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Chinese Christian History - Research Paper Example

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Chinese Christian History

There is a current interest in Chinese Christianity studies owing to what many quarters see as an upsurge in the number of Christians in the country in recent times, with some estimates putting the number of Chinese Christians at anywhere between 25 million to 200 million, said to be the highest those numbers have ever been in China, with prospects for more growth in the number of new entrants to Christianity moving forward. This, in spite of a history of Christian persecution and persecution and suppression of religious expression by the government authorities in China through time, making it difficult to come up with accurate assessments of the state of Christianity in the country at any given time. The implication is that the persecution must drive some of the Christian activities underground, so that at any given time in history, one can say that the official numbers belie an even larger underground population of Chinese Christians who choose to remain incognito rather than face the wrath of the Chinese bureaucratic machine. That said, the history of Chinese Christians is interesting, given that at even today’s conservative estimates, the number of Chinese Christians attending Sunday service now dwarf the total number of European Christians, with a large potential upside. This paper basically traces the historical roots of this present-day phenomenon of the meteoric rise in the numbers of Christians in China (Gardam; Kelman; BillionBibles.org; Liqiang and Yinan; Christians in China; Moll; Orso; Yao). II. Chinese Christian History A. How Chinese Christianity Developed The earliest form of Christianity that took root in China had its origins in what is called Nestorian Christianity, which is a form of Christianity introduced by Alopen, a Nestorian \Christian from Syria, who came into China in 635 during the time of the Tang Dynasty. The religion was perceived and received by the local Chinese Buddhists as a variant of Buddhism itself, and via this association was received positively by the Chinese at the time, calling the religion of Alopen a brilliant religion worthy of admiration. The Chinese from the Tang period had a curious stance towards Western religion at the time, and this version gained some traction and toleration for some period of time, before it was rooted out of mainland China during the purge of the 9th century, when its perceived association with Buddhist precepts made it a candidate for purging. Several other waves of Christianity met with some mild success but failed to take root as well, from the 13th all the way to the 18th centuries, before a fourth Christianity wave that occurred during the 19th century developed sturdier roots in Chinese society. During this time, coercion on the part of the western powers allowed Christianity as advanced by missionaries to gain ground even with the corresponding advance of western economic and political interests resulted in Christianity being perceived as part of this drive, and so was resisted in some measure by the Chinese. The backlash from all this was the targeting of Christian groups in China in 1919, and the further withering of the roots of Chinese Christianity in the ensuing years due to the pressures exerted on it by the budding Communist Party. During this tim ...Show more

Summary

Chinese Christian History Table of Contents I. Introduction 3 II. Chinese Christian History 4 A. How Chinese Christianity Developed 4 B. Impact of Chinese Christianity on Chinese Culture and Society 6 C. Impact of Chinese Christianity on the Daily Lives of the Chinese 8 D…
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