About Alexander Chow

Alexander Chow is an American-born Chinese who was raised in Southern California. He completed his PhD in theology at the University of Birmingham, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Renmin University of China, where he was doing research in Chinese Christianity and teaching in the School of Liberal Arts, and joined the University of Edinburgh in September 2013. He is also an editor of Studies in World Christianity.

Recap of Peter Phan’s Cunningham Lectures

Migration of Christianity, Christianity of Migration

Last week we had the privilege of having Professor Peter Phan, Ignacio Ellacuria Chair of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University, deliver the Cunningham Lectures in the School on the topic: Migration of Christianity, Christianity of Migration. The topic of migration is quite timely in today’s political discourse. Whether we speak of Syrian refugees in Europe or Central Americans being stopped at the US-Mexican border, with parents separated from children, it is hard not to encounter news around the so-called ‘migration crisis’. Phan’s lectures, however, argued that migration should not be disregarded as the latest left-wing fad, but deeply essential to Christianity and the Christian message. Continue reading

Studies in World Christianity, Issue 24.1

Migration, Diaspora and Return

Studies in World Christianity

Migration has featured as a major topic in contemporary social and political discourse. In Europe and North America, where many have lamented the decline of the church, much of this migration includes the waves of vibrant expressions of Christianity coming from peoples with origins in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Of course, the connection between the development of Christianity and the movement of people is nothing new. The book of Acts, for instance, narrates the early church’s trajectory from Jerusalem as the centre of Judaism to Rome as the centre of the Gentile world – the earliest ‘gravitational shift’ of Christianity. Luke describes the Day of Pentecost as the moment when the Holy Spirit descended upon the believers, who were ‘devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem’ (Acts 2: 5, NRSV). These were Jewish believers from the diaspora who had returned and were then living in Jerusalem.

Much of Christian history is a story of the multidirectional movement of the faithful dispersed into new lands and returning to old lands. Continuing this theme, the four main articles in this issue were originally delivered at the 2017 meeting of the Yale-Edinburgh Group on the history of the missionary movement and world Christianity, held at Yale Divinity School from 29 June to 1 July 2017. The theme of the conference was ‘Migration, Exile, and Pilgrimage in the History of Missions and World Christianity’. These papers narrate a story of Christianity as a worldwide phenomenon developed, negotiated and reconfigured through migration, diaspora and return. Continue reading

Dr Emma Wild-Wood: Where does the wisdom of the white man come in?

Dr Emma Wild-Wood delivered the lecture ‘Where does the wisdom of the white man come in? The Interpretations, Problems and Possibilities of Missionary Sources in the History of Christianity in Africa’ on 6 February 2018 in the jointly hosted Centre for the Study of World Christianity and History of Christianity research seminars at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh.

The Bible and Mission – Call for Papers

On 6-7 June 2018, the Women in Missiology Network will be holding a Consultation at the International Mission Centre in Birmingham, UK.

Papers are invited on the theme of ‘The Bible and Mission’ and submissions are welcome from students as well as academics. The theme is intentionally broad to attract a variety of proposals but examples of submission might include:

  • missional readings of the Bible
  • the use of the Bible in mission, historically or in current mission thinking or practice
  • biblical reflections on a current mission topic

For more information, please see the Women in Missiology Network website.

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.

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.

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

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