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Christianities in Asia

Peter C. Phan (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4443-9260-9
288 pages
January 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
Christianities in Asia (1444392603) cover image
Christianity in Asia explores the history, development, and current state of Christianity across the world’s largest and most populous continent.

  • Offers detailed coverage of the growth of Christianity within South Asia; among the thousands of islands comprising Southeast Asia; and across countries whose Christian origins were historically linked, including Vietnam, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea
  • Brings together a truly international team of contributors, many of whom are natives of the countries they are writing about
  • Considers the Middle Eastern countries whose Christian roots are deepest, yet have turbulent histories and uncertain futures
  • Explores the ways in which Christians in Asian countries have received and transformed Christianity into their local or indigenous religion
  • Shows Christianity to be a vibrant contemporary movement in many Asian countries, despite its comparatively minority status in these regions

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List of Maps xi

Notes on Contributors xiii

Preface xv

1. Introduction: Asian Christianity/Christianities 1
Peter C. Phan

Which Asia? 1

Which Christianity? 2

Introducing Asian Christianities 4

2. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma/Myanmar 9
Elizabeth Koepping

Local Basics 11

The Early Christian Presence in Mainland South Asia 14

The First Attack on Contextualized South Asian Christianity 16

A Second Attack on Contextualized South Asian Christianity 17

Contextualization in Early Roman Catholicism Elsewhere in South Asia 18

Protestant Contextualization – the Pietists 19

The Baptists 21

Laity and the Expansion of Christianity 22

Contemporary Contextualisation in South Asia: Church, State, and People 24

Violent Attacks Against Christian Churches 26

Theological, Ecclesial, and Liturgical Contextualization 27

The Performance of Christianity in South Asia 33

Toward a Conclusion 35

3. Sri Lanka 45
Jeyaraj Rasiah

The Land, its Make Up and the People 45

The Portuguese Period 46

The Dutch Period 47

The British Period 48

Independent Sri Lanka 52

At the Turn of the Century 55

The Present Scenario 56

Process of Inculturation and Contextualized Theology 56

Whither Sri Lanka? 57

4. Indonesia 61
John Prior

Language 61

Cultural Diversity 61

Christian Diversity 62

Outward Form, Inner Spirit 62

Christians and Muslims 63

Papua: Dignity and Identity 63

Ambon: Conflict and Reconciliation 64

Sulawesi: Vibrant and Vocal 64

East Nusa Tenggara: Christian Heartlands 66

Bali: A Minority within a Minority 67

Java: Indigenous Roots 67

Java: Education 68

Java: Art and Music 68

Java: Movers and Shakers 69

Jakarta: Pietism and Social Engagement 70

Sumatra: Local Roots, National Leadership 71

Future Prospects 72

5. Malaysia and Singapore 77
Edmund Kee-Fook Chia

The Countries and Their People 77

Political, Cultural, and Religious History 78

British Imperialism and Racial and Ethnic Politics 79

Christianity: Its Beginnings and Development 81

Christianity: A Foreign Religion 82

The Challenge of an Indigenous Church 84

The Challenge of Islamization 85

The Challenge of Ecumenism 87

The Challenge of Church-State Relations 88

The New and Growing Churches 90

6. The Philippines 97
Jose Mario C. Francisco, S.J.

Transplanting Spanish Catholicism 98

Appropriating Christianity, Resisting Colonial Rule 102

(Re)Building Mission 108

Meeting National Challenges, Engaging the World 113

"In But Not Of This World"119

7. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand 129
Peter C. Phan

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam 130

Cambodia, Laos, Thailand 141

A Look Into the Future 144

8. Mainland China 149
Ying Fuk-tsang

A New China 149

World Christianity and Chinese Christianity 150

Christianity with Chinese Characteristics 153

Christianity and Chinese Society 161

Christianity's Prospects in China 162

9. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau 173
Lo Lung-kwong

Taiwan 173

Hong Kong 183

Macau 189

10. Japan 197
Mark R. Mullins

Introduction 197

The Cultural Diversity of Christianity in Japan 198

Roman Catholic Mission in Pre-Modern Japan 198

Persecution and Martyrdom 199

Hidden Christians 200

The Second Phase of Christian Mission: Increasing Diversity 200

State Shinto and the Christian Churches 201

The Place of Nagasaki in Japanese Catholicism 202

Postwar Developments 203

The Wider Impact of Christianity: Education and Social Welfare 204

Christianity as a Japanese Religion: Diverse Appropriations 206

From "Paternal"to "Maternal"Religion 206

Uchimura Kanzo and the Non-church Movement 207

Inculturation and the Ancestors in Japanese Christianity 208

"Christian"Weddings and the Rites of Passage 209

Inter-Faith Dialogue 209

Future Prospects 210

11. South Korea 217
Andrew Eungi Kim

Introduction 217

The Beginning of Christianity in Korea 219

Indigenous Christian Leaders, Past and Present 221

Christianity as an Agency of Modernization 223

The Rise of Christianity Amidst Rapid Industrialization and Urbanization 226

This-Worldly Orientation of Korean Protestantism 227

Individual Religiosity of Christians 228

The Future of Christianity in Korea 228

12. The Middle East 233
Lois Farag

The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch 234

The Church of the East 240

Missionary Activity of the Syriac Church 242

Churches in Arabia 243

The Maronite Church 245

The Armenians in the Middle East 249

The Last Century 251

Conclusion: Whither Asian Christianities? 255
Peter C. Phan

A Prospective Glance 255

Future Directions: A Triple Dialogue 256

Asian and Pentecostal 259

Index 263

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Peter C. Phan holds the Ignacio Ellacuría Chair of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University. The first non-Anglo person to be elected President of Catholic Theological Society of America, his books include Mission and Catechesis (1999), Christianity with an Asia Face (2003), and Vietnamese-American Catholics (2005).
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  • Explores the history, development, and current state of Christianity across the world’s largest and most populous continent
  • Offers detailed coverage of the growth of Christianity within South Asia; among the thousands of islands comprising Southeast Asia; and across countries whose Christian origins were historically linked, including Vietnam, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea
  • Brings together a truly international team of contributors, many of whom are natives of the countries they are writing about
  • Considers the Middle Eastern countries whose Christian roots are deepest, yet have turbulent histories and uncertain futures
  • Explores the ways in which Christians in Asian countries have received and transformed Christianity into their local or indigenous religion
  • Shows Christianity to be a vibrant contemporary movement in many Asian countries, despite its comparatively minority status in these regions
See More

"These praiseworthy books from Bays and Phan will enhance
their readers’ understanding of the manifold Christianities of China and Asia as well as of the global history of east-west relations.”  (Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 1 January 2013) 

“A stimulating and wide-ranging collection of often valuable introductions. There are also new insights in a range of settings, for student and scholar alike.”  (Asia Journal of Theology (vol. 26 no. 1, 2012)

"Christianities in Asia is intended to be an accessible book on this subject. . . But overall, the book fulfils its function as an introduction to the various forms of Christianity in Asia." (Swedish Missiological Themes, 2011)

"Leading off an impressive new Blackwell series on global Christianity, Christianities in Asia is a rich collection of essays on various regions by top-ranked names in the field." (The Christian Century, 7 October 2011)

"This is a fascinating book, which corrects our Eurocentric under - stand ing of the earliest Church and what happened during the later missionary eras." (Church Times, 1 June 2011)

"As an introductory text, this volume sets a standard for the field that will not soon be surpassed. Essential. Lower-lever undergraduates through professional/practitioners." (Choice, 1 May 2011)

"Christianities In Asia gives a wonderful sampling of essays written by Asian theologians who present the ide variety of Christianities currently in existence in Asia. Eleven theologians take on the arduous task of presenting the history, the current context, and the practices of Christianity within their own respective countries . . . nevertheless, as it stands, this book will prove invaluable for generations to come as it lays out the historical, social and political identity of Asia, which is imperative to understand Asian Christianity and by relation, the Christianity of the West." (Studies in Religion, 1 May 2011)

"Scholars of religion, some in the country or region they cover, and some in the West, explore Christianity not as it has been imposed in Asia through Western missions, but as it has been received and transformed into local or contextualized Christianities, with their own ecclesiastical structures, liturgy and prayers, spirituality, theology, art and architecture, music and song, dance, and other elements. Among the countries and groupings are India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Burma/Myanmar; Sri Lanka; Malaysia and Singapore; Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand; Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao; South Korea; and the Middle East. They survey is intended to be accessible to nonspecialists and general readers." (Book News Inc., February 2011)

"Christianities in Asia is an outstanding introduction to the complex reality of this living religion spread across the largest continent on earth where two-thirds of humanity dwells today. Each chapter is comprehensive and engaging. The organization of the work as a whole allows the reader to see the diversity of Asian Christianities without losing sight of the commonalities that bind them together both institutionally and as a movement. The book offers a host of new insights while opening up important new directions in the study of world Christianity at the local, regional, and global levels."
Dale T. Irvin, President and Professor of World Christianity, New York Theological Seminary

"Phan and his colleagues have produced what will surely be the standard introductory text to the topic for the next decade. There are plenty of details for those interested in them, but as important is how the book as a whole invites readers to experience the richness and diversity of the Christianities of Asia. An invaluable resource for the emerging field of world Christianity!"
Amos Yong, Regent University

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