On August 24, the commemorative service for the publication of the Korean version of The History of Christianity in China was held at the Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary (referred to "Presbyterian Seminary" hereinafter) in the Gwangjin district of Seoul, South Korea.
The ceremony was hosted by the Research Center of Christian Thoughts and Culture at the Presbyterian Seminary. The Chinese version of the book was first published by CCC&TSPM in August 2019; it was compiled by the research department of CCC&TSPM over a period of nearly ten years, with Rev. Xu Xiaohong, chairman of the National TSPM, serving as editor-in-chief, and the participation of 30 professors of church history from 21 seminaries in China. It is the state-compiled textbook designated for the History of Christianity in China course by more than 20 seminaries in China.
Dr. Wu Dongri, a representative of the translation team for the Korean version and a former professor at the Presbyterian Seminary, shared that the book was chosen for translation because of its special significance. In the book, the Chinese church analyzes and evaluates its history from its own perspective and point of view; rather than from the perspective of Western missionaries, it is Chinese history written from the Chinese perspective. Therefore, Dr. Wu invited several professional Christian scholars from Presbyterian Seminary who are proficient in both Korean and Chinese to help with the translation. He believes that the publication of the Korean version of the book "will serve as a very important cornerstone" for future exchanges between Christianity in China and Korea.
This book is also the first overseas edition of The History of Christianity in China. Dr. Wu Dongri said that Chinese Christianity is the research focus of many scholars in South Korea, and many of them are international scholars who often publish their works in English. Therefore, the publication of the Korean version of the book will have an impact not only on the Korean-speaking community but also on the international Christian community and academic circles, allowing them to have a more comprehensive understanding of the history of Christianity in China.
The book covers the history of Chinese Christianity over a thousand years, from the Tang Dynasty in the seventh century to the period of reform and opening up in the 20th century. The book discusses both the merits and demerits of the Protestant missionaries who came to China in the 19th century; it not only describes the great contributions the missionaries made to Bible translation, cultural exchange, medical care, elimination of bad habits, and social reform, but also discusses the negative issues such as their disregard for Chinese culture and tradition with arrogance and prejudice. The book further argues that although not all of the missionaries were imperialists, it cannot be said that missionaries were all good, and therefore a balanced view of their merits and demerits is needed.
In the foreword to the Korean version of the book, Rev. Wu Wei, president of China Christian Council, writes, "Over the past 70 years, Christianity in China has changed, shedding its image as a Western religion and becoming more acceptable to a greater number of Chinese people."
- Translated by Joyce Leung