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Title: A study of Bishop Ting Kuanghsün's theological reconstruction in China
Author: Tee, An Chu
ISNI:       0000 0004 2719 3412
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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More than half a century has passed since the Protestant Three-Self Patriotic Movement was established, and quickly rose to monopolize institutionalized Protestantism in China. The Three-Self theology remains poorly understood, however, both on mainland China, and abroad. This study intends to uncover why Ting's work has been constructed in the way it has been, to delve beneath its totalizing discourses as they were shaped and reshaped in the transitional period, and on into the 1980s, when Three-Self theologians were active again. As Ting's work is considered an official guide to Theological Reconstruction, this examination of Ting's theology also aims to show how, and why, the CCP accommodated or endorsed Ting's projects, discourses and evaluations, and what the impact of this was. Centring on the idea of the Three-Self, each of the chapters of this study will further elaborate upon the emergence and development of Three-Self principles in China, and how it helped to form the core of Ting's theology, most particularly in the 1980s. Chapter One presents the Three-Self's original meaning. Simultaneously, close attention is paid to how Chinese Christians practised the Three-Self principles, tackled various issues such as the interaction with traditional Chinese culture, religion and science, and Christianity and revolution in the 1920s and 1930s. The key theme of Chapter Two, consequently, is located in the question of how the Three-Self has mutated as a political instrument, and transformed itself into the Three-Self movement between 1950 and 1979. Chapter Three, from a political perspective, is devoted to presenting how we are to understand Ting's Theological Reconstruction, in comparison with the Three-Self in the 1950s. The key consideration of Chapter Four is to engage with Ting's idea of Theological Reconstruction in 1980s, which includes his particular way of appropriating Christianity in the contemporary Chinese context. In the light of Stephen Bevans' classification of contextual theology, this chapter's three thematic parts point to three patterns which were adapted to construct Chinese theology in the past and contemporary history of Christianity in China. Surveying the central concept of the 'Cosmic Christ', and why/how Ting has been so passionate about popularizing this idea in China, this chapter will provide a thorough review of the particular work in Ting Kuanghsün Wenji (Collected Essays of Bishop Ting), and this detailed account provides an opportunity to observe how Ting weaves Marxism, process theology and liberation theology into his theological construction, and how he links his theological proposal to mainstream theology. In the final chapter, this study will investigate the strength and weakness of Ting's Theological Reconstruction. I will argue that Ting's main purpose in transforming, as well as reconstructing, Christianity is not to try to make Christianity more easily accepted by the Chinese in their cultural and social situation, but it is instead intended to be used as a 'post-transformational Christianity', specifically as an instrument to provide help for the CCP to find a way out of its political situation.
Supervisor: Hoelzl, Michael Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Christianity in China ; Bishop Ting Kuanghsün