Wang Ming-tao

(1900 - 1991)
   Chinese evangelist and three-self exponent
   Wang Ming-tao was born in 1900 in Beijing. He was raised in a Congregational church under the guidance of the London Missionary Society. Following a serious illness, he pledged to enter the ministry. He received no theological training, but he had a good speaking voice and had absorbed a conservative BiBLE-oriented belief system.
   As a young minister in the 1920s, he advocated the three-self principles as originally suggested by John Nevius - the church in the mission field must be self-propagating, self-governing, and self-supporting. He began a small home meeting that over the years grew into the Christian Tabernacle in Beijing. He insisted that each member manifest a visible spirituality. There were some 570 members at the time the Communists took over.
   The Christian Tabernacle advocated a simple worship and lifestyle that relied on the Bible for direction. There was an emphasis on the practical appropriation of Christianity. A popular periodical, Spiritual Food, spread the church's message.
   Wang espoused the complete separation of church and state. He was able to hold his position after the Japanese takeover in the 1930s, but did not fare as well after the Chinese revolution. His indigenous congregation, independent of Protestant missionaries from its inception, was just what the new government said it wanted. However, Wang's refusal to back the new government by joining the three-self patriotic movement landed him in jail in 1955. He was briefly released, but then once more put in prison, where he remained until 1979, when new policies on religion allowed his release.
   Further reading:
   ■ Lyall Leslie, Three of China's Mighty Men. (Kent, U.K.: Hodder & Stoughton/Overseas Missionary Fellowship, 1980)
   ■ John D. Woodbridge, ed., Ambassadors for Christ: Distinguished Representatives of the Message throughout the World (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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