Presbyterianism and social change in urban China
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Based on a qualitative study on the new development of Presbyterianism in China, this thesis explores the urban and rational side of Chinese Christianity, so as to open an empirical window on meso-level social change in urban China. From an empirical perspective, although the organizational form of the Presbyterian Church in China and its scope are still in the fledging stage, the discursive practices and the institutional and coalition building of Chinese Presbyterians fit into the profile of a social movement. This preliminary data collected so far examines the emerging Protestant elites and their role in the precarious civil society of today’s China. On the normative side, these Chinese Presbyterians articulate a strong political theology that blends the Anabaptist and the reformed theologies. In addition, the institutional and the missional tension of this movement is also under examination. In the end, this project is an experiment that tests the commensurability between theology and social sciences, especially the viability of theologically engaged ethnography.
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