Middle East Christians: Searching for a ‘Christian Country’

The Middle East’s Christian communities frequently make headlines as they emigrate rapidly from from ancient homelands to Europe and the Americas. The Centre for the Study of World Christianity and the Christian-Muslim Studies Network co-sponsored a discussion that explored the fate of those whose emigration led them to the United Kingdom.

Dr Fiona McCallum, a lecturer in International Relations at the University of St. Andrews, presented findings from the Humanities in the European Research Area project, ‘Defining and Identifying Middle Eastern Christian Communities in Europe’. Dr Fiona McCallum in New College

Dr McCallum’s work found an audience of particular interest at the Centre for World Christianity at New College, where two PhD students have launched research in the fledgling field of Arab Christianity. Continue reading

Prof. Andrew Walls: European Christianity, the Missionary Movement and the Rebirth of World Christianity

Prof. Andrew Walls delivered the lecture ‘European Christianity, the Missionary Movement and the Rebirth of World Christianity’ on 26 September 2017 in the research seminar of the Centre for the Study of World Christianity at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh.

Women and the World Church: Second Panel

The Centre for World Christianity co-hosted a one-day conference on ‘Women in the World Church’ to explore the historical and contemporary role of women in global Christianity on 16 September 2017. The title address came from guest scholar Professor Kwok Pui-Lan, an Asian feminist theologian, who focused her remarks on both the women who helped to build the growing Christian communities in the Global South and those of the women missionaries who served them.

As one of a panel of respondents from the field of Arab Christianity, I focused my remarks on a portion of Professor Kwok’s thesis:

The study of the agency of local Christian women must take into consideration the wider social, historical, and political environment in which these women lived.

As I consider the field of the world’s Christianity in which I aim to specialize – contemporary Christianity of the Arab world and of Jordan in particular – I would consider the effects of such environments on local Christian women as well. They have not always affected them, or myself, as I first expected. Continue reading

Women and the World Church: First Panel

I was invited to respond to Professor Kwok Pui-lan’s paper, and share about being a woman in the Zomi church. Professor Kwok highlighted the somewhat contradictory nature of freedom that many missionary women experienced. She noted that although mission work allowed women to have a profession, they were still nonetheless working within the confines of set gender roles and Victorian notions of domesticity. Their work was ‘woman’s work’, and they received low wages if any. For me, as a Zomi woman, her remarks reminded me of the current situation of many women in my community. Continue reading

Prof. Kwok Pui-lan: Women, Mission, and World Christianity

Prof. Kwok Pui-lan delivered the Alexander Duff lecture ‘Women, Mission, and World Christianity’ on 16 September 2017 at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh. It was the keynote lecture in the ‘Women and the World Church’ day conference co-sponsored by the Church of Scotland World Mission Council.


For more about the ‘Women and World Church’ conference, you can read about the response panels, authored by Nuam Hatzaw and Lucy Schouten, respectively.

Review: From Christ to Confucius

This review was originally posted here.

Recent historical scholarship on modern Christian missions to China, as to the non-European world as a whole, has been bedeviled by two weaknesses. First, historians have written about Protestant missions to China, or less frequently about Catholic ones, but very rarely about the two together within a single monograph. Second, Anglo-American scholars have tended for obvious linguistic reasons to confine themselves to the study of British or American missions, to the general neglect of those from continental Europe. Not the least of the virtues of Albert Monshan Wu’s book is that it transcends both of these limitations at once. By selecting as his two case studies in missions to China the Protestant Berlin Missionary Society (BMS) and the Catholic Society of the Divine Word (SVD) Wu is able to illuminate both commonalties and dissimilarities across the confessional divide. Continue reading

The Legacy of the (Counter) Reformation in China: 3 Examples

This article was originally posted here.

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

In Memory of Dr T. Jack Thompson

Professor Brian Stanley remembers Dr T. Jack Thompson (1943–2017), former director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World

It is with great sadness that the School announces the death on 10 August 2017 of Dr T. Jack Thompson. Jack came to New College as Lecturer in Mission Studies in 1993 from the Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham.  He remained on the staff until December 2008, becoming Senior Lecturer in African Christianity. He served as Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World (now the Centre for the Study of World Christianity) from 2005 to 2008, and fulfilled a number of key roles in the School, including that of Director of Postgraduate Studies. He was a devoted supervisor of many PhD students in world Christianity. Continue reading

Studies in World Christianity, Issue 23.2

Chinese Identity, Christian Identity

Studies in World Christianity

Readers of Studies in World Christianity will be well acquainted with the parable of the Professor of Comparative Inter-Planetary Religions.1 As narrated by Andrew Walls, this long-living, scholarly space visitor travels to Earth on a number of occasions to conduct field research related to the religion known as ‘Christianity’, from the Council of Jerusalem to the Council of Nicaea, from the seventh century in Ireland to the 1840s in London and the 1980s in Lagos, Nigeria. What would differ if our space visitor were to narrow the scope of his research to a particular subgrouping of the human species, such as to those with some affiliation with the descriptor ‘Chinese’? Would Walls’ ‘indigenising’ principle have to be envisioned differently if we were to speak of a more unified understanding of ‘culture’? Or, perhaps, would ‘Chinese culture’ need to be re-evaluated as embodying manifold meanings, especially when ‘Chinese’ is not limited to a given time or locale? Does Walls’ ‘pilgrim’ principle, which speaks of the universalising factor of Christianity, add to or take away from Chinese culture? Continue reading