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Exploring Biblical Theology from a historical perspective can lay the foundation for a Chinese Contextual Theology in the New Era
2023-08-09 Author: Gao Feng Source: Chinese Theological Review

The newly revised Church Order of the Chinese Protestant Church and the Five-Year Plan for Promoting the Further Contextualization of Christianity in China (2018-2022) 《中国基督教教会规章》和《推进我国基督教中国化五年工作规划纲要(2018-2022)》(referred to as “the Plan”) show the theological self-awareness of Chinese churches and their path of action in the new era. Basic doctrine constitutes the essence of the Church’s faith; the openness of biblical interpretation keeps theology advancing with the times, and the publicity of biblical interpretation allows the Church to bear ethical witness. In the twenty-first century, while adhering to the basic doctrine and canon, we must respect the tradition of the Chinese Church in “exalting the Bible” 高举圣经, establish a system of theological and biblical hermeneutics that are compatible with socialist society, draw lessons from the history of biblical interpretation, focus on the openness of biblical truth, pay attention to the publicity of Christian theology, and contextualize the reinterpretation of the doctrine and church canon for Chinese Christianity.

(By: Robertdic)

Not only is this the way for the Chinese Church to survive and thrive but it is also the ardent hope and call of the Party and the government.

It is also an inevitable path for the Church to take in integrating with fine Chinese cultural traditions and developing a “Chinese Christianity.” By grasping the fundamentals of the theological interpretation of the Bible (hereinafter referred to as TIB), the Church’s political identity, social adaptation, cultural integration and unity in the post-denominational era can enable it to become established, as “a tree with roots and a brook with a source.”

(By: Robertdic)

However, the top-level design and appeal must be implemented in the specific construction of the church’s theological interpretation of the Bible, so we must focus on the ethical direction, theological basis and the exegesis of specific scriptures for the contextualized TIB, so as to facilitate contextualization at the pulpits of grass-roots churches and establish the Chinese Church’s selfhood in exegetical theology. This article attempts to briefly discuss this topic from such aspects as church history, the history of biblical interpretation, theological hermeneutics, and the guiding role of the socialist core values in TIB.


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(By: Robertdic)

About author:

Gao Feng was the sixth president of China Christian Council. He now serves as the chairperson of CCC&TSPM’s Board of Directors and the current president of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary.

Editor: Xiao Tang