Church Chronology

Chronology of Chinese Christianity

Here is a chronological summary of the history of the Christian and Adventist Church in China. The chronology is determined by major events or landmarks within the Chinese Christian community or the Adventist community in China. While it is true that present-day Chinese Christians are largely the results of foreign mission efforts from the West, this chronology shows that many important Christian concepts may be traced to early Chinese tradition and culture which may predate Western Christianity.

Taxonomy of Chinese Christian Chronology

The chronology of Christianity in China is often characterized into waves. The "wave" metaphor is an interesting one, because throughout Chinese history one finds repeatedly the Christian church would rise to prominent for a period of time, and then declined into minority, went underground, or sometimes even appeared to have been eradicated from society, due to hostile political or cultural factors. Yet through out the history of China, Christianity would resurface again and again in Chinese society, after each period of dormancy.

    1. (2250 BC to 1911 AD) Pre-Adventist era in China

      1. (Approximately 2250 BC - 1911) Pre-Western Christianity: Border Sacrifice

      2. Chinese Writing

      3. (1st century AD) Apostle Thomas

      4. (7th century AD) Nestorianism in Tang Dynasty

      5. (13th & 15th century AD) Roman Catholicism

        1. (13th century AD) Franciscan Friars during Yuan Dynasty

        2. (15th century AD) Jesuit Priests during Ming Dynasty, the best known among them was Matteo Ricci.

      6. (1807) First Protestant Missionary in Qing Dynasty-Robert Morrison

      7. (1830) Evangelicalism-First American missionaries-Elijah & Eliza Bridgman

      8. (1865) Nondenominationalism-China Inland Mission founded by Hudson Taylor

    2. (1822-1919) Early Adventist Mission in China

      1. (1822-1903) Adventism Entered China - Abraham LaRue

      2. (1903-1909) First Organized Mission in China under General Conference

      3. (1909-1919) China Union Mission under Asiatic Division

      4. (1919) China Union Mission under Eastern Asia Division

      5. (1920-1929) Six Chinese Union Missions under Far Eastern Division

      1. (1930-1939) Rapid Expansion under Nationalist China

      2. (1939-1945) Hardship during Sino-Japan War

      3. (1946-1949) Post -World War Consolidation

      1. (1949-1976) Church in Hibernation

      2. (1960-....) Rapid Expansion of Overseas Chinese Adventism

      3. (1954, 1977-1989) Church under Three-Self & Indigenization

      4. (1980) Formation of China Christian Council

      5. (1990-2010) China Open Door

    1. (2011- ...) Adventists in China Today

      1. House Churches in China

      2. (1999- ..) Foshan Church story

      3. Shanghai Muen Church

      4. Xi'an Church

      5. Beijing Church

      6. Shenyang Church

      7. Chengdu Church

      8. Guangzhou Church

      9. Wenzhou Church

      10. Xiamen Chruch

China Timeline

For comparison, below is a timeline of the history of China. This timeline draws heavily on the work of Leon Poon at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.


CLE (Christian Leadership Exchange), A Brief Timeline of Christianity in China, retrieved 8/20/2011 from

Zhou, Ruru (2012) Christianity in China, in China Highlights, retrieved 1/10/2013 from