The Theoretical Approach of Indigenization of Chinese Protestant Theology in the First Half of the 20th Century
Keywords:Indigenization, internalization, cultural transformation, Chinese Protestant Theology
From the early 20th century, Chinese “Indigenous Theology” served as the main line in the development of Chinese Protestant theology. It represents an important orientation in the communications between Chinese and Western culture as well as the development of modern Chinese thought. Chinese Indigenous Theology was the theoretical result of the combination of Chinese and Western religious spirit and thought, with a strong background of traditional Chinese culture. Its main purpose was to interpret and develop modern Chinese Protestant thought within the frame of Chinese traditional culture, mainly Confucianism, and to construct a native Christian theology with Chinese characteristics. As will become obvious, the theoretical construction of Indigenous Theology caused Western Protestant theology, with its fundamental spirit of "Dichotomy between God and Man" and its thought pattern of “External Transcendence”, to Chinese Indigenous Theology, grounded on a "Unity of God and Man" and a “Internal Transcendence”. However, due to excessive adherence to the historical experience of Indigenization, modern Chinese Protestant theology came to lack a sufficient response to and discussion of the issues of modernization and universalization. In this paper, both the theoretical achievements and the shortcomings of Chinese Indigenous Theology will be summarized and reviewed carefully.