In Hannah Nation’s podcast episode, uncover the compelling central conflict between the Chinese house
churches’ global identity and the Chinese authorities’ nationalist agenda, as the Hannah Nation explores the
idea of persecution as an apologetic moment.
“God is not dependent on political rights to grow his church. Do political rights help? Yeah, I think
often they do. Are they important? Yeah. I’m not going to go out and give up what I think is an
important part of America and American life. That being said, God doesn’t need those things in order
to grow his kingdom. His kingdom grows however he wants it to grow, and it is Him who will grow it,
not our political powers and the rights that they
Hannah Nation is the Managing Director of the Center for House Church Theology and a graduate of
Covenant College and Gordon Commonwealth Theological Seminary. She has written for Christianity Today,
the Gospel Coalition, Plough, and has edited several books, including Faithful Disobedience Writings on
Church and State from a Chinese House Church Movement.
In this episode, you will learn the following:
Church and State perspective from a Chinese House Church Movement.
Hannah Nation’s unexpected journey to the Great Wall of China changed her outlook on life and faith forever.
After discovering the Chinese house church writers and their hard-to-access writings, she was inspired to make a contribution to the global audience. With a unique perspective on post-colonial theology, she encouraged others to prioritize Jesus and the global reality of the Kingdom of God. Despite persecution and fear, Hannah inspired the Chinese church to use their suffering as an opportunity to testify to the power of God and repent of their own idols. Through her work, she showed that faith can thrive even without political rights.
1. How has the Chinese house church developed its own unique theology without outside influence?
2. How can persecution be seen as an opportunity to share the good news of Jesus?
3. How has the Chinese church grown exponentially in the face of political opposition?
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Hannah Nation has edited a book called Faithful Disobedience writings on Church and State from a Chinese
house church movement. This book brings for the first time to English readers his writings, some of his
sermons. We’ll talk about some of the big changes that are happening behind the scenes in China.[00:02:31]
Hannah Nation joins A World of Difference to talk about her new book. Tell us a little bit about yourself and
who is Hannah Nation?[00:03:17]
I consider myself a Pittsburgh native, although I wasn’t born here. My parents were living in Illinois when I
was born, and we didn’t move here until I was ten. I currently live here with my husband Trey and our two
kids. It’s always so amazing to meet people who’ve lived in a lot of other places.[00:05:21]
Kovac: What started your interest in China specifically? It was honestly kind of a fluke. Having lived in Asia
for 20 years, so many people end up being fascinated with China and the Chinese culture. Faithful
Disobedience has done a good job of helping us understand what is going on in China.[00:10:17]
Faithful Disobedience is a collection of writings from a well known house church pastor named Wang Yi. A lot
of what he has to say is very applicable for people all over the world. These are very human problems that
we all have in common.[00:13:31]
This is the first book like this from a Chinese house church writer. The voices of the Chinese house churches
have been very hard to access. This is one of the first books like this where we’ve been able to translate and
publish writings from a very prominent pastor.[00:19:00]
Wang Yi is a postcolonial theologian. He’s always speaking to his own government. His ideas are very
Chinese. The authorities that he’s in conflict with are Chinese. What does this bring to the decolonization
conversation in Christianity?[00:23:34]
He’s very concerned about the global reality of the church. Much of what China’s authorities feel concerned
about with regards to religious practice is affiliation with outside religious organizations. I really appreciate his
perspective on that. We do appreciate the prayers. Definitely the United States needs them.[00:26:45]
Wang Yi believes that nationalism is always at its heart synchronistic. He says persecution is a time for us to
repent of our own idols. There’s so much we can learn from brothers and sisters around the world about how
do we act when persecution comes.[00:36:59]
Hannah Nation serves as the Center for House Church Theology’s Managing Director. She is a graduate of Covenant College and received her Master of Arts in Church History from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. As a student of missions history and World Christianity, she is inspired by this historical moment and the privilege of witnessing a new chapter in church history unfold across China. She has written for Plough, Christianity Today, and The Gospel Coalition, and edited several books, including Faithful Disobedience: Writings on Church and State from a Chinese House Church Movement by Wang Yi
Visit her website at hannahnation.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @HannahFSNation
Throughout China’s rapidly growing cities, a new wave of unregistered house churches is growing. They are developing rich theological perspectives that are both uniquely Chinese and rooted in the historical doctrines of the faith. To understand how they have endured despite government pressure and cultural marginalization, we must understand both their history and their theology.
In this volume that Hannah discusses, key writings from the house church have been compiled, translated, and made accessible to English speakers. Featured here is a manifesto by well-known pastor Wang Yi and his church, Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, to clarify their theological stance on the house church and its relationship to the Chinese government. There are also works by prominent voices such as Jin Tianming, Jin Mingri, and Sun Yi. The editors have provided introductions, notes, and a glossary to give context to each selection.
These writings are an important body of theology historically and spiritually. Though defined by a specific set of circumstances, they have universal applications in a world where the relationship between church and state is more complicated than ever. This unique resource will be valuable to practical and political theologians as well as readers interested in international relations, political philosophy, history, and intercultural studies.
The A World of Difference Podcast is brought to you in partnership with Missio Alliance.
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