The Anglo-Chinese College and the Beginnings of Chinese Protestant Christianity
In 1818, Robert Morrison, the first Protestant missionary to China, established the Anglo-Chinese College (Yinghua Shuyuan 英華書院, ACC) in Malacca with the help of his colleague William Milne. According to the deed of the ACC, its objective was ‘the cultivation of English & Chinese Literature in order to the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ’. During its years of presence in Malacca, the ACC not only offered an opportunity to Chinese youths to receive a general liberal education, it was also a school for Europeans and Americans to study Chinese regardless of whether they were missionaries or not, the alma mater of pioneer Chinese Protestant evangelists, and a press printing Chinese Bibles and Christian tracts as well as sinological works. Shaped by a missionary approach concerned with cultural reconciliation or adaptation, the ACC’s activities and achievements were part of the beginnings of Chinese Protestant Christianity and laid the foundation for its subsequent development, as illustrated in this special issue of Studies in World Christianity, which consists of the revised versions of selected papers presented at ‘Sino-Western Cultural Exchange and the Development of Christianity in China: A Conference in Celebration of the Bicentenary of Ying Wa College’, which was held at Hong Kong Baptist University, 12—13 October 2018, co-organised by the Centre for Sino-Christian Studies of Hong Kong Baptist University and Ying Wa College, and sponsored by Tin Ka Ping Foundation.
This is a recording of our seminar of October 5, 2021, which commemorated the life and legacy of the Centre’s founder, Professor Andrew F. Walls (1928–2021). Panelists included Margaret Acton, Dr Barbara Bompani, Professor James L. Cox, and Professor Jehu J. Hanciles, who reflected on Professor Walls’s many contributions in African Studies, Religious Studies, and, of course, World Christianity and Mission Studies.
If you are unable to access the video above from YouTube, you can also try watching it from the University of Edinburgh’s Media Hopper service.
Andrew Finlay Walls, OBE (1928–2021), Honorary Professor of World Christianity, was a pioneering historian of Christian missions and their reception, and in many ways the architect of the field of study now known as world Christianity. Trained as a patristic scholar at the University of Oxford, he went to Sierra Leone in 1957 to teach at Fourah Bay College. There and at the new University of Nsukka in Nigeria (1962–66) he studied the growing churches of Africa and their history.
At the University of Aberdeen where he taught between 1966 and 1986, he became a scholar of international renown, establishing the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World (now known as the Centre for the Study of World Christianity), and supervising many research students who became leaders in both church and academy. The Centre was established as a library and archival resource, documenting the history of missions and the growth of non-western Christianity: the students followed, attracted by the sources.
The following tribute was written by Professor Sanneh’s longtime friend and colleague Professor Andrew F. Walls.
We have learned with sorrow of the passing, after a short illness, of Lamin Sanneh, D Willis James Professor of World Christianity at Yale University, co-founder and joint convener of the Yale-Edinburgh Group on the History of Missions and World Christianity. The Group’s annual conferences, meeting in Yale and Edinburgh alternately, have been an important feature of the life of our Centre.