Chinese Church Voices Has Moved

As of this week, Chinese Church Voices has moved to its new home on the ChinaSource website (www.chinasource.org). This means two things:

  1. We will no longer be posting new content to this site. All future Chinese Church Voices posts will be posted on the ChinaSource website, here.
  2. Going forward, subscribers will receive new posts by email via the MailChimp email platform instead of the WordPress platform.

Technically, you should not have to do anything to facilitate this switch; we have already transferred the mailing lists. If you notice that you are not receiving new posts, please check your spam and/or junk box to make sure it didn’t land there. If so, you will need to identify the new “from” address as a safe one.

If it is not there and you are still not getting it, please contact us at subscriptions@chinasource.org, and we will make sure that you get back on the list.

It is our intention and hope that there will not be any disruption during this transition, but we all know that technology often has a mind of its own. So please, if you are experience any problems,or have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at subscriptions@chinasource.org.

Thanks for your interest in and support of this site. We are looking forward to another great year of Chinese Church Voices!

 

 

 

 

Poverty and Spiritual Backwardness

In addition to church leaders and ordinary Christians using online forums to discuss matters of faith, academics are joining the conversation as well. On his blog, Professor Liu Peng recently wrote about the relationship between poverty and “spiritual backwardness,” which refers to a spiritual void, or lack of spiritual beliefs. Writing from the perspective of sociology, Professor Peng argues that the most serious type of poverty in China is the “poverty of faith,” and unless that is addressed the problem of material poverty cannot be solved.

And while the terminology used, such as spiritual and cultural “backwardness” may be jarring to the western reader, it is an acceptable part of Chinese discourse.

The post is translated in full below.

Miao flute festivalSpiritual Backwardness is the Root of Poverty

Wealth and resources that flow from a fixed ethical framework do not transform ‪rural communities; rather a community is transformed through religious belief and a system of values. This is a new paradigm of social construction of China’s rural areas and is worthy of exploration.

Poverty is not a consequence, but a phenomenon. The cause of poverty is a backward spiritual faith and consciousness that inevitably leads to backward behavior. If a person, region, or even people group does not have a religious belief or religious awareness, then backwardness is inevitable.

Samuel Pollard [1864-1915, a CIM missionary to China] transformed Shimenkan, not by investing large amounts of money and resources, but by transforming the hearts of the people. He started by transforming people’s ideas and their religious beliefs to establish a pillar of religious faith. After changing the hearts of the people, new actions flowed from these new beliefs.  Pollard’s weapon against poverty was not money; he brought faith, hope, and love.

‪Pollard’s experience brings to mind a quote from Mao Zedong: “In all the world, people are the most precious (世界上人是最可宝贵的).” The spiritual becomes material and the material becomes spiritual, but not with a truckload of flour or fertilizer.

Pollard began with the transformation of the person. The Big Flowery Miao (大花苗) [a sub-set of the Miao ethnic group] were very backward, not in the material sense – (other Chinese people were also very backward); – the backwardness of the Big Flowery Miao lay in its cultural roots and consciousness.

Pollard changed the religious beliefs and convictions of the people so that they became “new persons.” While it’s true that money is important for getting things done, if Pollard had instead used money to buy people off in Shimenkan, then he would have failed.

Lifting people out of material poverty is not an easy task. It requires a great deal of effort, such as building roads and teaching people to develop good manners. But even more difficult is lifting people out of spiritual poverty. Is lifting someone out of poverty a matter of taking off their work gloves and dressing them in a suit and tie? Not necessarily.

‪Today, Chinese people can say that on the material level they have lifted themselves out of poverty; however spiritually they have sunk into an even deeper poverty. To put it bluntly, that there is no faith. People witness unfaithful actions and get used to it because of the overwhelming numbers of corrupt officials who have no faith. Under these circumstances, if, for a time, you obtain material success while there are no spiritual beliefs, you can still afford to lose prior gains.

China wants to become powerful and escape from poverty. To do this, it of course needs culture, education, and material achievements. But what we need even more is religious faith. Without religious faith material power is temporary. Without a pillar of faith, countless powerful empires have been wiped out in the end.

The lessons of history are worth pondering. In the end, what does China need? What kind of poverty is the real poverty? In my opinion, the poverty of religious faith, or spiritual poverty, is the most fundamental poverty.

If we achieve a highly developed civilization, but do not guarantee the political system, the economic system, and especially the legal system, then all these civil achievements can still be wiped out in a day; falling backward will be inevitable.

In the 1920s and 30’s, Shimenkan was famous in China as the cultural capital of the southwest, producing many talented and top-notch people. Even soldiers of the warlord forces lost in sporting competitions with the ordinary people there. If such a place were to fall back into poverty today there would be some profound lessons to learn.

Why is it that places which had previously achieved rather good material and spiritual culture fell back again into poverty? Prior to China’s reform and opening up, Weining county, in which Shimenkan is located, was an extremely poor county in China. Can this poor area achieve a high level of civilization? After it does achieve it, will it regress back to ignorance and backwardness? I believe that if there are no institutional safeguards and no institutional reforms then success is temporary. Shimenkan gives us very profound inspiration.

Original article: 精神的落后才是贫困之根
Photo Credit: Miao flute festival dance Zhouxi S0615 by Spencer, on Flickr, cc

Preparing for Christmas

Churches in China (both registered and unregistered) are taking advantage of the popularity of Christmas to teach people about the true meaning of the festival.

The Gospel Times recently reported on a sermon given by a pastor at Gangwashi Christian Church in Beijing, contemplating the best way to prepare for Christmas. The title of the sermon was “Christmas is Coming; How Should We Prepare.” It is translated below.

Gangwashi Church Beijing

‪Christmas Eve is the busiest time in the church because we are preparing for Christmas. But do we really know what the Lord Jesus desires us to prepare for? During the November 30 Sunday worship service at Gangwashi Church in Beijing, Preacher Sun Naimu pointed out that in contrast to external decorations, Jesus desires more that we prepare our hearts to repent and receive the Savior. ‪Preacher Sun pointed out that Christmas is approaching and that this time is also known as Advent. The church choir has begun rehearsals for the Christmas program. Brothers and sisters who participate in the services are also very busy. Yet, Jesus Christ doesn’t want us to just prepare outward adornments; he invites us to prepare our hearts. For the true believer, Christmas is not a party, nor is it just a celebration of the birthday of Jesus. We celebrate Christmas in order to prepare our own hearts to welcome the Savior to enter us and to receive the salvation he accomplished for us and which gives us true joy.

‪How do we prepare to welcome the Lord Jesus? Preacher Sun shared that at the time of Jesus Christ’s birth, many people made good preparations, and these are a testimony to us: the wise men used gold, frankincense, and myrrh to welcome the newborn king at his birth; Simeon and Anna the Prophetess also give us beautiful examples of preparation; another one is John the Baptist, who received Jesus’ high praise: “among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.”

‪However, even John the Baptist had his doubts. When John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus whether he was the Christ. Jesus had the disciples of John the Baptist tell him what they witnessed. As to whether or not John the Baptist believed, that is his own matter. Preacher Sun added, “It is still the same today. Jesus did not force anyone. People who hear the Lord’s testimony can choose to believe or choose not to believe.”

‪At the time, John the Baptist was baptizing in the wilderness and attracted a lot of people to go observe. However, they did not really know who John the Baptist was. Even the disciples of John the Baptist and the disciples of the Lord Jesus did not truly know who he was. They weren’t following John the Baptist in order to prepare the way of the Lord. Thus, when John the Baptist was weak and unsteady, a lot of people were also weak and unsteady. They only saw the exterior appearance. What was true for that era is still true today; blind religious obedience still exists.

‪Why do we come to church? Why do we celebrate Christmas? Why do we prepare for Advent? In this day and age, Jesus Christ is still proclaimed to the world. The church is not about being picturesque, or singing touching songs or wearing beautiful clothes.; even if that were the case, it is not what we really seek. Jesus Christ does not ask us to prepare external decorations, but the decoration of the soul; that is, repentance.

‪Many times we do not know what we really need, we do not know who Jesus is, and do not really know what the Lord wants to give us. Therefore, we blindly follow our own false ideas, asking the Lord to satisfy our wishes. As a result, no one (including God) can satisfy our true desires. We need to go back inside our hearts and ask, what is it that I really need?

‪Preacher Sun pointed out that our hearts are like a room filled with all sorts of stuff. We cannot tell which things are useful and which are useless, which things we should discard and which we should retain, which is gold and which is dirt. We cannot distinguish, so we pile them up in there. Our hearts play noisy music, the world tells us a mass of stuff, we live under the recommendations of other people, our ears are filled with secular suggestions; even if we have a little free time, we give it to the Internet and social media. This is our plight today. We seem busy, our appointments are stacked up, but we are still very lonely.

‪”To hear the sound of our souls is a frightening thing,” Preacher Sun noted. It is a difficult job, when a person is very quiet, to listen to the sound of his own heart. It’s as if we are telling someone of the loneliness, confusion, death, and despair…just as described in Beethoven’s “Symphony of Destiny.” No one is willing to listen to this voice, but Jesus wants us to listen. He wants us to see the circumstances of our own greed, lust, and mortality before repentance, before healing our lives, and the release of the soul. Only then can we move away from loneliness and confusion to find real hope, not blind obedience to falsehood.

‪”A diamond is not the world’s hardest stone, rather it is an unrepentant heart.” Preacher Sun Naimu pointed out that when we repent, Jesus Christ will speak to our hearts; at the same time, we also use our hearts to hear the Lord’s voice, ready to welcome the Savior. Welcoming the Lord is not something we just do on Christmas or during Advent; rather we must do it every day.

Original article: 北京缸瓦市堂牧者:圣诞节将至,我们当预备什么?(Gospel Times. Translated and posted with permission)

Photo by Joann Pittman (joannpittman.com)

Villagers of the “Chinese Christmas Village” Don’t Know What Christmas Is

Earlier this month the Chinese web portal Sina posted a photo essay on the town of Yiwu (Zhejiang), where most of the world’s Christmas products come from. The main source is a huge commodities market dubbed the “Chinese Christmas Village.” Moving (and sometimes disturbing) photos show migrant workers toiling in harsh conditions to make decorations for a festival they know nothing about. The site Shanghaiist provides an English summary of the original Sina post.

On December 8, in response to the original Sina photo essay, the Gospel Times published a reaction by a Christian to the photos. The full article is translated below.

‪Sixty percent of the world’s and more than 90 percent of China’s Christmas supplies are made in Yiwu. A commercial and residential street in the second district of Fotang town in Yiwu City is known locally as the “Chinese Christmas Village.” However, it has obtained this title not because the people there are fond of Christmas. In fact, the “villagers” there do not even know what Christmas is; they just produce Christmas products for the rest of the world.

‪September is the busiest time of the year for the “Chinese Christmas Village” because at that time the big Christmas orders for export to the US, Europe, and other places need to be shipped. Before that, however, the “villagers” have already been preparing the goods for a long time. But the work doesn’t end in September because that’s when domestic orders begin pouring in. They work hard until Christmas Day, December 25, and only after that does the work load begin to lighten.

‪However, not every villager of “Chinese Christmas Village” understands the meaning of Christmas. According to Seen, a photo-journalism site on Sina, a young worker at a local plant flatly admitted that he knows there is such a holiday, but that he doesn’t know specifically what the holiday is about.

‪At first glance, the “Chinese Christmas Village” seems to be a place full of Christmas spirit; in fact, it is a place that regards Christmas as only a business to celebrate. People do not care about what “Christmas” means. They just know that Christmas will bring them financial profit, and thus it is about an industry, the production of related products, and earning commercial profit.

‪In fact, this is just a concentrated manifestation of the contemporary attitude people have toward Christmas in this day and age. This has long been the type of behavior in all of China and is also true the world over. In other countries, the day after Thanksgiving Day is called “Black Friday” because businesses vigorously promote special discounts and continue to do so until Christmas. This time becomes the season when people buy a lot of merchandise and the merchant’s books overflow with black ink (black meaning profit).

‪Pursuit of financial profit is always at the forefront of society. In China, the first shop signs posted in the “Chinese Christmas Village” are not for Christian organizations, but for Yiwu’s business district. Here, faith lags far behind the speed of the market; a godly holiday has suddenly turned into a “money-making opportunity.”

Unfortunately, this mood is not confined to the small commercial street in Yiwu; it has flooded the entire society.

There are very few people who choose to celebrate Christmas or who truly understand its meaning. Some people cater to its popularity and only celebrate Christmas because it is trendy. Others know that this is the day that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Savior. But what is the true meaning of Christmas?

‪In fact, Jesus was not born on December 25, the day Christians celebrate Christmas, nor is it the day to just celebrate his birth. In fact, we don’t know the specific date of Jesus’ birth. However, in church history December 25 became the traditional day to commemorate the birth of Jesus; this is the origin of the Christmas celebration. But it’s not just a birthday party; it’s a time to commemorate the birth of Jesus, to remember the history of that era, to reflect on its significance, to prepare to greet the return of Christ, and to encounter the story of Christ’s birth in real life again.

‪Jesus Christ was born into this world because of the sin of mankind. God created the world and entrusted human beings with the authority and responsibility to care for the land. But our human ancestors disobeyed God’s command and ate that fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, even though God had commanded them not to. In this way, sin entered the world. Humans lost the joy and peace of life, and became caught in a cycle of pain. To this day, the whole world is full of injustice and unrighteousness, from every corner of society to the heart of every thought.

‪The birth of Jesus is the beginning of the solution for the problem of our sin. He is the Almighty Creator, but for us he became a baby, being born in a manger. In the end he was crucified, paying our penalty for us, bearing the cost of sin on our behalf, redeeming us out of the bondage of sin. As long as we trust in him, we can have a new life and will no longer be the object of God’s wrath and punishment, but become children of God’s love. Through Christ, God accepts us and we become his children in whom he delights and gives us eternal life.

‪Every year Christmas is the day Christians once again silently reflect on Jesus Christ coming to earth for man. It is absolutely not just a day to give each other gifts, nor is it a day of revelry. Even more, it is not a day packed with aroma of the “Chinese Christmas Village” business.

Unfortunately, many people do not know the true meaning of Christmas and we need to tell them. In fact, does not our preaching the gospel include Christmas as the most significant events in human history?

Original article: “中国圣诞村”村民竟不知何为圣诞节!

Image Source Chindia-alert.org

Church Schools or Home Schooling? (Part 2)

In September, the mainland site Christian Times published a piece originally posted on the China Home Schooling Alliance website about Christian education in China. In the article titled “Church Schools or Home Schooling?”, the author lays out what he believes to be the difference between Christian education conducted within a church setting and home schooling. He then sets out to argue that home schooling is the most effective way for Christians to educate their children.

The article provides an interesting glimpse into a conversation taking place online among Christians in China regarding an important issue. Due to the length of the original article, it is posted in two parts. Part 1 was posted on December 9, 2014.

US Chinese Sunday School ClassLet’s look now at some of the prejudices against home schooling.

First of all, many brothers and sisters worry that parents don’t have a strong enough spiritual life to give the child a proper spiritual education. They think that only a church school can provide adequate spiritual education. ‪

I strongly beg to differ with this view. Of course, the church is a platform for shepherding its people, but the life of the believer is truly lived out in one’s family life. Faith is not merely a gathering on Sunday for worship; it is, more importantly, the struggle and witness of everyday life. The state of our lives often truly emerges within our family. What we see at church or at school is only skin-deep and lacks this type of deep, truly living faith.

The most important thing as a parent is a heart for the Father. The Bible says: “Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers.” The Bible also says: “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

As we mentioned above, as parents face the issue of how to educate their children they will also be confronted with their own faith and the roots of their faith.

Homeschooling is unlike other schooling in that it emphasizes that life itself is education, that education does not necessarily need to take place within the confines of a school that is separated from life. In the same way, spiritual education does not necessarily need to take place within the confines of a spiritual school that is also isolated from real life. This is because spiritual life must be put into practice in everyday life.

A second misconception is the belief that the secularized knowledge of professional teachers is often a better education than that of parents.

This is actually related to the first issue in that parents lack confidence in home schooling and believe that education is a professional matter, something that parents cannot do. This is a great misconception regarding standardized schools for people today.

But what does the Bible say? Many people believe that the charter for Christian education is found in Deuteronomy chapter six, but this chapter is clearly speaking of parents.

I do not agree that the sovereignty of Christian education lies with the church. No matter the case, parents have both the right and responsibility to educate their children. A church school can be seen as a school founded by a group of Christians for the education of their own children and the children of their Christian brothers and sisters. A church monopoly on the right to educate children of believers will only lead to laziness of the faith in believers. On this point, we can see the reason behind why this article analyzes the drop in Sunday School and family worship: the decline of the modern American family worship.

As recorded in the Bible, God himself instituted the family as a sacred unit and placed children in the center of it. I believe this is the best place for children to mature. At the same time, in Deuteronomy chapter six the great commandment that is revealed to us also tells us the most important method to practice the great commandment is to teach our children.

I believe that the family is a great mystery of God’s grace and blessing. Children and parents play an integral role in the family. Parents and children will be a great blessing to each other in the growth of their lives.

Home schooling is also a reflection of the model of universal education. Both Christian schools and secular schools are part of the system of standardized schools. This type of school system emphasizes transmission and instruction according to man’s activity, crowding out the space for God himself to guide each child and ignoring the independence of the child. This system emphasizes knowledge and competition, but lacks love and profound life experience. It also ignores children’s individual differences. It emphasizes specialization and standardization, but ignores holistic life. Since the school system is very powerful, Christian education school system is also confused and held captive to the world’s system. The school system of the world emphasizes a closed model of instruction, separated from life. It emphasizes teacher professionalization and sidelines the parents. It stresses communities, but ignores the value of the individual.

Many people misunderstand home schooling and the issue of social interaction between the community and home schooled children, including Christians. See the article: “Home Schooling Data: Academic and Social Interaction”, the United States has proven that home schooling is not a problem.*

In fact, we need to look more seriously at the negative effects that the school system has on the social interaction among children. Here is an additional article that can help you: “Home Schooled Children Have Social Problems?”*

From a biblical perspective, Jesus continuously warned that in our society or community, we are quick to turn our hearts from God and look to man to obtain glory. When there is great pressure from the peers around us we are unable to follow truth.

To prematurely place a child into the school community is definitely a bad idea. The smaller the child the more the child needs to live with their parents, to build himself or herself up, to learn how to take care of himself or herself, to be independent, to understand interpersonal relationships and behavior. But, a bunch of kids who gather with their peers means more competition, disruption, or being under the teacher’s power. The younger the child the more they are unable to understand the complex connection between the collective and the self. Thus, the collective pressure often causes a great deal of harm to the child.

‪Those same drawbacks that we mentioned regarding the standardized school system are the same problems that Christian schools established by churches are facing. American church schools also have a lot of problems that are rooted in the institutionalization of the school: children who are rebellious, precocious, who commit crimes, and so on. This is an important reason for the decline in American church schools and for the sharp rise in the number of people who home school.

‪The above is an analysis of some of the differences between church schools and home schooling with the predominant emphasis on a defense for home schooling. Because we see many Christian brothers and sisters who do not agree with home schooling, and because we also see the importance of the development of Christian home schooling in China, therefore we have been so bold as to write this piece. Of course, there are also many challenges with home schooling. However, the importance of home schooling is so great that it is worth it for brothers and sisters to do home schooling and to promote the ministry of Christian home schooling across the country.

‪There are many Christians who are full-time mothers. Encourage these full-time mothers to raise and teach their children at home and their total economic and manpower costs will see significant savings. The most important thing is that this in accordance with the biblical order of education. Parents are directly responsible for their child’s education, not a school.

‪In actuality, many domestic Christian schools have big operations, but are tightly controlled by the government. They survive under the pressure and are unable to fully teach children from the Bible. For small scale Christian schools and church schools, the costs are higher, they are under enormous pressure, and they have become schools for the elite.

I think under the current situation, encouraging more brothers and sisters to be involved in the ministry of Christian education cannot in any case be overstated.

And, starting with their own children, these parents will quickly become unyielding with their education, producing an even greater testimony for God.

‪You can imagine that if there is better support for our brothers and sisters to do home schooling, then there will be a rapid rise in small scale Christian home schools.

* links to referenced articles did not appear in the original article

Original article: 教会学校还是在家教育
Photo: Chicago Tribune

Church Schools or Home Schooling? (Part 1)

[Note to readers: Our move to a new site proved more complicated than we thought. However, we have articles to get out to you so we will continue publishing on our original site as we phase into our new home.]

In September, the mainland site Christian Times published a piece originally posted on the China Home Schooling Alliance website about Christian education in China. In the article titled “Church Schools or Home Schooling?”, the author lays out what he believes to be the difference between Christian education conducted within a church setting and home schooling. He then sets out to argue that home schooling is the most effective way for Christians to educate their children.

The article provides an interesting glimpse into a conversation taking place online among Christians in China regarding an important issue. Due to the length of the original article, it will be posted in two parts.

US Chinese Sunday School ClassChurch Schools or Home Schooling?‬‬ ‪‬‬‬‬ ‪
Many Christian brothers and sisters are eager to pull their children out of secular schools and give them a Christian education in line with the Bible in order to pass on the tradition of Christian faith. What is Christian education? I think so long as you target young people and children, and passing on the Christian faith is the fundamental purpose of education, then this can be described as Christian education. Acquisition of the Christian faith is not naturally self-obtained because people are prone to sin and separating themselves from God. Rather, faith is received from the grace of God that falls on us. An important part of Christian education is that, through the living testimonies of Christians, children and youth can personally understand sin and grace. In other words, this education is about one life impacting another life. ‬‬‬‬‬‬ ‪

First, Christian education for children of Christians is both necessary and urgent.‬‬‬‬‬‬ ‪Because this generation is more and more crooked and depraved, teaching children to distinguish what is holy from an early age is very important. Deuteronomy chapter six tells us that a very important way to carry out the great commandment of loving God with all our heart, soul, and strength is through educating children.‬‬‬‬‬‬ ‪The importance of Christian education will not be discussed at length here. Instead you can refer to the following articles [links to articles not included in original article]‬‬‬:‬‬‬‬‬‬

“‪Great Commandment and The Mission of Education‬‬‬‬‬‬”
“Christians Must Pay Attention to Education‬‬‬‬‬‬” ‪
“Church Schools or Home Schooling?”

Currently in China, there are two streams of Christian education: the first is churches that open church-run schools, the second is Christians who open small-scale schools and Christian parents who home school their children. ‪But in fact, for many Christian families there is no choice.‬ ‪Let’s look at the situation for these two streams.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

First, let’s look at Church schools.‬‬‬‬‬‬ ‪
At present, there are very few church schools in China. Many churches recognize the importance of Christian education, but a church that has opened a church school is probably “one in a million.” Currently, you can count on one hand the number of schools opened by churches in China. ‬‬‬‬‬‬ ‪

There are several obstacles to the church school model in China.‬‬‬‬‬ ‬

(1) Policy Obstacles
‪Even though things are opening up, the government attitude towards the development of Christianity remains suppressive. Indeed, Christian schooling remains illegal.‬‬‬‬

It is a great burden for churches to operate church schools within this illegal context. Educating a child is not a one or two day thing, but is something that takes place over years, even decades. Many church pastors consider the problem of sustained maturity of children from a position of responsibility; however, the difficulties of dealing with the issue over the long term by building church schools that are illegal are too great. ‬‬‬‬‬ ‪

Historically, church schools have been one of the most important models of Christian education, and from a spiritual point of view they are often the best models. Many brothers and sisters strive to promote the development of church schools, but the current legal environment makes it almost impossible for them to develop successfully. ‬‬‬‬‬

(2) Pastor Awareness of Christian Education.‬
The understanding of many pastors regarding the importance of Christian education is inadequate. They believe it is a natural process for children to enter secular schools to act as light and salt in the world. ‬‬‬‬‬‬

(3) Pastors are busy with pastoral ministries.‬‬
Pastors are too busy with their own pastoral ministry work.‬‬ They have no time to take into consideration the long-term and arduous nature of Christian education for children.‬‬‬‬‬

Second, the Current Situation of Home Schooling and Micro-Schooling‬‬‬‬‬‬ ‪
In recent years, the home-schooling concept has been brought over from the United States and has gained popularity. As a result, many families have discovered that they can immediately implement Christian education themselves at home. This is a great joy for many Christian brothers and sister. With more and more families aware of the concept of home schooling, communities that practice home schooling will rapidly increase.‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪Looking at the growing trends in the world of education, in the future home schooling will be the fastest growing and most suitable model for students’ abilities. Education in large schools is just the product of the industrial age. Subsequently, a recognition of its growing number of drawbacks and people’s reflections on industrial civilization means the future of schooling will trend towards smaller scale reforms and increased importance of family and community involvement in education.‬‬‬‬ ‪[For more reflections on schooling, refer to this article: “De-schooling Society” by Ivan Illich‬‬]‬‬*‬‬‬‬ ‪

We predict that home schooling families and small scale home schooling co-ops will become the most important model of Christian education in China.‬‬‬‬‬‬

The Importance of Christian Homeschooling Families and Small Scale Family Schools for Chinese Christian School Education

(1) Under the current policy, the home-schooling model is the best solution to surmount policy controls.‬‬

‪The decentralized model of homeschooling will greatly reduce the policy risk towards children’s education. In fact, the responsibility of education should be on the parents, not on the state because the sovereign right of education is in the hands of the parents, not the state. This fundamental human right belongs to the parents and is protected by the Charter of the United Nations. This is also the biblical concept of educational rights, as seen in Deuteronomy chapter six. It could be said that family education does not have any policy risks. Even if the future of a child’s college entrance exam was worked out, there also would not be any policy issues.‬‬ ‬‬‬‬ ‪

(2) Home-schooling emphasizes the educational responsibility of the parents and parental involvement in education, and helps the parents’ faith to take root.‬‬‬‬‬‬ ‪

The great commandment in Deuteronomy chapter six to love the Lord with all one’s heart, soul, and strength is closely followed by the practice of educating children in order to carry out this great commandment. That is, God revealed that the method of practicing the great commandment is to educate our children. This is the manifestation of God’s profoundly mysterious will and wisdom. The world says that a child is the parent’s teacher and guide. When parents personally face their children’s education and daily family life, they must honestly confront their own faith. They cannot conduct the same superficial lives like in the church. Educating a child is an important way for parents to strengthen their faith. Furthermore, only by breaking away from the control of school education can parents restore a godly family worship lifestyle.‬‬‬‬‬‬ ‪

(3) The emphasis of home schooling on family life will enable children from an early age to acquire the experience of a healthy family lifestyle. After becoming an adult they will be more equipped to positively face the challenging social pressures to the family as well as maintain a Christian concept of the family.‬‬‬‬‬‬ ‪

One of the important challenges facing Christians today is how to face the social pressures from industrialization, commercialization, and materialism, as well as how to raise a Christian family. Everywhere we see the breakdown of families, rising divorce rates, homosexuality, abortions, and family members being hurt. Many social problems are rooted in our family problems. This is because nowadays there are few who raise their families according to the Bible. We see families in which both spouses work to chase after worldly fame and wealth, searching to fulfill their materialistic desires. And while their children are in school with no one there to serve the family, the family becomes hollow. Many young people are fearful of having a family, and fearful of raising and educating children. They are unable to enjoy the happiness and love that comes with having children.‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪We urgently need to change our attitude towards the family and our attitude towards raising children. We need to maintain and pass on Christian families, which will be a great blessing for our children and grandchildren.‬‬‬‬‬‬ ‪

To embed home schooling into family life will help children learn the essential peace and joy in line with the experience of biblical family life.

‬‬‬‬‬‬Home schooling can provide an education for children that teaches a more biblical view of adolescence and human nature, which is more in accordance with the discipleship teaching of our Lord Jesus.

Our hearts are fixated on the world. We are enticed by the big but empty and superficial things in life. Education today, which is something of a Babylon, causes us to seek after quantities, after titles, and after standardization. Even as Christians, our hearts are too forcefully drawn in by the world. ‬‪If we follow this world we will be captives of it, not salt and light in it.‬‬ ‪The products of industrialization and consumerism are models of the devil. Large-scaled and comprehensive, standardized and competitive forms of education are also models of the devil.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪True education in line with Christ’s will for education is above all not covetous. While many people were led to follow Jesus, he instead led his disciples to retreat with him into the mountains. ‬‬‬‬‬‬ ‪

True education is not about money. Jesus, as poor as he was, led twelve disciples, yet he did not even have a place to rest his head. Education is the transmission of life; it is not, the competition for money.‬‬‬‬‬‬ ‪

Education is also about building relationships. The two great commandments are the relationship between man and God, and relationships between people. The school system is a large scale factory that is built without relationships.‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪In the Bible, every person created by God is bestowed with enormous sanctity and unique individual worth; every child is different. Home schooling emphasizes personalized education according to each student’s abilities, precisely in line with the God-given sanctity and individual worth of children. This resembles a prime example of small scale education that Jesus modeled with the twelve disciples. ‬‬‬‬‬‬ ‪This is how the church and Christians today understand home schooling and small scale home schooling co-ops.‬‬‬‬‬‬

‪If we don’t properly understand home schooling and small scale co-ops, we will not be able to understand the significance of the development of home schooling in China. This misunderstanding will also influence the direction of our ministry.‬‬‬‬‬‬ ‪

Currently, in the area of Christian education in China many brothers and sisters are focused on church schools. Yet, home schooling ministries are in very short supply due to a lack of understanding about the purpose of home schooling.‬‬‬‬‬‬

Original article: 教会学校还是在家教育
Photo: Chicago Tribune

We’re Moving!

175436973_d7f64dfc84_z

In June 2012, ChinaSource launched Chinese Church Voices as a platform to give those outside of China a chance to “listen in” on the conversations that Chinese Christians are having online in the public space called The Internet.

Since our beginning, we have published 140 different posts, all translations of content from Christian online platforms within China. Readers from 40 different countries (including China) have viewed these posts.

For technical and financial reasons, we have hosted this site on WordPress, a popular blogging platform.

This email is to alert you to the fact that in early December we will be moving Chinese Church Voices to the new ChinaSource website. You could say we’re bringing it “home.”

By moving to the ChinaSource site, we hope to more fully integrate it within the family of ChinaSource publications. Being on the ChinaSource site will also allow for cross-referencing the content with other similar content produced by ChinaSource.

In order to prepare for the move, we will cease posting new content for the next three weeks.

We are grateful for your interest in Chinese Church Voices, and invite you to make use if this hiatus to follow the ChinaSource Twitter feed, (@chinasourceorg) where we will continue to post links to interesting and timely articles about the Church in China.

P.S. The ChinaSource Annual Report 2013-2014 is now available. Rejoice with us in what God has done!

Photo by kafka4prez, via Flickr (creative commons license)