A Theological Qua Cultural Movement in Contemporary China
Edited By Pan-chiu Lai and Jason Lam
Conceptual Differences between Hong Kong and Chinese Theologians: A Study of the "Cultural Christians" Controversy 63
Conceptual Differences between Hong Kong and Chinese Theologians: A Study of the “Cultural Christians” Controversy Shun-hing CHAN Introduction A debate on the subject of “Cultural Christians” was sparked off in September 1995 in Christian Times, an independent Christian weekly published in Hong Kong, and lasted for ten months until May 1996. Eight scholars had spoken on the issue. Four of them are scholars from Hong Kong, three of them are from Mainland China, and one from Taiwan. The group of Hong Kong scholars included ecumenical as well evangelical theologians. Among the Mainland Chinese scholars, one was an academic involved in the study of Christianity, the other a theologian within the Chinese Church community and the third one a theologian not associated with the Church. The background to the debate was the rise of a number of Chinese scholars who were interested in the study of the Christian culture, as well as a group of Christians who were not formally associated with church establishments and who became Christian through reading Christian works rather than going to church. Among those scholars who actually professed to be Christians, Liu Xiaofeng was the most prominent one with the “Sino-Christian (Hanyu) Theology” that he advocated. The theological community in Hong Kong called these scholars who studied Christianity and Christians who were converted through reading Christian works “Cultural Christians”. This is apparently a rather generalized allusion. Lo Ping-cheung (Luo Bingxiang), a Hong Kong theologian, compared these “Cultural Christians” in China to Apollos, a biblical character described...
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