. The terms originate with different terms for God used in Chinese. The Catholic Church historically favored Tianzhu (literally, Lord of Heaven) over Shangdi (literally, Sovereign Above), an alternate term used more commonly by Protestants. The current term for the Protestant denomination refers to the Mandarin Chinese translation of Christ, Jidu.
- Christianity in China
- Chinese house church
- Chinese Union Version of the Bible
- Chinese New Hymnal
- China Christian Council
- Protestant missions in China 1807–1953
- Timeline of Christian missions
- Alimujiang Yimiti
- Church growth in China.(Century marks)(Brief article) Industry & Business Article - Research, News, Information, Contacts, Divisions, Subsidiaries, Business Associations
- Latourette, (1929)
- Robert Samuel Maclay (1861). Life among the Chinese: with characteristic sketches and incidents of missionary operations and prospects in China. Carlton & Porter. p. 336. Retrieved 2011-07-06.
- Robert Samuel Maclay (1861). Life among the Chinese: with characteristic sketches and incidents of missionary operations and prospects in China. Carlton & Porter. p. 337. Retrieved 2011-07-06.
- Spence (1991), p. 206
- Taylor (1865),
- Spence (1991), p. 208
- Gulick, (1975) pp. 561-562
- Burgess, (1957) pp. 47
- Austin, (2007)
- Soong, (1997) p. 151-178
- International Christian Concern Report on China
- Spreading the Bible in China, Beijing Review, December 2006
- This article incorporates text from Life among the Chinese: with characteristic sketches and incidents of missionary operations and prospects in China, by Robert Samuel Maclay, a publication from 1861 now in the public domain in the United States.
- Austin, Alvyn (2007). China’s Millions: The China Inland Mission and Late Qing Society. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-2975-7.
- Austin, Alvyn (1986). Saving China: Canadian missionaries in the Middle Kingdom 1888-1959. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
- Burgess, Alan (1957). The Small Woman. ISBN 1-56849-184-0.
- Dunch, Ryan. Fuzhou Protestants and the Making of a Modern China, 1857-1927 (2001) 293p.
- Fay, Peter W. "The Protestant Mission and the Opium War," Pacific Historical Review 1971 40(2): 145-161
- Fulton, Austin (1967). Through Earthquake Wind and Fire. Edinburgh: St Andrews Press.
- Gulick, Edward V. (1975). Peter Parker and the Opening of China. Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 95, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1975).
- Latourette, Kenneth Scott (1929). A History of Christian Missions in China.
- Latourette, Kenneth Scott. Christianity in a Revolutionary Age. Vol. III : The 19th Century Outside Europe; the Americas, the Pacific, Asia and Africa. (1969)
- Latourette, Kenneth Scott. Christianity in a Revolutionary Age, Vol. V: The twentieth century outside Europe: the Americas, the Pacific, Asia, and Africa: the emerging world Christian community (1962)
- Lian, Xi. "Western Protestant Missions and Modern Chinese Nationalist Dreams," East Asian History 2006-2007 (32-33): 199-216
- Lian, Xi. The Conversion of Missionaries: Liberalism in American Protestant Missions in China, 1907-1932 (1997).
- Neils, Patricia, ed. United States Attitudes and Policies toward China The Impact of American Missionaries (1990)
- "Pfister, Lauren F. Striving for "The Whole Duty of Man": James Legge and the Scottish Protestant Encounter with China: Assessing Confluences in Scottish Nonconformism, Chinese Missionary Scholarship, Victorian Sinology, and Chinese Protestantism (2007)
- Rabe, Valentin H. The Home Base of American China Missions, 1880-1920 (1978). 299 pp.
- Semple, Rhonda Anne. Missionary Women: Gender, Professionalism and the Victorian Idea of Christian Mission (2003) covers 1865-1910
- Spence, Jonathan D. (1991). The Search for modern China. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-30780-8.
- Spence, Jonathan D. (1991). The Search for modern China. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-30780-8.
- Soong, Irma Tam (1997). Sun Yat-sen's Christian Schooling in Hawai'i. Hawai'i: The Hawaiian Journal of History, vol. 13.
- Varg, Paul A. Missionaries, Chinese, and Diplomats: The American Protestant Missionary Movement in China, 1890-1952 (1958)
- Varg, Paul A. "Missionaries and Relations Between the United States and China in the Late Nineteenth Century," World Affairs Quarterly 1956 27(2): 153-171
- Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity
- Information on the Church in China
- Bible in Chinese
- Chinese Bible Resources