Portal:Christianity in China

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Christianity in China (called 基督教, or Christ religion) is a minority religion that comprises Protestants, Catholics, and a small number of Orthodox Christians. Although its lineage in China is not as ancient as beliefs such as Confucianism or Taoism, or comparable missionary faiths such as Mahayana Buddhism, Christianity has developed in China since at least the 7th century and has demonstrated increasing influence for over 200 years. Growth has been more significant since the loosening of restrictions on religion after the 1970s within the People's Republic. Religious practices are still often tightly controlled by government authorities. Chinese over age 18 in the PRC are permitted to be involved with officially sanctioned Christian meetings through the "Three-Self Patriotic Movement" or the "Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association". Many Chinese Christians also meet in "unregistered" house church meetings. Reports of sporadic persecution against such Christians in Mainland China have caused concern among outside observers. Surveys of the 2010s report between 30 and 40 million Christians, and other estimates between 50 and 60 million.

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Dr. Peter Parker
Medical missions in China by Protestant Christian physicians and surgeons of the 19th and early 20th centuries laid many foundations for modern medicine in China. Western medical missionaries established the first modern clinics and hospitals, provided the first training for nurses and opened the first medical schools in China. Work was also done in opposition to the abuse of opium. Medical treatment and care came to many Chinese who were helplessly addicted and eventually public and official opinion was influenced in favor of bringing an end to the destructive trade. The history of China’s current health institutions can be traced to many of the medicines, methods, and systems introduced by medical missionaries.

With time the expansion and growth of hospitals in China during the 1800s became more widely accepted. By 1937 there were 254 mission hospitals in China, but more than half of these were eventually destroyed by Japanese bombing during World War II or otherwise due to the Second Sino-Japanese War or the Chinese Civil War. After World War II most of these hospitals were at least partially rehabilitated, and eventually passed to the control of the Government of the Peoples' Republic of China, but are still functioning as hospitals.

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Gravestone of Robert Morrison, Old Protestant Cemetery, Macau.jpg
Credit: Glio

Grave of Robert Morrison at Macau, first Protestant missionary to China.

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Wang Laiquan
Wang Laiquan (王来俊) (1835-) was a Chinese Protestant Christian pastor and missionary in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China in the late 1800s. "One of China's great, if unsung Christians, after Pastor Xi Shengmo... he was perhaps the most notable Chinese connected with the China Inland Mission."

Wang was a painter and skilled artisan living in his native Ningbo when he was hired by the pioneer Christian missionary Hudson Taylor to work in his home. As he was working one day on a ladder he overheard a local basket-maker, Feng Ninggui, who had professed faith in Jesus Christ, explaining why he no longer made incense containers that were used for idol worship. Wang was soon converted to Christianity as well under the ministry of Taylor in the days before the founding of the China Inland Mission.

After his baptism in 1859, Taylor met with Wang individually to instruct him in Christian teaching from the Bible and Wang joined the small congregation of believers that was growing in Ningbo.

Wang put his new faith into immediate service and worked at the local mission hospital that Taylor had taken charge of – with no promise of income other than what he believed that the Lord would provide as needed.

Wang soon learned from Taylor how to read and write the Romanized Ningbo dialect and began teaching others what he had learned about God from the Scriptures.

In 1860 Taylor’s health was deteriorating and Wang accompanied the Taylor family to London, England in 1860 as a helper and language tutor for new missionaries. He also assisted Taylor, his wife, Maria and Frederick Foster Gough in the revision of the Ningbo dialect New Testament in Romanized colloquial for the Bible Society. Wang’s native language expertise assured that the final translation would be accurate and trustworthy.

While in England, Wang became part of the Taylor family in many ways: helping with laundry, helping Maria take care of the little children, and joining with Taylor in close personal discipleship training and even medical studies. Taylor took him to meet the famous London Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Together they influenced Spurgeon to promote the cause of missionary work in China with his sermons and writings. Taylor also brought Wang to meet the Bristol orphanage founder George Muller who would later fund one third of the China Inland Mission budget in the following years of 1866-1871.

Taylor promoted Wang's abilities as a preacher even in England and acted as interpreter for him when he spoke to English congregations.

After returning to China he was appointed pastor of the church in Hangzhou begun by the China Inland Mission in 1866-1867. He served as a pastor for 40 years.



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