Little Flock


Little Flock
Protestant sect
The Little Flock (Xiaoqun, also known as the Assembly Hall, or Juhuisuo) is an indigenous Protestant sect that emerged in the early decades of the twentieth century, along with the Jesus Family and the True Jesus Church. The group was founded by a group of Chinese Protestants who combined the premillennialist doctrines of the Brethren sect, charismatic practices in the Holiness tradition, and a strong antagonism towards foreign mission organizations. Led by the charismatic Ni Tuoshen (Watchman Nee, 1903–72), the Little Flock organized a nationwide network of highly associational ‘assemblies’ which was headquartered in Shanghai. By the mid 1940s, the group claimed a membership of over 70,000, organized into some 700 assemblies.
The strongly anti-Communist Ni was jailed as a counter-revolutionary in 1952, and he remained imprisoned until his death in 1972. Officials in the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) repeatedly denounced the Little Flock, resulting in the arrest of many of its leaders.
One of the group’s lieutenants, Li Changshou (Witness Lee), migrated to Taiwan, where he established a splinter group, the Local Church (see Local Church (and ‘shouters’)), based in part on Little Flock traditions and in part on Li’s own subjective doctrines. He later migrated to Anaheim, California, where the church’s global headquarters remain today. Local Church missionaries returned to the mainland after 1978, primarily targeting Little Flock congregations. Although the state quickly banned the Local Church, dubbing it the ‘shouter sect’ (huhan pai) after its charismatic worship practices, the group expanded rapidly, attracting over 200,000 adherents by the mid 1980s. Together, the traditional Little Flock and the Local Church claim over 800,000 adherents today.
Deng, Zhaoming (2001). ‘Indigenous Chinese Pentecostal Denominations’. China Study Journal 16.3:5–22.
JASON KINDOPP

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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