Protestantism in Contemporary China

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Overview

This study investigates the historical and political conditions which have contributed to the state of the Protestant community in China, and the kinds of spirituality and religious life that it has evolved. The authors draw on extensive fieldwork, and offer fascinating insights into the beliefs and practices of a little-documented section of Chinese society. They show that healing, protection, and vengeance by gods have been deep-rooted elements of Chinese religiosity for several hundred years, notions appropriated by Christians who now emphasize the powers of Jesus. Chinese Protestantism is seen to result from an interesting blend of the old and the new, and comparative material is adduced which sets Protestantism side by side with Catholicism and Buddhism, the two religions in China of comparable scope. A wide range of sources are utilized by the authors, and these lead to one of the most complete and detailed surveys of Christianity in China ever produced.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of figure and tables
General editors' preface
Acknowledgements and notes on the text
List of abbreviations
Map
Introduction
Christianity fever? 1
Characteristics of Chinese Christianity 4
Information sources and academic work 13
1 The social and political context
1949-1979: the Party triumphant 21
Reform in China after 1979 28
Social control and human rights 36
The legal framework and religious policy 47
Institutions 53
2 A survey of the Protestant community
The official church 72
House churches and autonomous communities 81
Representative leaders 88
Politics of the church 93
3 The historical legacy
Protestants, politics and the Chinese Communist Party 105
The denominational churches 113
The independent churches 119
The social gospel 123
Revivals, evangelism and charismatic trends 126
Continuities 1920-1990 135
4 Protestantism and Chinese religious culture
Prayer and the indigenous tradition 145
Healing 145
Charismatic phenomena 152
Morality 155
Sin, suffering, salvation 158
Conversion 163
Church growth since 1979 168
5 Varieties of Christian life
An official church? 179
Christians in Xiamen 185
House churches in Xiamen 191
The Apostolic Church 199
The witness of Brother Huang Detang 210
6 Buddhism and Catholicism
Buddhism in the 1980s 219
The revival of monastic life 222
Lay Buddhism 226
Buddhism and the Protestant church - some comparisons 229
The Roman Catholic church in China 236
The Church in the post-Mao period 238
Catholic religious life 244
Developments after 1989 248
Catholics and Protestants 251
7 Into the 1990s
Bibliography 281
Index 289
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