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”

Halloween, Martyrology, Chinese Ancestral Veneration

Minion-o-Lantern

For many Christians, Halloween is a deeply disdained holiday. Everything scary and dark and evil comes out and wreaks havoc for a night (or a week). The holiday originated in Celtic lands as Samhain – a day when spirits roamed the earth and the living dressed up in costume to protect themselves. Medieval Christians tried to overcome this pagan holiday with a holiday commemorating the Christian saints of old on November 1 naming it All Saints Day, and the evening before as All Saints Eve or All Hallow (holy) Eve (hence, Halloween).

Today, Christians ask themselves whether it is biblical to carve pumpkins, or to allow their children to dress up or to go out and trick-or-treat, whereas non-Christians often don’t see why there is a fuss. Though there are pagan roots, many non-Christians understand Halloween as simply a time for fun and wear costumes. In contrast, many Christians revile the ‘pagan’ roots and, in particular, Protestants are shocked at the thought of even a holiday ‘worshipping’ saints explaining it away as a Catholic heresy. Continue reading “Halloween, Martyrology, Chinese Ancestral Veneration”