Why Public and Theological? The Problem of Public Theology in the Chinese Context

in International Journal of Public Theology
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This article reviews the discourses on public theology in the Chinese context and examines the traditional Chinese understanding of the term ‘public’, the tradition of public theology in China, and the specific issues facing a public theology in the Chinese context. It highlights the problems that surround a governmental-dominated public, the identity of social organizations, and the theological character of political entanglement when Christianity seeks to engage in public life in China. These problems shape the development of public theology in the Chinese setting as well as its prospective contribution to the global discourse on public theology. It also examines the tension that sometimes arises surrounding the relationship between the two substantive terms—public and theological. It seeks to demonstrate how to be public and theological at one and the same time—and, do so, with special reference to its implications in the Chinese context.