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Inner Dynamics of the Chinese House Church Movement: The Case of the Word of Life Community

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The Word of Life house church movement is considered to be one of the most influential Christian movements in China for the past three decades, with its network touching all 23 provinces and autonomous zones in China. It is also one of the largest house church networks that emerged in central China in the past three decades. This paper gears at investigating the inner dynamics that has underscored the growth and vitality of the movement by incorporating some insights from studies on historical Christian renewal movements. A variety of categories or models are employed, such as paradigm shifts, the role of key leaders, its basic structure, system of training, community, gospel for the poor, dynamic and vitality, through which the WOL movement is closely examined. Hopefully, this paper opens a window of understanding of the Word of Life movement and yields some insights that may be referenced in the larger hermeneutical community.

Affiliations: 1: Asbury Theological Seminary, 204 N. Lexington Ave., Wilmore, KY 40390, USA


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