True Jesus Church: Wikis

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The True Jesus Church is a non-denominational church that originated in Beijing, China, in 1917. The current elected chairman of the TJC International Assembly is Preacher Yong-Ji Lin [1]. Today, there are approximately 2.5 million believers [2] in forty eight countries and six continents. The church is established during the Pentecostalism in China within Christianity. This movement started in United States which spread to China during the time of the first Pentecostal revival or, the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles led by William J. Seymour in 1906-1908. The church believes in One True God theology [3]. They were also one of the three [4]indigenous Chinese house churches that existed before the Communist takeover of China in 1949 [5]. The church aims to unite the churches as One Body of Christ and to preach the gospel to all nations before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Contents

The ten main doctrines and beliefs

The Church believes the sacraments must fulfill three requirements according to the Scripture. First, Jesus Christ set examples and performed the sacraments. Second, Jesus stated the sacraments are directly related to our salvation, eternal life, entering the Heavenly Kingdom; and to have a part with Jesus. Lastly, Jesus Christ instructed the Disciples to do it.

The ten essential doctrines and beliefs of the True Jesus Church are:

1. Holy Spirit: "Receiving the promised Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking in tongues, is the guarantee of our inheritance of the Kingdom of Heaven". [6]

2. Baptism: "Water baptism is the sacrament for the remission of sins and for regeneration. The baptism must take place in natural living water, such as the river, sea, or spring. Baptism, along with faith and repentance, is necessary for the fogiveness of sins. [7]. The Baptist, whom already has had received baptism of water and the Holy Spirit, conducts the baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And the person receiving the baptism must be completely immersed in water with head bowed and face downward". [8]

3. Foot Washing: "The sacrament of washing of feet enables one to have a part with the Lord Jesus. It also serves as a constant reminder that one should have love, holiness, humility, forgiveness and service. Every person who has received water baptism must have their feet washed in the name of Jesus Christ. Mutual feet washing may be practiced whenever is appropriate".[9]

4. Holy Communion: "The Holy Communion is the sacrament to commemorate the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. It enables us to partake of the flesh and blood of our Lord and to be in communion with Him so that we can have eternal life and be raised on the Last Day. This sacrament shall be held as often as possible. Only one unleavened bread and grape juice shall be used". [10]

5. Sabbath Day: "The Sabbath day, the seventh day of the week (Saturday), is a Holy Day, blessed and sanctified by God. It is to be observed under the Lord's grace for the commemoration of God's creation and salvation and with the hope of eternal rest in the life to come". [11]

6. Jesus Christ: "Jesus Christ, the Word who became flesh, died on the cross for the redemption of sinners, resurrected on the third day and ascended to heaven. He is the only Saviour of mankind, the Creator of the heavens and earth, and the only True God".

The church differs from most Christian denominations in that they do not believe the doctrine of the Trinity—A doctrine affirmed in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in 325 A.D. They believe in the One True God theology which is similar but still much different from the Oneness Pentecostal view of God. They are also different from other theologies such as Modalism, Arianism, Adoptionism, Docetism, Sabellianism, Binitarianism, Unitarianism, etc.

7. The Bible: "The Holy Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, is inspired by God, the only scriptural truth, and the standard for Christian living".

8. Salvation: "Salvation is given by the grace of God through faith. Believers must rely on the Holy Spirit to pursue holiness, to honour God, and to love humanity".

9. The Church: "The True Jesus Church, established by our Lord Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit during the time of the 'latter rain', is the restored True Church of the Apostolic time".

10. Second Coming: "The Lord's Second Coming will take place on the Last Day when He descends from heaven to judge the world: the righteous will receive eternal life, while the wicked will be eternally condemned".

This is the latest English version that was adopted during the 9th TJC Delegates Conference in May 2005 [12].

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Other beliefs

The church does not celebrate Christmas since the 25th of December was originally associated with a pagan ritual celebrating the birthday of the Sun which was later adopted into the Christian church during the reign of the Roman emperor Constantine in the 4th century AD [13].

The church also does not celebrate Halloween because the roots of Halloween can be traced back to an ancient Celtic festival called “Samhain” (meaning “Summer’s end,” pronounced “sow-en”). The festival took place on October 31 and marked the beginning of the dark season, which was associated with death and the waning of the sun.

Easter is not observed either, because the name “Easter” is linked to the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring [14].

Historical background and origins

The successful attempts to evangelize China by Nestorian Christians from Persia (635-845 AD), the Roman Catholics and Jesuits (1265, 1601-1724) were short lived - they fell out of favour with the Chinese emperor and saw only scattered underground efforts [15]

The first Protestant missionaries to labor on Chinese soil began in 1807 with the arrival of the Scotsman Robert Morrison. After the Opium War in the 1840s missionaries from all over the world began to arrive in China. Hudson Taylor founded the China Inland Mission in 1865.

The 19th century witnessed a great increase in the number of Christians. In 1900 there were almost 111,000 Protestant Christians with 1,600 Chinese Christian workers and 2,000 missionaries.

The origins of TJC

The three early workers of the True Jesus Church were Paul Wei [16], Ling-Sheng Zhang [17], and later Barnabas Zhang [18]. According to the church history, Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to be baptized in Yongding River [19], West of Beijing, near the site of Marco Polo Bridge [20] where the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War had started later.

Later, the early co-workers met and firmly believed that it was the Lord's will for them to set up a true church that would correct all the past errors and misinterpretations in the doctrines of the other denominations and eventually reach perfection before the Lord's second coming.

For more facts and information, see the Regional histories below, China's TJC History, and Taiwan's TJC History.

Regional histories

In 1956 the Taiwanese General Assembly was established in Taichung.

In 1967 the International Assembly was formed in Los Angeles, United States (their administrative branch) [21]

Although most of the believers were located in China, contact with the mainland was lost shortly after the 1949 Communist takeover in and subsequent persecution of Christians throughout China.

Membership

Image-TJC Logo.jpg

By 2001, an estimated ten percent of Protestants in China - over 200,000 in Jiangsu province alone -were members of the True Jesus Church, and in some areas almost whole villages were converted to this church. The church claimed in 2004 to have 440 churches and 106 prayer houses with 86,970 members from around forty eight countries in six continents and prudent estimates of over 2.5 million more members in China. [22].

Administration

The workers are called divine workers who are the Elders, Deacons and Preachers [23] which are all below the fellow believers in the system. The following church offices pertain to this church: A "Deacon" is defined as a member who has been ordained by the church to tend to the faith of the congregation, conduct sacraments, and set good examples for others. An "Elder" is a title given to a TJC member whom has attained at least fifty years of age and has ministered in the Church for at a minimum of seven years. A TJC "preacher" is a full-time church minister whose duties are prayer, preaching, attending to members’ spiritual needs, and the conducting of sacraments [24]

Nowadays, representatives from each of the True Jesus Churches in the world also meet once every few years to elect a chairman of the International Assembly which focuses on the Church's development and future progress internationally.

There is a General Assembly in most of the countries mentioned above. The General assembly comprises the Theology institution, Financial sector. In Taiwan, Central and local headquarters seem able to deal with the ever-expanding network of both rural and urban churches.[25]. The church's publication effort has also helped the church to grow. Tracts have been written and produced in great numbers and these are made readily available to each church member. The press has become more sophisticated in its presentation of tracts and scriptural materials and is better able to meet the needs of the expanding church [26].

In some countries where there are not enough numbers of believers, prayer houses are established. When the number of believers are sufficient, a church dedication ceremony is made.

Nomenclature

Initially, the proposed name was "Jesus True Church" (耶穌真教會) but while the application for the church’s name was being registered at the Beijing police station the characters were accidentally assembled as “True Jesus Church” (真耶穌教會) [27] and attached onto the church building. By 1927, the Shanghai TJC General Assembly decided to stick to the name.

References, Notes and Further Reading

  1. ^ Chinese: 林永基
  2. ^ Although the Los Angeles based IA church website states a figure of 1.5 million, church sources from China say the figure is closer to the range of 2.4 - 3 million within China itself. See Allan Anderson: An introduction to Pentecostalism: global charismatic Christianity, p.133-4.
  3. ^ The "One True God theology" is a direct translation from the Chinese term: "獨一神觀", in which the original English equivalent is known as Unitarianism
  4. ^ The other two Chinese house churches were the Jesus Family and Little Flock
  5. ^ House Churches in China, From The Sabbath Sentinel
  6. ^ Mark 1:10, Luke 4:1; 11:13; Acts 2:33; Acts 1:5; 2:4; 10:44-45; Ephesian 1:13-14; Mark 16:17
  7. ^ 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins' (Acts 2:38)
  8. ^ Matthew 3:15-16; Mark 16:16; John 3:5; Titus 3:5; Acts 2:38; 19:4-6; 22:1
  9. ^ John 13:1:18
  10. ^ Luke 22:17-20; John 6:53-58; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; 11:23-29
  11. ^ Genesis 2:1-3; Deuteronomy 5:12; Isaiah 58:13-14; Matthew 12:8-12; Mark 2:27-28; Luke 4:16; Acts 17:2 Hebrew 3:19-4:11
  12. ^ The Statement of Faith
  13. ^ Is Christmas Biblical?
  14. ^ known variously as Eostre,1 Ostara,2 or Eastre.3 The Saxon people in Northern Europe dedicated an annual festival to her to give thanks for newness of life after the winter. In the ancient Near East, people used to worship female deities with similar sounding names and who, again, were linked to spring and fertility rites. They include Ishtar in Babylon and Astarte (Ashtaroth) in Phoenicia. It is possible that they were worshipping the same deity, albeit by different names.
  15. ^ History of Missions in China
  16. ^ Chinese name: 魏保羅
  17. ^ Chinese name: 張靈生
  18. ^ Chinese name: 張巴拿巴
  19. ^ Chinese name: 永定河
  20. ^ Chinese: 盧溝橋
  21. ^ A Brief History of the Establishment of the International Assembly
  22. ^ The "exact" number is difficult to determine accurately and there is a discrepancy due to problems in the disseminating of information within China. For further information, see Alan hunter: Protestantism in contemporary China, p.66-70. The number of TJC members in China were obtained from the TJC preachers in China itself. Depending on how many Protestants there are in China, the figure for TJC members could be at least three million
  23. ^ (Wanguo gengzhengjiao bao 1919, 1:1)
  24. ^ ‘Visiting the Church’, a church brochure giving a glossary of church terminologies.
  25. ^ In style and in function, the General Assembly seems much the same as the legislative organ of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. Yet, in theory, such as assembly and the basic ecclesiology of the church itself is based, according to church leaders, upon Apostolic precedent. On church ecclesiology, see True Jesus Church, Jiàohuì Zǔzhī Yuánlǐ (教會組織原理)
  26. ^ The authors and editors of the magazines are now able to target their audienxes more clearly, writing different types of articles for different types of church audiences. A personal of a typical issue of the monthly Holy Spirit (聖靈月刊) and Manna publications demonstrate this point
  27. ^ Christian Museum: sectarian introduction - True Jesus Church (Chinese)

Further reading: Christianity and China (2001): Burdened Past, Hopeful Future - Stephen Uhalley and Xiaoxin Wu

See also

External links


Simple English

The True Jesus Church is a Christian church. It was started during the early 20th century. It is an independent Church. It split from the Pentecostal movement in China. The pentecostal movement is an evangelical movement within Christianity. This group practices faith healing, speaking in tongues, baptism by immersion, feet washing and the Saturday Sabbath. By 1949 they claimed 120,000 members, meeting in 700 churches. Although banned in the People's Republic of China in 1958 along with all the other Christian churches, they were permitted to reopen in 1985 and since then they have experienced rapid growth and have spread nationwide, although they are strongest in Jiangsu, Hunan and Fujian provinces. They strongly emphasis daily prayer, both private and public, and engage in vigorous evangelism [1].

Currently their churches are found in forty eight countries and six continents. Followers of the Church believe that God has only a divine nature, so they therefore reject the idea of the Trinity.

Christian holidays were often near the dates of pagan ones. This is also true for Easter, Christmas and Good Friday. The feast of Sol invictus was on the 25th of December. It was a very important holiday in Ancient Rome. Because of the pagan origins of the holidays, the True Jesus Church does not celebrate Easter and Christmas. The movement has between 1.5 and 2.5 million followers.

References

  1. Lambert, T. 2006, China’s Christian Millions, Monarch Books, Oxford, pp. 59-60
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