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Title: Revitalization of Chinese rural Christian church since the 1980s : a case study of Shuizhai Church, Wuhua County, Eastern Guangdong
Other Titles: 1980 nian dai yi lai Zhongguo nong cun Jidu jiao hui de fu xing : yi Yue dong Wuhua Xian Shuizhai tang wei li
一九八零年代以來中國農村基督教會的復興 : 以粤東五華縣水寨堂為例
Authors: Chen, Yun (陳贇)
Department: Department of Asian and International Studies
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Subjects: Christianity -- China -- Wuhua Xian -- 20th century.
Rural churches -- China -- Wuhua Xian -- History -- 20th century.
Notes: CityU Call Number: BR1290.W78 C44 2008
vi, 242 leaves : ill. 30 cm.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2008.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 218-231)
Type: thesis
Abstract: After almost thirty years of religious suppression in PRC, Christianity in China achieves rapid revitalization since the 1980s. Owing to the great population of peasants and broad rural area, rural Christian churches contribute much to the growth. This study chooses a rural Christian church with a history of over one hundred years and its adherents as the research object, unfolds the complex social ecology of the church in both synchronic and diachronic dimensions, and represents the interactions between Christianity(churches), the state(government) and society(local society). It applies a theoretical framework of sociology of religion, Religious Economy Theory (RET), to seek for the explanation of religious revitalization and growth in the transition period of politics and economy. In the meanwhile, it applies the approach of “thick description” to represent the church’s social functions by delineating the complicated relation of local government, local society (traditional culture) and religions. Chinese religious market is neither monopolistic nor free, which could be regarded as a complement of RET. Deregulation liberates the possibility of religious growth. Regulation from the government molds the religious market and promotes the religious growth as well. Gaining more chances and resources for self-development is always the first consideration of the religious groups in any political and social contexts. For that purpose, Christian church sets up its role in the local society as the spiritual mentor, the theological school and a community entertainment center. These social functions facilitate the church’s development.
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