Monday, April 28, 2014

Authority of Scripture in China's Underground House Church

As a missionary I am devoted to the practical application of the Bible. Evangelism, discipleship, and church planting fill my mind and my day. However, I have an insatiable desire for understanding. One of the great temptations of my mind, is the quest for answers and understanding that goes far beyond practice. In other words, I want to know things that I don' really NEED to know. This hunger occasionally drives me into a theology binge, where I will disappear for a weekend in order to read theological works, read articles, and listen to lectures and debates on theological issues. Atonement Theory; God's foreknowledge, providence, and sovereignty; and the trinity are theological topics that I have studied for some time and still enjoy diving into on a regular basis.

One of the most informative and entertaining ways to learn theological issues is to listen to debates. Hearing opposing views upheld by different exegetical points is immensely helpful, and the presence of personalities and conflict help keep the learning interesting. Many times, however, it quickly becomes obvious that one of the two debating clearly holds a higher view of Scripture than the other. This is particularly obvious in debates on the practice of homosexuality within the church.

This caused me to go back and evaluate my own view of Scripture and its authority in my life. Are there claims in Scripture that I have explained away? Have I valued my perceived experience with the Holy Spirit over what the Bible says? Can I defend my views through sound exegesis? Obviously not all believers will wrestle with these claims. The majority of obedient disciples of Christ throughout the world have no idea what exegesis means. Those of us who are blessed with a wealth of Biblical knowledge have more tools available to us to test our views by Scripture and more tools available to us to deny Scripture's authority over our lives in whichever ways we desire.

The following is from a free e-book put out by the founder of I immensely enjoyed the book. I don't agree with the entire contents and am unsure that it will bear the fruit that the authors desire, but I recognize it as an important clarion call for the body of Christ today.

The book includes a statement of faith from the China Gospel Fellowship, an underground house church network with 8 million members. The following is their statement on the Bible.

EDITOR’S NOTE: After the Lord’s clear leading to use the name Gospel Fellowships there was a word search preformed on the internet and this statement of faith from one of the larger Chinese house
Church networks called: China Gospel Fellowship was found. This was a surprise and great blessing for before we were never aware of this underground house Church name. After reading their statement of
faith, there was an immediate burden to make this statement of faith available to Gospel Fellowships and to any other house Churches or groups that would like to identify with the statement. We believe it is a tremendous way for believers to be in unity worldwide with precious brothers and sisters in China who are experiencing a great expansion of the Church and revival. Below is the statement of faith found on the China Gospel Fellowship.

 We believe that all 66 Books of the Bible are God-breathed. They were inspired by God through the Holy Spirit to the prophets and Apostles who composed them. The Bible is complete and inerrant truth. It has the highest authority. Nobody is allowed to distort it in any way. The Bible clearly states God’s purpose of redemption of mankind. The Bible is the highest standard of our Christian life and ministry. We are against any denials of the Bible; we are against any teaching or theories that regard the Bible as out of date, or as
erroneous; we are also against the practice of believing only in selected sections of the Scripture. We want to emphasize that the Scriptures must be interpreted in light of their historical context and within the overall context of scriptural teachings. While interpreting the Bible, one must seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the principle of interpreting the Scripture by the Scripture. The interpretation should be coherent and consistent, but not based on isolated verses. Biblical interpretation should take into account the orthodox faith that has been taken as the heritage of the Church down through history. We are against interpretation of the Scripture merely according to one’s own will, or by subjective spiritualization.
2 Timothy 3:16
Hebrews 1:1, 1 Peter 1:10
Romans 3:4, Revelation 22:18-19
John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9
Psalm 19:7–9, Acts 20:27
1 John 2:27, 1 Corinthians 2:13
2 Peter 1:20

1 comment:

  1. Church networks called: China Gospel Fellowship was found. This was a surprise and great blessing for before we were never aware of this underground house Church name.