Taiwan and the Gospel

Major religions in Taiwan include Buddhism, Taoism, traditional folk religion (ancestor worship), and Christianity. Folk temples are scattered throughout the cities and countryside, and are a powerful spiritual influence on the people of Taiwan. Most of these temples are syncretistic, containing elements of many religions. Worship of the ancestors takes place both in the temples and at the shrines (god shelves) found in every traditional household. Twice in every lunar month, tables are placed in front of the home with offerings of food and drink for the departed ancestors and special paper money (hell money) is burned in burn pots for their use in the afterlife.

Christianity has been present in Taiwan for more than a hundred years. The Taiwan Presbyterian Church is the largest and oldest Christian denomination. While some Presbyterian churches still hold the gospel, many have succumbed to pressures from Theological Liberalism and most are deeply involved in politics. Most other Christian denominations are represented as well, including some denominations which are indigenous to Taiwan, such as the Spiritual Bread Church and the True Jesus Church. But regardless of denomination, almost all local churches are strongly influenced by the Charismatic Movement, New Evangelicalism, and the Mega-Church Movement imported from the U.S. and Korea. As a result, doctrinal and practical confusion is widespread, with a large majority of professing believers lacking the most basic ability to discern the issues facing Christians from a Biblical perspective. Religious errors, such as baptismal regeneration, are so deeply rooted in the thinking of Christians from these churches that it is probable that large numbers of them do not have a true saving understanding and faith of the gospel.

Temple Worshippers

Such a religious environment points out the deep need for gospel ministry that is thoroughly Biblical in its approach and methodology. Great patience is needed in sowing the seed among those who are caught in the superstitions and pagan world view of Taiwan’s idolatrous religions. The Gospel has shown itself to be God’s power of salvation to many Taiwanese who have left their idols and superstitions for faith in Christ. Great patience is also needed when ministering in a local church environment in which many of the people in attendance may have little sympathy with our Biblical Baptist beliefs. They come because they are attracted by the clear preaching and teaching of the Bible (something usually lacking in their previous churches). We pray and teach them in the hope that they will exhibit the spirit of the Bereans and submit their minds and consciences to the Word of God. Another challenge to the work of church planting is the affluence and materialism of the Taiwanese people in general. The pursuit of wealth, education, and material advancement results in spiritually anemic Christians who demonstrate little commitment to the service of their God. For these reasons, the work moves slowly.

Thank God that building the Church is Christ’s work, not man’s. God has called us to be co-laborers with him in His Work. We are grateful for the privilege of giving God’s truth in a dark nation. The power of the Gospel, the Word of God, and the Spirit of God ensures that God’s work cannot—and does not—fail. What Taiwan needs is more gospel workers, more missionaries, more national leaders. Come over and help us!

4 comments to Taiwan and the Gospel

  • David Li-Wei Chen

    As a Taiwanese American Christian where more than half of my family are not Christian’s. I applaud your efforts in Taiwan. Please refer to the peoples of Taiwan as the “Taiwanese” instead of “Chinese”. Although Taiwan historically has much traditional Chinese cultural foundation…they ate as different as night and day. I myself have many Taiwanese American friends many if whom are unwavering where addressing them as “Chinese” is offensive.

  • David Li-Wei Chen

    Also…read “Fireproof Moth” by Milo Thornberry

  • David Li-Wei Chen

    PS…I am using my cellphone, I meant to say many of my Taiwanese American friends are “unsaved” not “unwavering”, sorry. My cellphone is trying to “outsmart” me in thinking that it knows what I wan5 to say, better than I do.

  • David, Thank you for your comments. Its nice to know that someone is reading our blog. However, I would like to make two responses to your statement. First, I don’t believe that you have read my article very carefully. Two times in the article above I referred to the people of Taiwan as “Taiwanese” and not once as “Chinese”:
    “The Gospel has shown itself to be God’s power of salvation to many Taiwanese who have left their idols and superstitions for faith in Christ.”
    “Another challenge to the work of church planting is the affluence and materialism of the Taiwanese people in general.”
    Second, it is possible that on other pages on this site I have used the term “Chinese” in referring to the people of Taiwan. [I looked, but couldn’t find an example.] If so, I don’t apologize for it. This is not a political blog, nor will I allow it to become politicized. I have lived in Taiwan for more than 20 years and am well aware of the divisions in Taiwan politics and society. I am just as liable to offend by using the one term as the other, depending on who happens to read it. This is a ministry blogsite. I write about ministry, biblical topics, and personal news and views. I have no sympathy for political correctness. If what I have written offended you, I’m sorry. But you need to get over it.

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