Christianity in China: Resilience and Perseverance Essay

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From remarkable church growth in mainland China to vibrant worship services in Chicago, Christianity in the Chinese culture has not only survived devastating persecution and political challenges but remains resilient, persistent, and inculturation.
This assessment stands in stark contrast to the claims made by Dr. Morton H. Fried, a professor of anthropology at Columbia University. Fried argues “Although Christian missions were present in China by A.D. 671 and mission-introduced medical and educational institutions have flourished, Christianity has never gained an important place in Chinese religious life. This essay reflects upon the long-term failure of Christianity to adapt to local beliefs and contexts (in contrast to Buddhism), and suggests that the future of Christianity in China is no more secure than its past.”
This paper will address the two primary claims of Dr. Fried’s argument. His first claim is that Christianity never gained an important place in Chinese religious life. His second notes an insecure future resulting from long-term failures of Christianity to adapt to local beliefs and contexts compared to Buddhism. In short, his paradigm suggests Christianity was never inculturized in China and hence has no future as a Chinese religion.
Based on Fried’s arguments, four key questions will be examined. 1. Was the Christian faith successfully indigenized into to the Chinese culture? 2. What primary sources are available to support the authenticity of the Christian experience in China? 3. What role did the Catholic Church play in establishing Christianity in the Chinese Culture? 4. Does Christianity have a secure future in the Chinese culture?
To begin this assessment it is important to establish a clear understa...

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...vement. Maryknol: Orbis Book, 2012.
Phan, Peter C. Christianities in Asia. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
Selles, Kurt D. Protestant worship with Chinese characteristics: reflections on a Chinese worship service. January 1, 2012. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed September 7, 2013).
Standaer, Nicolas. Handbook of Christianity in China, Volume 1 635 -1800. Leiden: Brill, 2001.
Wiest, Jean-Paul. "The Current Status of the Catholic Church in the People's Republic of China." Missiology 23, no. 3 , 1995: 281-293.
Yang, Fenggang. Chinese Christians in America: conversion, assimilation, and adhesive identities. Pennsylvania State University : Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999.
Yang, Fenggang. "Chinese Conversion to Evangelical Christianity : The Importance of Social and Cultural Contexts." Sociology Of Religion 59, no. 3 , 1998: 237-257.

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