ASSIST NEWS service this morning carries an informative article about Grace Seminary alumnus Werner Burklin (pictured) and a survey he did to determine the number of evangelicals in China. Here is a short excerpt — to read the entire article click on http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2007/s07100011.htm
BOCA RATON, FLORIDA (ANS) — As a missionary kid forced to leave China in 1950, he was overjoyed to return to the land of his roots in 1981. When he got back to the U.S. after subsequent trips, people often asked, “How many Christians are in China?”
“I didn’t know,” admits Dr. Werner Burklin, founder of China Partner www.chinapartner.org. This son of German missionaries is also a former executive with Youth for Christ and directed two Billy Graham conferences for itinerant evangelists in Amsterdam. He also served on Graham’s board in Europe and more recently authored “Jesus Never Left China.”
Dr. Burklin heard guesstimates that ranged from 20 million to as high as 200 million Christians, but none of these figures were the result of actual surveys. “There was a lot of speculation swirling around,” Burklin says. Indeed, this news service reported one estimate of 130 million Christians in China reportedly made by a Chinese government official earlier this year, which Burklin disputes.
To get the facts, China Partner sent teams to every province, municipality and autonomous region in China – 31 in all. The only region they did not survey was Tibet. Over a 13-month period, his team interviewed 5,430 people ranging in age from 16-92 from a wide variety of occupations. The surveys took place in parks, markets, subways, buses, on the streets, and in numerous other locales.
Based on their polling, Burklin believes there are 39 million Protestant Christians in China, with a three percent margin of error. He estimates roughly half are in the underground church, and the other half are in government-approved churches.