Seven years ago, retired Wheaton College professor Dr. Melvin Lorentzen helped bring together a small but distinguished group of church, business, academic, government and media leaders for a wide-ranging discussion on China's future. Out of that gathering emerged the vision for this journal as a means of equipping those who serve China to better understand the trends shaping that country.
Julia Grosser, then serving in the College's Institute for Chinese Studies, took on the challenge of managing the new publication and has served faithfully in that role ever since. Dona Diehl of the Evangelical Missions and Information Service (EMIS) designed the first issue and continues to lend her artistic touch to each one.
During the past six years we have witnessed China's entry into the World Trade Organization and her successful bid for the 2008 Olympic Games. These events stand out as milestones in China's pursuit of international prominence at the dawn of a new century.
Trends such as the emergence of China's urban middle class, the mass migration of millions of peasants to the cities, the coming of age of the "little emperor" generation, and the explosion in internet usage point the way to what China is becoming. This China of the twenty-first century contrasts sharply with the millennia-old agrarian society that still exerts a powerful cultural influence, causing one observer to describe present-day Chinese society as "a pre-modern people living in a modern world influenced by postmodern ideas."
Within the family of faith we have witnessed theological struggles in the classrooms of China's official seminaries, the development of a new kind of church among urban professionals, and a new willingness on the part of Chinese Christians to engage their society at all levels. As pointed out in this current issue, a growing rights consciousness within Chinese society raises expectations that the church will one day be allowed to function legally outside the government-imposed box into which it is now expected to fita box that is far too small and constrictive to even begin to contain the very diverse Body of Christ in China.
As we celebrate this 25th issue of ChinaSource we remember Mel (who passed away January 15, 2005) for sparking the vision that became this publication. And thanks to Julia, Dona and our many contributors whose ideas have graced its pages.
An Invitation to our Readers
This issue features Cindy K. Lail, J.D., LL.M, as Guest Editor. A lawyer, Cindy currently serves as executive assistant to Dr. Carol Lee Hamrin, who has been a frequent contributor to ChinaSource since its inception.
As we plan future issues of ChinaSource, we welcome the contributions of you, our readers. Upcoming themes include community development in China, the relationship between the international Christian community and the Chinese church, and Christian involvement in ministering to those with physical needs. If you would like to contribute an article (or photos) related to one of these themes—or if you would like to pick a theme and serve as guest editor for that issueplease send an email to Julia Grosser, Managing Editor, c/o infoATchinasource.org.
Image credit: Journal Entry (Joel Montes de Oca) by Chris Lott, on Flickr.
Brent Fulton is the founder of ChinaSource. Prior to assuming his current position, he served from 1995 to 2000 as the managing director of the Institute for Chinese Studies at Wheaton College. From 1987 to 1995 he served as founding US director of China Ministries International, and from 1985 to... View Full Bio