Three-Self Patriotic Movement
The Three-Self Patriotic Movement (officially _zh. 中国基督教三自爱国运动委员会, National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China; colloquially _zh. 三自教会, the Three-Self Church) or TSPM is the government-sanctioned ("patriotic")
Christianorganization in the People's Republic of China. Known in combination with the China Christian Councilas the lianghui(two organizations), they form the only state-sanctioned (registered) Protestantchurch in mainland China. "(See also: Protestantism in Chinaand Christianity in China.)"
The three principles of self-governance, self-support (i.e., financial independence from foreigners) and self-propagation (i.e., indigenous missionary work) were first articulated by Henry Venn, General Secretary of the
Church Missionary Societyfrom 1841–73, and Rufus Anderson, foreign secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions[Christianity Today Library: [http://ctlibrary.com/41452 Marking Time in the Middle Kingdom] , Madison Trammel (URL last accessed on May 1, 2007)] [Warren M (Ed.), To Apply the Gospel: Selections from the Writings of Henry Venn, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971] . The principles were drafted formally during an 1892 conference in Shanghaiof Christian missions reflecting an almost unilateral agreement that the future of the Chinese church depended on the indigenization of the leadership, and the finding of sufficiently Chinese modes of worship [Grant, Paul: [http://www.strategicnetwork.org/index.php?loc=kb&view=v&id=8345&printerfriendly=Y&lang= The Three Self Church] , NSM, January 1, 2007 (URL last accessed on May 1, 2007)] . Dixon Edward Hoste, head of the China Inland Missionwas known for putting the same principles into practice in the effort of assisting the Chinese to establish their own indigenous churches during the early 20th Century.
In 1951, a Cantonese Christian named
Y. T. Wu( _zh. 吴耀宗, 1893–1979) initiated the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, which promoted a strategy of 'self-governance, self-support, and self-propagation' in order to remove foreign influences from the Chinese churches and to assure the communist government that the churches would be patriotic to the newly-established People's Republic of China. The 'Three-Self' is a characteristically Chinese way of abbreviating 'self-governance, self-support, self-propagation' ( _zh. 自治、自养、自传). The movement began formally in 1954 and allowed the government to infiltrate, subvert, and control much of organized Christianity [cite book | first = Patrick | last = Johnstone | authorlink = Patrick Johnstone | year = 2001 | title = Operation World | publisher = Paternoster | location = London p.164] .
From 1966 to 1976 during the
Cultural Revolution, the expression of religious life in China was effectively banned, including even the TSPM. The growth of the Chinese house churchmovement during this period was a result of all Chinese Christian worship being driven underground for fear of persecution. To counter this growing trend of "unregistered meetings", in 1979 the government officially restored the TSPM after thirteen years of non-existence [cite book | first = Patrick | last = Johnstone | authorlink = Patrick Johnstone | year = 2001 | title = Operation World | publisher = Paternoster | location = London p.164] , and in 1980 the CCC was formed.
in 1993 there were 7 million members of the TSPM with 11 million affiliated, as opposed to an estimated 18 million and 47 million "unregistered" Protestant Christians respectively.
The TSPM is not a denomination, and denominational distinctions do not exist within the organization. Pastors are trained at one of only thirteen officially sanctioned seminaries [cite book | first = Patrick | last = Johnstone | authorlink = Patrick Johnstone | year = 2001 | title = Operation World | publisher = Paternoster | location = London p.164] which are
Marxist-oriented and teach liberal theology[cite book | first = Patrick | last = Johnstone | authorlink = Patrick Johnstone | year = 2001 | title = Operation World | publisher = Paternoster | location = London p.165] .
The attempt to bring house-church Christians into the fold of "registered" meeting places has met with mixed results [cite book | first = Patrick | last = Johnstone | authorlink = Patrick Johnstone | year = 2001 | title = Operation World | publisher = Paternoster | location = London p.164] . One area of disagreement has been the restriction that the government places on preaching and teaching certain doctrines which are deemed to be inappropriate. Some examples of teaching that are not offered at the TSPM meetings include: references to the divine healing, deliverance from demons,
Second Comingof Christ, and the resurrection of the dead.
However, restrictions are not always harshly enforced, and many pastors within the TSPM have the freedom to exposit Christian teachings more fully [cite book | first = Patrick | last = Johnstone | authorlink = Patrick Johnstone | year = 2001 | title = Operation World | publisher = Paternoster | location = London p.165] .
The TSPM and CCC are viewed with suspicion and distrust by some Christians both within and outside China.Fact|date=June 2008 Some claim the TSPM to be a tool of the
Communist Party of Chinato control and regulate the expression of Christianity [Grant, Paul: Ibid.] . As a result, there are groups that refuse to deal with the TSPM or CCC and there exists a large unregistered House Church movement in China with some claiming that it serves the large majority of Protestant Christians in China [24/7 Prayer: [http://www.24-7prayer.com/ow/country2.php?country_id=16#christians Statistics of Christians in China] (URL last accessed on May 1, 2007)] .
There has also been allegations of regular and systematic persecution against Christians associated with the House Church movement and other unregistered Christian organizations in China [Forum 18 Analyses: [http://www.forum18.org/Analyses.php?region=3 Reports from China] (URL last accessed on May 1, 2007)] .
Standing Committee of the TSPM
* Chairperson & Acting Secretary General: Presbyter
* Residential Vice Chairperson: Rev
* Associate Secretary General: Rev
Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association
* [http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/november/30.68.html?start=1 a Christianity Today interview with Ji Jianhong, current head of the TSPM in 2004]
* [http://www.chineseprotestantchurch.org.cn/english/ Chinese Protestant Church]
* [http://www.amityfoundation.org/index.php Amity Foundation]
* [http://www.amitynewsservice.org/page.php?page=1233 TSPM Church Directory]
* [http://www.amitynewsservice.org/page.php?page=1150 FAQs about the Protestant Church in China]
* [http://www.churchinchina.com/ The Church in China]
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