Area: 36,000 sq km
A mountainous island 160 km east of mainland China, together with the Penghu archipelago and the islands of Matsu and Kinmen close to the mainland. One of the world’s most densely populated countries.
Population: 23,561,660 Annual Growth: 0.58%
Official language: language and language of education Mandarin. Hoklo and Hakka are widely spoken Languages: 28 All languages
Largest Religion: Chinese
|Religion||Pop %||Ann Gr|
Taiwan remains a stronghold of Buddhism and Taiwanese folk religion. Over 90% of Taiwanese see themselves somewhere in the spectrum of Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism and Taiwanese folk religion. Many adherents mix Buddhist ideas with a folk religion worldview, seemingly unconcerned by the contradictions.
a) Purer Buddhism is growing steadily in influence, most evident at universities and among educated professionals; at the grassroots level, Buddhism faces the same challenges Christians faced in overcoming thousands of years of traditional Chinese folk religions. The largest of the Buddhist organizations has millions of adherents and uses its influence to build temples and monasteries overseas and spread Buddhism throughout the world.
b) Folk religions are ubiquitous and underlie most of Taiwanese society. These believe in a host of gods arranged in a heavenly hierarchy similar in structure to the ancient Chinese court. Entrenched ancestor worship and occult practices such as consulting spirit mediums, fortune telling and offerings to ghosts are all essential parts of this animistic and informal set of practices and beliefs.
Taiwan is politically open but spiritually closed. Visitors from mainland China often comment on the spiritual darkness and the hardness of peoples hearts in Taiwan. Ministry in Taiwan is difficult and fruit is hard won. Taiwan is still the only major Han Chinese population in the world where a significant spiritual breakthrough has not occurred. Only recently has Christianity started growing again after decades of stagnation; Christianitys percentage of the population in 1965 (5.6%) was only surpassed in 2008. The major challenges to be faced by the Church are the following:
a) Spiritual opposition to the gospel is very real. Powerful opposition from non-Christian religions makes breaking away from ones past to embrace Christianity a real challenge.
b) Unity must be cultivated. There are frequent prayer events and evangelistic meetings to foster unity, but much more work must be done. A biblical view of the body of Christ must be cultivated.
c) Materialism is one of the greatest barriers to the good news in todays Taiwan. Many people are very focused on their career, on their childrens education and on how to live the most affluent life possible. There is very little time left for spiritual nourishment or ministry. Ask God to pour out His Spirit to create a true hunger for Him.
d) Low levels of commitment and sanctification. Only a minority of converts become disciples deeply engaged in the life of the local congregation and active in ministry; nominalism is a problem and the dropout rate significant. Vices such as gambling and the sex industry, which sadly permeate much of Taiwanese society, are constant temptations.
e) Lack of pastors and full-time workers a long-standing problem that requires either the calling of more workers or the mobilization of the laity, or both.
f) The disparity in the distribution of Christians. The majority of Christians are found in bigger cities among Mandarin speakers (or Mainlanders). There are far fewer churches in rural areas and among Taiwanese- and Hakka-speaking peoples. Minority groups, both indigenous and immigrant, are either strongly Christianized or very unreached.
For an additional 9 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Republic of China, Taiwan.