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Evangelicals ‘Build Bridges’ With Chinese Churches and Govt.

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Christian Post — Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), met with the director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) on May 10 to discuss the place of the Chinese Evangelical Church within the global Christian community. The meeting in Beijing was the third between the pair and was part of an ongoing relationship-building process with the China Christian Council (CCC) and the government, WEA official have said.

Over recent years China has experienced a surge in spiritual life which has seen Christianity expand significantly across the Asian economic powerhouse. However, religion remains a sensitive subject in the Communist-led country.

Building relations through open dialogue is the key goal of the mutual effort between Chinese officials and Christian organizations, Tunnicliffe said in a conversation with The Christian Post this week.

“As part of a global Christian family we have to publicly engage with the Church in China,” Tunnicliffe told CP.

The WEA Secretary General confirmed that a two-hour meeting had taken place with SARA, a department overseeing religious affairs and issues under China’s State Council. The purpose of the meeting was to address the Chinese government’s concerns regarding “what sort of outside influence an organization was going to bring to China and with what kind of spirit and attitude they would approach the Chinese Church and China in general.”

The concerns stem from the fact that “often times Evangelicals are defined by a flag of American Evangelicals, who are considered to be of a certain political persuasion.” However, Tunnicliffe explained to CP that it should be recognized that “Christians around the world come from different political perspectives” and fit into many categories.

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