ChinaSource Quarterlies

Christian Ethics and Family Living in China

Vol. 18, No. 2

Articles in this Issue


Reflections on the Chinese Family

From the guest editors' point of view

Lead Article

The Preeminence of Love in Chinese Families

The author begins by explaining “love” as historically defined by Mohism and Confucianism, that is, universal love versus love based on blood kinship. He delves into the differences between these two kinds of love, especially as they relate to family structure and authority as well as to extended family relationships. He then turns to Christian love, its relationship to these two ideologies and how it can influence the culture.

Supporting Article

A Theology of Family for the Chinese Church

Due to the historical influences on family structure and ethics, many new Christians have no background for a Christian marriage and family. Sound doctrine and the ability to utilize the gospel to transform familial ethics are critical needs in China. In addition, due to a lack of accurate understanding of the doctrine of the church, there is a scarcity of guidance on managing the family as well as its relationship to the church. Li Jin presents the doctrine of the Trinity as a foundation for a Christian family.

Supporting Article

The Decay of the Chinese Family

The stresses and conflicts found within Chinese families are increasing with urbanization that often forces families to live apart. After discussing some of the major pressures that families face in today’s China, the author delineates some of the principles needed for building a good family foundation.

View From the Wall

Families, Churches, and China’s Transition

Historical influences on family structure and how this structure has collapsed in recent decades are reviewed. The author then recognizes that family order has been established by God and must be restored. This is essential for China’s transformation. The role the Chinese church should play in this restoration needs to be thought through.

Peoples of China

Intergenerational Challenges in Christian Marriages

A Sociological Case Study of Urban Young Christians in China

Over recent generations, marriage expectations have changed. For young Christians in China, marriages are taking on new ethical norms that include challenges. Parental pressures in finding a spouse as well as in planning a wedding can create much tension. After marriage, child-bearing and rearing continue to generate challenges between the young couple and their parents. The one-child policy has exacerbated these difficulties. Christian couples are swimming against many secular tides in these areas.

Book Reviews

Bringing Up Men of God

A review of 陈织娘的一生 (A Wind in the Door) by  Mrs. Chong-Ping Tong. 

This uplifting book relates the story of Chen Zhi-Niang, an ordinary woman who raised six, world-prominent Chinese preachers. While her life was not an easy one, she learned to trust and obey Christ and experienced his leading in her life and in the lives of her sons. 

Resource Corner

Sharing Christian Marriage and Family Testimonies Online

Two online resources highlighting Christian testimonies about marriage and family issues.

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Image credit: Birthday banquet-Lee family by Vivian Lee via Flickr.
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Mary Li Ma

Mary Li Ma

Mary Li Ma (MA Li) holds a PhD in sociology from Cornell University. Currently a research fellow at the Henry Institute of Christianity and Public Life at Calvin University, Dr. Ma and her husband LI Jin have coauthored articles, book chapters, and are the authors of Surviving the State, Remaking the Church: …View Full Bio

LI Jin

LI Jin

LI Jin is a PhD student at Calvin Theological Seminary. Prior to seminary he was a PhD candidate in economic history at a Shanghai university. He writes on Christian thought for both public and Christian media outlets in mainland China and Hong Kong. LI Jin and  wife Mary Li Ma have coauthored articles, book …View Full Bio