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The Church of Christ in China (Chinese: 中華基督教會, CCC) was the largest Protestant organization in Nanjing[1]. The church's history goes back to 1922, when several Protestant denominations in China decided to unite. At the first meeting of its General Assembly in 1927, the CCC could claim to represent close to a quarter of China's Protestants, making it the largest Protestant church in China during the 1920s, and the most powerful member of the National Christian Council (NCC).

Cheng Jingyi (誠靜怡), the founder of CCC, had distinguished himself at the 1910 World Missionary Conference in Edunburgh by flatly declaring to the assembled Western Missionaries: "Your denominationalism does not interest Chinese Christians." Cheng was a tireless champion of world church union and promoted cooperative links with Japanese Christians through the 1930s[2].

The other CCC goal was independence: from foreign funds ("self-support"), foreign mission direction ("self-governance"), and foreign preaching and theology ("self-propagation"). The CCC committed its member churches to replacing foreign missions as the dominant partner in the church-mission alliance.

The Hong Kong council was established in 1953 after the Communist Party of China took over mainland China.

Contents

History

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Establishment of CCC

In 1918, after the May Fourth Movement, the patriotism and nationalism were popular with Chinese young people. Marxism was introduced to Chinese people and the ideology of atheism was becoming porpular. Some Chinese people started to argue that Christianity, including the Protestantism, was a tool of western imperial powers for invading China.[3] The following movement--- the Anti-Christian Movement started in 1922, for example, had shown the objection of Chinese people towards Christianity.

Dueling with the challenge, Presybyterian Church, Congregational Church and London Missionary Society in China started to discuss about unifying the Church so as to "do something for China during the tough period at that time"[4].

Finally on July, 1919, Presybyterian Church, Congregational Church and London Missionary Society, and other denominations in China such as China Evangelical Lutheran Church and Christian and Missionary Alliance, were united together as an independent Chinese church in order to localise the Christianity.

Union and independence were the twin goals enshrined in the constitution of the CCC: "to unite Christian believers in China, to plan and promote with united strength the spirit of self-support, self-governance, and self-propagation, in order to extend Christ's Gospel, practise his Way of Life and spread HIs Kingdom throughout the world." Church union had been the goal of the CCC's founder Cheng Jingyi.

The CCC during the Japanese occupation of China

As the Guomindang capital, Nanjing was a natural target of the Japanese forces that landed in Shanghai in 1937. When the region came under attack in November, Chinese and foreign Christian leaders formed an International Commission to aid refugees fleeing before the Japanese army.

Many Chinese, including CCC leaders, quit Nanjing before the Japanese arrived. All CCC pastors and lay preachers working outside the city fled when the Japanese attacked. Four of the eight CCC churches were badly damaged in the attack, one was taken over by the Japanese army, and those in the south end of Nanjing District became inaccessible because of continued fighting.

Despite these losses, attrition within the CCC community was not catastrophic. At the first wartime annual meeting of the Nanjing District Association, NDA chair Wilson Mills estimated that of the 3,700 members of CCC congregations in the district, 2,700 remained[5]. Only sixteen had died, none of them clergy. The rest had fled, among them, the CCC's wealthiest members.

The Japanese army was aware of Christianity in Nanjing, appointing a Japanese pastor to serve on the "pacification team" dispatched to restore order. Over the next year, Japanese religious personnel were posted as advisors to local Chinese Christian organizations. They told their Chinese colleagues that they were there to help their Chinese brethren through hard times and that they could put in a good word for them should problems with the new authorities arise[6].

The East Asia Mission, Japan's Protestant mission to Asian countries, also sent clergy to Nanjing that year. Mission representatives also founded an organization called the Chinese Christian Church (employing the same name as the CCC) and sset up a Japanese language school[7].

Initially, most Chinese would have nothing to do with the Japanese advisors and organizations, but as times got harder and Christians feared that their activities might be curtailed, they accepted their presence. The authorities made use of this acquiescence, calling on Christians to take part in the public demonstrations that were organized to create a facade of popular support for occupation policies. Records of the CCC in Nanjing fade out after the bombing of Pearl Harbor The CCC's foreign executive secretary, A.J. Fisher, reported in 1943 following his repatriation to the United States that the Shanghai office had difficulty finding out what was happening in Nanjing after 1941. After the war, CCC general secretary H. H. Tsui, who had worked in Shanghai under Japanese supervision through the war, visited Nanjing. He found that "the strain of the war had tolf heavily on them. Each church had kept going, but this was due rather to the pastors supporting themselves than to the churches supporting the pastors[8]".

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Boynton and Boynton, p.xi
  2. ^ A.R. Kepler to A.E. Armstrong, 4 December 1939, UCA, FA 180, box 1, file 1
  3. ^ Introduction of Church of Christ in China. 2009-08-07. Retrieved on 2009-08-07.
  4. ^ Introduction of Church of Christ in China. 2009-08-07. Retrieved on 2009-08-07.
  5. ^ Wilson Plumer Mills (1883-1959), a Presbyterian from South Carolina, was one of the many foreign missionaries who stayed on in Nanjing. Mills served as the English secretary pro term of the CCC General Assembly in Shanghai after the war
  6. ^ Hiyane, p.321. A handwritten constitution for the Nanjing District Association of the Chinese Christian Church, undated but probably from 1942.
  7. ^ Interview with Situ Tong, Nanjiing, 11 April 1989
  8. ^ Minutes of the Standing Committee of the CCC

Christianity in China portal

The Church of Christ in China (Chinese: 中華基督教會, CCC) was the largest Protestant organization in Nanjing[1]. The church's history goes back to 1922, when several Protestant denominations in China decided to unite. At the first meeting of its General Assembly in 1927, the CCC could claim to represent close to a quarter of China's Protestants, making it the largest Protestant church in China during the 1920s, and the most powerful member of the National Christian Council (NCC).

Cheng Jingyi (誠靜怡), the founder of CCC, had distinguished himself at the 1910 World Missionary Conference in Edunburgh by flatly declaring to the assembled Western Missionaries: "Your denominationalism does not interest Chinese Christians." Cheng was a tireless champion of world church union and promoted cooperative links with Japanese Christians through the 1930s[2].

The other CCC goal was independence: from foreign funds ("self-support"), foreign mission direction ("self-governance"), and foreign preaching and theology ("self-propagation"). The CCC committed its member churches to replacing foreign missions as the dominant partner in the church-mission alliance.

The Hong Kong council was established in 1953 after the Communist Party of China took over mainland China.

Contents

History

Establishment of CCC

In 1918, after the May Fourth Movement, the patriotism and nationalism were popular with Chinese young people. Marxism was introduced to Chinese people and the ideology of atheism was becoming porpular. Some Chinese people started to argue that Christianity, including the Protestantism, was a tool of western imperial powers for invading China.[3] The following movement--- the Anti-Christian Movement started in 1922, for example, had shown the objection of Chinese people towards Christianity.

Dueling with the challenge, Presybyterian Church, Congregational Church and London Missionary Society in China started to discuss about unifying the Church so as to "do something for China during the tough period at that time"[4].

Finally on July, 1919, Presybyterian Church, Congregational Church and London Missionary Society, and other denominations in China such as China Evangelical Lutheran Church and Christian and Missionary Alliance, were united together as an independent Chinese church in order to localise the Christianity.

Union and independence were the twin goals enshrined in the constitution of the CCC: "to unite Christian believers in China, to plan and promote with united strength the spirit of self-support, self-governance, and self-propagation, in order to extend Christ's Gospel, practise his Way of Life and spread HIs Kingdom throughout the world." Church union had been the goal of the CCC's founder Cheng Jingyi.

The CCC during the Japanese occupation of China

As the Guomindang capital, Nanjing was a natural target of the Japanese forces that landed in Shanghai in 1937. When the region came under attack in November, Chinese and foreign Christian leaders formed an International Commission to aid refugees fleeing before the Japanese army.

Many Chinese, including CCC leaders, quit Nanjing before the Japanese arrived. All CCC pastors and lay preachers working outside the city fled when the Japanese attacked. Four of the eight CCC churches were badly damaged in the attack, one was taken over by the Japanese army, and those in the south end of Nanjing District became inaccessible because of continued fighting.

Despite these losses, attrition within the CCC community was not catastrophic. At the first wartime annual meeting of the Nanjing District Association, NDA chair Wilson Mills estimated that of the 3,700 members of CCC congregations in the district, 2,700 remained[5]. Only sixteen had died, none of them clergy. The rest had fled, among them, the CCC's wealthiest members.

The Japanese army was aware of Christianity in Nanjing, appointing a Japanese pastor to serve on the "pacification team" dispatched to restore order. Over the next year, Japanese religious personnel were posted as advisors to local Chinese Christian organizations. They told their Chinese colleagues that they were there to help their Chinese brethren through hard times and that they could put in a good word for them should problems with the new authorities arise[6].

The East Asia Mission, Japan's Protestant mission to Asian countries, also sent clergy to Nanjing that year. Mission representatives also founded an organization called the Chinese Christian Church (employing the same name as the CCC) and sset up a Japanese language school[7].

Initially, most Chinese would have nothing to do with the Japanese advisors and organizations, but as times got harder and Christians feared that their activities might be curtailed, they accepted their presence. The authorities made use of this acquiescence, calling on Christians to take part in the public demonstrations that were organized to create a facade of popular support for occupation policies. Records of the CCC in Nanjing fade out after the bombing of Pearl Harbor The CCC's foreign executive secretary, A.J. Fisher, reported in 1943 following his repatriation to the United States that the Shanghai office had difficulty finding out what was happening in Nanjing after 1941. After the war, CCC general secretary H. H. Tsui, who had worked in Shanghai under Japanese supervision through the war, visited Nanjing. He found that "the strain of the war had tolf heavily on them. Each church had kept going, but this was due rather to the pastors supporting themselves than to the churches supporting the pastors[8]".

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Boynton and Boynton, p.xi
  2. ^ A.R. Kepler to A.E. Armstrong, 4 December 1939, UCA, FA 180, box 1, file 1
  3. ^ Introduction of Church of Christ in China. 2009-08-07. Retrieved on 2009-08-07.
  4. ^ Introduction of Church of Christ in China. 2009-08-07. Retrieved on 2009-08-07.
  5. ^ Wilson Plumer Mills (1883-1959), a Presbyterian from South Carolina, was one of the many foreign missionaries who stayed on in Nanjing. Mills served as the English secretary pro term of the CCC General Assembly in Shanghai after the war
  6. ^ Hiyane, p.321. A handwritten constitution for the Nanjing District Association of the Chinese Christian Church, undated but probably from 1942.
  7. ^ Interview with Situ Tong, Nanjiing, 11 April 1989
  8. ^ Minutes of the Standing Committee of the CCC


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