China is a world force. Not only is China seen in the daily news but it has produced the
largest church in the world. The church is 100 million people strong (Hattaway
2003:13). Since 1978, modern China has begun to populate the world community with
her immigrants. Vast Diaspora communities have been created.
The church in China shows all the signs of a Jesus People movement. In 1949 the
communist came into power. They ordered all Christian missionaries to leave the
country (Aikman 2003:44). By 1953 the last missionary had left (Thompson 1978:186).
Mao closed the churches, confiscated property, burned books and bibles and had
leaders sent to re-education camps. A time of persecution had begun. Rather than
destroy the church, this made it stronger. The church grew from 750,000 to 100 million
Can this Jesus People movement be experienced in the Diaspora community in South
Africa? To evaluate this we use Allan Hirsch’s “The Forgotten Ways” (2006). In this he
speaks of Apostolic Genius and the six elements that compose it. Thos elements are
Jesus is Lord, Making Disciples, Missional-Incarnational Impulse, Apostolic
Environment, Organic Systems and Communitas. These six elements are found
expressed within a Jesus people movement. When they are all fully involved, a Jesus
People movement is underway. There are 14 Chinese Christian churches in South Africa. The Chinese Diaspora
community is 300-350,000 people. The Chinese mostly come from the Fujian province
in China. Seventy percent are entrepreneurs and businessmen running shops selling
Chinese goods. The researcher has found that the leadership of the churches is from
Taiwan. Bringing everything together, the researcher finds the churches are growing at
a moderate rate. The expected explosive growth of the church in China is not found in
South Africa. The elements of Apostolic Genius are present but only partially
There continues to be potential for the Chinese House church movement to field
workers in South Africa. There has been some expressed interest. The Back To
Jerusalem Movement is putting missionaries all over the Middle East (Hattaway 2003).
It is the opinion of the researcher that putting workers in the Diaspora communities
would be a natural extension of that that effort.
Dissertation (MA Theol)--University of Pretoria, 2014.