The Formation of Global Chinese Christian Identities

Joshua Dao Wei Sim

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Christians have not been a major part of the mainstream debates in studies on Chinese diaspora and transnationalism. This chapter attempts to move Christianity into the centre of such conversations through the theme of identity. Specifically, it proposes that the diasporic Chinese Protestants were an integral part of the transnational Chinese communities that settled across the globe from the late nineteenth century to the present day by demonstrating how they synthesized their faith and various types of Chinese identities in order to form three dominant global Chinese Christian identities: evangelical identity, religious nationalism and religious ethnocentrism. In terms of evangelical identity, the chapter demonstrates how Protestants were motivated by their particular historical circumstances to appropriate evangelicalism as the primary means for shaping their respective diasporic cultures. For religious nationalism, I show how Protestant communities became transnational participants in China’s national salvation discourse. Such participation was seen by synthesizing their evangelical faith with nationalism and delimiting the projections of their identity within the bounds of the modern Chinese nation. Lastly, the study outlines the process of synthesis between faith and ethnic concern after World War II. It shows how different independent Chinese Protestant organizations constructed ethno-religious discourses as part of the process of forming the global Chinese Christian industry. These discourses include the unique ‘chosen’ status of Chinese Christians and their special concern for evangelizing the transnational Chinese communities. In all, the study suggests that the multiplicity of global Chinese Christianity affirms mainstream calls to examine the Chinese diaspora in all its diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge International Handbook of Religion in Global Society
EditorsJayeel Cornelio, François Gauthier, Tuomas Martikainen, Linda Woodhead
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter23
Pages277-291
Number of pages15
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9781315646435
ISBN (Print)9781138182509
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020

User-Defined Keywords

  • Chinese Christianity
  • World Christianity
  • Global religion
  • Religious identities
  • identity construction

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