The Church in China

The Church in China

edited by Paul Rule
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: ATF (Australia) Ltd.
Pages: 131
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt163t8f4
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  • Book Info
    The Church in China
    Book Description:

    China has been a challenge to Christianity since the beginning of modern times, and it remains so today. Here is a great civilisation comprising a quarter of humankind, yet largely untouched by Christian values and beliefs. Any theological evaluation of the state of world Christianity that does not take China into account is impoverished and radically incomplete.

    eISBN: 978-1-921817-37-3
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. v-viii)
    Paul Rule

    China has been a challenge to Christianity since the beginning of modern times and it remains so today. Here is a great civilisation comprising a quarter of humankind, yet largely untouched by Christian values and beliefs. Any theological evaluation of the state of world Christianity that does not take China into account is impoverished and radically incomplete.

    Of course, there have been some Christians in China, probably for nearly as long as Christianity has existed, and today there may be as many as fifty to eighty million; the very fact that nobody can count them says much about their low...

  4. Chapter One Christian Studies in China
    (pp. 1-26)
    Gianni Criveller

    The story of the relationship between Christianity and China is a long one (about 1500 years long!), a story of trial and error, of attempts, partial successes, failures and new beginnings. The last decade of the twentieth century seemed to mark one of these new beginnings. The emergence of a peculiar phenomenon in Chinese academia, namely ‘Christian Studies’, and a group of scholars called ‘cultural Christians’, sparked hope of a new cultural season for Christianity in China, a renewed hope for an inculturated Christianity, or more specifically for an in culturated theology. As London-based China watcher, Edmond Tang, says: ‘It...

  5. Chapter Two Spirited Conversations
    (pp. 27-38)
    Claudia Devaux

    ‘Li Madou? We know him from our math books!’ That was the enthusiastic response of my Chinese postgraduate students when I brought up the name of seventeenth-century Jesuit Matteo Ricci, remembered in China for his contributions to science and remembered in contemporary Christian circles for his passionate embrace of the Chinese culture, a model of what we refer to now as inculturation. We Westerners tend to forget that it was Matteo Ricci who translated the works of Confucius into Latin and thereby contributed indirectly to the development of Enlightenment thinking, whereas the Chinese do not forget that he translated Euclid...

  6. Chapter Three Belief in China on the Eighth Day
    (pp. 39-54)
    Roderick O’Brien

    The Olympic Games in Beijing had a traditional commencement: the opening ceremony was held on the eighth day of the eighth month in the year 2008, beginning at eight minutes past eight pm. In Chinese tradition the number eight is a lucky number. The sound of the number eight isba, which rhymes withfameaning to develop or grow.Fais used especially in the context of ‘grow rich’. Perhaps the Beijingers are not ungrateful that they were not awarded the 2004 Olympics (which went to Athens). The number four is particularly unlucky (the sound rhymes with ‘death’), and...

  7. Chapter Four The Fifth Encounter Between Christianity and China: Only Persevering in Dialogue Can lead to Success
    (pp. 55-66)
    Jeroom Heyndrickx

    Historically the four encounters which have taken place between Christianity and Chinese culture, present a dramatic history! Today Christians in China still suffer the negative consequences of the failures of the past. However, in the past twenty-five years, the Chinese people have shown an increasing interest in Christianity, in ways nev er before experienced. Will this fifth encounter between Christianity and modern China succeed? While we can only speculate, it is very clear after so many failures, that the encounter will not succeed if the church turns back on the road of confrontation. Only by persevering in dialogue

    will the...

  8. Chapter Five Athens or Beijing? Some Reflections on the Possibilities of a Chinese Theology
    (pp. 67-80)
    Paul Rule

    When Tertullian made his famous remark, ‘What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?’ he was dismissing the use of Greek concepts to preach the good news originally revealed in Jewish terms. What he was contesting was the dominance of Greek thinking in the emerging church, a dominance which has continued to the present day.

    In the notorious Regensburg address in September 2006 in which Pope Benedict made his remarks about Islam, misrepresented and misinterpreted in the media, he made some further comments which deserve, but have not received, more attention. He attacked the ‘dehellenization’ of theology and defended ‘the thesis...

  9. Chapter Six Buddhism and the Religious Awakening of China
    (pp. 81-92)
    Benoît Vermander

    During the last decades, China’s religious awakening has manifested itself in many ways. One of its most notable expressions has been the rapid development of Buddhism, based on the reconstruction and expansion of the Buddhist monastic communities.¹ These communities are nowadays some of the most notable and organised forces of the civil Chinese society.

    This is not surprising; from the very beginning of Buddhist expansion in China, the monastic community constitutes the axis around which rotate the devotional practices, the beliefs and the institutional continuity of Buddhism. A liturgical place, the temple acts as a collective intercessor for the community...

  10. Chapter Seven Chinese Protestant Christianity: A Reappraisal
    (pp. 93-120)
    Justin Tan

    During a conversation with a local church leader in Beijing, the reporter Thomas Harvey inadvertently struck the right cord in his investigations. Harvey, the author of the recent biography of Wang Mingdao, a well-known patriarch of the Chinese Church, enquired about the dichotomy of the progress of the Protestant church in modern China. The answer from the Chinese leader was: ‘Understand two men, and you will understand Chinese Christianity.’ Asked the reporter, ‘Which two?’ The answer was, ‘Wang Mingdao and KH Ting’.¹

    The surge in the number of Christian believers from the 1980s onward is bewildering to those still holding...

  11. Contributors
    (pp. 121-124)