New Testament Church

A controversial Christian denomination with utopian community aspirations, deemed heterodox by the Chinese government.

The New Testament Church (NTC), originating from Hong Kong in 1963, is a Christian denomination that has garnered attention and controversy for its distinctive beliefs and practices. Founded by the Hong Kong movie actress Mui Yee, the church leadership eventually passed to Elijah Hong, who relocated the church’s headquarters to Mount Zion in Taiwan, the prophesied venue for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The theology of the NTC combines traditional Christian doctrines with unique interpretations, including the belief in the imminent return of Christ to Mount Zion in Taiwan, rather than the traditional Mount Zion in Israel. The church advocates for a direct relationship with God, emphasizing prayer over medical treatment in many cases, a stance that has attracted criticism, especially given that Hong himself has sought medical care for serious conditions.

A significant split occurred within the church in 1988 when Zuo Kun, a former leader, formed a splinter group that began clandestine missions to Mainland China, where the group is considered a cult. The Chinese authorities’ criteria for defining a cult include the deification of leaders and the propagation of superstitions and cultic beliefs, all of which are seen as disruptive to social order. By these standards, the NTC’s veneration of Mui Yee and Elijah Hong as divine messengers and their exclusive claims to truth have placed them at odds with both the Chinese government and mainstream Christian denominations.

In addition to its doctrinal stances, the NTC emphasizes a “full gospel” that includes the witness of blood, water, and the Holy Spirit, signifying a comprehensive approach to salvation that encompasses Jesus’ sacrifice, baptism, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This theological framework positions the NTC as holding exclusive insight into Christian doctrine, a claim that has further isolated the group from other Christian communities.

Despite these challenges, the NTC continues to operate, maintaining its distinct beliefs and practices while navigating the complex landscape of religious freedom and regulation in China and Taiwan.

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