Church of Christ in China
The Church of Christ in China (simplified Chinese: 中华基督教会; traditional Chinese: 中華基督教會; pinyin: Zhonghua Jidu Jiaohui) was a coalition of churches in mainland China, established in the early half of the twentieth century. After missionaries were expelled from China in the 1950s, it would continue to exist primarily in the Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China.
The Church of Christ in China held its first general assembly in Shanghai in October 1927 with Cheng Jingyi as its first moderator, serving two terms (1927–1930 and 1930–1933). It was initially known as the Presbyterian Church of China (simplified Chinese: 中华基督教长老会; traditional Chinese: 中華基督教長老會; pinyin: Zhonghua Jidujiao Zhanglaohui) since it brought together a number of Presbyterian and Reformed churches. However, it was renamed after it invited other church bodies in China to join the union. At the first general assembly in 1927, the following groups joined the union:
- American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
- Baptist Missionary Society
- Church of Scotland
- London Missionary Society
- Presbyterian Church in Korea
- Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (North)
- Presbyterian Church in the United States (South)
- Presbyterian Church of England
- Presbyterian Church of Ireland
- Presbyterian Church of New Zealand
- Reformed Church in America
- Reformed Church in the United States
- South Fujian Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church
- United Brethren in Christ
- United Church of Canada.
The fourth general assembly was held in Qingdao in 1937, with a total of 16 synods, 85 associations, 2842 local churches, 454 ordained ministers and approximately 130,000 communicants. The next one was never materialized due to the outbreak of World War II. After the Communist Party of China took over mainland China, the Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China was reorganized in 1953, and is the only subdivision of the Church of Christ in China that is still running.
The establishment of the Church of Christ in China was seen as an extension of the modern ecumenical movement, related to the 1910 World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh. But it also wrestled with different understandings of ecumenism and ecclesiology, which would have lasting effects on questions of church unity in mainland China until the present day.
- Wang, Marina Xiaojing (2012). The Church Unity Movement in Early Twentieth-Century China: Cheng Jingyi and the Church of Christ in China (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh. p. 253. hdl:1842/8217.
- Brown, Thomas (1997). Earthen Vessels and Transcendent Power: American Presbyterians in China, 1837-1952. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books. pp. 211–212.
- Tiedemann, R. G. (January 2012). "Comity Agreements and Sheep Stealers: The Elusive Search for Christian Unity Among Protestants in China" (PDF). International Bulletin of Missionary ✓ Research. 36 (1): 3–8. doi:10.1177/239693931203600102.
- "Historical Prospective". The Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China. Retrieved 16 Sep 2015.
- "The Hong Kong Council". The Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China. Retrieved 16 Sep 2015.
- Chow, Alexander (October 2013). "Protestant ecumenism and theology in China since Edinburgh 1910" (PDF). Missiology. 42 (2): 167–180. doi:10.1177/0091829613501965. hdl:20.500.11820/886c1d2f-5ed6-422b-b7da-f2c106070afe.
- Wang, Marina Xiaojing (March 2017). "The Evolution of the Ecumenical Vision in the Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Context: A Case Study of the Church of Christ in China (1927–1937)". Studies in World Christianity. 23 (1): 19–34. doi:10.3366/swc.2017.0167.