Three Self Patriotic Movement

China's Three Self Patriotic Movement

                 Nanjing Union Theological Seminary                      Three Self Church
                 Three Self Patriotic Movement                                Churches in China

Three Self Patriotic Movement

Three Self Patriotic Movement(cont'd from Three Self Patriotic Church)

What is the ultimate aim of the Three Self Patriotic Movement?

Ultimately, the Three Self Patriotic Movement reflects the Communist Party's attempt to use Christianity to further its goals while keeping it out of key segments of the Chinese society.

To accomplish this, the Three Self Patriotic Movement tries to keep a lid on the gospel of Jesus' salvation and bury it under a set of social rules that serve the Party's socio-economic objectives and allow it to control what is after all a “Patriotic Movement”.

This was explicitly stated as the original intent of the Three Self Patriotic Movement. The "Basic Principles" section of its founding manifesto - The Path of China's Christianity in the Construction of a New China - declared in 1950:

“China’s Christian churches and organizations should be based on best efforts and effective ways to teach the people to clearly understand the evils left in China by the imperialists and the reality of the imperialists exploitation of Christianity in the past. They should eliminate imperialist influences on Christianity and be on alert against imperialism, especially the U.S. imperialists using religion to cultivate reactionary forces. The congregants also should be called upon to join the anti-war peace movement and be educated until they thoroughly understand and support the government’s land reform policy. China’s Christian churches and organizations should adopt effective ways to train believers to have a patriotic and democratic spirit, self-respect and self-confidence. The self-governance, self-support and self-propagation advocated by China's Christianity in the past have already achieved considerable results. From now on, this task should be accomplished as quickly as possible while promoting self-criticism and reviewing the implementation of a variety of finishing tasks to streamline savings in order to achieve the goal of Christian reform.” (The People's Daily, front page, September 23, 1950)

Does that mean that the Gospel is not preached in the Three Self churches?

That depends on the Three Self Churches in China. At those led by 'pastors' who are no more than Party operatives, the Gospel is not preached. At those led by pastors who are born again while studying the Bible on their own after their seminary years, the Gospel is preached.

Ultimately, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is too strong for the Chinese Communist Party or anyone else to bury.

(continued at Churches in China)

Three Self Church Churches in China