The Femininity of Chinese Christianity: A Study of a Chinese Charismatic Church and Its Female Leadership

In: Global Chinese Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity

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Why does charismatic faith appeal to Chinese Christians? Through a study of an influential Chinese charismatic church, the California-based Forerunner Christian Church (FRCC), and its senior pastor, Rev. Grace Chiang (Xiuqin), we suggest that charismatic faith provides a platform for an alternative and more liberating expression of faith through challenging the male dominance and the authoritative and suppressive aspects of Confucianism and Christian fundamentalism. Further, it endorses characteristics such as passionate behavior, emotional expressiveness, and authenticity, which are seen as feminine in nature. In doing so, charismatic Christianity plays a role similar to that of Daoism in Chinese tradition by providing notions of the divine that have both masculine and feminine characteristics; the two religions also resemble each other in their treatment of women and their attitude toward the status quo and gender roles. This resemblance partly explains why charismatic faith resonates with the Chinese consciousness and appeals to Chinese Christians.

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