Author(s)

Ann GeFollow

Date

4-2017

Chair

Jeff Brawner

Keywords

Afflicted Chinese Converts, Chinese Buddhist Converts, Chinese Christians, Christianity and Chinese Buddhism, Contemporary Chinese Christians, First Generation Christians

Disciplines

Buddhist Studies | Christianity | History of Religions of Eastern Origins | Other Religion | Practical Theology | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion

Abstract

This research paper presents the results of a quantitative and qualitative survey of Chinese Christians from Buddhist backgrounds, with a special focus on the Christian response to life trials, since, in Buddhism, any spiritual or physical adversity tends to be attributed to bad Karma from one’s past. The biggest aim of the research is to investigate more effective ways of leading Chinese people to Christ. The survey focuses mainly on three aspects of the respondents’ conversion stories: (1) their backgrounds, (2) their life changes after conversion, and (3) their inter-religious perspectives. In terms of background, most of the respondents had accepted Christ and been baptized at a relatively young age. Respondents’ life changes after conversion appear to show evidence of the dynamic work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Finally, their inter-religious perspectives revealed several key differences between Christianity and traditional Chinese culture. The latter featured ancestor worship, the need to accumulate merit, and a belief in Karma, which brought a sense of shame when encountering trials in life because they were attributed to having not done enough good deeds. Christianity, on the other hand, replaces these with a message of hope, believing that God purifies his people through suffering and plans to bless them in the end. Based on the survey results, several directions for future cross-cultural Chinese ministry are suggested: (1) developing a biblical worldview toward trials in life, (2) biblical engagement with Chinese shame and honor culture, and (3) contextualizing the gospel appropriately within Chinese society.