Patriotism and Christianity in China: A Reflection on the Fourth of July

thanksgiving1As today is the Fourth of July, churches throughout the United States this past weekend have been celebrating their love for their country alongside their love for their God – a strong spirit of patriotism. One recent survey reports that 61 percent of Protestant pastors in America say it is important for worship services on the weekend of the Fourth of July to incorporate patriotic elements to celebrate America’s birth, with 66 percent wanting to include special music honouring the country. In other words, American Protestants often have no problem with American patriotism.

Given that this past weekend has also had the 95th anniversary celebrations of the Communist Party of China, it is worth considering what ‘patriotism’ means for religion across the ocean. In contrast to what happens in America, many American (and Chinese) Christians are unnerved by groups in China such as the Three-Self Patriotic Movement or the Catholic Patriotic Association – state-sanctioned organisations of Christianity – and believe that the ‘true’ church is in the unregistered house churches or underground churches. Like in the US, I want to claim that most churches in China (registered or unregistered) also hold a very strong love for their country alongside their love for their God – but we should be calling this nationalism, not patriotism. Continue reading “Patriotism and Christianity in China: A Reflection on the Fourth of July”

American Heresies and Contextual Theology

American Views of God

Where do heresies come from? A recent survey of Americans (Christians and non-Christians of the general public) believe in heaven, hell and a few heresies.1 Some may say this is because Americans don’t know the Bible that well. One commentator argues that Americans depended on their Bibles too much — and ignored Church tradition.2 While there may be valid points for both, I would like to submit my own thought: heresies are contextual theologies that have broken from (Church and Scriptural) tradition. Continue reading “American Heresies and Contextual Theology”