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Incorruptible Love

The K. H. Ting Story


Jia Ma and Suyun Liao

K. H. Ting (1915–2012) was an important Christian leader and theologian in China. Indeed, since the late-1970s, he has been seen as the spokesperson for Christianity in China. Many stories surround his life, but it is sometimes unclear which ones are true, making him a mysterious figure.

K. H. Ting became the principal of Jinling Theological Seminary in 1952 and remained in this position until his death, making him the longest-standing principal of any theological seminary in the world. He experienced many difficult times in his 97 years, and in any ways the history of Christianity in China is reflected through the ups and downs he experienced. In Incorruptible Love: The Story of K. H. Ting, the authors offer Christians, as well as people of other spiritual beliefs, intellectuals, and the general public, a greater understanding of K. H. Ting’s life and beliefs. This biography will help people learn not only about K. H. Ting, but also about the fundamentals of Chinese Christianity.

Written in a blend of creative and academic writing styles, Incorruptible Love makes the story of K. H. Ting vivid and convincing. This text can be used in courses on Christianity in China, the Chinese Church, religion in China, and modern Chinese history.

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Chapter 9. A Theologian Who Follows St. Paul


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Ma Jia’s first interview with Bishop K. H. Ting was in the winter of 2000, with theology was always the main topic in any later meetings. As a prominent Chinese theologian, the bishop showed his clear and sharp insights on a variety of theological topics relating to the Chinese Church, with his gentleness and humor a reminder of his diverse educational background. Ma Jia remembers that, in his first interview, they focused only on theological topics, both domestic and foreign; their talk began with the “Three-Self” Movement (TSPM), followed by missionaries, Cultural Christians, Liberal and Fundamentalist Christians, and Chinese Christian publications. They spent the most time focused on Theological Reconstruction in the Chinese Church, the current important and controversial national theological movement. Later, when reorganizing his interviews with Ting, Ma was impressed with the logic, consistency and accuracy in the bishop’s expression. What the bishop said reminded Ma Jia of what he wrote in his articles, with all topics discussed separately in this chapter. ← 181 | 182 →

Part 1: How to Understand the “Three-Self” Movement

According to Bishop Ting’s introduction, the idea to build up the Church through Three-Self principles originally came from the Bible, with clues present in the Acts of the Apostles. In Act 15, there was an epoch-making conference in Jerusalem in which dejudaization was undertaken. As we know, before the conference, Christianity was but one sect of Judaism; therefore,...

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