Dear Praying Friends:
At this time of year, we are all a bit more aware of God’s many blessings to us, and we try to express gratitude to him for his kindness. That’s why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
After ten years of existence, everyone connected with Global China Center (GCC) has much for which to be thankful.
GCC was founded by Dr. Carol Lee Hamrin and me in the fall of 2004 as an outreach to Chinese scholars studying Christianity. This is a very special, and growing, group of people with high influence in the Chinese academy, where Christianity is not widely understood, and where believers can feel isolated.
We also want to encourage Western and Chinese Christian scholars studying Christianity. Theirs can be a lonely position in the secular university, and we hope to form an informal network to spur each other on to persevere. Happily, Chinese Christianity has now been recognized as a significant field, with more books, journals, and conferences dedicated to this major phenomenon.
Since then, God has been gracious to prosper GCC in many ways. For example:
We have grown from two Associates to nine, with several interns joining us for a while over the years.
Books: Dr. Hamrin and I are co-editors of Studies in Chinese Christianity, a series published by Wipf & Stock’s Pickwick Publications imprint. So far, seven volumes have come out. The three volumes of Salt & Light: Lives of Faith that Shaped Modern China, edited by Dr. Hamrin with Stacey Bieler, were first issued. A conference volume, After Imperialism, edited by Richard Cook and others, was followed by Wise Man From the East: Lit-sen Chang, edited and translated by me and Dr. Samuel Ling; Liang A-fa: China’s First Evangelist, edited by Jonathan Seitz; and Timothy Richard’s Vision, by Eunice Johnson, edited by Dr. Hamrin.
Builders of the Chinese Church: Pioneer Missionaries and Chinese Christian Leaders, which I edited, will be published in the spring of 2015. A collection of biographical studies of American missionaries and a book on today’s Chinese church are in preparation.
Two volumes of the Salt & Light series have also been published in Chinese. Response from readers has been very enthusiastic.
Lit-sen Chang, Zen-Existentialism: The Spiritual Decline of the West was also published as part of Wipf & Stock’s effort to introduce Chinese Christianity to Western readers.
Websites: The Global China Center site (www.globalchinacenter.org) features more than 150 articles and book reviews about Chinese culture and society, and Christianity in China. The site is read each month by 2,500 Chinese and Western scholars, China ministry leaders and practitioners, and many others.
The Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity (www.bdcconline.net) contains 320 articles in Chinese (mostly composed by the editor, Dr. Yading Li), telling the stories of missionaries and Chinese Christians in a lively and accurate fashion. The English page has more than 450 articles. Since its launch in 2005, the BDCC has been visited by 230,000 readers (yes, you read that right!), about half of them from Asia. I am English editor of the BDCC and the GCC site.
Presentations, conferences, lectures
GCC Associates have presented panels and papers at various academic meetings and China ministry conferences. We have also given papers at other conferences in China, the U.K., and the United States. This past summer I taught a course and gave three lectures at a university in China, and lectured at another university. Dr. Hamrin will be lecturing at a prestigious university there in December.
Though we believe that our publications and public presentations possess value, we know that personal relationships are essential for communicating the love and truth of God. All of us seek to cultivate friendships with our Chinese colleagues and with Western Christian scholars of Christianity in China.
We could tell you many stories of encounters with educated Chinese who genuinely want to know the truth about God and his marvelous works in China over the past two hundred years.
One academic dean said to me, “Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.” A student in my course last summer said, “This class has changed my entire life.” Readers of Salt & Light and the BDCC have told us how these stories have totally altered their perception of Christianity and Christians, and given them direction in life. Invitations to return speak volumes, as do frequent requests for advice.
It takes time, we know – sometimes many years – for Chinese intellectuals to overcome their doubts and accept the Christian faith, or at least to have a better impression of Christians in China. We trust that patient effort on our part, and faithful prayers on yours, will be used by God to open minds, eyes, and hearts to the truth that alone sets us free.
Thank you for your participation in this special outreach to scholars and those who seek to reach them.
Your fellow student,