In order to promote the development of the Qilu theological system and maintain the unity of churches that use the united worship, on April 17 the Shandong Christian Council & TSPM held a symposium entitled “Reflections on Pastoring in Post-denominational Churches.”
Director-General Pastor Wang Mengkun introduced what he had learned about the rise of sectarianism, pointing out that some small denominations in China are not only unconventional, they emphasize individuality in their doctrines and in the way they meet. They also go to other churches to “steal sheep.” This has affected some churches by destroying their solidarity and unity. Pastor Wang encouraged everyone to be vigilant at all times, work hard in theological education be good shepherds and strive to maintain the unity of the Shandong churches.
Pastor Wu Jianyin, vice-president and vice-chairman, pointed out that under the auspices of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, Chinese Christians had independently opened churches, achieved unity through encouraging mutual respect, and implemented a joint service in 1958. At present, the Chinese church is in the late denominational period and this situation not only conforms to the principles of faith, but also conforms to the development of the times.
Teacher Ren Encheng analyzed the doctrine and activities of some small denominations, the adverse effects to the unity of the church, and suggested that everyone should be vigilant against sectarianism.
Pastor Wang Wei, deputy secretary-general and deputy director-general, reflected on the loss of believers in some churches due to their lack of pastoral leadership. Wang believes that the key lies in strengthening theological education through providing good training for students of theology, and resisting the infiltration of extreme and heretical teachings.
Pastor Li Hongyu, vice-chairman, vice-president and executive dean of Shandong Theological Seminary, reviewed the history of the Chinese church's path to unity, and pointed out that Shandong Theological Seminary should cherish and hold onto the achievements of this hard-won unity.
Pastor Gao Ming spoke against sectarianism. Sectarianism is arrogant, shows a lack of respect and friendship with other churches, and often causes conflicts and affects the church’s unity. He said, "We should absorb and respect the fine traditions of various denominations, but we must put an end to and curb the self-glorification and exclusiveness of a few small sects. We must devote ourselves to the thought and research of Qilu theology."
A total of more than 40 people, including members of Shangdong CC & TSPM, faculty members and teachers of Shandong Theological Seminary participated in the symposium.
- Translated by Abigail Wu