Assisting Chinese House Churches to Become Great Commission Churches
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ABSTRACT ASSISTING CHINESE HOUSE CHURCHES TO BECOME GREAT COMMISSION CHURCHES Name Withheld, Ph.D. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2012 Chairperson: Dr. George H. Martin The purpose of this dissertation is to provide a training proposal that will assist the Chinese house churches in developing a plan to address their missiological weaknesses and become Great Commission churches. The thesis of this dissertation is that the majority of Chinese house churches are not Great Commission churches. Chapter 1 will give an overview of the project, which includes the methodology used. Chapter 2 describes the origin of the house church in China, with special attention being given to the historical and political factors that shaped it. With this background information in place, the reader will be better able to understand the modern day situation of the Chinese house church. Chapter 3 will provide a rationale for the Great Commission survey that was used to collect data. First, a biblical theology of missions will be developed. From this theology, the ten criteria of a Great Commission church will be established. Finally, these ten criteria will inform the twenty-nine question survey that will be used to obtain measurable data. Chapter 4 will describe the data collected by the questionnaire. The twenty-nine questions will be grouped according to their corresponding Great Commission church criterion. The data will be immediately assessed to form a preliminary conclusion regarding the nature of the majority of Chinese house churches regarding their Great Commission involvement. Chapter 5 will use published materials to describe the recent missionary efforts of the house church in China, with special attention being given to the Back to Jerusalem Movement (BTJ). This chapter will also depend upon various interviews that the author has conducted to supplement the scarcity of resources in this sensitive area. The goal is to verify or modify the conclusions reached in chapter 4. The chapter will finish by listing the missiological weaknesses of the modern-day Chinese house church. Finally, chapter 6 is a contextualized training proposal designed to assist Chinese house churches to become Great Commission churches. The training will lead church leaders to develop a plan for their local church that will strengthen its missiology and enable it to more effectively participate in the Great Commission.