Making the South Seas a “Chinese” Mission Field: Chinese Evangelical Missionaries to Southeast Asia, 1920s to 1950s

Joshua Dao Wei Sim

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

The emergence of Chinese evangelicals as missionaries in the first half of the twentieth century is an understudied topic. This paper thus seeks to foreground their voices by focusing on their Southeast Asian evangelistic work. By drawing on publications related to the Chinese Foreign Missionary Union and Alliance Bible Seminary, it is clear these missionaries were able to show their competency as transnational, inter-cultural workers that could undertake effective missionary work. This is shown in three ways. First, I argue that these evangelicals sought to carve out the South Seas (Nanyang) as a “Chinese” mission field by constructing narratives that emphasized a Chinese-Christian obligation to evangelize the region. Second, these evangelicals added a racial dimension to these narratives by claiming that they were more suited to evangelize the Nanyang peoples. Thirdly, I suggest that they eschewed “top-down” missionary methods and employed a grassroots approach in their engagement with different communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-330
Number of pages27
JournalMission Studies
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Religious studies
  • History

User-Defined Keywords

  • Alliance Bible Seminary
  • Chinese Foreign Missionary Union
  • Chinese missionaries
  • Southeast Asian Christians

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