Building the Protestant Church in Shandong, China

By Cliff, Norman H. | International Bulletin of Mission Research, April 1998 | Go to article overview

Building the Protestant Church in Shandong, China


Cliff, Norman H., International Bulletin of Mission Research


The Chinese have a saying, "He who holds Shandong grips China by the throat."(1) The story of the growth of a virile Protestant church in this province includes periods of political struggle between Chinese, Germans, and Japanese for control of Shandong's economic resources, and ultimately between Kuomintang and Communist forces. More important, in the religious sphere there were fervent evangelistic efforts by Catholics, mainline Protestants, and sect-type revivalist movements striving to recover the pristine simplicity of the early church.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Jesuit missionaries moved south from Peking to evangelize Shandong. Half a century later they handed over the work in the province to Franciscans. In the 1880s an order from Germany - the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) - took over an area in southeast Shandong. When the early Protestant pioneers arrived in 1860, there were some 20,000 Catholic Christians.

Protestant work in China had been carried on for two decades when the first missionaries came to Chefoo (Yantai), taking advantage of the concessions wrung from the Chinese in the Treaties of Tientsin and Peking in 1858 and 1860. Some of these Protestant missionaries had already worked in Shanghai and, after experiencing ill health, had been advised to go to the invigorating climate on the coast of Shandong. Within a few years some died in a widespread cholera epidemic.

The missionaries came into Shandong via three routes (see map). In the early 1860s three missions, which later had the largest work in the province, came via the treaty port of Chefoo - the Southern Baptists (1860), the American Presbyterians (1861), and the British Baptists (1862). In the late 1860s and early 1870s three missions came via the northwest border from Tientsin and Peking in response to invitations by Chinese peasants to bring the Gospel to their villages - the British Methodists (1866), the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (1867), and the (American) Methodist Episcopal Church (1874). Then, three more missions entered via Chefoo: the (Anglican) Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (1874), the China Inland Mission (1880), and the Christian (Plymouth) Brethren (1888). Lastly, in the 1890s, three Continental societies entered via Qingdao and Jiaozhou Bay, where the German influence was strong - the Swedish Baptists (1892), the Berlin Mission (1898), and the Weimar Mission (1898). Other groups came later, so that by 1920 there were eighteen societies at work in the province, as well as some indigenous independent groups. All these represented the whole spectrum of Western denominations and sects.

Shandong was the "sacred province" in which Confucius and Mencius had left a strong influence, and the pioneers had to take account of this in their evangelistic efforts. While they opposed footbinding, concubinage, and the selling of daughters and were critical of many aspects of Chinese culture, these early arrivals learned to have a deep respect for the teachings of the great Sage. John Nevius of the Presbyterian mission said of Confucius, "The system of ethics and morality which he taught is the purest which has ever originated in the history of the world, independent of the divine revelation in the Bible, and he has exerted a greater influence for good upon our race than any other uninspired sage of antiquity."(2) The strategy of John Nevius and Hunter Corbett, both of the Presbyterian mission, and British Baptist Timothy Richard was to quote from Confucius as a springboard from which to lead the hearers on to the deeper teachings of Christ and the dynamics of his power.

Early Opposition

The gentry and populace, however, opposed the teachings of the new religion. Open-air services and the distribution of tracts, methods used in young mission fields throughout the world, brought little response here. Thus, in order to gain a basic hearing for the Gospel, many missionaries turned to the running of primary schools and small hospitals and clinics, much to the dismay of the home boards, who charged that donations for evangelism were being misused. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Building the Protestant Church in Shandong, China
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.