Fortress Press

Moral Triumph: The Public Face of Christianity in China

Moral Triumph

The Public Face of Christianity in China

Zhibin Xie (Author)


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This book addresses the issue of Christianity in public life in China through methodological and constructive approaches. It aims to answer the following questions: How does Christianity, with its moral and spiritual resources, engage in and contribute to public life in China? How does Christianity operate amidst a background of religious diversity, cultural and social dynamics, and political realities in China? The distinctive contribution of this book is that it moves beyond simple description and evaluation of what is happening in Chinese Christianity toward a constructive theology for the distinctive realities of Chinese culture, society, and politics. This book proposes Christian public responsibility in order to identify the moral problems in Chinese public life. It attempts to enhance a public face of Christianity in China theologically and ethically by activating Christian resources in response to public life and highlighting Christianity's moral impact on the state and civil society without "the imposition of confessional bonds" or "the exercise of authoritarian control." (quoted from Abraham Kuyper).

This book relies on both methodological and constructive approaches to define the meaning of public theology while making theological efforts to engage in public issues constructively in the Chinese context. Besides the Western Christian public theologians such as Kuyper, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Nicholas Wolterstorff, this book extensively refers to Chinese resources such as Christian thinkers, philosophers and social scientists, etc. to perceive public theology in China. This new formulation of Christian public theology in China desires to engage with Chinese experiences, struggles, traditions and ideology such as Confucianism and communism when investigating moral responses to public issues such as social justice, human rights, and religious freedom. A Christian co-construction with philosophical and social scientific perspectives on public life will lead to the modification of moral vocabulary in Chinese public life.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506486802
  • eBook ISBN 9781506486819
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 284
  • Publication Date January 17, 2023


"In this thoughtful and original study, Zhibin Xie brings his extensive knowledge of ethics and public theology into relationship with social and religious life in contemporary China. Western readers will learn a great deal about the complex realities of Chinese society, but they will also discover new ways to see their own social experience."

Robin W. Lovin, Cary Maguire University Professor of Ethics emeritus, Southern Methodist University

"Based on a profound understanding of issues related to the relationships between Christianity, Chinese culture, and contemporary China, as well as Western and Asian voices in public theology, Xie has made a significant contribution to Chinese public theology and the moral engagement of Christianity in China."

Francis Ching-Wah Yip, Director, Divinity School of Chung Chi College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

"Few frontiers of world Christianity are more controversial and promising than those in mainland China today. And few scholars are more adept than Professor Zhibin Xie in negotiating the complex dialectics between Western and Chinese Christianity, traditional teachings and modern challenges, flourishing Christian communities and indigenous forms and forums of faith and politics. In this volume, Professor Xie continues to lay important groundwork for a distinct Chinese political theology that skillfully blends Chinese and Western teachings, and speaks powerfully and prophetically to fundamental issues of love, justice, rights, freedom, and legal and political reform. This volume deserves wide readership throughout the world."

John Witte Jr., Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law, Emory University

"Zhibin Xie is an inspirational pioneer in public theology and ethics in China. His work exemplifies a willingness to think both globally and contextually about the public face of Christian faith and values. Drawing on a rich and diverse range of Western and Chinese scholarship, he offers a nuanced and insightful intercultural analysis. Anyone interested in the public role that Christianity and theology could play in Chinese society should read this book."

David Tombs, Howard Paterson Chair of Theology and Public Issues, and Director of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues, University of Otago, New Zealand

"Zhibin Xie argues that Chinese Christianity can contribute to the public life of Chinese people through its 'moral accomplishments.' He believes that Christian moral values can help Chinese Christianity to redefine its public role and offer Chinese society a Christian analysis of social problems. This book is an authentic theological reflection for a Christian public life in China."

Wai Luen Kwok, Associate Professor, Department of Religion and Philosophy, and Associate Director, Centre for Sino-Christian Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University

"A Chinese philosopher by training, and joining with this heritage the life and thought of preeminent Dutch public theologian Abraham Kuyper, interpreted through the invigorating lens of Princeton Theological Seminary's Max Stackhouse and other notable reformers, Dr. Zhibin Xie brings his one-of-a-kind, cross-cultural learning to address the challenge of offering the gifts of Christian faith into today's vast transformation of China's 5,000-year-old ways of living. From exploring what vocabulary to engage and what methods to employ to articulating well-defined proposals for Christian contributions to Chinese public life, Dr. Xie skillfully reviews important Chinese and Western scholarship as he calls his readers to focus on the moral life of the Chinese people: its charitable roots and its institutional reconstruction today. Connecting with Chinese Christian theology's best--when it attends to the daily well-being of the people--Dr. Xie's analyses, critiques, and positive recommendations, interweaving Confucian and reformed Christian themes, provide indispensable reading and necessary guidance for the next generation, who must stand on the shoulders of those who have come before to view with yet greater precision China's still-emerging new 'public square.' Moral Triumph illumines a clear path forward!"

Diane Obenchain, Director, Chinese Studies Center, and Senior Professor of Religion, Fuller Theological Seminary