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Joy K. C. Tong and Fenggang Yang

This study intends to answer the question of why charismatic faith appeals 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. It opens up an accepting arena where men and women can feel the liberating power of faith and freely express themselves. In doing so, charismatic Christianity unwittingly 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. As Daoism is deeply embedded in Chinese tradition and minds, and as it still plays an important role in contemporary folk religion, this resemblance partly explains why charismatic faith resonates with the Chinese consciousness and appeals to Chinese Christians.

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Weng Kit Cheong and Joy K.C. Tong

Pentecostalism is a major contributor to the globalization of religion and represents the largest and fastest-growing segment of Christians in the majority world. This chapter examines some anthropological and sociological aspects of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity among modern Chinese Christians in Malaysia with respect to postcolonial, religiously plural, and globalizing/urbanizing dynamics via participant-observation of two churches in Malaysia and in-depth interviews with church and lay leaders regarding their understanding of these elements. This chapter concludes that specific practices and traits of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity in Malaysia, such as spiritual gifts, worship, Pentecostal-charismatic conversions, emotional expressiveness, and female leadership, are emphasized in response to contextual sociocultural influences. Many of its characteristics may be understood as a counter-contextualizing impulse against the socioreligious, autocratic, and/or ethnic politics of nations such as Malaysia and Singapore that produce a predominantly Western-inflected, transnational network of English-speaking Chinese.

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Joy K.C. Tong and Fenggang Yang

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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Fenggang Yang, Joy K.C. Tong and Allan H. Anderson

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Edited by Fenggang Yang, Joy K.C. Tong and Allan H. Anderson