The media scandal surrounding Christian Wolff’s 1721 Lecture on the Practical Philosophy of the Chinese marks the entry of German academia into the broader debates around Radical Enlightenment. Within the terms of Jonathan Israel’s argument, Wolff’s lecture shows how Chinese culture was deployed subversively within western philosophy. The academic debates also signal a new found German concern to extend Christian missions into Asia. Wolff’s praise for Confucianism and the Pietist’s response constitute the first German controversy about Europe’s global relations. This paper argues that Wolff’s speech must be evaluated in relation to Catholic and Protestant missionary work in Asia.