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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 5 – A Spirituality and Ethics Focused Interpretation of Jesus Christ and National Reconstruction and National Crisis (1928–1937)


Chapter 5

A Spirituality and – Ethics Focused Interpretation of Jesus Christ with regard to National Reconstruction and National Crisis (1928–1937)

The aim of this chapter is to show how Chao interpreted the person of Jesus Christ in the context of national development and crisis 1928–1937. It will seek to ascertain and clarify Chao’s interpretation of Jesus and a significant question to ask is: ‘Was Chao’s Christology able to show itself relevant to this period? If so, we will seek to understand in what respect this interpretation of Jesus Christ was relevant to the contemporary Chinese society, and an advanced question is: ‘How did Chao interpret Jesus Christ, focusing on the ethics and religion of that time?’ This chapter will attempt to deal with the above questions and answer them.

5.1 The Social Context and its Interaction with Chao’s Thought

When Sun Yat-sen died in the spring of 1925, Chiang Kai-shek succeeded as leader of the Kuomintang. Jiang established his Nationalist government in Nanjing in 1927, and the northern expedition was resumed in 1928. Beijing was finally taken and China was formally unified. Finally, the new government was recognized by foreign powers.

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