China House Churches

On a Saturday in June 1998 I attended a meeting which explored the current situation in China. We heard all about a delegation visit to China, and how they had been received by church leaders. It would have been easy to come away with the impression that all was well with the Church in China. I knew that I had to speak up about the plight of the house churches.

China House Churches

Origin

Although it is under the Communists that house churches have flourished in China, we must not imagine that they did not exist before. Some churches in Fujian province were seeking independence from foreign control as early as 1862. The 1911 revolution gave rise to some independent congregations, but the real period of growth was the 1920s. The three indigenous church movements which developed at that time were the True Jesus Church (1917), the Jesus Family (1926) and the Little Flock (1928). They began as house meetings, but grew so fast that they needed to use special buildings.

After the Communist Revolution, those Christians who did not feel at liberty to join the TSPM started house churches. During the Cultural Revolution, no TSPM churches were functioning, and the only way to worship God, apart from on one