China a Christian Nation?

Here's a surprising article from Christianity Today.

While China is decidedly not a Christian Nation - obviously, it's decidedly hostile toward Christianity - it seems that the Church there is blowing-up, nonetheless.

According to some estimates, there are 130 million Christians in China. That's almost 10% of their 1.4 Billion population. That's a freaking lot of Christians.

The estimate of 130 million reportedly comes from Ye Xiaowen, the head of China's State Administration of Religious Affairs. According to reliable reports, he used the 130 million head count at two government briefings in 2006. Bob Fu of China Aid Association has cited 130 million as a credible estimate.

Some in China believe that Christianity was the foundation for the freedom that people in the West enjoy. As such, they see Christianity as a means to freedom - an idea that could potentially catch-on across the nation - but would this idea produce authentic Christians?

"After Tiananmen Square, some scholars lost hope. They wanted to start asking the ultimate questions about the purpose of life. People in China have lost faith in human wisdom. The Cultural Revolution was a disaster, but this spiritual awakening is an unexpected result." Hsu's quest led him to the Bible. There, he learned that "faith in God as the Lord is the beginning of freedom."

Although there is, traditionally, great animosity between the Communist Party and Christians, it seems that some party members have become Christians anyway...

One pastor in Guangzhou city says that "quite a lot" of the 400 members of his church are Communist Party members. Professors, doctors, lawyers, and business owners are now seeking more freedom as Christians, while also hoping to openly influence society with the values of the gospel.
If forced to choose between his faith and his political loyalties, Tian said he would choose his faith. But he sees no contradiction. "Every time I share the gospel," he says, "I say, 'I'm a member of the Party.' They are surprised, but I think they will trust me more."

This is, no doubt, odd to those who have worked so hard to protect the Church from the Party - some even claiming that you cannot be Christian and be Communist.

Read the whole article here

What do you think about the growing power of China, and the growth of Christianity there? If Christianity becomes acceptable there, will the Christians lose their edge? Could China go the way of the US?