Insights from China that Illuminate Global Adventism

Christie Chui-Shan Chow’s recent book, Schism: Seventh-day Adventism in Post-Denominational China, provides a rewarding study rich with insights and provocative analysis that will undoubtedly set new benchmarks and a fresh new paradigm for the study of the denomination. It sets out a new pathway for understanding church dynamics that other students of the movement will want to follow for other geographic regions of the church and the church as a whole.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

This illuminating review by Dr. Valentine is exquisitely rendered and a profound portal into a groundbreaking book. What a gift both he and, especially, Dr. Chow have supplied to the wide world of scholarship and to the narrower world of Adventism.

By focusing with integrity, excellence, and perceptive creativity on Adventists in China, Schism carries implications for all Adventists and, in the end, all followers of Jesus. Not surprisingly, faith resiliency and relevance flow from innovative applications.

Wouldn’t it be even more excellent if faith differences were not merely tolerated but appreciated, as iron sharpens iron?

We owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Christie Chui-Shan Chow. Thank you.


It’s interesting, the parallels between the world church and one behind the “bamboo curtain”. It seems that despite the differences in culture and politics, as well as freedom of information, these have little to do with the evolution of religious institutions - as if coming from a source outside the common influences and unexpected where religion is controlled by the state.

Something similar happened in the Soviet Union where the “True and Free SDA Church” separated from the official SDA church. The official church had made concessions to the Soviet government on military service and Sabbath attendance in school. In return, the government allowed printing of SDA material, especially on health issues, under the senior Wilson.

Of course, forced labor camps still operated for the SDAs as well - my aunt writing that while doing “service” in a camp, she was to pick potatoes past sundown Friday. Rain came to give her time to greet the Sabbath, as she had prayed.

As the schism progresses in the West, it will be interesting to see what the church will look like.

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Wonderful review, and can’t wait to read the book.

I passed the link of this book review to some non-mainland Chinese friends for their comment regarding the schism into “factions” in Chinese Christianity. The spontaneous response was the word “cliques” as a descriptor of what’s happening there, as well as among overseas Chinese Adventists. :innocent:

What does clique mean in Chinese?

/klɪk/ a small group of people who spend their time together and do not welcome other people into that group. 小集团,小圈子;派系

Thank you Gilbert for this review. I have ordered the book. My grandparents were missionaries in China and we worshiped in Beijing in the 90’s under the 3 self movement. I’m interested in how the church has developed since then.

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Walls, bars , politics and wayward religious entities can’t keep the Holy Spirit from pouring out it’s Holy influences.

Are we to think that steadfastness faltered under fear within SDA leadership contrary to those that held firmly to their beliefs without compromise and then suffered the repercussions by those in power for refusing to falter? I think so, Those of the Reformed Adventist Body relate to the sufferings of those who refused to accept the concessions that the Adventist Church made under the National Socialist German Workers Party which created Nazism during WW II. Cowardice and fear go hand in hand, but “perfect Love casts out fear”. That’s the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

“The fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much”

Thanks Sirge

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