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Denominations (or branches of Christianity)
China is sometimes presented as the country without denominations. Or denominations are only brought in and propagated by foreigners.
Of course, this is not true. There are denominations in China. Denominations are going to be a natural result of “men” studying scripture.
Though denominations might not be as organized as they are in America, because of government restrictions, they still exist.
Also, there is a big divide that exist in China, that we in America don’t have to worry about. This is the divide between the government controlled churches and the house churches. Then within these are many divisions.
Here are some of the distinctions that we believe as Baptist that would separate us from much of what you see in China:
Autonomy of the local church (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 6:1-3)
We believe that each church is a local independent church that should be self-governing, self-support and self-governing. There are many “networks” in China that would assume authority over other churches. The government church would state this truth but only mean “autonomy” in relation to no western authority. They ‘the government’ would assume authority.
Separation of Church and State (Matthew 22:15-22)
The Three-self Church is controlled and under the Communist government in China. They are not separate. Many will come under their umbrella to avoid persecution.
Believer’s Baptism (Acts 2:41-47)
We believe that a person is to be baptized by immersion in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit after salvation, with not merit for salvation. In China, it is common to find those who received sprinkling for baptism and/or those who believe baptism truly washes away your sins and is part of the salvation process.
Qualifications of a Pastor and/or Deacon (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1-2)
We would disagree about the qualifications of who can be a pastor or deacon. “Women pastors” are very common (if not the majority) in house churches and government churches.
By these distinctions, you can see there is concern about who to partner with in China. There is a need for men to start Biblically sound churches.
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