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Volume 3/Issue 1/February 2017

Christ Against Culture? A Re-Evaluation Of Wang Mingdao’s Popular Theology

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Baiyu Andrew Song (Doctoral studies, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY; M.T.S. & B.T.S., Toronto Baptist Seminary, Toronto, ON) is the research assistant to the Director of Andrew Fuller Centre for Baptist Studies at Toronto Baptist Seminary. Baiyu is a member of New City Baptist Church, Toronto, ON. He is also the author of Training Laborers into His Harvest: A Historical Study of William Milne’s Mentorship of Liang Fa (Wipf & Stock, 2015) and other journal articles.

Abstract

Since its publication, H. Richard Niebuhr’s (1894–1962) divisions in his Christ and Culture (1951) were used as a standard for categorizing someone’s view on cultural engagement. In the past sixty years, scholars applied Niebuhr’s “Christ and Culture in Paradox” or “Christ against Culture” to Wang Mingdao’s (1900–1992) theology. Almost twenty-five years after Wang’s death, this paper re-evaluates Wang’s popular theology and his view on how the church should love her neighbour. By relocating Wang and his theology in their historical and theological contexts, this paper argues that Wang’s approach to the church’s cultural mandate is a priori. For Wang, since individual persons compose the society and are the players of certain cultures, then the goal of changing the society and reforming the culture can only be achieved by changing people’s hearts, which is the work of the Holy Spirit through the gospel. The relationship between individual conversion and social reform is not sequential; rather, the former enables the latter.

In a 2004 interview, Pastor Samuel Lamb (1924–2013) of Canton mentions the Tiananmen Square Uprising of 1989. At the time, people from his congregation asked him as their pastor to join them in the demonstration, but Pastor Lamb refused. He later told local police––who met with Lamb to require his house church to register––that he was not opposing the government or being an anti-revolutionary. Lamb paid full respect to the authority of the government, as he believed it was what Scripture taught. Lamb said, “As a citizen, I submit to those who are in power; but as for our faith, we must obey God rather than men.”[1] Lamb’s position was consistent. In 1955, the Communist government put pressure on the Protestant churches, requiring every congregation to join the government-supported ecumenical “Three-Self Patriotic Movement.”[2] Lamb and his fellow churchmen refused, quoting from 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (KJV). Besides their biblical convictions, many pastors like Lamb received pastoral guidance from a Beijing preacher––Wang Mingdao (1900–1991). In fact, when Lamb was arrested, he was accused as part of the “anti-revolutionary gang of Wang Mingdao.”[3]

For many Christians in both China and the West, Wang Mingdao represented the house church movement in China.[4] Scholars called Wang the “Dean of the House Churches.”[5] Churchmen called him one of “China’s three mighty men.”[6] Former British diplomat Tony Lambert praised Wang as “China’s greatest Christian leader” of the twentieth century.[7] Professor Lian of Duke Divinity School observed that “as the agony of war and turmoil gripped multitudes across China, the simplicity and certainty of Wang’s fundamentalist faith was both steadying and inspiring for his followers.”[8] Because of Wang’s influence, academic works were published in Chinese, English and Japanese.[9] Though the majority of these studies were on Wang’s struggle with the Communist regime, a few were on Wang’s theology and spirituality. As early as 1998, Professor Lam Wing-hung (林榮洪) applied H. Richard Niebuhr’s five models of relating Christ to culture in his magnum opus, when analyzing the gospel indigenization in China. While locating Wu Leichuan 吳雷川 (1870–1944) and Wang Zhixin 王治心 (1881–1968) in the camp of “Christ of Culture,” and Zhang Yijing 張亦鏡 (1871–1931) as “Christ Transforming Culture,” Lam categorized Wang Mingdao and Watchman Nee as “Christ and Culture in Paradox.”[10] In a similar manner, Jonathan Chao 趙天恩 also understood Wang as holding this dualistic view.[11] On the other hand, scholars like Wu Liming 吳利明 accused Wang of being passive about cultural engagement and of being anti-social.[12]

By relocating Wang Mingdao in his historical and theological contexts, as well as re-examining Niebuhr’s formula of Christ and Culture, I wish to draw a rather different conclusion about Wang’s popular theology.

1.     Becoming Wang: A Brief Biographical Sketch

In the early summer of 1900, with the support of Empress Dowager Cixi (1835–1908), the cultic-rooted, xenophobic and anti-Christian Chinese Boxers besieged the foreign concession in Beijing. Two thousand and eight hundred Chinese Christians sought refuge in the concession, and among them were Wang Mingdao’s parents, Wang Zihou 王子厚and Li Wenyi 李文義, as well as Wang’s older sister. On June 25, 1900, while the Boxers were still threatening to kill all within the concession, Wang Mingdao was born to the recently widowed Mrs. Wang, as her husband had committed suicide three days earlier.[13]

As Wang was born in war and social turmoil, he grew up in an environment of death and suffering. This made Wang seek ways to eternal life even at the age of six.[14] Before Wang was sent to the London Missionary Society, operated by Cui Wen Primary School (萃文初等小學), at the age of nine, Wang was raised by his mother with the Bible and Confucian classics. At the age of twelve, Wang went to high school, and through an older friend, Wang was attracted to the Christian faith.[15] In 1914, Wang was baptized by sprinkling at the LMS chapel’s Easter service.

As a man of his age, Wang at first sought to pursue a political profession, desiring to become the “Lincoln of China” to save his people through political and economic reforms.[16] However, this ambition was interrupted by a serious illness in March 1918. Furthermore, Wang was rejected by the Methodist-operated Peking University a year later. With a friend’s recommendation, Wang taught at a Presbyterian high school in Baoding, Hebei province. In 1920, as Wang was frustrated with the “dark corruptions” in the missionary institutes, he “subdued [himself] without reserve, and obediently received God’s calling” and so devoted his life to being a minister of God’s Word.[17] With careful study of the Bible, Wang came to the conclusion that the manner of biblical baptism was by immersion.[18] This was contrary to Presbyterian teachings, and so Wang was expelled, along with five like-minded students on January 4, 1921. Two days later, these six young men were baptized by Zhu Dingchen (朱鼎臣), an evangelist of the Apostolic Faith Mission (a Pentecostal denomination), under a bridge outside of Baoding city walls.[19] Consequently, having lost his job, Wang not only lost a stable financial income, but also lost the opportunity to study theology in England. Wang moved back to Beijing and lived with his mother. For the next four years, Wang studied the Bible carefully, and preached occasionally at villages around Beijing. Significantly, Thomas Alan Harvey noted that this activity did two things for Wang. It “separated [Wang] from association with Western missionaries and thus allowed him to develop a message that would resonate with Chinese audiences even if it did offend some Westerners,” and also “Wang’s pacifism and re-baptism led him to embrace congregational forms of polity.”[20] With a Baptist-like ecclesiology, Wang’s congregation grew in number, and finally in 1937 the Christian Tabernacle was built.[21] Wang’s three major gospel ministries ended up being preaching, pastoral ministry, and his Spiritual Food Quarterly. For more than thirty years, Wang was a faithful herald of the gospel of grace and a prophet preaching against worldliness and false doctrines. The Christian Tabernacle also became a model for conservative Protestant churches across China.

With this brief sketch, we now come to the matter of culture.

2.     Culture Revisited

The term culture seems to cause trouble for many anthropologists, philosophers, theologians, etc., as none of the present definitions are not being criticized.[22] For Niebuhr, culture is

…the “artificial, secondary environment” which man superimposes on the natural. It comprises language, habits, ideas, beliefs, customs, social organization, inherited artifacts, technical processes, and values. This “social heritage,” this “reality sui generis,” which the New Testament writers frequently had in mind when they spoke of “the world,” which is represented in many forms but to which Christians like other men are inevitably subject, is what we mean when we speak of culture.[23]

Unsatisfied with Niebuhr’s definition, Barry Harvey surveyed the evolution of changes in the definition of culture, and summarized that there are three embedded meanings of “culture”: “a general process of intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic development, the particular way of life of a people, and artistic activity and production.”[24] However, even Harvey’s observations are much too theoretical.

As Christians, we understand that any given culture has a beginning, and that it is developed throughout history. At the same time, we also understand that there is an end for all human civilization and culture. Furthermore, we also observe that culture flows and changes, sometimes very quickly. Here we are not trying to define culture; our primary question is about contributing to or changing culture. Can culture be evaluated or criticized, and how can a certain culture be changed or contributed to? Contemporary literacy critic Terry Eagleton provided a negative answer to the first question, as he believed that:

Culture is both temporal and eternal, social policy and personal cultivation, the process of attaining perfection and the condition of perfection itself. It is to be understood not primarily as a practical mode of life but as an “inward operation” or contemplative state of mind. It “places human perfection in an internal condition”... Culture cannot be precisely defined because its essence lies in its transcendence of the specific. Its vacuity is thus in direct proportion to its authority. Because it cannot be pinned down, it cannot be criticized either.[25]

In a similar manner, James Hunter confirms Eagleton’s view on the nature of culture when he states, “The essence of culture is found in the hearts and minds of individuals––in which are typically called ‘values.’”[26] Furthermore, quoting Chuck Colson, Hunter points out, “The real leverage for cultural change comes from transforming the habits and dispositions of ordinary people.”[27] However, from a biblical viewpoint, Eagleton’s negative view on the attempt to criticize culture is not warranted. Carl F. H. Henry points out that:

If culture is defined as the collective achievement of human ingenuity, then Christianity in the light of divine revelation and demand must judge the whole of it adversely, for Christianity illumines all culture, subculture and counterculture––including even what passes for Christian culture––by the Word of God. While we are, as Snyder reminds us, to “salt the earth of technetronic machinery and counter culture alike,” Christianity at the same time proclaims the one enduring society to be the Kingdom of God, ideally anticipated in the church’s life in the world. Christianity is pro-Kingdom rather than merely anticultural; not for nothing did Jesus orient his disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come.”[28]

From this, we understand that Niebuhr’s divisions are theoretically abstract and flat.[29] Furthermore, we understand that the final authority of cultural evaluation and criticism is the inspired Word of God. For the Christian church, we “are simultaneously distinguishable from the larger culture and part of it; Christians influence the culture, and vice versa.”[30] At the core, as Henry pointed out almost fifty years ago, “the fundamental question that rises to the surface of the culture controversy again and again is: What is man on earth for?”[31] This was also the question Wang Mingdao needed to answer.

3.     Wang Mingdao in Contexts

In order to examine Wang Mingdao’s popular theology, it is quintessential to understand the challenges Pastor Wang faced in the early twentieth century. Since the First Opium War (1839–1842), the Manchurian government was on the edge of collapse. Ceding territories and paying indemnities not only caused the government financial burdens, but it also set the stage for various peasant revolutions (e.g. the Taiping Rebellion [1850–1871]). In 1911, with the success of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s (1866–1925) eleventh armed revolution, the then 6-year-old Emperor Puyin (1906–1967) was forced to abdicate in 1912. Peace did not come to the newly established Republic of China. With the death of the Republic’s first president, Yuan Shikai (1859–1916), China soon found herself in a twelve-year warlord era.[32] Just as a Chinese idiom said, “Heroes merge in troubled times,” many Chinese men and women were passionate about how to save their motherland. Wang was one of those ardent youths.

For the Christian churches, the early twentieth century was both exciting and troublesome. After the end of the Boxer Rebellion in 1901, churches in China experienced various revivals and the Lord added to their numbers.[33] Nevertheless, the churches also experienced unprecedented challenges from the popular crowd, as well as from within the church.

With the Republican government’s diplomatic defeat at the Paris Peace Conference (1919), and German concessions in Northern China transferred to Japan, thousands of university students at Beijing held demonstrations in front of Tiananmen Square. As the May-Fourth Movement expanded, it emerged as the “New Culture Movement,” which was later led by pro-Marxist professors and students. The students soon turned their target to foreign missionaries and Chinese Christians.[34] Being different from the liberal theologians and pastors, Wang responded to such challenges by putting emphasis on his indigenous and almost autonomous gospel ministry. With his preaching and writings, Wang was in accord with his Fundamentalist peers of the Bible Union of China as he emphasized the primacy of the Scriptures.[35]

Meanwhile, the Christian churches also experienced pressure from the state. Although many of the Republican warlords and officials claimed to be Christians, before 1928 China was not united under the same central government. Furthermore, as China had been at war with Japan since 1931 (i.e. local war; national war began in 1937), most of Northern and Central China was occupied by Japanese armies. Starting in the 1930s, the Japanese government “intensified its efforts to bring Japanese religions, including Christianity, under its control.”[36] This became part of the government’s “endeavour to mobilize the Japanese people in support of the war effort,” as they requested religions to “participate in a spiritual mobilization campaign.”[37] Wang Mingdao and his congregation were among those the Japanese government sought to control.[38] Though they were being threatened, Wang’s congregation providentially remained independent. Under the principle of the separation of church and state, Wang and his fellow churchmen refused to join any state-supported organizations.

Nevertheless, the churches in China also suffered from within with the advance of Liberal Theology. As early as 1870, liberal thoughts were introduced to the churches in China by missionaries like Timothy Richard (1845–1919).[39] Through missionaries, liberal institutions, and the translated works of liberal theologians, Liberal Theology had a vast audience in China. Concerning this heresy, Wang’s attitude and teachings were consistent throughout his ministry. Wang was convinced that due to the Liberals/Modernist’s denial of the “essential doctrines,” they were not Christians, and they were fundamentally different from the Bible-believing Christians, who were called the Fundamentalists.[40] In his 1955 essay, “We are for the Faith,” Wang stated:

I cannot look at these men [Liberals like Y. T. Wu, T. C. Chao, etc.] who confuse the true teaching of the Lord and corrupt the Church of God without wanting at the same time to throw everything I have into the struggle against them. I have fought them for about thirty years and, if my Lord delays His coming, by the mighty power of His Resurrection I shall continue to fight them.[41]

For Wang, his struggle after 1950 was not primarily with the Communist regime; rather, it was a continuous war with Liberalism.

4.     Wang Mingdao on Culture

Having examined the life of Wang Mingdao and mapped out his historical and theological backgrounds, we now come to Wang’s theology, drawing several observations regarding Wang’s attitude toward culture and human flourishing.

First, the core of Wang’s theology was the authority of the inerrant Scripture. As mentioned in the biographical sketches above, Wang had no formal ministerial education. For him, the Scriptures were essential for his spiritual growth and ministry. Not only did Wang preach from the Bible and defend the inerrancy and authority of the Scriptures, but Wang also based his life on the Scriptures. For example, in 1956, a year after Wang’s first imprisonment, under physical and psychological pressures, he signed a “confession,” in which he began by stating, “I am a counter-revolutionary offender.”[42] Throughout the document, Wang stated how he was politically ignorant. “[U]sing the excuse of theological differences I was always stirring up believers against unbelievers, believers against the Government, and creating opposition.”[43] After reading this document publicly, Wang was released. However, he was not freed from his conscience, for he was convinced that he had betrayed his Lord. Many times, Wang was tempted to commit suicide, and many witnesses recorded how Wang walked on the street and mourned, “My name is Peter; my name is Peter. I’ve denied my Lord.”[44] It was through reading Micah 7:7–9 that Wang felt hope and was restored in his faith.[45] Wang and his wife then were re-arrested and re-imprisoned in 1958.

Second, Wang’s ruling principle for dealing with secular governments was the separation of church and state. As we have seen, though Wang at one time was enthusiastic about politics, he had lost such ambitions after his conversion. On a personal level, Wang understood himself as a minister of the Word of God. Thus, preaching the infallible Word of God was his whole business. For Wang, the problem with his political ambition was selfish lust for fame and wealth.[46] Ecclesiologically, as Professor Lam observed, there were three ways that Wang described the nature of the church. First, the church is a regenerated community because “it is composed of people who have been born again.”[47] Wang strictly practiced his belief; he only allowed those who were genuinely converted and had been baptized to become members. Second, Wang believed that the church of God is holy, because God had separated his people from the world. Here, Wang reflected the orthodox confession that the church is “one holy catholic and apostolic church.” Based on this, Wang’s Christian Tabernacle practiced discipline, as well as keeping distance from the Liberal camps. Third, the church is Christ’s bride. Professor Lam pointed out that this last characteristic was eschatological. Wang’s ecclesiology was by no means monastic; rather, it was “a very practical ecclesiology.”[48]

Understanding the nature of the church, Wang believed that the only duty of the church to the world was to preach the gospel of grace. In response to the social gospel, Wang stated:

The gospel of Christ is not for social reform, especially its evil and wicked customs, and various imperfect systems. The gospel is for people to be born again by faith, and become a newly created person. This new person is like God, who would hate sin, and love goodness and holiness. Once these inner changes occurred in a person, all outer evils would also be solved. By having one genuinely converted as a Christian, our society would gain one more truly excellent citizen. Though the gospel is not for social reforms, the society certainly benefits by having its citizens believe the gospel. On the other hand, when we examine those who promote social gospel, we found that they preach social reforms and services by mouth, yet they still living in the old life of Adam, in which contains unbelief, selfishness, lust for wealth and fame, dishonesty, jealousy, hatred, and filthiness. They have not yet reformed themselves (knowing without the gospel and rebirth, there would be no way for a person to reform), how could they reform the society then?[49]

Thus, Wang understood that the way for the church to “engage the culture” is to love her neighbors, based on her own love for God. By preaching the gospel of grace, Wang pointed out the depravity and corruption of human beings and their society, and in contrast, the transcendence of a supernatural God and his loving redemption in the Son Jesus Christ. Individual changes are a priori to social reforms.

Furthermore, in response to the New Culture Movement, Wang also chose to use the newly translated Chinese Union Version, which was a written vernacular Chinese Bible. Though Wang was not entirely satisfied with some choices of words in the CUV, he believed the new version was easy to read and understand.[50]

Third, in Wang’s teaching and writings, he emphasized a pious Christian life in the world. On February 9, 1934, General Chiang Kai-shek (1887–1975) and Soong May-ling (1897–2003) inaugurated the New Life Movement with the goal of “revolutionizing” Chinese life. Though on the surface its leaders seemed to hold seriously to the conviction that “the key to China’s national salvation lay in hygienic activities to purge the unhealthy habits of body and mind of the Chinese people,” the movement was in fact “the Kuomintang version of a ‘cultural revolution’ for China.”[51] The underlying intention of the movement was “to substitute ‘political mobilization’ for social mobilization, thus replacing revolutionary change from the bottom...with closely supervised change orchestrated from the top...”[52] In other words, the movement wished to transform traditional Confucian traditions for modern life.

Interestingly, from 1931 to 1936, Wang wrote a series of articles entitled “Basics for Christian Conducts in the World.”[53] Wang might not have had Chiang’s New Life Movement in mind; nevertheless, Wang’s guidelines were similar to ones offered by the New Life Movement, for both Wang and the NLM sought to teach fellow Chinese men and women to live virtuous lives. However, Wang’s guidelines were based on his theology of conversion. Thus, for Wang, what he offered were guidelines or instructions instead of laws. They were offered to help Christians to live properly in the world.

Fourth, Wang’s attitudes toward literature and popular media (i.e. films) were based on his concern for the Christian life. In an article, “Can Christians Watch Movies?” Wang first distinguished movie and theatre. He stated that there were good movies which Christians could watch. Nevertheless, as he observed the type of movies played at the theatre in his day, Wang argued that Christians need to be conscious of what they want to watch. Though Wang provided several reasons why Christians should not go to theatres, he claimed that for those who love the world, there would be other excuses for them to go.[54] Unlike others, Wang did not reject all popular media. Instead, he understood the necessity of evaluating every aspect of life in accord with the Scriptures.

Lastly, Wang understood the importance of daily occupations. Wang rejected the dualism of holy vs. secular jobs. In other words, every job is as significant and valuable as preaching God’s words. Thus, for Wang, it would be incorrect to talk about a “Christian politician or businessman”; the correct description would be a politician or businessman who is a Christian. Wang understood the importance of God’s calling; he thus taught his congregation to be faithful in what they were called to do. Liang Shouhua thus observed that Wang shared a theology of work with the seventeenth-century English Puritans.[55]

5.     Conclusion

Having examined Wang’s popular theology in its contexts, we come to conclude that Wang Mingdao’s opinion on culture was not merely “Christ and Culture in Paradox,” as some scholars had suggested. Rather, we found Wang was in between the “two kingdoms” and “transformationist” models, while leaning more toward the former. Being “two kingdoms” means in Wang’s theology that there was a passive attitude toward cultural changes, which, in his belief, resulted from the total corruption of human nature and human society. At the same time, Wang also had full trust in God’s common grace, for he encouraged his congregation to be faithful in their jobs, as well as to live wisely with good etiquette. On the other hand, since Wang did not deny the possibility of social reform and believed that personal conversion was a priori to social changes, we can see that Wang shared certain beliefs with the “transformationist.”

In a recent article published by First Things, Chinese intellectual Yu Jie argued, “What is needed [for Chinese urban churches] is a political theology underscoring the sovereignty of God’s law, rather than the separation of church and state.”[56] Furthermore, Yu, in quoting Bonhoeffer, argued that “the Chinese must undertake a profound spiritual transformation in order to restore the freedom and dignity God has bestowed on them when creating them in his image. The way forward requires a turn away from ourselves and toward the divine.”[57] From Yu’s article, we have found a significant departure of contemporary Chinese intellectual Christians from the founders of the house church movement. Certainly, Yu’s point is correct that the churches in China need to be more active toward cultural changes/engagements. Nevertheless, Yu’s proposal would confuse the churches regarding their primary duty. Even though Wang Mingdao’s popular theology is far from perfect, with proper adjustment, Wang is still useful for the churches today, especially in China.



 

[1]China Soul for Christ Foundation, interview with Samuel Xiangao Lamb, Cross: Jesus in China, Selected Sourcebook, China Soul for Christ Foundation, 2004.

In 2013, two weeks after the death of Pastor Lamb, the weekly news magazine The Economist published a short article in remembrance of this popular pastor who made “the authorities nervous.” (“Lamb of God: Underground Christianity. Guangzhou: Even in death, a popular pastor makes the authorities nervous,” The Economist [August 24, 2013]: 42) For a popular biography of Lamb, see Ken Anderson, Bold as a Lamb: Pastor Samuel Lamb and the underground Church of China (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009).

[2]With the goal to “strike at Christianity’s foreignness,” “to purge the church of imperialistic elements, or to single out those who stood in the way of the people’s progress, or to punish the unpatriotic” (Christopher March, Religion and the State in Russia and China: Suppression, Survival, and Revival [London: Continuum, 2011], 166–167), the Chinese Communist government operated a movement that developed in two phases: first, it sought to make patriotic believers through the forming of newly-established organizations (e.g. TSPM) by which the former religious order might be deconstructed and the idea of patriotism might be taught to all believers; second, the state integrated forces intent on chastising those who refused to cooperate with the government and join these new organizations, accusing them of being anti-revolutionaries. (cf. Winfried Glüer, “Religion in the People’s Republic of China: A Survey of the Official Chinese Press 1964–1967,” Ching Feng 10.3 [1967]: 34–57; George N. Patterson, Christianity in Communist China [Waco, TX: Word Books, 1969], esp. chs. 4–7.) Here in this footnote, I have relied significantly on my unpublished paper, “A Fundamentalist Anti-Revolutionary? Religious Persecution in Early Chinese Communist Regime: A Case Study of Wang Mingdao of Beijing.” (Parts of this paper were presented as a breakout session paper, entitled “Wang Mingdao in Persecution: A Fundamentalist Anti-Revolutionary?” at the ninth annual conference of Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, “Persecution and the Church,” at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY [September 15–16, 2015]), 21–22.

[3]Wang, his wife Liu Jingwen, and a few other Christian leaders in Beijing, Xiangshan, Changchun and Guangdong were arrested on August 8, 1955. Meanwhile, a nation-wide movement of criticism of Wang and his “anti-revolutionary gang” was conducted by the TSPM between August and November 1955. Lamb was accused as part of Wang’s “gang” and was arrested. Fuk-Tsang Ying, “Counterrevolution in an Age of Revolution: ‘Wang Mingdao’s Christian Counterrevolutionary Clique’,” Bulletin of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica 67 (2010): 132–133. Also see “廣州各教會同道揭露王明道分子林獻羔等反革命罪行 (Guangdong Pastors Exposed the Antirevolutionary Crimes of Samuel Lamb, a Member of Wang Mingdao’s Gang),” 天風 Tian Feng 488–589 (October 31, 1955): 3–6.

[4]Lian Xi observed that “Wang Mingdao’s writings spread his influence in the Chinese church and were chiefly responsible for preserving his legacy” (Lian Xi, Redeemed by Fire: The Rise of Popular Christianity in Modern China [New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010], 129). Most of Wang’s writings were in his quarterly magazine, The Spiritual Food Quarterly. Many of his booklets, including his autobiography, After Fifty Years, were originally published in the magazine prior to separate publication.

[5]Thomas Alan Harvey, Acquainted with Grief: Wang Mingdao’s Stand for the Persecuted Church in China (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2002). 7.

[6]Leslie Lyall, Three of China’s Mighty Men (Fearn, Scotland: Christian Focus; Sevenoaks, England: OMF International [UK], 2000), 100–148. Besides Wang, the other two were Watchman Nee (1903–1972) and David Shao-tang Yang (1898–1969). 

[7]Tony Lambert, China’s Christian Millions: The Costly Revival (London: Monarch Books, 1999), 98.

[8]Lian, Redeemed by Fire, 130.

[9]The earliest academic work on Wang and his theology was written by Lee-Ming Ng (“Wang Ming-Tao: An Evaluation of His Thought and Action,” Ching Feng 16.2 [1973]: 51–80) while Wang was still in prison. Afterwards, Jonathan Chao of China Ministries International published a series of articles in his China and Church (for example, Stephen P. H. Li 李柏雄, “王明道對大眾神學的貢獻 Wang Mingdao’s Contribution to Popular Theology,” China and Church 9–10 [May–June 1980]: 19–22; Jonathan Chao, “略述王明道先生對中國教會的貢獻 A Brief Summary of Mr. Wang Mingdao’s Contribution to Chinese Churches,” China and the Church Today 86 [1991]: 2–4). Another prominent scholar was professor Wing-Hung Lam of Tyndale Seminary (Toronto, ON). In both his A Half Century of Chinese Theology 1900–1949 中華神學五十年 1900–1949 (Hong Kong: China Alliance Press, 1998), and Wong Ming-Tao and the Chinese Church 王明道與中國教會 (Hong Kong: China Graduate School of Theology, 1982), Lam had examined Wang’s theology in detail. In a 2001 book Encounter between Christianity and Chinese Culture: Chung Chi College Religious Studies––Pommerenke Christianity and Chinese Culture Lecture Series 1 (Hong Kong: Chung Chi College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2001), edited by Lung-kwong Lo, professor Lam revisited Wang along with a detailed study of theologies of Watchman Nee and T. C. Chao (1888–1979). In this essay, Lam analyzed Wang’s theology of conversion. In 2005, Poling J. Sun published an article entitled “Jesus in the Writings of Wang Mingdao” (in The Chinese Face of Jesus Christ, Monumenta Serica Monograph Series Vol. 3a, ed. Roman Malek [Sankt Augustin, Germany: Institut Monumenta Serica, 2005], 1137–1148) and argued that Wang’s Christology was built upon a high view of the Scriptures. Two years later, Richard R. Cook, who had finished doctoral studies on Wang, wrote “Wang Mingdao and the Evolution of Contextualized Chinese Churches” (in Contextualization of Christianity in China: An Evaluation in Modern Perspective, ed. Peter Chen-Main Wang [Sankt Augusin, Germany: Institut Monumenta Serica, 2007], 209–223). In a modern recent article (“Bathsheba as an Object Lesson: Gender, Modernity and Biblical Examples in Wang Mingdao’s Sermons and Writings,” Studies in World Christianity 21.1 [2015]: 52–65), Gloria S. Tseng argued that the main concerns of Wang’s writings relate to godly Christian living, and biblical figures like Bathsheba serve as a model to follow. Other major studies on Wang were done by Fuk-Tsang Ying. With his political interests, Ying published a detailed study in 2010 (Ying, “Counterrevolution in an Age of Revolution”) and edited Wang’s unpublished letters, publishing them as Wang Mingdao’s Last Confession 王明道的最後自白 (Hong Kong: Logos, 2013). In 2002, Thomas Alan Harvey published the first critical biography of Wang (Acquainted with Grief), based on his doctoral dissertation, “Challenging Heaven’s Mandate: An Analysis of the Conflict between Wang Mingdao and the Chinese Nation-State” (Duke University, 1998). In 2012, Japanese scholar Matsutani Yosuke 松谷曄介 published his article, “Yanaihara Tadao and China: His Article, ‘The Ideal of the Nation’ and His Visit to Wang Mingdao矢内原忠雄と中国: 「国家の理想」から王明道訪問へ,” (Sociological Studies社会システム研究 25 [2012]: 97–123). In it, Matsutani examined Wang Mingdao from a Japanese perspective, and linked Wang with Japanese Non-Church movement pioneer Yanaihara Tadao (1893–1961).

[10]Lam, A Half Century of Chinese Theology 1900–1949, 216–233. 

[11]Jonathan Chao, “Christianization of Chinese Culture: An Evangelical Approach,” Transformation 17.3 (July/September 2000), 100.

[12]Wu Liming, Christianity and the Transition of Chinese Society 基督教與中國社會變遷 (Hong Kong: Chinese Christian Literature Council, 1981), esp. 163.

[13]Earlier on June 22, Wang the senior got a ladder and climbed on the wall, and saw hundreds of Boxers and Qing soldiers. He told his wife, who was a pregnant at the time, that it was only a matter of time before the Boxers would get in and massacre them. In Lu Wantian’s (鹿完天) A Brief Account of Beijing Incident of 1900 (庚子北京事變紀略), Lu recorded that about 4 p.m., while he was talking with Cao Yonggui (曹詠歸), the manager of Tongren Hospital, he saw Wang passing by, and Wang told Lu, “Haste. We will all die today!” Lu and Cao then said to Wang, “Don’t you believe in God? The Scripture said, ‘Those who kill your body, cannot kill your spirit.’ Have you forget [sic] this? By saying such words, you are not only confused about your God, but also trouble the others. Be careful from now on, don’t speak in haste.” About an hour later, it was reported that Wang hanged himself. (Lu, A Brief Account of Beijing Incident of 1900 [Shenzhou Guoguang Publisher, 1951], 404–405). In Lu’s account, he dated Wang’s suicide on May 26 by the Lunar calendar, which was June 22 by the Gregorian-solar calendar.

Also see Wang Mingdao, “火裏抽出來的一根柴 (A Brand Plucked from the Fire),” 靈食季刊 Spiritual Food Quarterly 86 (Summer 1948): 22. Beginning in May 1948, Wang Mingdao started to write his testimonies on papers donated by a young Christian the year before. After completing and publishing the first chapter, “A Brand Plucked from the Fire,” in Spiritual Food Quarterly in the summer of 1948, he continued this work until 1950, after the seventh chapter had been published. With an article about his mother, written in the winter of 1947, Wang published his autobiography, entitling it After Fifty Years (五十年來 [wu shi nian lai]). For Wang’s understanding of writing an autobiography, see Wang Mingdao, “Preface,” After Fifty Years (Beijing: Spiritual Food Quarterly Special Publications, 1950), 1–8. This book has been digitalized and may be accessed in Chinese for free through Wells of Grace: http://www.wellsofgrace.com/messages/wmd/50years/index.htm (accessed on July 25, 2015).

[14] Wang recorded in his autobiography, “Since my youth, not only did I like to read, I also like to think about various matters in this world. What troubled me the most were questions like ‘What does it mean to live? Where will men go? Is there anything after death?’… I want to seek a way for life… I have an uncle, who was my mother’s elder brother. He is an honest elder… Once I asked him, ‘Uncle, is there any way for me to not die?’ ‘Yes,’ he answered. Such an answer brought me endless hope and comfort… He told me that the way for eternal life is to enter the mountains and seek Tao [lit., “path, way”], by separating oneself from the world, giving up all fame and gain, forbidding any kinds of enjoyment, sitting in meditations, drinking dew of the grass, and eating magical herbs found in the mountains. Long enough as I discipline myself, one day I may became immortal, then I will live forever. After I heard this, I was extremely joyful… It was my hope then to quickly grow up, so I could enter the mountains and seek the Tao of eternal life” (Wang, “A Brand Plucked from the Fire,” 25).

[15]Wang recalled that his friend “brought me to know God, and taught me how to fear God; he also led me in prayers, scriptural readings, daily introspection, and journaling. At first he gave me a book edited by Mr. Xie Honglai [or H. L. Zia 謝洪賚 (1873–1916)], entitled An Aid to Devotions [修學一助]. After reading it, I found great helps, so continued buying and reading other books wrote [sic] or translated by Mr. Xie” (Wang, “A Brand Plucked from the Fire,” 30).

On Xie, see China Group, “Xie Hong Lai,” A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, ed. Scott W. Sunquist (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001), 912. Along with Wing Hung Lam, Yu argued that ever since Wang’s youth, “Wang’s strict lifestyle can be attributed to the deep impact Xie had on his life, because Wang sought to live a very practical Christian existence” (Yu, “Aspects of the Emergence,” 85. Cf. Lam, Wang Mingdao and the Chinese Church 王明道與中國教會 [Hong Kong: China Graduate School of Theology, 1982], 16, 23).

[16]Wang Mingdao, “Set Me Apart Before I was Born (從母腹裏分別出來),” Spiritual Food Quarterly 87 (September 1948): 23. Cf. Cook, “Wang Mingdao and the Evolution of Contextualized Chinese Churches,” 213–214.

[17]Wang, “Set Me Apart Before I was Born,” 33.

[18]Wang stated, “According to the Bible, we only baptize people in immersion, and will not use any other form under any circumstances. In the Scripture, there is nothing about pouring water over people’s head. The Greek word baptize means ‘being immersed in water.’… We do not believe one needs baptism in order to be saved, since baptism and salvation is not relevant [sic]. Rather, baptism is an integrant step of obedience for all who have been saved” (Wang, “Overseers of all the Flock 作全羣的監督,” Spiritual Food Quarterly 92 [December 1949], 32).

[19]Wang Mingdao, “Went Through Fire and Water to a Place of Abundance (經過水火到豐富之地),” Spiritual Food Quarterly 88 (December 1948): 25. In his journal on January 6, Wang wrote, “Heavenly Father, today your servant has obeyed your will, imitated the example of my Lord Christ, received baptism and classified into the death of my Lord, so may rise up again with my Lord. I also sincerely believe that my old self has been submerged in the water; my sins are forgiven; my heart received peace; my body and soul has been purchased by the precious blood of my Lord. All what I have in flesh and heart is no longer mine, but all belong to my heavenly Father. May my heavenly Father’s will be done in my life. Sincerely I prayed” (Wang, “Went Through Fire and Water to a Place of Abundance,” 25).

The Mr. Zhu who baptized Wang was originally a coal merchant, and due to his zeal for the gospel, he became a vocational preacher of a small Pentecostal church in Beijing. (See Wang, “Went Through Fire and Water to a Place of Abundance,” 25.) Though Wang was persuaded by Mr. Zhu to seek the “spiritual baptism” of speaking in tongues, after carefully studying the Scripture, Wang questioned and rejected Charismatism, as well as the Sabbatarian teachings of the Seventh-Day Adventists by 1925.

In Wang Ming Tao and Charismatism, Timothy Tow translated part of Wang’s “Went Through Fire and Water to a Place of Abundance” and Wang’s article “Charismatism in the Light of the Bible.” (Timothy Tow, Wang Ming Tao and Charismatism [Singapore: Christian Life Publishers, 1989]) 

[20] Harvey, “Challenging Heaven’s Mandate,” 23–24. Cf. Cook, “Wang Mingdao and the Evolution of Contextualized Chinese Churches,” 215–217.

[21]By the end of 1978, after the fall of the “Gang of Four” and the end of the Cultural Revolution, a movement to “redress unjust, false and wrong cases” was proposed by Deng Xiaoping, and later administered by the Chinese Communist government. Under such policy, over thirty-two thousand falsely accused prisoners were released and their reputations and civil rights were restored. After Wang’s release, his case was not handled, nor was his “antirevolutionary” accusation recanted. Thus, around 1982 or 1983, Wang began to write letters to Jiang Hua (1907–1999), the then-president of the Supreme People’s Court of China, though none of these letters were sent out. In one of his letters addressing the wrongness of the government’s religious persecution toward Christianity, Wang wrote, “In comparison to three years ago, there has been great change of expressions of opinions in news, and political policies in the recent two to three years, of which I joyfully celebrate. Recently, both the CPC and central government have redressed many false and wrong cases. However, most unfortunately, cases in regard to the false accusations of many Christian churches (including Roman Catholic, Baptist, and Protestant Churches) have been set aside, and delayed in redressing. Mine is one of the greatest case [sic] of injustice among Chinese churches” (quoted in Fuk Tsang Ying, “Introduction: Wang Mingdao’s ‘Posthumous Manuscript of Redressment’” and in Wang Mingdao’s Last Confession 王明道的最後自白, ed., Fuk Tsang Ying [Hong Kong: Logos, 2013], 19, 117). Interestingly, Wang, in his categorization of churches, singled out Baptist from other Protestant churches.

Ecclesiologically, Wang emphasized (1) regenerated church membership, as reflected by his strict membership policy (i.e. baptized persons should be checked and approved in Christian living and commitment for one to two years prior to joining in membership); (2) believer’s baptism by immersion; (3) congregational polity (e.g., when Wang was asked by the Communist government to join the ecumenical TSPM, Wang brought the matter to his church, and was asked by the church to refuse such an offer); (4) local church autonomy; and (5) religious freedom. (For more on the Baptist distinctive, see Anthony L. Chute, Nathan A. Finn, and Michael A. G. Haykin, The Baptist Story: From English Sect to Global Movement [Nashville, TN: B& H, 2015], 325–346). Cf. Wang, “Overseers of All the Flock,” 32–37.

[22]See Roger Scruton, An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Modern Culture (South Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s Press, 2000). Scruton distinguished high culture from popular culture. In his annotated bibliography, Scruton evaluated each book on culture. Also see T. S. Eliot, Notes Towards Definition of Culture (London: Bloomsbury House, 1948). Cf. Christopher Dawson, Religion and Culture (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1948), 35–48.

[23]H. Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture (New York: Harper Colophon Books, 1951), 32.

[24]Barry Harvey, “Accounting for Difference: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Contribution to a Theological Critique of Culture” in Mysteries in the Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Copenhagen Bonhoeffer Symposium, eds. Kirsten Busch Nielsen, Ulrik Nissen and Christiane Tietz (Copenhagen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2007), 82–92, 93.

[25]Terry Eagleton, Culture and the Death of God (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014), 124, 125.

 

[26]James Davison Hunter, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, & Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 6. Italics are original.

[27]Hunter, To Change the World, 8. Italics are original. For a historical study of cultural changes, see Leora Auslander, Cultural Revolutions: Everyday Life and Politics in Britain, North America, and France (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2009).

[28]Carl F. H. Henry, “What is Man on Earth for?” in Quest for Reality: Christianity and the Counter Culture, ed. Carl F. H. Henry (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1973), 157.

[29]Carson listed at least six criticisms for Niebuhr’s divisions: (1) “any evaluation of a culture depends on a set of values”; (2) “from a Christian perspective, everything that is detached from the sheer centrality of God is an evil”; (3) “God in his ‘common grace’ pours our countless good things on all people everywhere”; (4) “as Christian revelation certainly insists that there are degrees of punishment meted out by a good God, we must assume that some cultural stances are more reprehensible than others”; (5) “many of the distinctions among Niebuhr’s five patterns turn, at the end of the day, on one’s assessment of how evil any culture is”; and (6) “human beings have a dismal propensity to corrupt good things, all good things.” Carson, Christ & Culture Revisited, 73–74.

[30]Carson, Christ & Culture Revisited, 75. 

[31]Carl F. H. Henry, “What is Man on Earth for?,” 155. 

[32]For dDetailed studies on early Republican China, see Ernest P. Young, “Nationalism, Reform, and Republican Revolution: China in the Early Twentieth Century,” in Modern East Asia: Essays in Interpretation, ed., James B. Crowley (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1970), 151–179; and Mary Backus Rankin, “State and Society in Early Republican Politics, 1912–18,” in Reappraising Republican China, eds., Frederic Wakeman, Jr. and Richard Louis Edmonds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 6–27. 

[33]Lee Shiu Keung wrote, “In the early years of Protestant missions people were not optimistic about the future. In 1908, soon after the centenary of Morrison’s arrival, Rev. [John] Steele recalled William Milne’s estimate that one hundred years after the establishment of Protestant Missions in China there would be one thousand Protestant Christians, children included. ‘The total number in 1907,’ Steele stated, ‘was reckoned at 750 times Milne’s computation’” (Lee, The Cross and the Lotus [Hong Kong: The Christian Study Centre on Chinese Religion and Culture, 1971], 107).

[34]In April 1922, a second wave of the May-Fourth Movement occurred, as groups of students from both Shanghai and Beijing protested against Tsinghua University’s hosting of the eleventh World’s Student Christian Federation Conference.

In August 1924, another wave of anti-Christian movement was formed in Shanghai, with the support of the newly formed Kuomintang, in league with the Communist Party of China. When the May Thirtieth Incident happened in 1925, this anti-imperialism movement became a comprehensive anti-Christian movement attacking all Christian enterprises and all who propagate the Christian religion.

See Jonathan T’ien-en Chao, “The Chinese Indigenous Church Movement, 1919–1927: A Protestant Response to the Anti-Christian Movements in Modern China” (PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1986), 101–146; and Paul A. Cohen, History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997).

[35]On Wang’s hermeneutics, see Tseng, “Bathsheba as an Object Lesson,” 56; and John Y. H. Yieh, “Cultural Reading of the Bible: Some Chinese Christian Cases,” in Text & Experience: Towards a Cultural Exegesis of the Bible, ed. Daniel Smith-Christopher (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic, 1995), 143–144.

[36]A. Hamish Ion, “The Cross Under an Imperial Sun: Imperialism, Nationalism, and Japanese Christianity, 1895–1945,” in Handbooks of Christianity in Japan, ed. Mark R. Mullins (Leiden, Germany; Boston, MA: Brill, 2003), 88. 

[37]Ion, “The Cross under an Imperial Sun,” 88. However, the Japanese government’s pressure was not without opposition. Yanaihara Tadao (1893–1961), a Japanese non-church leader, understood that Japanese Christianity (Nipponteki Kirisutokyō) in essence means, “Japan would become a genuine peace-loving Christian country while maintaining its unique cultural tradition and the basic political structure of the imperial system.” (Ion, “The Cross Under an Imperial Sun,” 89) However, since the late 1930s, strong militarism and authoritarianism had risen in Japan, so that the meaning of Nipponteki Kirisutokyō was being reinterpreted to support Japan’s invasion. With his “consistency in seeking to invest the Japanese empire with an ‘idea’ towards which colonial policy should strive,” Yanaihara, then the chair of colonial policy at Tokyo Imperial University, resigned in 1937 soon after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, since he was “well placed both to condemn the sufferings of indigenous peoples under Japanese rule and to recommend reforms for their alleviation” (Susan C. Townsend, Yanaihara Tadao and Japanese Colonial Policy: Redeeming Empire [Richmond, England: Curzon, 2000], 5). Also see Andrew E. Barshay, “Japan for the World,” in Living for Jesus and Japan: The Social and Theological Thought of Uchimura Kanzō, eds. Shibuya Hiroshi and Chiba Shin (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013), 21–35; Yagyu Kunichika, “Prophetic Nationalism: Uchimura Between God and Japan,” in Living for Jesus and Japan, 69–92.

[38]On October 15, 1942, the ecumenical “Northern China United Christian Promotion Association” was founded with the sponsorship of the Japanese government to unify and organize the churches in the Beijing area. Almost all churches in Beijing joined the association, the only exception being Wang’s Christian Tabernacle. See Fuk Tsang Ying, “Wang Mingdao and the Northern China United Christian Promotion Association: Case Studies of Christian resistance and cooperation of the occupied areas 王明道與華北中華基督教團––淪陷區教會人士抵抗與合作的個案研究, Jian Dao 17 (2002): 1–56; and Hu Weiqing, “The Northern China United Christian Promotion Association Studies 華北中華基督教團研究,” Journal of Chinese Humanities 6 (2014): 128–147.

In Wang’s autobiography, he vividly recorded how he was invited to join the NCUCPA. However, he refused to join such an association, as Wang was convinced that “the church which thoroughly believes God’s salvation should not cooperate with those who do not believe [i.e. the Liberals].” Also, Wang understood that if he joined such an association, it would be an overthrow of his teachings of the past 20 years, causing many Christians to stumble and fall. With many prayers, Wang wrote a letter to the leaders of the association in which he stated, “It is very hard to follow your invitation to join the NCUCPA from your last letter. I have noticed that the purpose of your association is to establish indigenous churches following the principles of self-governance, self-support, and self-propagation among churches, which was previously conducted by Western missionary societies. Since the Christian Tabernacle has always been a church of self-governance, self-support, and self-propagate [sic] since its beginning, so there will be no need for us to join your association. Also, since your association is composed by several churches of different beliefs, and our church is purely conservative in doctrinal confession, it will be very difficult to unite on the doctrinal level…” Shortly after, on October 9, Wang was visited by a Japanese official Kōno Shizushi 河田静士 and was asked to meet the Asia Development Board official Takeda Hikari 武田熙 at the Japanese Military Police station on October 10. At the meeting, Wang was threatened, yet in his answer Wang replied, “For the sake of obeying the God I serve, and keeping the truth I am convinced, I shall not obey orders from man which are against God’s will. I have been ready to sacrifice and pay any price for my conviction, of which I will not change. It is impossible for me and the church I pastor to join the association.” Afterwards, Takeda arose and shook hands with Wang in a respectful manner and let Wang go home. For Wang, “by God’s protection, I have victory in this conversation” (Wang, After Fifty Years, http://www.wellsofgrace.com/messages/wmd/50years/index.htm [accessed on September 11, 2015]).

Japanese scholar Matsutani Yosuke, in his recently published article explored the fact that prior to Wang’s struggle with the NCUCPA, professor Yanaihara Tadao had visited Wang on both July 26 and 27, 1942. According to Yanaihara’s journal, on July 26, he went and visited Wang’s Christian Tabernacle, and Wang came and visited him the next day. It was also recorded that Yanaihara had provided Wang’s traveling cost as a resolution. Yanaihara had a very high view of Wang, as he called Wang the “Kanzō Uchimura 內村鑑三 (1861–1930) and Fujii Takeshi 藤井武 (1888–1930) of China” ––the founders and early leaders of the Japanese Non-Church Movement (Mukyōkai). (Matsutani, “Yanaihara Tadao and China,” 97–123.) Arguably, Yanaihara’s visit might have indirectly influenced the Japanese militant authority’s attitude toward Wang.

[39] In 1921, after touring in China, Welsh Anglican Fundamentalist W. H. Griffith Thomas (1861–1924) wrote an article lamenting the liberal influence in China, saying that “the trouble was far earlier than the present time and had existed for several years.” (Thomas, “Modernism in China,” in Modernism and Foreign Missions: Two Fundamentalist Protests, ed. Joel A. Carpenter (New York; London: Garland, 1988), 633.)

On Richard’s Liberalism and influence, see Cuiwei Yang, “Liberal Theology in the Late Qing China: The Case of Timothy Richard” (PhD diss., University of Ottawa, 2014) and Eunice V. Johnson, Timothy Richard’s Vision: Education and Reform in China, 1880–1910, ed. Carol Lee Hamrin (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2014).

[40] In the last issue of Wang’s Spiritual Food Quarterly (June 1955), Wang published his most systematic and comprehensive criticism of Liberal Theology, by quoting, analyzing and criticizing writings of leading Chinese Liberals. Frank W. Price in his translation of this essay, made the title in English “We––For the Sake of Faith.” Though such translation kept the original meaning, it failed to translate the Chinese character “是,” which literally means “to be,” or functions as a syntactic marker for emphasis. Thus, I propose to translate it as “We are for the faith.” Wang Mingdao, “We––For the Sake of Faith,” translated by Frank W. Price, Missionary Research Library Occasional Bulletin 7.3 (1956): 2.

[41]Price, trans., “We––For the Sake of Faith,” 7.

[42]Wang Mingdao, “Wang Mingdao’s ‘Self-Examination’” in Documents of the Three-Self Movement, ed. Jones, 117. This document was later published in Tian Feng, the official journal of the TSPM on October 17, 1956.

[43]Wang, “Wang Mingdao’s ‘Self-Examination’,” 118.

[44]See Ravi Zacharias, “Think Again,” http://rzim.org/just-thinking/think-again-6 (accessed on September 11, 2015).

[45]Harvey, Acquainted with Grief, 115–116. For a detailed record of this period of Wang’s life, see Stephen C. H. Wang, Another Forty Years 又四十年 (Scarborough, ON: Canada Gospel Publishing House, 1997), 139–164.

[46] Cf. Wang Mingdao, “Another Warning for Leaders in the Churches 再忠告教會中的領袖,” Spiritual Food Quarterly 41 (Spring 1937): 13. On Wang’s description of a pastor, see Wang, “The Necessary Characters of God’s Labourer,” Spiritual Food Quarterly 51 (Autumn 1939): 57.

[47]Wing-hung Lam, “Wang Mingdao’s Theology of Conversion,” in Encounter between Christianity and Chinese Culture, 35.

[48]Lam, “Wang Mingdao’s Theology of Conversion,” 36.

[49]Wang Mingdao, “How Many Gospels There Are? 一共有幾個福音呢?,” http://xybk.fuyin.tv/Books/PI_WMD/b5/Vol8/01.htm (accessed on September 29, 2016). 

[50]Wang wrote several articles in his Spiritual Food Quarterly criticizing some erroneous translations in the CUV (no. 40 [Winter 1936]: 84–89; no. 41 [Spring 1937]: 49–51; nos. 43–44 [Autumn/Winter 1937]: 44–53; no. 45 [Spring 1938]: 35–41; no. 46 [Summer 1938]: 63–67; no. 49 [Spring 1939]: 47–50).

[51]Arif Dirlik, “The Ideological Foundations of the New Life Movement: A Study in Counterrevolution,” The Journal of Asian Studies 34.4 (1975): 945.

[52]Dirlik, “The Ideological Foundations of the New Life Movement,” 947.

[53]Spiritual Food Quarterly n. 20 (Winter 1931): 63–66, on visitation; n. 21 (Spring 1932): 68–71, on conversation and correspondence; n. 22 (Summer 1932): 64–67, on attending a meeting, and debt and credit; n. 23 (Autumn 1932): 55–62, on being on time, clothing, the care of public property, hygiene, and courtesy; n. 24 (Winter 1932): 55–60, on avoiding arousing suspicion and inviting others for meals; n. 25 (Spring 1933): 58–64, on party attendance, table manner and etiquette; n. 26 (Summer 1933): 59–64, on keeping rules and receiving gifts; n. 27 (Autumn 1933): 61–65, on receiving guests and being a guest; n. 29 (Spring 1934): 55–64, on taking care of others and giving to the poor; n. 30 (Summer 1934): 61–67, on traveling; n. 31 (Autumn 1934): 71–74, on addressing a person; n. 32 (Winter 1934): 60–65, on avoiding snares; n. 33 (Spring 1935): 63–67, on public speaking; n. 34 (Summer 1935): 64–68, on attending weddings and funerals; n. 35 (Autumn 1935): 67–69, on treating others’ children; n. 36 (Winter 1935): 59–63, on treating servants; n. 37 (Spring 1936): 65–70, on looking around, and keeping promises. 

[54]Wang Mingdao, “Can Christians Watch Movies? 基督徒可以看電影麼?” Spiritual Food Quarterly 38 (1936): 52–60.

[55]See Liang Shouhua, “The Social Pragmatics of Transcendental Faith: Re-interpreting Wang Mingda’s Social Concerns 超然信仰的社會實效性:王明道社會觀念的再詮釋, ” https://www.churchchina.org/archives/070105.html (accessed on September 29, 2016).

[56]Yu Jie, “China’s Christian Future,” trans. H. C. Hsu, First Things 265 (August/September 2016): 52.

[57]Yu, “China’s Christian Future,” 53. 

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