For more than three weeks in September, I lived and traveled in Taiwan, where I spoke with more than three dozen taxi drivers and an equal number of Protestant Christians, including both missionaries and Taiwanese. The following report summarizes what I saw and heard.
A few years ago, I began writing monthly letters based on the theme of reaching Chinese around the world with the gospel of Christ. These have been expanded into a book, Reaching Chinese Worldwide.
Carol Lee Hamrin is an independent author, speaker and consultant for nonprofit organizations supporting the growth of China’s Third Sector. Dr. Hamrin provides a long-term perspective on the remarkable transformation underway in China. Her special expertise is analysis of the way economic dynamics drive changes in society, culture and religion, and the implications for China and the world.
The official Chinese media in late September reported several new initiatives to be promoted within the TSPM-CCC circles: a “charities” week and a five-year “theological exchange” campaign. As with other such formal pronouncements, "tea leaf reading" is always a fun challenge.
The following is a list of some of the scholarly books related Christianity in China that have appeared in the last fifteen years. Many more could have been included.
Perhaps for the first time in modern Chinese history, a popular American writer is able to write thoughtfully and at times critically about China without provoking the instinctive nationalistic responses so typical of Chinese students and intellectuals, and to do so without paternalism or exoticism or revolutionary propaganda. By so doing, he has succeeded where many early twentieth-century American writers—missionaries and journalists—failed. This phase in his writing career could well be the harbinger of “normal” relations between the two peoples on an equal footing.
The Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity
now includes a major new resource for the study of Christianity in China: A “Directory of Christian Organizations” includes the abbreviation, full name in English, name in Chinese, and date established/started work in China for more than two hundred Christian organizations.
Tsinghua University in Beijing and National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu (Taiwan) are celebrating their 100 years anniversary on April 24, 2011. It may be insightful to see how the campus has been influenced by both American and Chinese Christians.
In the October 2010 newsletter of Asia Harvest, Paul and Joy Hattaway published a statistical summary of how many Christians live in each province of China. They spent ten years collecting information about believers from published sources, contacts within house church networks, and from other missionaries.
A short list of essential reading about China, including general introduction, Chinese history, modern Chinese society, and Christianity in China.
As you might expect, the article on whether Protestant Chinese house church Christians are currently being actively persecuted generated a lot of comments. In the interest of fairness, balance, and accuracy, I shall list these below in complementary, usually contrasting, pairs, and with no evaluation.
The high-level talks on human rights between the United States and China this week provide a good occasion for us to re-consider the question: Are Chinese Christians still being persecuted?
One of the signs of the growing maturity of worldwide Chinese Christianity is the explosion of solid Chinese biblical scholarship, especially outside of mainland China. These works are not generally known or available in China, but can be easily obtained...
The important role of religion in civil society is often overlooked by both Westerners and Chinese. And yet religious organizations, including the church, seminaries, “para-church” organizations, faith-based schools, and charities form a huge and even predominant part of American civil society, and they definitely are part of China’s remerging civil society today.
Religion is an important part of Chinese society, but often neglected by scholars and media commentators. The buds of civil society in China today include religious organizations and their offshoots—charitable, educational, and medical institutions.
Through a century of political turmoil and disillusionment, waves of Chinese intellectuals have come to Christ.
“No” – The traditional view The answer to this question would seem to be obvious, at least to some. Almost all books on Chinese religion discuss Daoism (Taoism), Buddhism, Chinese popular religions, Islam and – as a belief system that...
The number of religious believers in China continues to grow almost exponentially, far outpacing population growth.(1) Meanwhile, vague and unchanging official estimates, which since 1994 have reported “over 100 million faithful” in the country, reflect the government’s tendency to mask...
Today’s Chinese Christians have roots that go back over 200 years for Protestants and 400 years for Catholics. In my view a grasp of the essentials of that history, at least for the 20th century, is crucial for us to understand the Chinese church under Communist rule.
The establishment of Christian colleges in China by Protestant missionaries was one of the most significant aspects of the Sino-Western cultural engagement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These schools were first started as a way of training...
Advocates for religious freedom—and perhaps especially American advocates—need a fresh approach to their engagement of countries like China that have records of egregious abuses of human rights.
By common consent, development of leaders is the most urgent need for the Chinese church. With explosive growth over the past few decades, there are not enough shepherds for the flock.
Washington should pursue additional ways to support and engage the thickening web of private social and cultural ties that will introduce new ideas and values, as well as institutional experience and techniques, to promote sociopolitical progress in China.
Developing the third sector is essential for addressing the difficult challenges China now faces, and in turn could ease the transition to more democratic political institutions, increasing the chances for peaceful change as nonprofits play a stronger role in mediating between state and society.
Almost all observers agree that there is a serious gender imbalance in the Chinese church. David Aikman, in Jesus In Beijing, states that the average ratio is 60-80% women in churches on the Mainland. In Taiwan and elsewhere, the ratio may be less extreme, but there are usually many more women than men attending church on any Sunday morning. The proportion of women serving in the church may be even greater.
Chinese religion today defies neat categories. Though the government recognizes Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, and Christianity (both Protestant and Roman Catholic), actual practice often blurs these boundaries.