Contrary to repeated, and increasingly shrill, claims of widespread, systematic, and violent persecution of Christians in China today, almost all Chinese Christians meet together without harm. There are severe legal restrictions on religious activity, of course, though these are often not enforced.
The contents of this magisterial volume deserve careful reading by everyone interested in Chinese Christianity. We cannot understand the residual resistance to Christianity among educated Chinese without a knowledge of the material covered in this section on the late Qing scene.
This superb volume, edited and written by some of the world’s leading scholars, should be read carefully by every serious student of Christianity in China. The book is divided into three parts, dealing respectively with late Qing China, Republican China, and the People’s Republic, Hongkong, Macao, Taiwan. This review will deal with Part One only.
This fine historical study traces the vicissitudes of a major Protestant church in Shanghai, from its beginnings in 1887 almost to the present, with a focus on its experiences during the first forty years of the communist era. Though ostensibly limited to a single congregation, the book ranges widely, and manages to place this one institution within the broader arena of Christianity in China in the past one hundred twenty years.
This very slender volume contains a wealth of wisdom for anyone in a position of influence. It consists of hundreds of pithy maxims culled from the vast corpus of ancient Chinese classics and later literature on how to succeed as a leader, and deserves repeated rumination and reflection.
This volume explores some of the social challenges facing China, including “rural-urban migration, unemployment, the healthcare crisis, the rise of religion, the desire for increased individualism, and new mass movements.”
With the publication of this final volume in the highly-acclaimed Salt and Light series, stories of nine outstanding Chinese provide yet more evidence that Christian ideas and ideals played a vital role in the formation of modern China.
Part of the growing Oxford series of Very Short Introductions, this slender volume accomplishes the impossible by presenting the reader with a comprehensive and accessible entry into the vast literature that has come from China over several millennia.
In God is Red
, Liao Yiwu brings his reporter’s eye to the vibrant and multifaceted world of Christian life and faith in China.
Anthropologist Nanlai Cao has painted a detailed portrait of an enormously significant phenomenon – the rise of “boss Christianity” in the port city of Wenzhou. With their national and global reach, Wenzhou Christians may be building a type of Christianity with immense consequences for Chinese Christianity everywhere.
Though rejected by leading intellectuals during and after the May Fourth Movement, and apparently buried beyond retrieval in the Cultural Revolution, Confucius has been making a comeback.
Arising from a conference held in Hong Kong in 2008 with the theme, “Beyond Our Past: Bible, Cultural Identity, and the Global Evangelical Movement,” the book contains a dozen chapters from as many contributors. Half the authors are Caucasian, and the rest are Chinese, giving the collection a good balance of ethnic perspectives.
We conclude our review of Daniel Bays, A New History of Chinese Christianity
with a survey of the last four chapters.
The author divides the history of Christianity in China into eight periods, devoting a chapter to each, with an appendix on the Russian Orthodox Church and Ecclesiastical Mission in China. A few highlights:
Daniel Bays has given us the results of decades of study in a volume that is remarkably comprehensive, concise, and compelling...The book provides both a broad sweep of the history of Chinese Christianity and sufficient detail to make the story interesting.
This issue of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research
holds particular value for all those who seek to understand the church in China today. No fewer than six major articles, including the lead editorial, deal with the history of Christianity in China, with pointed references to the situation today.
In part II of her book, Dr. Robert re-visits the history of missions by focusing on three themes: 1. The Politics of Missions; 2. Women in World Mission 3. Conversion and Christian community
Students of Chinese Christianity need this book for at least two reasons: First, to counter the common misconception that Christianity is a Western religion that has been imposed on China by foreign imperialists. Second, to help us see that the...
With some trepidation, I opened the cover and began reading chapter one of Safely Home. My red pen in hand and notebook at my side, I was ready to mark down any egregious errors in depicting the life of fellow...
The second section of this fine volume deals with Christianity in the context of modern Chinese society. “Comprehensive Theology: An Attempt to Combine Christianity with Chinese culture,” by Zhuo Xinping, emphasizes the priority of “seeking similarity” as the “precondition and...
These excellent chapters point out the necessity of all those who are interested in Chinese Christianity to take the relationships between it and other faiths very seriously. Obviously, the traffic has gone both ways, as Christians have, both intentionally and unconsciously, absorbed ideas and practices from outside the Bible.
This important volume contains so many insightful chapters, with such immediate relevance to all who seek a better understanding of a vital topic, that it deserves extended treatment. The book is divided into two parts; in this review, I shall limit consideration to the first, “Christianity in Relation to the Chinese Religious Tradition,” especially those parts which compare and contrast Confucianism and Christianity.
This helpful article appeared in the Spring, 2011, issue of the Institute of Sino–Christian Studies News. Very concisely, Professor Lai brings us up to date on the rapidly-changing status of Sino-Christian theology.
Let me say from the outset that this book possesses unusual worth for all students of Chinese Christianity. Not only does it analyze a very important sector of the Chinese church, but also presents a model which, with some variations, is both inspiring and challenging.
Lavishly praised by world-class experts, this hard-hitting book predicted in 2010 that the financial crisis of the past few years would turn into a greater, even total, financial meltdown. A new edition, about to be released, updates these predictions and intensifies the warnings. Though they focus on the American economy, the authors emphasize that the impact of this coming crisis will devastate the world, including China. If they are right, the implications are sobering.
The publication of this translation may help us understand at least one of the factors involved in the recent government crackdown on large house churches in some parts of China, including its response to the decision of Shouwang Church leaders to try to hold Sunday worship meetings outside.
Developments since the publication of this book have only confirmed its main argument: “China’s rise is a watershed event that will change the global landscape and that is on par with the ascent of the United States of America as a global economic, political, and military power a century earlier.”
Getting Saved in America
“tells a story of how people become religious by becoming American.” The author focuses almost entirely upon immigrants from Taiwan in the 1980s and 1990s, which is when many of the Chinese churches in the United States began as Bible study groups initiated by these highly-educated newcomers. Anyone working with, or wanting to understand, Chinese churches in America today should read her carefully-wrought study, for it explains much.
This important article both explains the growing significance of Confucius for today’s China and more than hints at a possibly abrasive confrontation with the rapidly-expanding Christian population.
We continue our review of Mario Poceski’s Introducing Chinese Religions with his discussion of “Later transformations of Confucianism.”
We continue our review of Mario Poceski’s excellent Introducing Chinese Religions
, picking up the story at his chapter on popular religion. With the publication of Redeemed by Fire
, by Li Xian, with its demonstration that much of house church Christianity in China draws upon, and reinforces, powerful themes and trends in Chinese popular religion, understanding this growing phenomenon is all the more imperative.
Anyone who wants to understand Chinese Christianity today must have some knowledge of its religious milieu. We need to familiarize ourselves with this religious landscape, lest we seriously misconstrue the recent rise, nature, and problems of Chinese Christians today.
Clearly written, tightly organized, well-documented, this volume helps us understand the multiple roles played by the Chinese church in America in the lives of its members. Along the way, we learn a great deal about the aspirations, struggles, and profound transformation of Chinese who become committed evangelical Christians in their adopted land.
This first volume in the Oxford Studies in World Christianity, also edited by Professor Sanneh, has set the highest possible standard. A full survey being impossible, my review will only highlight a few major features of Sanneh’s overall thesis, with a focus on the insights they provide for students of Chinese Christianity.
Redeemed by Fire
is a major contribution to our understanding of popular Chinese Christianity... Both specialists and beginners will find this volume a rich resource and compelling account. Lian’s mastery of the sources, clear and convincing argument, and energetic style combine to create a book well worth careful reading.
“How should we view the changes in China’s culture and its influence in the light of the globalization of the economy during the last thirty years?”
Writing from England with a firm grasp of geopolitical realities, Martin Jacques has thrown down the gauntlet. Those who would dispute the thesis of this book, summed up in the title and sub-title, must marshal more evidence and more convincing arguments than he has.
From his position on the faculty of the Divinity School of Chung Chi College, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Tobias Brandner has access to nearly first-hand sources from which to construct a critical analysis of a key component of the “Back to Jerusalem [BTJ] Movement.”
Because of the length and cost of these two scholarly volumes, making them inaccessible to all but a few, we are greatly indebted to this fine review by Joseph Lee. The first volume studies the perception of the Jesus by...
Who said history wasn’t relevant? Though at first glance a biography of a largely-discredited independent German missionary who was born almost two centuries ago might seem to have little to do with our current situation, Jessie Lutz’ masterful narrative and analysis of the life and times of Karl Gutzlaff provokes the question, Has anything changed?
The stories in this volume come from one end of China to the other. They speak of rural and urban evangelism; healing and exorcism, compassionate care for needy children, community life of the Jesus family, church planting and growth in remote areas not penetrated by outside Christian witness, and the impact of the gospel to produce economic prosperity.
As the first Protestant missionary to China, Robert Morrison laid a foundation for what would become the imposing edifice of today’s Chinese church. Morrison was quite conscious of his role, and worked deliberately to prepare for others, Chinese and Western,...
This is a marvelous book, and represents the learned Sinology of a long line of French Roman Catholic scholars, going back for hundreds of years. Though he devotes most of his attention to the story of Roman Catholicism, the author does give fair and generous summaries of important aspects of Protestantism in China.
Despite very poor writing, this book makes a major contribution to our understanding of Chinese leadership, both ancient and modern, and repays careful and repeated reading.
Just what is “modern Chinese culture”? As I read this superb collection of essays by experts in different fields, I searched for an appropriate image.
Return to Dragon Mountain, the most recent book from the great historian Jonathan Spence, pieces together the dreams and recollections of a man at the center of one of China’s most epic periods. The life of Zhang Dai (1597 –...
Confronting Confucian Understandings of the Christian Doctrine of Salvation
will now be required reading for anyone seeking to understand why Chinese intellectuals have accepted, rejected, or modified the Christian message since the time of Matteo Ricci. Paulos Huang has given us a fine, clearly-organized study with a great deal of thought-provoking findings and suggestions.
Though certain to stir up controversy, this book contains a message which should be pondered by Western, especially American, Christians with a burden for China. Falkenstine seeks to “clarify perceptions of China and her church,” so that Western Christians may understand the current situation and serve more effectively.
In a modern China that has seen development at a pace shocking even in an age of economic boom stories, many have found their moorings coming undone in a sea of ever changing possibilities. The shape of China’s culture and...
Since the Bible serves as the main source of Christian doctrine, the nature of its reception, interpretation and influence must be understood in order for us to comprehend the varying streams of Chinese Christian faith and practice and the different responses to Christianity among non-Christians.
A Reader on China expresses much that is lovely and winsome in Chinese civilization, as well as not a little that is annoying and even scary. First, the pretty part: The book itself serves as a showpiece of Chinese visual...
I like this book. Of the several on traditional Chinese culture that I have read, it seems to be both the most comprehensive and the most balanced. On the one hand, the writers and editor display great appreciation for...
China’s Millions contains much information that could be used for a concise, objective, and accurate history of the CIM under the leadership of Hudson Taylor. Alas, that book remains to be written.
Like the previous review of Volume II, this one will focus on the sections dealing with Christianity in China. At the outset, we should note Moffett’s the fluent, almost racy, style that makes the book hard to put down, even...
China’s growth and manufacturing dominance are two of the biggest global trends of the last ten years. India’s technology, service, and outsourcing industries make it a valued partner [to American business], as well as a formidable competitor. “The stunning rise...
This well-written, beautifully-produced volume represents many years of painstaking study, a firm conviction that the Bible is God’s special revelation, and a profound love for the best in Chinese civilization. As a result, it possesses many strengths and will be...
For too long, it has been hard to find balanced analyses of China’s prospects. The media tend to adopt a zero sum approach and exaggerate either China’s growing strengths as an inevitable “threat” to U.S. interests, or its weaknesses and impending failure, sometimes implicitly seeing this as favorable to the U.S.
While doing justice to those who still suffer for their faith, Americans need to ensure that our activism supports, rather than hinders, China’s next generation as they seek to add to their hard-won freedoms.
Hutchings focuses on the “politics, society and economy, and the impact on them of individuals, places, organizations, and ideas ”of modern – that is, 20th century – China.
Only the sections on the growth Christianity among the Chinese will be discussed. Samuel Moffett has presented us with a work that is comprehensive, yet concise; lucid, yet lively; balanced and yet not totally without an occasional, but mostly-controlled, bias;...
Burklin's book possesses much value as a description of legal Christian activity in China, and as a general overview of some aspects of Chinese Christian history.
Though its title, and especially the sub-title, would lead you to think that God and Caesar in China deals mostly with church-state tensions, this tightly-edited book really represents one of the best overviews of Christianity in modern China.
Marshall’s thesis is that “God’s fingerprints are all over Chinese culture. He has, you might even say, prepared China for the news of Jesus Christ.” Thus, Jesus does not “come as a stranger to the Chinese people” but, in the word’s of the book’s subtitle, “fulfills the Chinese culture.”
Broomhall chronicles the life of Taylor and the growth of the China Inland Mission in meticulous detail, drawing upon archives and previously-unused letters, as well as standard histories.
Thomas Harvey traces the conflict of Wang Mingdao and K.H. Ting, and the movements they represent, from the first days of the communist victory in 1949 to the beginning of the 21st century.
This autobiographical account of the great Chinese pastor, Wong Ming-Dao, follows the first forty or so years of his life. The book demonstrates the deep and life-changing effects of Christianity on this man, as well as his distinctive Chineseness. Wong tells the story of his ministry, beginning in his early twenties and ending the account right before World War II.
Becker’s journalistic skill is on display throughout this fact-filled work, with its combination of specific details, stories of representative individuals, and well-supported generalizations, always founded on a concise historical survey in each chapter.
He reports on the vast changes that have taken place in China, especially since 1978, and notes progress made in a number of areas, especially the economy.
This substantial volume includes eighteen papers from a conference on its title theme held in San Francisco under the sponsorship of the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History and the Center for the Pacific Rim of the University of San Francisco in 1999.
Soul Searching, a collection of essays written by Chinese Christian intellectuals, gives a fascinating glimpse inside the Chinese mind and heart. Issues like democracy, culture, and the arts are examined with honesty and clarity.
The Cross: Jesus in China is a 4-DVD set of documentaries exploring the church in China. Each disc examines a slightly different aspect of the church, covering personal testimonies of conversion, the ministries of several of the leaders of the Chinese house churches, the lives of laymen in the churches, and a collection of hymns that are widely used in the churches of China.
This superb piece of historical writing traces the careers of seventeen Chinese who studied in America and then returned to serve their country. More than that, however, the book ranges widely over the course of China’s history from the late nineteenth century up to the present. Thus, each individual story fits into a coherent narrative, illustrating general trends and finding significance from the overall picture.
“The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom” only lasted about 14 years (1850-1864), but by the time of its demise, much of China had been ravaged, almost 20 million people had perished, the Manchu (Qing) Dynasty had nearly been toppled, and “one of China’s most remarkable megalomaniacs” had tarnished the name of Christ almost beyond repair.
This book takes a vertical slice out of different sub-groups of China’s population by following the lives of nine different people and their families. By tracing their careers over several decades, the authors expose us to the vicissitudes of China’s tumultuous history since the Communist victory in 1949.
Despite its foreboding title and evident academic audience, von Glahn’s treatment of Chinese religion offers a wealth of information and insight to students of Chinese culture.
This collection of first-hand accounts of aspects of China’s history from 1949-1999 provides rare personal glimpses of political and historical movements and trends.
Chang’s treatment of the main Asian religions is a distinctively Christian one. In his discussions of Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Zen, Hinduism, and Islam, he includes two chapters on each, one an understanding of the religion from a Christian perspective, and the second a Christian critique of that religion.
At each step, Cooper seeks to fulfill the promise of the title, showing how a case can be made either for Taiwan as a nation-state or as a province of China. Given the incendiary nature of this subject, he has achieved remarkable success in maintaining a balanced and neutral approach.
The twenty chapters in this collection of essays fall into four sections, entitled: “Christianity and the Dynamics of Qing Society”; “Christianity and Ethnicity”; “Christianity and Chinese Women”; and “The Rise of an Indigenous Chinese Christianity.”
David Aikman has given us perhaps the most controversial introduction to the explosive increase and growing influence of Christianity in China. According to Aikman, we are talking not just about an incredible increase in the number of Chinese Christians in the past fifty years (from one or two million to more than 70 million), but what might become a fundamental shift in world power alignments.
In this fast-paced volume, China history expert Jonathan Spence studies the lives of sixteen Western advisors of various sorts who went to China to make a difference in that great nation.