China plans to tailor make Christian theology to match path of socialism

(Photo: REUTERS / Aly Song)People pray at Sheshan Cathedral in the outskirts of Shanghai October 28, 2013. Picture taken on October 28, 2013.

China is looking at making a Chinese Christian theology that fits the country's way of life, a State-run newspaper has reported.

A top religious affairs official said that the development of Chinese Christian theology should be able to support the "country's path of socialism."

He was speaking at a seminar on the Sinicization of Christianity in Shanghai on August 5, China Daily reported.

"Over the past decades, the Protestant churches in China have developed very quickly with the implementation of the country's religious policy.

"In the future, we will continue to boost the development of Christianity in China," said Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs.

"The construction of Chinese Christian theology should adapt to China's national condition and integrate with Chinese culture," he was quoted as saying by the China Daily newspaper.

The seminar is part of an event commemorating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the National Committee of the State-controlled Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China.

Citing estimates, a seminar official said China has between 23 million and 40 million Protestants, which is about 1.7 to 2.9 percent of the total population. About 500,000 Chinese are baptized as Protestants each year.

China keeps a tight hold in the practice of religion, as the ruling Communist Party officially espouses atheism.

Of the 139,000 approved religious sites, about 56,000 comprise of Christian churches and gathering places, according to a 2012 census of the State Administration for Religious Affairs.

"Chinese Protestantism's theological education, literature publishing, research, social services and foreign affairs have seen great development.

"Over the past years, China's Protestantism has become one of the fastest growing universal churches," said Gao Feng, president of the China Christian Council.

A campaign promoting Chinese Christian theology launched last year, sought to bring theological guidance to churches across the country to bring together ideas in line with the changing times.

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