Articles in this Issue
The guest editor's point of view . . .
Strong faith is built upon history. Knowledge and reflection on history are essential for the church and for those who serve.
The Chinese Church that Lacks Historical Consciousness
The Chinese church’s lack of historical consciousness is longstanding. While the secular world has increased its understanding of history in many areas, the church has lagged behind. Only recently has research into church history begun. As it becomes known, the church needs to recognize that history has practical applications and must learn how to apply these. When this does not happen, there are negative effects, and the author discusses some of these.
Following a brief review of the ways Chinese have viewed their history over the centuries, the author turns to the consideration of how today’s PRC citizens view their history. All Chinese views of history have included “history” that is promoted nationally and directly serves the interests of the state. This approved narrative means that for most Chinese there is a nation-wide, generally agreed upon social narrative that may well be the only one he or she knows. The author then offers four items for the foreigner to remember when considering Chinese history or Chinese Christian history.
View From the Wall
We must know the past to understand the present. For the most part, Chinese Christians do not understand Chinese church history; therefore, they often have no means to properly respond to changes in society. A look back at Chinese church history shows us that many of the difficulties faced by today’s Chinese church have similarities to those that have confronted the church over the years. Not only can history suggest appropriate ways to respond to today’s difficulties, it can help us discern God’s purposes in the present.
Peoples of China
In both church and mission in China, women make up the majority of workers; however, their contributions and circumstances can sometimes be overlooked. The author looks at how God has used women of bygone days to build his church in China. She discusses three examples of women as well as a trio of women who provided leadership and greatly impacted the development of China’s Protestant faith. She also provides a bibliography for those interested in further study of this topic.
A Book Review
Using a historical approach, this book looks at the early stages of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and Chinese Protestant Christians’ responses to changing church-state relations from 1949-1958. The author proposes that to understand the conflicts between the early stages of TSPM and the Chinese church leaders, theology and Christian identity are significant factors. This work provides valuable insights to keep in mind while studying the history of Chinese Christianity.
A significant resource, this website offers the names and life stories of significant figures in Chinese Christianity including those who pioneered and nurtured the churches, led independent Christian movements, and applied biblical values to Chinese social and political challenges across the centuries and around the world.
Andrew T. Kaiser, author of Voices from the Past: Historical Reflections on Christian Missions in China, The Rushing on of the Purposes of God: Christian Missions in Shanxi since 1876, and Encountering China: The Evolution of Timothy Richard’s Missionary Thought (1870–1891) has been living and working in Shanxi with his …View Full Bio