Author: Alexander Chow

Abstract

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.

In: International Journal of Public Theology
Author: Alexander Chow

Abstract

Studies on mission and migration have often focused on the propagation of Christianity from a home context to a foreign context. This is true of studies of Christian mission by Catholics and Protestants, but also true in the growing discussion of “reverse mission” whereby diasporic African and Korean missionaries evangelize the “heathen” lands of Europe and North America. This article proposes the alternative term “return mission” in which Christians from the diaspora return to evangelize the lands of their ancestral origins. It uses the case study of Jonathan Chao (Zhao Tian’en 趙天恩), a return missionary who traveled in and out of China from 1978 until near his death in 2004 and is considered an instrumental figure in the revival of Calvinism in China. This article suggests that “return mission” provides a new means to understand the subjects of mission and migration, and raises new challenges to questions about paternalism and independency.

In: Mission Studies
‘Ecumenism’ and ‘independency’ suggest two distinct impulses in the history of Christianity: the desire for unity, co-operation, connectivity, and shared belief and practice, and the impulse for distinction, plurality, and contextual translation. Yet ecumenism and independency are better understood as existing in critical tension with one another. They provide a way of examining changes in World Christianity. Taking their lead from the internationally acclaimed research of Brian Stanley, in whose honour this book is published, contributors examine the entangled nature of ecumenism and independency in the modern global history of Christianity. They show how the scrutiny afforded by the attention to local, contextual approaches to Christianity outside the western world, may inform and enrich the attention to transnational connectivity.