Emerging from the Chinese Church

Insights from Baptists…

February 19, 2007

I did my occasional blog perusing today and I came across Steve McCoy’s blog, the Reformissionary, and heard that the Southern Baptist Baptist Identity Conference is going on. Even though I refrain from referring to myself as a “Baptist”, I’ve learned a lot from teachers and pastors in the Southern Baptist Denomination. Ed Stetzer, one of the guys I quoted two posts back spoke at this conference and I’m going to listen to his lecture in a bit.

Now the INTRIGUING part of why I’m mentioning this on this site is because a comment about Stetzer’s lecture that was left on McCoy’s recent post by another blogger.

“1) the conservative resurgence was a good thing in its emphasis on theology and biblicism, and (2) that it has failed to pass the test of producing lives (speaking generally as to its affect on the convention as a whole) more passionate about missions (cf. James 3:13). That is an absolutely stinging rebuke. This is our job brothers. This is where our theological enthusiasm must be channeled. We must transfer our theological passion into a fuel that drives contextualized evangelism. ”

I know some people who are really conservative in their doctrine and theology, and that can be good, if ONLY it drives that contextualized evangelism! I think it was a really ball-sy thing for Stetzer to say… ESPECIALLY when I gather that the Southern Baptist usually assume that the good theology and biblicism will equate to a strong passion for missions.

Even though there were only a few, reading those comments have been great!

There was also another comment about how the SB’s were losing creative people in their church (at least what they found).

My friends, this is the connection I’ve found. We are losing creativity in the chinese church.

We are losing the creative minds for simply intellectual minds. We are losing creative minds for emotionally-charged individuals who leave the church. Creativity is one of the keys to the local body of Christ simply because God calls us to be and honestly, we as chinese Christians don’t waiver in that direction much at all.

Not to simply make generalizations, but Chinese (and asians in general) have a need to do well in school so they can have good careers and make a decent living… thus the jokes about chinese people only wanting to be doctors, lawyers, etc. I think partially, our culture’s pressures has affected our possibilities for being more creative people than simply rational and intellectual. This is not to say rational and intellectual people can’t be creative, but I am just displaying the evidence that I have come across.

We need realize again the urgency to be creative and have outlets to execute these creative ideas in the church. Sometimes I find that when we start looking towards the need for creativity, some people get scared of all the work it will take to start something new or just to start thinking and dialoguing about something new to happen. Some people feel nothing is wrong, or say that everything is fine in the chinese church… when certain people say “that was good/ok/alright, it’s all in God’s hands”… FOR SURE, but it doesn’t give us an excuse to let things just be? ESPECIALLY as leaders. (I hate it when we cheapen God’s grace)

Well, I don’t have any practical examples on hand, but what I can promise is that I will be starting to think about more creative ways to allow for creativity to happen in the local chinese church…

Will somebody creative from the chinese church please stand up?


Posted in Chinese Church


February 7, 2007
1 Comment

Man, taking criticism is tough stuff!  But I guess that’s all part of life.

Having some thoughts about the Chinese Church, I think I’ve come to see some categories that I can parallel it to the people categories of the Ed Stetzer’s emerging church thoughts.

Relevants – I think there are some people who want to change the church to become more “relevant” to our culture.  They are passionate about the bible and for “orthodox” doctrine but want to change things about the church in terms of ecclesiology and practice.  This can probably include worship, preaching style, small group interaction, social Justice practice, etc.  This is all a focus of reclaiming a biblically centered approach to preaching the gospel but while keeping relevant to the culture around them.

Reconstructionists – Those who feel the current church model itself needs a change from its irrelevant structure.  So the change in church model needs to change to more about solely being “small groups” or perhaps even being a house church or something to that extent.  So in their rejection of organizational church models, they keep to a more orthodox teaching, but do it in another organizational way than the institutional church.

Revisionists – They are questioning everything about the church, doctrine and orthodox teaching, and end up with different theology and reasoning from the traditional church.  According to Stetzer, this seems to be more prevalent to younger evangelical types who are disillusioned with the current church in its teaching and structure.

I for one am very much more in line with being one of the Relevants.  I want to preach the gospel message, I do have questions that I am able to ask in seminary and shape my theology, but I also see the need to be relevant to this culture.  I think it does an injustice to “let things be” in our church.  People seem to cling to the concept of “Grace” to let things keep going on the way they are going.  I choose to the approach to question and do something about it.

It’s always going to be a risk in being prideful and think that as a 2nd Generation, one can know the ins and outs of chinese church and have a solution for everything… but I think with some more dialogue with 1st gen chinese Christians and conversing with my peers of the 2nd Generation, there can be a better synergy towards something better.

Something more faithful to the body that Jesus was talking about.  Especially to something more proactive than just something that is just unquestioned.

So in all,

Just let me QUESTION already :p (Cuz I will anyways 😉