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By Huilin YANG, Zhang Jing, David Lyle Jeffrey

Christian missionaries in China were seen as brokers of Western imperialist values. Yang Huilin, prime pupil of Sino-Christian experiences, has committed himself to re-evaluating the historical past of Christianity in China and sifting via highbrow and spiritual result of missionary efforts in China. Yang focuses upon neighborhood histories of Christianity to chronicle its enduring solid. China, Christianity, and the query of tradition illuminates the unexplored hyperlinks among Christianity and chinese language tradition, from Christianity and better schooling in China to the agricultural acculturation of Christian ideology through indigenous groups. In a noticeably chinese language voice, Yang provides the legacy of Western missionaries in a brand new gentle, contributing vastly to now energetic Sino-Christian theology.

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China, Christianity, and the Question of Culture

Christian missionaries in China were seen as brokers of Western imperialist values. Yang Huilin, top pupil of Sino-Christian stories, has committed himself to re-evaluating the heritage of Christianity in China and sifting via highbrow and spiritual result of missionary efforts in China.

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For example, Nicholas Standaert mentions three ways of acceptance: (1) the ethical interpretations by Xu Guangqi and Li Zhizao, (2) Yang Tingyun’s functional interpretation of Christianity to supplement Confucianism and sweep out Buddhism (补儒抑佛, bu ru yi fo), and (3) popular folk interpretations in the nature of exorcisms of evil spirits and evil forces. While the ethical interpretations and popular folk interpretations are self-evident, even Yang Tingyun’s direct phonetic translations from the Latin of those “occult truths” that “cannot be fully explained in words or approximated by analogies”6 were intended only to prove that, like Buddhism, Christianity is “neither truly foreign nor truly interpreted from the outside,”7 but a supplementary contribution to Confucianism itself.

15 At the same time, inculturation differs from adaptation in that the former consists of “profound inculcation into the people of one’s culture . . 17 Yet this ideal situation was all along accompanied by awkward situations in real life. In comparison, the inculturation that took place in the Ming and Qing eras was not a voluntary process, but more of a natural continuation of the “adaptive” missionary strategy, or a temporary expedient in the face of the powerful Confucian tradition. The Chinese churches of the early days of the 1911 Republic voluntarily raised the banner of inculturation, mainly because of the stimulus of the anti-Christian movement; the sinification measures taken by the Catholic Church also had to do with the nationalist awareness that arose during the May Fourth Movement.

The only difference is that this is no longer a convergence with China’s traditional morality, but convergence with the ideological mode, or with the popular mode of faith. Convergence with the ideological mode means that certain preachings, Christian fellowships, and other such 40 China, Christianity, and the Question of Culture approaches display too many similarities with the Cultural Revolution tradition. If the Cultural Revolution once “religionized” a certain ideology, then it is not impossible that religion may become ideologized.

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