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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 10. A Theologian Who “Writes How I Want to Write”


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Part 1: The Role of “Cultural Christians”

In April 1994, in a lecture titled An Update on the Church in China—Address at a Retreat for the Baptist World Alliance, Ting introduced how “Cultural Christians” emerged and what kind of impact their emergence had on the development of the Chinese Church.

The Church in China sees the intellectual community, especially parts of it that draw near to the Church, as an important field of its ministry. They have translated a good number of western theologians’ works into Chinese and have written books on Christianity in a friendly way. I especially like to refer to the “Cultural Christians” who are the opposite of the “cultured despisers of Christianity” of Europe. Our “Cultural Christians” have come so near to faith as to have embraced it, except that they do not believe in baptism and in going to church. They are bridges between the church and the intellectual world and, therefore, our important allies.1

K. H. again mentioned this topical issue both in and outside of the Church in an interview with Ma Jia in 2000.2 The bishop didn’t change his initial opinion about the term, but rather provided Ma Jia with some new associated details and also spoke of the debates about “Cultural Christians” in Hong Kong’s theological study and academic circles. ← 203 | 204 →

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