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Wise as Serpents Harmless as Doves

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Table of Contents


Introduction I

Introduction II

Chapter 1 – The Road to “Liberation” (1949-1965)

Chapter 2 – The Tiger Roars: The Cultural Revolution (1966-1969)

Chapter 3 – Confusion and Resolve (1970-1978)

Chapter 4 – The Taste of Freedom (1979-1980)

Chapter 5 – Clamping Down (1981-1984)

Format: Paperback

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Wise as Serpents Harmless as Doves
Christians in China Tell Their Story
Richard Van Houten (Editor)

Wise as Serpents Harmless as Doves recalls the incredible journey of the Chinese Church in the face of unimaginable adversity from 1949 through 1984. Following the communist victory in the civil war in 1949, the church in China found itself in a precarious position, pressured to sever ties with fellow Christians abroad and limit its activities within its own land. As obstacles mounted, the survival of a remnant seemed like the only hope for the Chinese Church.

Through interviews and testimonies gathered by the Chinese Church Research Center, a remarkable phrase emerged: “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” The Chinese Christians adapted to the changing times, adjusting their approach to remain faithful to their beliefs. When persecution was rampant, they gathered secretly and in small numbers. When society relaxed, they boldly proclaimed their faith.

This book captures the stories of these courageous believers, a testament to God's blessings in the midst of oppression and rapid change. From the formation of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) to the rise of the house church phenomenon, the narrative sheds light on the struggles, triumphs, and unwavering spirit of Chinese Christians.

Wise as Serpents Harmless as Doves is an enlightening and inspiring chronicle that honors the millions who played a part in one of the greatest movements for Christ in this century. Through their fragmented voices, the book resounds with a resolute call to glorify His name.


  • This potpourri of remarkable stories, interviews, reports, and testimonies from Chinese Christians about indescribably difficult situations in the People’s Republic of China are magnificent evidence of God’s powerful moving in this nation of one billion people. These are not only historic—and contemporary—true stories of suffering, together with reports of God’s marvelous grace and working, but portends of what God, I believe, will do in the days ahead. Most challenging reading indeed!
    Ted W. EngstromPresident Emeritus, World Mission
  • In our generation multitudes of Christians are suffering throughout the world for their confession to Jesus Christ. Nowhere is this such a painful reality as in China today. These interviews and testimonies tell the story. Despite powerful attempts to control the Christian movement through threatenings, overt discrimination, beatings, imprisonment, and particularly the machinations of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), the number of Christians has steadily increased- to the utter frustration of the authorities…. The many witnesses in this book are abundant evidence of God’s presence in the midst of the Chinese Church today!
    Arthur F. GlasserDean Emeritus, Fuller School of World Mission
  • For various reasons, the post-Mao Church in China has been a well-kept secret. Much second-hand reporting has done little to give a credible overview of China’s vast and varied Christian community. After years of careful interviews with many Christians from China, the Chinese Church Research Center has brought to us firsthand voices of men and women each telling their story. The emerging mosaic is one of tragedy and triumph, phenomenal growth amidst political unrest and isolation from the outside world. Wise as Serpents, Harmless as Doves challenges our Western ideas of the Church and throws much light on the role of suffering and the way of the cross as necessary paths for the emerging church under totalitarian rule.
    Alan GatesConservative Baptist Missionary, Taiwan

Additional Details

  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: William Carey Publishing
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publish Year: 1988
  • ISBN: 9780878082124
  • Vendor: William Carey Library