Jesuits have been closely watching a new noticeable trend throughout China–the Roman Catholic Church is losing ground in winning converts and keeping members due to evangelism of evangelicals. It’s happening for several reasons. One of the main problems the Chinese have with the RCC is its hierarchy. Dealing with the RCC where power is centralized tends to remind them of the oppressive centralized hierarchy of the Communist government that often targets them. With its hierarchical organization, the RCC tends to care more about the institution over the individual, according to those who expressed their opinions.
Evangelical churches help members feel a personal connection by being flexible with how they gather and minister to each other, making it easier to make changes quickly in the face of government interference. Of equal importance to them is their personal connection with God, being able to go to him directly as opposed to having to rely on priests as “mediators” between them and God.
Given the fact the Bible is such a precious commodity in China and people don’t take owning one for granted, I believe that is what encourages the Chinese to read it as much as they can. As they read it, they are discovering the RCC is really nothing like how the Christian church is portrayed in the Bible. The Holy Spirit is giving them the discernment to tell what’s real from what’s fake regarding their relationship with God and how he operates his church.
In closing, I’ll mention that “Protestantism” is a term I’ve never liked because of the concept behind it. It tends to focus on one’s religious position in relation to the RCC instead of the reality that Christianity is about one’s position in relation to God. It also gives the false idea that Christianity didn’t really have a serious breakthrough until Martin Luther protested RCC doctrine as if the RCC was the only and original church when, in fact, the RCC was a cheap imitation of the true Christian church that preceded it. By calling oneself “Protestant,” it is lending validity to the invalid, untrue revisionist history of the church purported by the RCC. I rejoice in the fact my Chinese spiritual siblings notice a difference.
Source: Catholicism in China losing ground amid surge in Protestantism, FoxNews.com, November 20, 2017.