Chinese church life is best represented in two forms: (1) registered churches that are recognized by the government, generally belonging to the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and (2) house churches that do not submit to government regulations and restrictions.
Registering a congregation in China is not the same as registering in Canada in order to issue tax receipts. Registering in China means asking the Chinese government for the right to exist: a right that no human institution possesses.
Registered churches in China generally must accept the following restrictions:
- They can only meet at designated times, in designated places, with designated leadership.
- The teaching of children and youth under the age of 18 in the church is generally prohibited.
- It is illegal to evangelize outside the walls of the church.
- It is illegal to use or possess Christian literature not published in China and approved by the Chinese government.
- The Chinese government has a say in who is selected to serve as pastors and leaders.
Many Christians in China refuse to submit to these restrictions. VOMC supports them in this conviction.