[Editor’s words: Having grown up in hardship
and sufferings, the Chinese house church has constantly been
accused of being a cult by people who are unaware of the truth
and who have ulterior motives. For the purpose of making known
the true faith of the church, some house church leaders joined
together on behalf of all house churches and composed the
Statement of Faith of Chinese House Churches in November,
1998. The following is the complete statement.]
In order to establish a common, legitimate criteria
of faith for house churches in China, in order to lay a foundation
on which overseas Christians churches can enjoy fellowship
with us in unity, in order to help our government and people
to understand our faith, and in order to draw a clear distinction
between us and heresies and cults, a group of key leaders
from several major Chinese house church movements met together
in a certain location in north China in November, 1998. They
prayed together, studied the Bible together, and together
drafted the following statement of our faith.
1. The Bible
We believe that all 66 books of the Bible are
God-breathed. They were inspired by God through the Holy Spirit
to the prophets and apostles who composed them. The Bible
is complete and inerrant truth. It has the highest authority.
Nobody is allowed to distort it in any way.
The Bible clearly states God’s purpose
of redemption of mankind. The Bible is the highest standard
of our Christian life and ministry. We are against any denials
of the Bible; we are against any teaching or theories that
regard the Bible as out of date, or as erroneous; we are also
against the practice of believing only in selected sections
of the Scripture. We want to emphasize that the Scriptures
must be interpreted in light of their historical context and
within the overall context of scriptural teachings. While
interpreting the Bible, one must seek the guidance of the
Holy Spirit and the principle of interpreting the Scripture
by the Scripture. The interpretation should be coherent and
consistent, but not based on isolated verses. Biblical interpretation
should take into account the orthodox faith that has been
taken as the heritage of the church down through history.
We are against interpretation of the Scripture merely according
to one’s own will, or by subjective spiritualization.
2. Triune God
We believe in the only one true God, the eternally
self-existing triune God who is the Father, the Son and the
Holy Spirit. While sharing the same nature, the same honor
and the same glory, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
are distinct persons who have differently functional roles
in the work of redemption. The Father planned salvation; the
Son fulfilled salvation; while the Holy Spirit applies the
salvation. However, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
are not separate and independent of each other. They are one
in unity. The Son reveals the Father; the Holy Spirit reveals
the Son; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are together
worshipped and praised. We pray to the Father through the
Holy Spirit in the name of the Son.
We believe that God created the universe and
all things, and He created man in His own image. God has all
things in His own control and sustains all things. He is the
Lord of human history. The almighty God is a righteous, holy,
faithful and loving God. He is omniscient, omnipresent and
omnipotent. He manifests His sovereignty throughout human
history. The Son and the Holy Spirit are eternal: the Son
has the relationship of Son to the Father, but is not created;
the Holy Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son.
God is spirit. He has no visible form or shape.
Christians should worship Him in spirit and in truth. Christians
have no other object of worship apart from this triune God.
We reject wrong explanations of the trinity, such as: one
body with three forms (like water, ice and vapor), or one
body with three identities (like the sun, light and heat;
or the son, the father and the husband).
We believe that Jesus is God’s unique
Son, that He is the Word who became flesh and came to this
world. In His perfect humanity He was tempted yet never sinned.
He gave Himself to the death on the cross, and shed His blood
to redeem everyone who has faith in Him from sin and death.
He rose from death, ascended to heaven, was seated at the
right hand of the Father, received Holy Spirit from the Father,
and sent the Spirit to those who believe in Him. At the end
of the age, Jesus is going to come back to judge the world.
Christians receive the status of sonship from
God, but they remain human; they never become God.
Nobody knows the exact date of Jesus’
return, but we are confident that Jesus will return, and we
can also know some of the signs of His return.
We are against any teaching that says Jesus
has come the second time in His incarnated form. We are opposed
to anyone who claims himself to be Christ. Any teaching that
claims Jesus has already returned is a heresy.
We believe if a person has confessed his sin
and repented, if he has believed in Jesus as the Son of God
who died for our sin on the cross and resurrected from death
on the third day to pardon our sins, and if he has received
the Holy Spirit that God has promised, then he is born again
and saved. It is by grace and through faith that we are saved.
By faith we are justified; by faith we receive the Holy Spirit,
and by faith we become the sons of God.
We believe that God can keep His children completely
in Jesus Christ, while the believers are obligated to hold
on to their faith firmly till the end.
We believe that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit
is an evidence of salvation, and that the Spirit of God testifies
with our spirits that we are children of God.
We are against the practice of taking any specific
phenomenon or personal experiences as common criterions of
salvation for all.
We are against any doctrine that teaches a saved
person is allowed to freely sin under God’s grace. We
are against the teaching of multi-salvation (that one can
lose but then gain back his salvation many times); we are
also against salvation by keeping the law.
5. The Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit is the third person
in the Godhead. He is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ,
the Spirit of truth, and the Spirit of holiness.
The illumination of the Holy Spirit convicts
man of his sins, brings him to the knowledge of truth, leads
him to faith in Christ and therefore to being born again and
salvation. The Holy Spirit leads believers into the truth,
teaches them to understand the truth, and guides them to submission
to Christ as well as to the fruitfulness of the abundant life.
The Holy Spirit bestows upon believers all kinds of power,
and witnesses the powerful deeds of God with signs and wonders.
The Holy Spirit searches all things.
In Christ, God grants a diversity of gifts of
the Holy Spirit to the church so as to manifest the glory
of Christ. With faith and desire, Christians can experience
the pouring down of the Holy Spirit on them and be filled
with the Holy Spirit.
We deny any doctrine that teaches the cessation
of signs and wonders or the termination of the gifts of the
Holy Spirit after the age of the apostles.
We don’t forbid the speaking of tongues,
neither do we force people to speak in tongues, or insist
that speaking in tongues is the evidence of salvation.
We refute the view that the Holy Spirit is merely
a kind of inspiration instead of being a personal member of
6. The Church
We believe that the church is composed of all
who are called by God in Jesus Christ.
Christ is the head of the church. The Church
is the body of Christ, the house of God, and the pillar and
foundation of truth.
The church is both regional and universal. It
consists of all churches of sound faith currently existing
around the world, as well as the churches of the saints down
The church should be governed according to biblical
principles. Its spiritual ministry should not be controlled
or dominated by secular powers.
Brothers and sisters in the church are members
of one body, with each fulfilling its roles. The body builds
itself up in love, and grows into Him who is the head. The
universal church should reach unity in the faith and in the
Holy Spirit, and be united into one in Christ.
The purpose of the church is to proclaim the
Gospel, to teach and shepherd believers, to build and send
missionaries, to denounce heresies and uphold truth, and to
defend the Word. As Christians gather together in the name
of the Lord, the number of people meeting together or the
location of the meeting should not be limited. Each believer
is a priest, and each has the right and obligation to preach
the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
We are against the alliance between the church
and politics, or any politics intermingled into the church.
We are against the church’s dependence
on foreign political powers for its growth.
We are against the church’s participation
in any activities that undermine solidarity of national people
groups or the unification of the state.
7. The Last Days
We believe Christ will return, but no one except
the Father knows the date of His return. On the day when Christ
returns, He will come in glory and power on the clouds with
the angels. On that day, the angels will blow the trumpet,
and those who were dead in Christ will rise first. After that,
all born again Christians who are still alive will also be
transformed. Their bodies will all be glorified, and they
will all be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord
in the air.
The saints will then reign together with Christ
for a thousand years, during which Satan will be cast into
the Abyss. When the thousand years are over, Satan will be
released temporarily and will go out to deceive the nations
until he is finally thrown into the lake of burning sulfur.
After that, Christ will sit on the great white throne to judge
man from each nation, tribe and people. Everyone will rise
from the dead and be judged before the throne. If anyone’s
name is not found written in the book of life, he’ll
be thrown into the lake of fire. The former heaven and earth
will be consumed by fire. Death and Hades will also be thrown
into the fire.
Those whose names are found written in the book
of life will enter into the new heaven and the new earth,
living there with God forever. We believe that while waiting
for the coming of the Lord, believers should serve the Lord
with great diligence, preach the Word of life, and bear abundant
fruits in their words, actions, faith, love and holiness.
We also believe that those who do this shall receive all kinds
As for whether the rapture happens before, during
or after the great tribulation, we recognize that each denomination
has its own conviction, and therefore there is no absolute
conclusion in regard to this. The duty of each Christian is
to be alert and prepare himself for the coming of the Lord.
We give our thanks and praise to our almighty
heavenly Father who has led us to draft this Statement of
Faith. Our desire is that the Holy Spirit will move brothers
and sisters in more churches to accept and identify themselves
with this Statement, and to read the Statement in the churches
so as to strengthen the faith of the believers in resisting
heresies and cults, so that together we can welcome the great
revival of the church.
May the Lord bless the church of China.
May the Lord bless the peoples of China.
May praises and glory be unto our true and triune
Shen Yi-ping, representative of China Gospel
Zhang Rongliang, representative of Chinese for the Lord Church
Zheng Xianqi, representative of Blessed China Church
Wang Junlu, one of the representatives of other house churches
(Note: Chinese for the Lord Church is the original
Fang Cheng Mother Church; Blessed China Church is the original
Fu Yang Church.)