Chinese Megachurch Persecution: Application of an Indigenous Resource Framework
Author(s)Sandra Lynn Barnes
Contributor(s)The Pennsylvania State University CiteSeerX Archives
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AbstractDespite increased religious tolerance in China over the past few decades, persecution of Christians persists. Small churches or Christians who clandestinely meet in small groups may avoid a certain degree of conflict; few studies consider how their larger, less conspicuous counterparts fare. An indigenous resource framework and content analysis of interview, secondary, and participant observation data inform this study of megachurch conflict in mainland China and whether responses follow patterns similar to those used by Black Christian-based activists in the United States during periods of persecution. In addition to the single megachurch identified in existing Chinese news media, this study uncovered twelve additional large congregations to suggest greater presence of such churches than acknowledged in China. Moreover, findings evidence use of a strategic combination of indigenous resources common before and during the Civil Rights Movement such as non-violent activism, charisma by church clergy, and prayer, but adapted to the specific politico-religious environment in China to combat persecution, engender social justice, as well as rally local and international support.