Chinese Theological Review 13

From the Editor

Beginning with his Preface to the first issue, the Chinese Theological Review has carried numerous offerings from the pen of Bishop K.H. Ting, past President of the China Christian Council and Chairperson of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of Protestant Churches in China. We are especially pleased then to present in this issue ten essays and sermons from the 1980s and 90s not previously available in English. These are taken from the forthcoming volume, The Selected Writings of Bishop K.H. Ting, which will be published in China in both Chinese and English versions, the Chinese version in October, 1998, and the English version shortly after. This is a substantial selection of Bishop Ting's writings, chosen by him, and with an introduction by Rev. Chen Zemin. The range of topics covering several decades will give readers both a portrait of the man, as a theologian, Christian educator and church leader, and an in-depth picture of the problems and challenges the church in China faces. The essays grouped under the heading of "Interpreting Religion and Religious Freedom under Socialism," show K.H. Ting in a role not often appreciated outside China-that of a public figure, a delegate to the National People's Congress, with the standing and access to advocate religious interests at the highest levels. These essays and lectures show how he has worked to broaden government cadres' understanding of religion and religious freedom in ways that increase the space for religious belief and activities in society. The essays under "Talks on Theology and the Church" deal with issues facing the church itself', placed within a larger context of a call to greater unity, tolerance and reconciliation among Christians. The section concludes with three sermons.

Among the authors whose work is included in this issue. K.H. Ting, Chen Zemin and Wang Weifan are senior theologians familiar to readers of this Review. We are pleased also to include a number of younger theologians and pastors, both men and, like Gao Ying and Sun Meici, women. They and their contemporaries are the future of the church in China and their writings will continue to find a place in these pages.

Two essays in this issue continue the exploration of the relationship of Christianity and Chinese culture and the possibilities of' new Christian expression through that culture. Wang Weifan discusses the influence of traditional culture on the shape of Chinese theological thinking while Wang Jingo uses traditional symbols in a new way to reinterpret Christian concepts and move toward a new synthesis.

The church in China is growing most rapidly in the countryside. A young pastor from Anhui describes the development of' the rural church and its problems, including heresy and superstitious practices as well as the resurgence of denominationalism. At the same time, intellectuals' interest in religion and in Christianity in particular has never been greater. Chen Zemin explores the history of Chinese intellectuals' reactions to Christianity and urges the church to develop Intellectuals strength within itself in order to reach out to engage intellectuals on their own ground. The challenges facing a church in a rapidly changing society, both positive and negative, are examined by Chen Xida, while Sun Meici reflects theologically unity in the church, an ongoing concern for a church which realized union in 1958, but is still on the road to unity.

Finally, as the General Assembly of the World Council Churches prepares to meet in Harare, we include two essays on China and the church ecumenical. Chen Zemin sets out the story of the Chinese Church's relationship to ecumenical movements and organizations and Gao Ying, after a year's internship with the WCC, tells what she has learned and how that organization appears to a Chinese pastor and teacher.

As always, thanks are due to the authors of the essays and sermons that appear here, for allowing their work to be shared through translation. I would also like to thank the translators, Donald Snow, Ewing Carroll and Ian Groves. Some essays were received from China in draft translation and I would like to thank those translators, whose names I do not know, as well. I would also like to thank the Foundation for Theological Education in Southeast Asia for its continued support and Dr. Marvin Hoff and Mrs. Joanne Hoff for their kindness and support.

Janice Wickeri

San Anselmo