It is a traditional tradition of the Christian church to serve the society. During the times in the Old Testament, the poor were allowed to pick up wheat in wheat fields. In the age of Jesus, there was a metaphor regarding the great Samaritan.
According to an article published in 2012, nowadays, the Chinese church is actively integrated into society to practice beliefs and promote social development.
The International Forum on Sustainable Development of Religion was held in last December in Nanjing. A church worker named Zheng Neda talked about his thoughts regarding the theology, localization and social functions of the Wenzhou Church's charity foundation. He is from the charity foundation located in a hall of the Wenzhou Christian Church in Liushi Town.
A charity foundation was approved to set up in a hall of Wenzhou Christian Church in Liushi Town on February 19, 2014. Not long after its establishment, the Charity Foundation led a religious charity activity with the theme of promoting religious development and unity in Zhejiang Province.
According to the official website of the Charity Foundation, it is the first private foundation approved by the Zhejiang Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee. The foundation aims to engage in public welfare activities; such as disaster relief, social poverty alleviation, pension, child care, medical and health services, environmental protection, as well as supporting full-time pastoral staff, building churches and theological colleges.
The charity foundation has always been exploring its own way of development. A spokesman of the Foundation mentioned that the church in Wenzhou focuses on the gospel and salvation. The development of charity ministry in the church still requires efforts from both the public and the church.
From a theological point of view, charity activity is a practice of believers' faith in the secular world. When conducting charity activities, believers not only care about the afterlife; but, also devote to current society. The development of theological thoughts can promote the conduction of charity activities.
Pastor Zheng also talked about localization of charity activities. Their charity foundation has referred to many scholars' research and reflection on the social service of the church. As a result, their charity activities are more down to earth. The foundation knows well of the local people's needs.
From the perspective of social functions, some individuals may take advantage of charity activities to make themselves powerful. It is quite natural; because, there is a business atmosphere in Wenzhou. Pastor Zheng believes that the utilitarian of charity activities will deviate from the pure goal of the church.
Last but not least, Pastor Zheng suggested that charity is neither a way of salvation nor a way to generate social functions. Charity is not related to competition. The purpose of charities is pure. We conduct charity activities for the benefit of human beings. The church in the early times gave us a good example.
Translated by Emma Ma