- China: Taiwan
- Taiwan (also known as Formosa), a large island some 90 miles off the coast of the China, did not have a significant Protestant presence until after 1949, when the defeated government of the mainland Republic of China arrived with 2 million supporters, an important minority of them Christians. Despite the country's uncertain political future, its economic success, democratic progress, and ties with the United States have created the conditions for rapid growth of a variety of Protestant communities.Several indigenous groups, some of Malay extraction, others Chinese, settled Taiwan over the centuries. Both the Dutch and the Spanish established colonies in the 1620s but were pushed aside by new Chinese immigrants later in the century.The first lasting Protestant communities were a British Presbyterian mission on the southern part of the island founded in 1865 and a Canadian effort led by George L. Mackay in the north beginning in 1872. During 50 years of Japanese colonial rule, no other groups were allowed access. The two Presbyterian synods merged in 1951, and the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) remains the largest Protestant group, with a bit more than 200,000 members.Following World War II, missionaries from a host of Western Protestant and Free Church groups arrived, and groups reached Taiwan from both the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong. Refugees from China brought not only the older mission churches but also several indigenous Chinese Christian groups, such as the Local Church. For a few decades, Christian growth was limited by martial law regulations, and Christians constituted only about 6 percent of the population. Apart from the Presbyterians, other important churches include the True Jesus Church (Pentecostal) and the Local Church (both indigenous Chinese groups), the Chinese Baptist Convention, and the Taiwan Holiness Church.The Presbyterian Church of Taiwan (PCT), the only local member of the World Council of Churches, has held a unique position in the Protestant community. It led the way in church growth with its Doubling Movement (1954-65) that spearheaded growth in other churches, too. In the 1970s, based upon its understanding of Taiwan's role in God's plan, the PCT issued three statements that called for political reform, asked the nations of the world (especially the united states and the People's Republic of China) to refrain from unilateral decisions determining Taiwan's future, and issued a call for Taiwanese self-determination. The Presbyterians became one of the first Asian churches to call for the contextualization of Christianity in Asia, and one of its leaders, Ng Choing Hui, played an important role in the spread of that idea through the former mission churches.Further reading:■ Donald Hoke, ed. The Church in Asia (Chicago: Moody Press, 1975)■ Douglas H. Mendel Jr., The Protestant Community on Modern Taiwan: Mission, Seminary, and Church (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1991)■ Allen J. Swanson, Taiwan: Mainline versus Independent Church Growth (south Pasadena, Calif.: William Carey Library, 1970)■ Hollington Tong, Christianity in Taiwan: A History (Taipei: China Post Publishing, 1961).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.