State-sanctioned Protestant Christianity in China — the Three-Self Patriotic Movement — is a bit of a mystery to me. I'm wondering to what extent the Communist Party censors the Christianity taught therein. This is a difficult question for this site (due to the lack of an accepted "orthodoxy"), so I'm trying to get at that by looking at objections raised by the "other Christians" in China. A 2017 article from The Gospel Coalition states:

Yes, Christianity in China is legal, and yes, churches can meet publicly under the TSPM banner. But this comes with consequences. The TSPM reserves the right to censor and control their churches to the extent they deem necessary and appropriate.

Granted, things used to be much worse than they are in 2017. In days past, certain biblical books were forbidden as texts of exposition (mainly end-time ones like Daniel and Revelation), evangelism wasn’t allowed, the gospel couldn’t be boldly proclaimed, and so on.

Apparently the teaching isn't so restricted now, although the idea that "real Christians" in China are underground is still widely circulated among expatriate Chinese Christians, and the house church movement there is still going strong. Are there specific doctrinal issues that have been raised in objection to TSPM that fuel the ongoing house church movement?

I realize that everything in China is ambiguous and the answer probably varies by region, city, and individual churches, but I'm hoping that specific evidence can be adduced from the testimony of Christian leaders who have objected to TSPM teachings.

Note: this was a difficult question for me to figure out how to ask on this site, but I think it's an important topic that is oddly missing from C.SE as far as I have been able to find. (I'm hereby rescuing the tag , but also I kind of think the tag deserves to exist...) If others have ideas about how this can be edited to better fit the format of this site, please do help.

  • Up-voted (+1). The recent edict issued by the Party in China must have had an effect on Christians living there. Authority has been further enforced, atheism and the Party line have been further asserted; and this against all religion. It would be helpful to understand the real situation of Christians in that country.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 4 '18 at 4:55
  • @Nigel And yet.... China is such a slippery thing to understand. I have a number of expat friends who continue to return to TSPM churches there on visits and swear that they're fully orthodox (the standard being our shared American-taught evangelical doctrines), while other people (mostly from different parts of China) say it's complete propaganda and "real Christians" are getting thrown in jail. I would say that a good answer here could be a valuable asset to the internet, because it's not an easy issue to understand.
    – Susan
    Jun 4 '18 at 9:20
  • The question is a good one. I know nothing of the situation and hope that there is some answer given.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 4 '18 at 9:53

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