Chinese Calvinism

Over at The Guardian , Andrew Brown reports on the surprising strength of Calvinism in China. He cites Dr. May Tan of Singapore who predicts that Calvinism is becoming “an elite religion in China.”

The reason, Tan says, is that Calvinism has a theology of resistance. Brown writes, “The great national myths of Calvinist cultures are all of wars against imperialist oppressors: the Dutch against the Spanish, the Scots against the English; the Americans against the British. So when the Chinese house churches first emerged from the rubble of the Cultural Revolution in the 80s and 90s ‘They began to search what theology will support and inform [them]. They read Luther and said, ‘not him’. So they read Calvin, and they said ‘him, because he has a theology of resistance.’ Luther can’t teach them or inform them how to deal with a government that is opposition.’” Chinese churches prefer Protestantism to Catholicism, Tan says, because “presbyterian congregations choose their own pastors.”

Brown also notes that in Beijing, philosophy Wang Xiaochao has translated Augustine’s Confessions and City of God from Latin to Chinese. This is only the beginning: “Gradually all the major works of the first centuries of the Christian tradition are being translated directly from the original languages into Chinese.”

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