True Jesus Church

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True Jesus Church
Simplified Chinese 真耶稣教会
Traditional Chinese 真耶穌教會
The True Jesus Church in Port Dickson, Malaysia.

The True Jesus Church is a Sabbatarian Oneness Pentecostal Christian Church that originated in China during the Pentecostal movement in the early twentieth century.[1] The TJC is currently one of the largest Christian groups in China and Taiwan,[2] as well as the largest Chinese Pentecostal church and the largest Oneness Pentecostal denomination in the world.[3]


The TJC emerged independently alongside other indigenous Christian groups of that period such as the Little Flock, the Jesus Family and The Christian Tabernacle [4]

Established in 1917, the church’s early adherents in Hebei and Shandong[5] were influenced by certain charismatic practices of the Apostolic Faith Mission in China,[6] the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, especially faith healing, baptism of the Holy Spirit, footwashing, Sabbath keeping and Oneness Pentecostal theology.[7]

Early leaders of the TJC included Lin-Shen Chang (b.1863-?), Paul Wei (Wei Enbo, d.1919), and Barnabas Chang (1882-c.1960).[8]

By 1949, the membership grew to around 120,000 in seven hundred churches [9] and today there are officially 1.5 million members in fifty three countries.[10]

Current organization[edit]

Mainland China[edit]

In mainland China most of the True Jesus Church congregations are members of the TSPM, and usually meet on Saturdays in TSPM church buildings as separate sabbatarian sub-congregations.[11] However since TJC practices such as healing and tongues are "frowned upon"[12] in the TSPM other congregations are independent Chinese house churches.[13]

Taiwan and USA[edit]

Outside China member churches of the TJC look to the central synod of the TJC in California.[14] In 1967 TJC church leaders from outside mainland China met for the first World Delegates Conference in Taiwan, and an international headquarters was established in Taichung, Taiwan, where a seminary was opened. The headquarters was subsequently moved to Californian in 1985.[15]


There is a recognized set of "distinctive" doctrines which distinguish the True Jesus Church from the rest of the Christian world, although not all of these teachings are wholly unique to the True Jesus Church.

The principle difference with other Chinese churches is the objection to the doctrine of the Trinity, this belief explains the term Jesus Only or True Jesus as distinct from Trinitarian concepts.[16] The church was originally millenarian, preaching a literal return of Jesus to the earth.[17]


The church practices both adult baptism and infant baptism, with closed communion.[18] Speaking in tongues is practiced and usually occurs as a group act.[19]

The Church believes that the sacraments must fulfill three requirements according to the Scripture. Firstly, they must have been performed by Jesus Christ himself as an example. Secondly, the sacraments must be directly related to one's salvation, eternal life, entering the Heavenly Kingdom, and having a part with Jesus. Lastly, they must be of the sacraments which Jesus Christ instructed the disciples to perform as well. There are ten essential doctrines and beliefs[20] that the True Jesus Church believe in order to worship God correctly.


  1. ^ J. Gordon Melton (2005). Encyclopedia of Protestantism. p. 536. ISBN 0816069832.  Page 536 "The True Jesus Church is a Sabbatarian Pentecostal church founded in CHINA early in the 20th century. SABBATARIANISM had been introduced into China in 1847 by missionaries of the Seventh-day Baptists Church .."
  2. ^ Eric Patterson, Edmund Rybarczyk (2007). The Future of Pentecostalism in the United States. p. 130. ISBN 0739155423. 
  3. ^ Allan Anderson An Introduction to Pentecostalism: 2013 1107033993 Page 50 "The largest Chinese Pentecostal church and the largest Oneness denomination in the world is the True Jesus Church, which also observes the Sabbath. "
  4. ^ Peter Tze Ming Ng (2012). Chinese Christianity: An Interplay between Global and Local Perspectives. p. 205. ISBN 9004225757. 
  5. ^ Daniel H. Bays Christianity in China: From the Eighteenth Century to the ... 0804736510 1999-- Page 425 "The roots of the True Jesus Church go back to the 1910s. The church's founders, from Hebei and Shandong, were Christians who were looking for a deeper spiritual experience. This they found in Pentecostalism. They took Pentecostal ideas ..."
  6. ^ Gerald H. Anderson (1999). Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions. p. 125. ISBN 0802846807. 
  7. ^ Allan Anderson (2013). An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity. p. 50. ISBN 1107033993. 
  8. ^ J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia 1598842048 2010 article p.2894 "The True Jesus Church was an early product of the introduction of Pentecostalism into China. Among the pioneers was Alfred Goodrich Garr, Jr. (1874–1944), and his wife, Lillian Anderson Garr, who had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Los Angeles in 1906 and soon after left for China... In 1917 the name was shortened to simply True Jesus Church. In 1918 Lin-Shen Chang (b.1863) made his way to the True Jesus Church, where he met and convinced Wei that the church should observe the seventh-day Sabbath. .. Paul Wei died in 1919... Barnabas Chang defected from the movement in 1929 and created a rival movement in Hong Kong.
  9. ^ Jason Kindopp, Carol Lee Hamrin (2004). God and Caesar in China: Policy Implications of Church-state Tensions. p. 109. ISBN 0815796463. 
  10. ^ True Jesus Church International Assembly. "A Chronology of the establishment of TJC in various countries". Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  11. ^ Daniel L. Overmyer - Religion in China Today 0521538238 2003- Page 189 "Because the True Jesus Church is Sabbath-observant - that is, they worship on Saturday - TSPM churches where they are present usually have a Saturday service."
  12. ^ Daniel L. Overmyer - Religion in China Today
  13. ^ Francis Khek Gee Lim Christianity in Contemporary China Socio-cultural Perspectives 2013 - Page 186 "The main congregations are the 'True Jesus Church' (Zhen Yesujiao) and the 'Group of the Shouters' (Huhanpai).4
  14. ^ Murray A. Rubinstein The Protestant Community on Modern Taiwan 087332658X 1991 Page 129 "Congruence, Inculturation, and Indigenization: The Roots of the True Jesus Appeal The True Jesus Church is not simply a transplanted Pentecostal church, like the Taiwan Assemblies of God. Rather, the True Jesus Church is a Chinese ..."
  15. ^ Melton Protestantism p.537
  16. ^ Murray A. Rubinstein - The Protestant Community on Modern Taiwan: Mission, Seminary, and Church- 1991 Page 124 "... the theory of dispensationalism and incorporated it into their general millenarian eschatological theology.19 ... There is one important doctrine of the True Jesus Church that does differ considerably from the more mainstream ... Simply put, the True Jesus Church does not accept the idea of the Trinity. Its thinkers see God in terms of progressive stages of development; the core manifestation of this process of development is Jesus. This belief explains the term Jesus Only or True Jesus"
  17. ^ Bays Daniel H. Christianity in China: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present 0804736510 1999 p.311 "Between 1917 and 1919 a very different Christian movement, the True Jesus Church, took shape. ... of the True Jesus Church and its unique dogma (a mix of "unitarian" Pentecostalism, Seventh-day worship, and intense millenarianism).
  18. ^ Melton Religions p.2894
  19. ^ Melton Protestantism p537
  20. ^ True Jesus Church International Assembly. "Statement of Faith". Retrieved June 1, 2014. 

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