At a time when Christianity in Western Europe is dwindling, China’s believers are redrawing the world’s religious map with a growing community already exceeding all the Christians in Italy. And increasing Christian clout in China has the potential to alter relations with the United States and other nations.
But much about the future of faith in China is uncertain, shaped most vividly in bold new evangelical churches such as Zion, where a soft-spoken preacher and his fervent flock do not yet know just how far the Communist Party is prepared to let them grow.
To the surprise of many, China has even recently sanctioned the distribution of an official Olympics Bible. This reflects the changing view of the government to outside beliefs and ideas as it takes the world stage this summer. Does this signal a permanent change and increasing openness, or just a temporary show of good will? We’ll all be watching what happens.