Christian Presence and Progress in North-East Asia: Historical and Comparative Studies

Article excerpt

Christian Presence and Progress in North-East Asia: Historical and Comparative Studies. Edited by Jan A. B. Jongeneel et al. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2011. Pp. xiv, 242. SFr 70/44.70 [euro]/40.20 [pounds sterling]/ S$69.95.

This book is a selection of papers originally presented at the Seventh International Conference of the North-East Asia Council of Studies in the History of Christianity, held in China in 2009. The first two articles put into context the discussion of the conference: Jan A. B. Jongeneel surveys the impact of the interdenominationalism of the Western Protestant missionary movement on East Asia in the pre-Edinburgh period, and Xinping Zhuo argues that Christianity in China has played an important role in politics, although its sociocultural role has been limited.

As regards China, John T. P. Lai examines the Christian literature ministry in China and Japan, highlighting the different ways of distribution and policies of self-support. Kevin Xiyi Yao argues that fundamentalism in the region was a local but international movement, showing a marked variation: in China, it was major and apolitical; in Korea, major and political; and in Japan, minor. Peter Tze Ming Ng and Yongguang Zhang explore the impact of Christian education on nationalism and modernization. In Japan it was "an enemy"; in Korea, "a promoter"; and in China, "a mediating tool for dialogue" between nationalism and cosmopolitanism (pp. 71-72). According to Jiafeng Liu, unlike in Japan, Christian socialism in China was a minor and short-lived movement. Comparing Sino theology with the Mukyokai movement, Pan-chin Lai views it as "a cultural rather than religious movement" (p. …