04/18/20 China (International Christian Concern) – Apostle’s Church, situated in China’s coastal city of Suzhou, recently appointed Rev. Rui Tingting as associate senior pastor. She accepted the appointment, meaning she would be the successor to the oldest church in the Jiangsu province, the very first protestant church from 1879 by missionaries.
According to the Suzhou Christian Council and Three-Self Patriotic Movement (CC&TSPM), they held the first ever Chinese national flag raising ceremony in Shishan Church on October 1, 2018. This new campaign introduced traditional Chinese culture into churches in China, meaning national flags in place of religious symbols, core socialist values, over any Christian theology from the Bible.
As shared by China Christian Daily, the two Chinese national flags on the podium displayed before Rev. Rui shows her responsibility to society and allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) over God. With her hand on the Bible, she promised she would follow the CCP’s core socialist values, comply with the three-self principles, and to also fulfill her pastoral responsibilities to the Apostles Church.
In recent years, Beijing has reinforced the party ideology on Three-Self churches, making sure the leadership are adherents of CCP’s values. Many churches have been asked to display flags, slogans, or even portrait of Chinese president Xi Jinping inside their buildings to show their allegiance. Leaders of these churches have to be “politically correct” for them to be selected by the CC&TSPM.