The five main articles in this issue have been selected from papers given at the 2016 meeting of the Yale-Edinburgh Group on the history of the missionary movement and world Christianity, held at New College, Edinburgh, from 23 to 25 June 2016. The theme of the conference was ‘Responses to Missions: Appropriations, Revisions, and Rejections’. Perhaps the most significant shift discernible in the historiography of the missionary movement over the last few decades has been the progressive transfer of scholarly attention from the Western missionaries themselves to indigenous hearers, receptors and agents. Responses to missions were almost always multifaceted and only rarely can be described without qualification as either ‘acceptance’ or ‘rejection’. Indigenous peoples responded selectively to both the missionaries’ presence and their message. Sometimes they welcomed the former, for a variety of instrumental reasons, while being obstinately indifferent to the latter. On other occasions – particularly in the twentieth century – they appropriated the gospel itself while being less than enthusiastic about the continued presence and claims to religious authority of those who had first brought it. Continue reading →
However hard it tries, scholarship in world Christianity does not find it easy to escape the grip of the long-standing historical binary of East and West. The Christianities of Asia, Africa, and even Latin America are still often labelled as ‘non-Western’, as if their multiple identities consist primarily in their shared departure from the implicit default setting of European or North American Christianity. The four articles in this issue of Studies in World Christianity analyse aspects of Asian Christianity Continue reading →
There is a growing recognition by the media and by scholars that Calvinism is growing in China these days.1 The news has gained the attention of a number of Americans, particularly since the 16th century Reformer John Calvin is likewise having a comeback in the US in the so-called ‘New Calvinism‘ movement.2 At least one scholar has called the movement in China ‘Chinese New Calvinism’.3 Unfortunately, I think this view is problematic.
You can read my own interpretation more fully in an academic article I just published on Calvinism in China,4 but I wanted to summarise my basic points here, since I think it is an important distinction: Continue reading →