In modern Chinese history, the anti-Christian movement reached its climax in the early period of the Northern Expedition. The nascent activities of anti-foreign and antiChristian elements spread far and wide in the wake of the Expedition forces. Encouraged and supported by the communists, the anti-Christian activists attacked many churches in China" destroying church properties, and menacing the church power. These anti-Christian activities did not cease until the purge operation of 1927. This wave of attacks against the Christian churches made a significant impact upon
the churches in China. From inside the Church, there emerged various kinds of awakening movements. On the one hand, their commonly shared patriotism drove them to side with the revolutionary cause, provoking all Christians to get involved in the National Revolution; on the other hand, they began to pay positive attention to the relationship between the church and the state, to refonn the church organization with a view to getting rid of the foreign influence. Consequently, Christian churches accelerated their steps in the direction of indigenization, thereby safely passing through the ordeal of religious persecution, and regaining the once-lost support and acceptance of the Chinese people.
In recent years, some scholars began to pay attention to the anti-Christian movement of the period. However, few scholars have done research on the Christian response, which is equally important in order to understand the social and political development of the Christian church. Many Christian responses and governmental policies, which still are current today, had their origin in this period. This paper examines the various responses made by the Chinese churches to the challenges met during the period of the Northern Expedition, responses highlighted by the remarkable adjustments of the church orientation towards the state and politics in general. Primary sources are gathered from the extant church publications and documents, the memories and autobiographies of contemporary church leaders, governmental documents and official records of that time, and modern scholarship on the background of the period.