Presbyterian Church in Taiwan

The church began in 1865 with the work of English Presbyterian missionaries in the south of the island and Canadian Presbyterian missionaries in the north (1872). After the Japanese occupation in 1895, mission bodies were refused entry into the country. This resulted in the development of a single Protestant church, without the complications of denominational diversity. In the late 1930s English and Canadian missionaries withdrew from Taiwan because of the increasing militarism of Japan but they returned after World War II. After the Communist takeover of China in 1949, many Christians fled to Taiwan and a large number of missionaries were redeployed to work there as other mission boards were now allowed to enter. In 1951 the synods of the north and the south came together in one general assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. Whereas during the early post-war years the church was preoccupied with issues of survival and recovery, the years 1955-65 were characterized by rapid growth. The church doubled its membership and the number of local congregations. After its centennial in 1965 the church carried out three five-year programmes. In 1978 it launched the Ten Plus One Movement, focused on evangelism and witness. Although its numerical goal was not reached, some 80 new churches were added while membership increased by about 40,000. In 1990 the PCT joined an inter-church "Year 2000 Gospel Movement" which was later followed by the PCT's own "21st century New Taiwan Mission Movement". The theme of this movement is "to actualize the kingdom of God through building koinonia".

The Presbyterian Church has maintained a strong sense of social concern for the people in Taiwan and for the future of the nation. It has sought to uphold human rights and to stress the meaning and value of human life in the midst of rapid social change. In the 1970s PCT issued three significant public statements, which led to the arrest and imprisonment of church leaders including the then general secretary of the church. Again in the early 1990s other statements followed. The church has made significant contributions to Taiwanese society. Through preaching, healing, and other forms of ministry it continues to work towards indigenization of the faith and to make it a part of the life of the common person. Among its major programmes and activities are: lay training and theological programmes, senior citizens' university, Christian literature programmes, spiritual formation and discipleship seminars, medical ministries, women's ministry, youth ministry, campus ministry among students, crisis and family counselling, and community development especially among indigenous people. It also expresses its social concern through its various social service agencies and in its response to natural disasters (earthquakes, typhoons) both in Taiwan and overseas. The PCT has three theological seminaries, one Bible college, two universities, three high schools, three hospitals, and a nursing school.

The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan maintains fraternal church relationships with over thirty churches in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin and North America, and Pacific.

Last updated:01/01/06