Christianity in mainland China has often been characterized as a religion for the marginalized of society. However, since the 1990s, there has been a growing phenomenon within the country’s burgeoning urban metropolises with an increasing number of urban intellectuals converting to Protestantism. This article explores the theology of several representatives of these urban intellectual Christians who make use of the teachings of John Calvin and his followers. This article will show that there is a strong theological interest in engaging in the public sphere around subjects like the rule of law, constitutionalism and a civil society. Although the representatives cited in this article have been described as ‘Chinese New Calvinists’ or ‘Christian public intellectuals’, it is proposed here that a more appropriate understanding of this growing and significant group is as Chinese public theologians.
Fan Yafeng‘On the Transition Mode of the Relationship Between the State and the Church: The Mode from Rights Defense by the Church to Rights Defense in Mean Course’Chinese Law and Religion Monitor6:2 (2010) 17–28 at 22.