Taiping Theology: The Localization of Christianity in China, 1843–64. By Carl S. Kilcourse. New York, NY, USA, Palgrave Macmillan 2016. Pp. xvii+281. $100.00.
As Christians around the world have been commemorating the quincentenary anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, many have reiterated one of its most famous dicta: sola Scriptura. These two Latin words have been used to summarise the spirit of Protestantism, especially as found through the reading of the vernacular bible. However, one often forgets that many of the translations were accompanied by copious notes to clarify words and expressions, and to comment on ‘correct’ Christian doctrine. While the Protestants behind each of these bibles held to the principle of sola Scriptura, they also held to a very strong sense that the bible read ‘incorrectly’ could be wielded — not as a sword of truth, but as a sword of blasphemy. In many ways, the book under review offers a profound case study of the power of the bible and the attempts of a religious leader in asserting his ‘correct’ reading of that vernacular text. Carl S. Kilcourse has provided a magnificent study of ‘Taiping Theology’ and the thinking of the main leader behind it, Hong Xiuquan. Continue reading “Carl Kilcourse’s ‘Taiping Theology’ – A Book Review”
China’s Urban Christians: A Light that Cannot be Hidden. By Brent Fulton. Eugene, OR, USA, Pickwick Publications 2015. Pp. ix + 145. $21.00.
One of the greatest forces to remould the landscape of mainland China in the last two decades has been the country’s push towards rapid urbanisation. Contrary to the measured approach the sociologist Fei Xiaotong recommended to the communist cadre, the speed of constructing and populating China’s urban centres has undoubtedly resulted in many significant societal challenges. Likewise, urbanisation has had significant consequences for the church in China which once was known as having a ‘Christianity fever’ amongst the rural poor but is now seeing a formidable force of urban intellectuals and entrepreneurs.
The volume under review addresses this complex reality. Continue reading “Brent Fulton’s ‘China’s Urban Christians’ – A Book Review”
The Future of Evangelical Theology: Soundings from the Asian American Diaspora. By Amos Yong. Downers Grove, IL, USA, IVP Academic 2014. Pp. 255. $25.00.
In 2009, Soong-Chan Rah published a book with IVP entitled The Next Evangelicalism as his manifesto for the North American evangelical church to realise that it, like the global church, was becoming more and more ethnically diverse and needed to free itself from what he calls the ‘White Babylonian captivity’.1 The book currently under review by Amos Yong tackles a similar subject. However, instead of a battlecry, this recent publication by IVP is an investigation into what the future holds for North American evangelical theology, broadly understood, as it necessarily engages with the growing phenomenon of Asian American evangelicalism and its theological concerns. Continue reading “Amos Yong’s ‘The Future of Evangelical Theology’ – A Book Review”
Grassroots Asian Theology: Thinking the Faith from the Ground Up. By Simon Chan. Downers Grove, IL, USA, IVP Academic 2014. Pp. 217. $22.00.
Simon Chan’s latest monograph, published by IVP Academic in 2014, aims to shift the Asian theological discourse from ‘elitist theology’ (e.g., Minjung theology, Dalit theology, C. S. Song, Kosuke Koyama, etc.) towards ‘grassroots theology’. Continue reading “Simon Chan’s ‘Grassroots Asian Theology’ – A Book Review”