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Church in China: Faith, Ethics, Structure

The Heritage of the Reformation for the Future of the Church in China

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Aiming Wang

The Protestant Church in China is growing very fast. However, the role of the Church in society is still fragile and marginal. The Church needs a strong ethical and structural development. This study analyses the theological, ethical and ecclesiological heritage of the Reformation and it shows how this can build the foundation for the future of the Church in China. Four models serve as orientation: the Reformers Luther and Calvin and the theologians Bonhoeffer and Barth in the 20th century, with their vision of Christian faith and a humane society. The critical analysis of the missionary heritage since the 19th century shows its contribution for the acceptance of the tradition of the Reformation for the growing Church in China.
The author combines this theological and ethical perspective with the inculturation in the strong ethical tradition of the Chinese culture. He proposes the encounter between the spirituality of the Western culture and that of the traditional culture of China through the relationship with Confucianism. The book also offers elements for the dialogue around modern values such as human rights and civil society. In this dialogue, Chinese Protestantism can play more and more an important role.

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Acknowledgments 19

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Acknowledgments There are so many more friends, pastors and professors to thank than I can reasonably name here. First of all, the incalculable debt I owe to my mentor, Rev. Prof. Dr. theol. Christoph Stückelberger. As my “Doktorvater”, director of disser- tation, he was very genial and delightful with all his mind and thoughts to guide me toward the aim of the research and of the vocation. His wife Susanne Stückelberger and the whole family warmly treated me every time at home during the last four years. Without their friendship, I could not imagine my hard work alone in Basel. I am also grateful to the other Basel University professors who played a special role in my doctoral program: Professor of Systematic Theology, Dr. theol. Reinhold Bernhardt, the second mentor of my dis- sertation; Professor of Ethics, Dr. theol. Georg Pfleiderer; Professor of Church History, Dr. theol. M. Wallraff; Professor of Old Testament, Dr. theol. H.-P. Mathys; Professor of New Testament, Dr. theol. E. Stege- mann, and Professor of Practical Theology, Dr. theol. A. Grözinger, my examiners in each field, and all the other professors of the Faculty of Theology of Basel University. I want to give my gratitude especially to the family of Prof. Dr. theol. Martin Sallmann, my “hosts” in the “Theologisches Alumneum”, the venerable student house where I spent the whole time in Basel with very wonderful spiritual conditions. I thank also my other Swiss professors and close friends: Prof. Dr. theol. Pierre B...

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