1. You have had the opportunity over the years to observe church developments both in Taiwan and in mainland China. How would you compare the growth of the urban church in these two environments?
Church growth in Taiwan’s cities has been very slow, though perhaps increasing gradually in recent years, in contrast to the explosive growth of congregations in mainland China.
The right to own property in the name of the church has enabled Taiwan Christians to build buildings for many decades now, so they have a lot of experience in managing property, etc.
Church growth in China takes place in the midst of an unfriendly, and sometimes hostile, political and social environment, and so involves more people who, at least to some degree, “count the cost” before identifying themselves as Christians (though this has been changing), with the result that there is probably a much higher level of courage and commitment among churchgoers in China.
The collapse of morals in China, coupled with dramatic economic growth and rapid changes in every sector of society, has helped to foster a spiritual hunger that is palpable, and notably absent in Taiwan.
In Taiwan, a few very large congregations or networks of them, dominate the growth sector; this appears to be less true in urban China, where there seem to be many more dynamic, growing smaller congregations.
The theologically liberal Taiwan Presbyterian Church, though bearing some similarities to the TSPM, probably has far fewer committed Christians than does the TSPM.