The thesis statement outlines some or all of the main points to be discussed but does not name the topic. The thesis statement does not name the topic AND does not preview what will be discussed. Includes 4 or more pieces of evidence facts, statistics, examples, real-life experiences that support the position statement. Provided at least 1 counter-argument. Includes 3 pieces of evidence facts, statistics, examples, real-life experiences that support the position statement.
Includes 2 or fewer pieces of evidence facts, statistics, examples, real-life experiences. All supportive facts and statistics are reported accurately. Almost all supportive facts and statistics are reported accurately.
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Most supportive facts and statistics are reported accurately. Most supportive facts and statistics were inaccurately reported. Author makes no errors in grammar or spelling that distracts the reader from the content. Author makes errors in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content. Author makes more than 4 errors in grammar or spelling that distracts the reader from the content. A variety of thoughtful transitions are used.
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95 theses date
Kelli's Unit Plan. Search this site. Lesson 1: The Renaissance. Lesson 2: Protestant Reformation. Lesson 3: Catholic Counter Reformation. Lesson 4: The Scientific Revolution. Day Having established the basis for authority, and reiterating that Chinese society remains under the sovereignty of Christ whoever is in power, and that in spiritual reality it is Christ who governs and manages history and human hearts 43 , the authors set out their understanding of church—state relations.
Since the freedom to preach the gospel comes from Christ, no country on earth has the power to prevent preachers from travelling across territories and organizing worship It is Christ who has distinguished the two powers 66 , and the church cannot offer its power to transient government or economic powers, or unite its structures with those of the ruling powers, thereby confusing what is of God and of Caesar.
The absolute nature of the language on church and state is clear. The statement is also clear on its intended outcome: as soon as the state gives up its attempts to control church doctrine, personnel and evangelization work, the church will willingly comply with external administrative requirements in the name of public order, such as registration with the civil affairs department His own views are, if anything, more polemic than the 95 theses. Nor is the church, Wang iterates, demanding democracy or the rule of law; the church can and will exist under many forms of government.
The only thing it demands, he notes echoing Barth, is the freedom to worship and to spread the gospel. A growing literature by scholars and activists attests to contradictions in current legislation, with Christian believers among the most active in calling for the government to implement its own stated ideal of rule by law [ 17 ]. In discussing three stages of conscience that Wang discerns in St Paul, for example from natural, to religious, to gospel, based on Romans 1 and 2 , Wang frequently cites Rutherford, one of the Scottish Commissioners to the Westminster Assembly and author of Lex, Rex [ 18 ].
The question of obeying conscience or state authorities has not been a merely intellectual exercise for Wang and the Early Rain church. As Wang Yi notes, switching the law enforcement of churches from Public Security, to the Religious Affairs Bureau, to the Civil Affairs Bureau was potentially good for house churches—but denying them the right to register as civil organizations left no legal space for their existence [ 15 ], p.
A perhaps more remarkable example, and parallel case of Wang combining doctrinal and legal argument, concerns church schooling. While Wang argues for the absolute separation of church and state, he and his church elders will, he vows, single-mindedly oppose the separation of education and religion. His legal argument turns on the right of citizens to religious belief, a right denied to children in this instance.
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Here a more militant aspect comes into play: the church of the Lord has no other option, argues Wang, than to refuse to separate education and religion, as he advocates the recovery of Christian education and the rebuilding of church schools. Again, this works via recourse to international treaties, which, argues Wang, give parents priority in determining the type of education, and children the freedom to religious and moral education.
It is also the only way to understand the history of church—state relations in the second half of the twentieth century, since the oppression of the church, Wang argues, has been political not legal, and the church—state clash a matter of politics not law. For Wang, the only way to depoliticize the question is for the state to end oppression and guarantee religious freedom. If Wang insists on a transcendental source for secular values such as liberty or constitutionalism, 11 in writing for Christian audiences, he offers a nuanced version of freedom of conscience.
Although he was not a believer, the speaker continued, he could see that the church was the freest group in all China, and that no other collective spread the faith or discussed Chinese society with such a lack of scruples. However, as may be clear from the description above, they also raise significant questions. The 95 theses document arrogates to the church the right to define relations with the state, based on a biblical view and on a particular reading of theological history, leaving little room for dialogue.
Wang might argue that the theses are based on the Westminster Confession [ 26 ], but on such key points as the balancing function of the civil magistrate in its judicial and deliberative functions—the authority of the magistrate regarding not just orderly worship but also doctrine and the right to call synods see [ 27 ], Ch. Certain elements are explicit: a Calvinist political community under the lordship of Christ, with both state and church accountable to God; the church as a restored community; a neo-Calvinist belief in the limited role of government and civil protection for religious freedom; a Lutheran call to take up a metaphorical sword when the state transgresses into the spiritual realm.
Other elements are less clear, such as the anticipated relation of the two kingdoms to the Kingdom of God, as well as to each other—along the lines of a Kuyperian refining of spheres of sovereignty and the function of government itself. Does the stress on imago dei in the 95 theses imply that governance is good and fundamental to human life? The document is silent on such questions as the dangers inhering in elevating individual conscience above legal systems thesis 10 —whilst holding to equal separate spheres—and of the consequences in a country where legislation gives primacy to the state over individual autonomy [ 5 ], p.
One could argue that the positive engagement with society, especially over questions of public or civil space, by Wang and the rights-proclaiming Chinese churches, is actually aimed at enabling a separate space, a Lutheran-type sphere for the church to be church, in a model more akin to the older house-church version of separation than its Calvinist-leaning leaders might suppose.
Despite the much publicized work of select Christian lawyers and rights activists, the social reform, or kingdom building element of house church work is still relatively inchoate—although it may be premature to expect answers and action when some house churches are still fighting for the basic right to exist. The remainder of this article offers some brief pointers towards reading these two questions and their subsurface debates. The referents are unstated, but it is possible to tease out three types of thinking implicated in the critique in The danger of damning cultural adaptation of core doctrine is that of tainting all indigenization moves, and of discouraging engagement with liberals by anathematizing their extreme manifestation.
A set of theses is necessarily concise, but the omission of specificity threatens to blur the argument. Ding Guangxun did not deny justification by faith, arguing only that Christians erred when they paid attention to this to the exclusion of works, yet the tendency to repeat this statement unexamined has extended well beyond Chinese evangelical scholarship. A notable trait among urban house church writers is to acknowledge United States church partners for material help, training, and as a dialogue partner—and yet to seem to see this as a neutral, culture-free Christianity.
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While the anti-sinicization theses are aimed at a spectrum of academics and theologians and a range of beliefs on Christ and culture, the attack on the state church 73— 95 is directed at one facet: its betrayal of the keys of Heaven entrusted to it, through collusion with the ruling authorities. The passion is evident, as is the combination of loyalty and theological absolutism, based on a certain reading of scripture and of Reformed theology. While one can understand why the current assault of government advice to registered pastors as to what local and national issues merit attention, and indeed what they might like to focus on in their preaching, might repel pastors such as Wang Yi, such language—which echoes nothing so much as the tone of the Vatican on communists in the s—makes reconciliation between the registered and unregistered churches almost impossible to conceive.
It also represents a partial reading of both Chinese church history and Reformed tradition, as suggested above. It is easy to see why a Chinese lawyer and constitutional expert would be drawn to Calvinist thought and to the central question of church—state relations. The exponential growth in academic interest in Calvinism in China attests to broader interest in such thought [ 5 ], pp. If anything, one might argue that Wang Yi has spent too much time reading sixteenth- and seventeenth-century theology, seen in hyperbolic language and in the revivifying of debates in contemporary China soaked in the Black Acts, monarchical tyranny and National Covenant.
We can hold in tension two conclusions. The first is the courageous, and timely stance on the gospel and on such questions as the rule of law and role of a constitution that the Early Rain church document represents. The cost to the house church of its beliefs has been very great over the last sixty years, and the sacrifice has given the church a strong moral voice in debate, a voice and confidence that it is now deploying to good effect in the interests of other citizens.
Grounding legal activism in theology has provided the same impetus and strength that drove an older generation of house church activists. In an era when the Chinese government is dealing with global aspirations to theocracy on its north-west borders, a propulsion to absolute division between state and religion also provides much food for political thought. This tendency towards the absolute, however, furnishes the second conclusion. Wang Yi and the Early Rain church 95 theses have avoided much of the more nationalistic aspects of Calvinist thought and of other sectors of the Chinese church in their analysis of church—state relations, and two kingdoms theology may contribute to a way beyond recent advocacy of Chinese exceptionalism, or insoluble debate on nationalism versus patriotism.
The zealous and uncompromising interpretation of two kingdoms theology, however, brings its own problems. One is a potential inflexibility in dealing with the state, both at a practical level and so potentially engendering unnecessary oppression or control, limiting the reach of church work 19 and also metaphysically, in inhibiting theological thinking on how to integrate life in the civil and church worlds—even under an oppressive, atheist regime, or on how to serve vocationally in the civic sphere, or even be a Christian leader and politician.
Another is in representing Christianity truthfully, to Christians and to the state. Given the argument that Wang Yi and the Early Rain church have chosen to make, based strongly on a separation of spheres and less on the problematic of working with an ungodly or communist state per se, the existence of alternative, godly, modes of church—state relations elsewhere in the Christian world undermines the cause of antagonism to the state-registered church.
The presentation of the history of the Chinese church is stark in the theses, with little consideration of what freedom and independence meant to the forerunners of the state church structurally and theologically—i. Vituperative attacks on the state church condemn many of the ordinary faithful, something Luther was more careful to avoid—but they may yet herald a full-blown Reformation in the Chinese church.