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A Study of T. C. Chao’s Christology in the Social Context of China (1920–1949)

Daniel Hoi Ming Hui

The aim of this book is to show that during the early half of the twentieth century, Chinese society was disillusioned by both internal dissension and external invasion, and the churches experienced many challenges. In response to the traumatic events of 1920–1949, the Chinese theologian Prof. T. C. Chao tried to construct a ‘new religion’ for China, believing that an indigenous Christianity would offer a solution to the national crisis. Chao searched for a new interpretation of Jesus Christ to make him relevant to China’s context and social thought, and tried to develop Christology based on the encounter of Western Christianity, Chinese culture and social change. A personality-focused interpretation of Jesus Christ was developed, and an image of Confucian Jesus was found in his thought. Chao tried to explore his contextual Christology with the purpose of being faithful to Christian faith, and being relevant to Chinese classical culture and the contemporary context in order to enable intellectual Christians to contribute to the national reconstruction of Country.

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Chapter 1 – The Research

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Chapter 1

The Research

1.1 Description of Research Problem

During the early twentieth century, Chinese Christianity was facing many challenges internally from unrest in the society, and externally from the impact of Western thought and the disruption of ongoing Japanese aggression. However, the Church was unable to make an appropriate response to the situation. Traditional Christian faith also seemed inadequate to face the challenges of China’s New Thought Movement and this led to the awakening of Christian intellectuals who attempted to defend Christianity and to reinterpret it in response.

Politically, entering the twentieth century, China was disillusioned by the collapse of the Manchu dynasty, the establishment of the Republic, the division of the powerful warlords, the Second World War led by Japan’s pan-Asian expansionist ambition, the civil war between Kuomintang and Kung-ch’an-tang as well as the rise of Communism. All these deeply affected the lives of the people and the stability of the society, and constituted a challenge to the Christian message of the Church.

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