“Nestorianism” in China

Jingjiao SteleThere is no such thing!

I have read many historical studies and essays about the encounter between Christianity and China, including in the last few months, and a great many of them begin by discussing the arrival of Nestorianism into China in the seventh century. While I also held this position for many years—and even used the term in my PhD—it was not until I was preparing my first book for publication that I decided to look into the literature on the matter. After much reading, I was convinced that I was wrong. Hence, the very first footnote in this book on twentieth century Chinese Christianity includes my longest footnote—dedicated to a seventh century topic. A very important seventh century topic.

To save you from looking it up, I cite it here at length:1 Continue reading ““Nestorianism” in China”

The Legacy of the (Counter) Reformation in China: 3 Examples

This year, there are many festivities celebrating the legacy of the Protestant Reformation – 500 years after Martin Luther penned his Ninety-five Theses in 1517. However, one of the most important legacies which has been overlooked is the Counter-Reformation – the Catholic revival which responded to the protests of Luther and other reformers. When we consider a country like China – or most other places outside of Europe at the time – it is in fact the Counter-Reformation that had an arguably more important impact (at least initially). Three examples, I believe, are worth highlighting, as they show just how much Protestantism in China is indebted to Catholicism in China and, by extension, the Counter-Reformation. Continue reading “The Legacy of the (Counter) Reformation in China: 3 Examples”

The Lack of a ‘Chinese Exclusion Act’ in the United Kingdom?

Liverpool Chinese Seamen

For the last Yale-Edinburgh conference on the theme ‘Migration, Exile, and Pilgrimage’, I gave a paper on a possible new area of research for myself: British Chinese Christianity. In preparation for the presentation, I was struck by much of the reading I encountered which asserted that widespread hostility against Chinese in Britain has rarely been recorded. One commentator even claimed:1

The reason for this apparent lack of interest in Chinese immigrants would seem to be largely that they have not appeared to pose any sort of minority problem. Their numbers are relatively insignificant, and they do not constitute an economic threat to the workers of the host society, since they seldom compete directly with British labour for jobs. Nor has attention been drawn to them, as it has to ‘dark-skinned’ immigrants, by any serious racial disturbances.

In fact, when compared to the United States, Canada, and Australia, the government in the United Kingdom has never created any form of ‘Chinese Exclusion Act’ Continue reading “The Lack of a ‘Chinese Exclusion Act’ in the United Kingdom?”

Taking Back Education: A Plea for Diversity

Pepper ZhangAs I have been working to finish a book manuscript, I have had a hiatus from blogging. But I do need to blog about something, if only briefly.

This morning I woke up and picked up my daily news (a.k.a. social media) and encountered FOUR items which reminded me of where the world is, where the world was, and where the world needs to go. They were:

Those are just the four items I encountered between getting my breakfast and traveling on the bus into work this morning. But what it really highlights, if I may borrow from Van Norden, is a need to take back education and plea for greater diversity. Here a few ramblings off the top of my head… Continue reading “Taking Back Education: A Plea for Diversity”

The Legacy of K. H. Ting and Wang Weifan

This past weekend I had the privilege of offering the keynote at the AGM of the Friend of the Church in China (FCC). I was asked to speak about two figures of whom I have written about academically: K. H. Ting 丁光训 (1915–2012)1 and Wang Weifan 汪维藩 (1927–2015).2 This was an especially interesting treat as Ting gave his famous speech about the cosmic Christ at the 1991 meeting of the FCC, and I was now asked to speak about him and another key leader in the state-sanctioned Protestant church of China, the TSPM and the CCC.

Now, if you read the literature about Ting, you will encounter many strongly polarised views. Continue reading “The Legacy of K. H. Ting and Wang Weifan”