To better control the growth and influence of Christianity, the Chinese government plans to incorporate Buddhist scriptures and Confucian teachings into the Bible and edit worship chants to include Chinese characteristics, the leader of a persecution monitoring body.
Rev. Bob Fu, founder of the persecution watchdog organization China Aid, told Congress that the Three Self-Patriots Movement and the Chinese Christian Council (Chinese state-sanctioned Protestant organizations) have developed a five-year plan aimed at “promoting the sinization of Christianity. , ” Christian Post reports.
The plan, finalized at a meeting in March, proposes “to cultivate and implement core socialist values” and will be overseen by the national office for religious affairs. “The seminaries and churches of the TSPM and the CCC in every province, autonomous region and municipality will cooperate with her,” said Fu.
To “sinize” (bring under Chinese control) Christianity, the government is considering “retranslating” the Old Testament and providing new commentary to the New Testament, Fu revealed.
“The plan made it clear that ‘the sinization of Christianity’ meant changing ‘Christianity in China’ to ‘Chinese Christianity,'” he said. [The plan] pointed out that “the heart and soul of sinicizing Christianity is to sinicize Christian theology,” and even offered to “re-translate the bible or rewrite biblical commentaries.”
A retranslation would be a summary of the Old Testament with Buddhist scriptures and Confucian teachings and a new commentary for the New Testament, Fu said.
“There are broad lines that the new Bible should not look westernized and [should look] Chinese and reflect the Chinese ethic of Confucianism and socialism, ”Fu told CP. “The Old Testament will be messed up. The New Testament will have new commentaries to interpret it. “
Fu added that the five-year plan calls for “incorporating Chinese elements into religious services, hymns and songs, clergy clothing and the architectural style of church buildings.”
“This includes” editing and publishing worship songs with Chinese characteristics and promoting the sinization of worship music, “using uniquely Chinese art forms, such as Chinese painting, calligraphy, inscription and paper cutting to express Christian faith, ”he said. . “[It’s also] encourage churches to blend in the style of Chinese architecture with the local architectural style. “
Fu revealed that already, state officials have urged 20,000 underground house churches to close and join the state-sanctioned church. The leaders of these churches, he said, must swear their loyalty to the Communist Party.
“The first criterion they must meet is whether they can make a public commitment to [uphold] the words of the party and the way of the party. These slogans are hung around the church, even in many Catholic churches, on the walls and on the doors. On the front door it is written: ‘Hear the words of the feast, follow the path of the feast.’ How can you have true independent faith as believers? As Christian believers, we are taught to obey the Lord’s command and listen to the Lord’s command. Basically, the Communist Party wants to impose itself as the Lord on the church. “
Fu told CP that according to the former president of the TSPM, they felt that “the doctrine of the justification of faith by Jesus Christ is too narrow.”
“He promotes righteousness through love by doing good deeds. He basically said that God is very inclusive, so these Communist Party heroes he listed are doing so many good deeds and they should be accepted in heaven by our God, ”he explained. “It’s kind of a universalist doctrine.”
Since the official “Religious Affairs Regulations” came into effect on February 1, 2018, Christians have suffered increased persecution from the Communist government. Authorities have demolished hundreds of Protestant churches, knocked down crosses from steeples, expelled congregations and jailed pastors.
As previously reported, hundreds of Chinese pastors recently signed a statement denouncing the government’s efforts to curtail Christianity.
“[U]Under no circumstances will we encourage our churches to join a government-controlled religious organization, register with the religious administration department, or accept any type of affiliation, ”pastors say. “Fine” imposed on our churches because of our faith. “
The statement also makes four points regarding the Chinese government’s continued crackdown on Christian churches.
Christian churches in China unconditionally believe that the Bible is the Word and Revelation of God.
Christian churches in China are eager and determined to walk the way of the cross of Christ and are more than willing to emulate the older generation of saints who suffered and were martyred for their faith.
Christian churches in China are willing to obey the Chinese authorities that God has appointed and to respect the authority of the government to govern society and human conduct.
For this reason, we believe and are obligated to teach all believers that all true churches in China which belong to Christ must adhere to the principle of the separation of church and state and must proclaim Christ as the only one. head of the church.
In the statement, the pastors say they are prepared to bear any loss – “even the loss of our freedom and our lives”, for the sake of the gospel.