China and the True Jesus

China and the True Jesus : Charisma and Organization in a Chinese Christian Church

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In 1917, the Beijing silk merchant Wei Enbo's vision of Jesus sparked a religious revival, characterized by healings, exorcisms, tongues-speaking, and, most provocatively, a call for a return to authentic Christianity that challenged the Western missionary establishment in China. This revival gave rise to the True Jesus Church, China's first major native denomination. The church was one of the earliest Chinese expressions of the twentieth century charismatic and
Pentecostal tradition which is now the dominant mode of twenty-first century Chinese Christianity. To understand the faith of millions of Chinese Christians today, we must understand how this particular form of Chinese community took root and flourished even throughout the wrenching changes and
dislocations of the past century.

The church's history links together key themes in modern Chinese social history, such as longstanding cultural exchange between China and the West, imperialism and globalization, game-changing advances in transport and communications technology, and the relationship between religious movements and the state in the late Qing (circa 1850-1911), Republican (1912-1949), and Communist (1950-present-day) eras.

Vivid storytelling highlights shifts and tensions within Chinese society on a human scale. How did mounting foreign incursions and domestic crises pave the way for Wei Enbo, a rural farmhand, to become a wealthy merchant in the early 1900s? Why did women in the 1920s and 30s, such as an orphaned girl named Yang Zhendao, devote themselves so wholeheartedly to a patriarchal religious system? What kinds of pressures induced church leaders in a meeting in the 1950s to agree that "Comrade Stalin"
had saved many more people than Jesus?

This book tells the striking but also familiar tale of the promise and peril attending the collective pursuit of the extraordinary-how individuals within the True Jesus Church in China over the past century have sought to muster divine and human resources to transform their world.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 408 pages
  • 167 x 235 x 32mm | 678g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0190923466
  • 9780190923464
  • 759,487

Table of contents





1 - Missionaries in the Manchu City

2 - A Smaller, Bigger World

3 - The First and Last Day

4 - The Three Lives of Deaconess Yang

5 - Four Governments in China

6 - Saving Comrade Stalin's Soul

7 - The Handwritten Hymnbook

8 - Don't Be Like the Gentiles

9 - The Parable of the Cursed Chicken




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Review quote

This volume is an exemplary work of religious history, in which Inouye combines archival research and fieldwork among current believers, balanced with just the right amount of theory to show how this singular story might relate to other religions in terms of charisma vs. organization, the social and economic roots of spiritual receptivity, the intersection of the mundane and the miraculous, church and state relations, the language of moral discourse, etc. Inouye has
mastered the delicate art of writing about other people's religious beliefs and experiences with sensitivity, compassion, and insight. In addition,China and the True Jesusis a terrific introduction to the sweep of modern Chinese history * Grant Hardy, By Common Consent * China and the True Jesus provides the reader with an insightful platform from which to view the tumult of modern Chinese history from below. This book is essential reading for any scholar of Christianity in China and anyone interested in exploring the relationship between charisma and power. * Alex Mayfield, Pneuma * With the archival experience of a historian and the descriptive pen of an ethnographer, Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye masterfully situates the history of the True Jesus Church in the broader context of twentieth-century China in her new book China and the True Jesus * Journal of Chinese Religions *
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About Melissa Wei-tsing Inouye

Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye is a Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Auckland. Her areas of research interest include the social and cultural history of modern China, charismatic global Christianity, and women and religion. She received her Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University in 2011.
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