Is it better to operate openly and legally rather than underground in China?

( [email protected] ) Jan 30, 2004 12:45 PM EST

MAINLAND CHINA—many western missionaries choose to cooperate with house churches and denies the church of Three-self Patriotic Movement (TSMP) , but Tom Frakes and Erik Burklin believe it is better to operate openly and legally rather than underground in China.

Frakes's Training Evangelistic Leadership (TEL)–China educates non-Christian university students about Christianity. His congregation, associated with the government's Three Self Patriotic Movement, is evangelical in theology and outreach.

Burklin runs China Partner (CP), an organization provides teachers and resources to Three Self seminaries and Bible institutes. CP is unique in that it works with the registered churches and seminaries in China. Everything China Partner does in China is done in the open and with full approval of the China Christian Council. CP does nothing that is considered illegal by the Chinese government. China Partner cooperate with 23 seminaries and Bible schools in China and helped launch a new Bible institute in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, in central China.

In addition to helping China's churches, they want Westerners to learn more about China. He thinks there are too many misconceptions. Even missionaries in China often don't realize the extent of ministry of the legal, aboveground church.

Local Relationships Are Important

The Frakes and Burklin families both believe that healthy relationships with government officials are critical for the credibility of Christian outreach in China. Burklin said wherever there is a successful work with open churches, there are long-standing personal ties. By serving TSMP churches they got credibility from china government and china religion council and they have contributed much for the Chinese Christians.