Critiquing the Political Instrumentality of the Christian Faith in Chinese Christianity

faith-and-politics

Among certain “Chinese Christian intellectuals,” the use of the Christian faith and even the reformed faith as a mere instrument for a certain secular political purpose, is something that has plagued Chinese Christianity for about a century, often at the expense of doctrinal integrity.

Early Chinese Communist Party figures such as Chen Duxiu expressed his affection for Christianity for that purpose; the Communist Party after the establishment of the PRC uses religion at large and Christianity in particular to control the masses for its political ends by undermining orthodox Christian doctrines, through the efforts of so-called “theological reconstruction;” Today, Christianity is an instrument for the realization of the nationalistic “Chinese Dream” under the Xi Jinping regime.

The more liberal “cultural Christians” of the 80s and 90s and perhaps into the 2000s, similarly viewed Christianity as a means to a political end, for bringing about democracy, constitutionalism, and freedom, as some of these intellectuals realized the Christian roots of these ideals. These “cultural Christians” are for the most part unbelievers, and lack fundamental convictions towards the basic tenets of the Christian faith.

These days, many Chinese Christian intellectuals are evangelicals rather than the unbelieving “cultural Christians”; some are somewhat reformed in their theology, but they still somehow tacitly and perhaps even unknowingly treat the Christian faith as seemingly primarily for a political ends. This is manifested when they are willing to compromise doctrinal integrity of the Orthodox Biblical Christian faith for something they deem politically convenient. This is truly unfortunate, showing their lack of conviction (perhaps even lack of basic understanding) to the genuine Christian faith and some of the most basic doctrines that evangelical and Reformed Christians hold dear.

I believe this kind of misuse of the Christian faith, this kind of theological ignorance and naiveté, as it has been for about a century, will not help to realize a more just society, nor does it glorify God, when the Christian faith is used a mere instrument for a secular political end, while the orthodox doctrines are undermined.

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