An Overview of the Center’s Projects and Initiatives.
Our purpose is to build the Chinese church and to reach non-Christian intellectuals and other “influencers” in China to see and embrace the positive role that Christians have played, and can play, in their society.
To achieve that purpose, we rely on two strategies: Personal relationships with scholars and intellectuals, and persuasive written and oral presentations.
Christian Heritage Initiative
Our initial set of projects and publications are part of the “Christian Heritage Initiative,” which intends to show how Christians have made a significant, and positive, contribution to Chinese society over the past two hundred years and more.
- Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity The BDCC is our flagship project. This Web-based repository of accounts of Christians – both Chinese and foreign – who have made a contribution to Chinese church and society is meant to be a major resource for all who are interested in this wonderful story (www.bdcconline.net).
We have nearly 500 stories in English, and another 250 stories in both traditional and simplified Chinese. We have already seen very encouraging response to this strategic initiative.
Supporting and augmenting the BDCC are a number of other endeavors that join hands towards a common goal: Telling the story of God’s work among the Chinese. These include:
- GCC Studies in Chinese Christianity Edited by Carol Lee Hamrin and G. Wright Doyle, this series is being published by Wipf & Stock under their Pickwick label. It will feature works of substantial scholarship, including historical studies and theological reflection, reprints, and translations of major Chinese works.
These books will enable readers around the world to understand what is arguably the most explosive growth of any church in Christian history, one which continues unabated today.
- “Salt and Light” The “Salt and Light” project, which will offer in-depth portraits of Chinese Christians who have made a significant contribution to their society. The BDCC aims for breadth; articles in the BDCC are necessarily brief. “Salt and Light” will achieve depth by longer mini-biographies of the career and impact of a few major personages.
Three volumes have been published in English by Wipf & Stock in the GCC Studies in Chinese Christianity series, co-edited by Carol Lee Hamrin and G. Wright Doyle. The first volume has been published in Chinese; the reception to it has been very enthusiastic. Portions of Volumes 2 & 3 are being translated, with the hope of publishing them in Chinese.
In addition to the three volumes of the Salt & Light sub-series, Wipf & Stock also issued After Imperialism: Christian Identity in China and the Global Evangelical Movement, edited by Richard R. Cook and David W. Pao, in 2011.
- “Builders of the Chinese Church” We are planning a volume on “Builders of the Chinese Church,” which will offer critical biographies of influential Protestant missionaries and Chinese Christians in the 19th century. These essays will provide information about their lives, thought, and impact in a way that will help current leaders assess their own efforts to contribute to church growth in China.
- The writings of Lit-sen Chang Lit-sen Chang (Zhang Lisheng) was a major Chinese theologian in the latter half of the 20th century. Wipf & Stock is re-printing two of his books in English. Another volume, Wise Man from the East: The Shorter Writings of Lit-sen Chang, will offer translations of two apologetic treatises hitherto unavailable in English: Critique of Chinese Humanism, and Critique of Chinese Contextual Theology. Though these deal with issues then current, they remain relevant to today’s theological discussions. GCC Director will edit the volume and translate one of the treatises; Dr. Samuel Ling is the other translator.
- Dissertation on Chinese Protestants John Barwick’s dissertation on Chinese Protestant elites in the early 20th century. A Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, John is writing about the role of a few Christians in the search for China’s modernization during that period of relative freedom and great intellectual ferment. We hope this thesis will be published later as a major scholarly contribution in a growing conversation about Christianity in China.
In the future, we plan to do more to address urgent questions of theology in addition to the above projects on history. Already, however, we engage in a variety of efforts to bring the Gospel to bear upon Chinese culture and society, and to lay a solid foundation for the future.
- Book reviews about the church in China.
- Articles which discuss the Chinese church in its historical and current context.
The GCC Web site has been regularly featured as the lead story by the widely-read China news bulletin ZGBriefs (ZG stands for “China”).
- Developing the next generation of serious students of Chinese language and culture.