To understand the position of Christianity in China today, one must review and assess the long sweep of the history - over thirteen hundred years - of the Christian faith in China. Confucius, the Buddha, and Christ does that and addresses the essential question of why Christianity over all those centuries has remained "foreign" to the Chinese - why it has remained an outsider never able really to enter the warp and woof of Chinese life. Dr. Covell's book details and analyzes the history of Nestorians, Catholics, and Protestants, who, in various eras, have tried unsuccessfully to knit Christianity into the fabric of Chinese culture. He argues that Christianity's failure to become Chines has two roots: its foreign connections and its foreign message. Works have been written to address the history of one or another of the waves of missionary activity in China. This book is unique in that it puts together and assesses the core of Christianity - it's message and form - in its varied contexts over more than a millennium of Chinese history. What was preached? How? Why did it fail? Also studied here is the only major attempt to Christianize China from within - the Taiping Movement in the mid-nineteenth century. Confucius, the Buddha, and Christ is a thoroughly-documented, in-depth case study of contextualization - the most significant theme in contemporary world mission studies. It is deceptive, not prescriptive. Its historical perspective opens the door to the only way that other Christians can wisely relate to Chinese Christianity, whether in the People's Republic or in the worldwide Chinese diaspora.
Endorsements & Reviews-
This is a long-awaited book. It is the most perceptive study to date of Christianity's long evolution from foreign religion to Chinese faith. Dr. Covell analyzes how the Gospel message was eventually freed from missionary dependence to become firmly rooted in Chinese soil. In this way, the author helps us to relate to today's fully mature Chinese Christian church. P. Richard Bohr, Midwest China Center, St. Paul, Minnesota.
This is a careful discussion of the successes but primarily the failures of the Christian faith and message to take root in China. Covell's contribution here is documenting the long record of Christianity in China and its apparent survival as an independent, unforeign, Chinese Christianity. Adrian A. Bennett, Iowa State University
Dr. Ralph R. Covell retired from Denver Seminary in 1990 but continues to teach as senior professor of world Christianity in the urban ministry and intercultural mission department. Dr. Covell was a missionary to China from 1946 to 1951, and in Taiwan from 1955 to 1966. He translated the New Testament into the language of the Sediq, a Malayo-Polynesian people living in the mountains of Taiwan, and continues to be an advisor on the nearly completed translation of the Old Testament. He also acted as translation consultant for the Bible Societies of Taiwan. He is the co-author of An Extension Seminary Primer with Peter Wagner and has written W.A.P. Martin, Pioneer of Progress in China; Confucius, the Buddha, and Christ; A History of the Gospel in China; Mission Impossible: The Unreached Nosu on China's Frontier, The Liberating Gospel in China: The Christian Faith Among China's Minority Peoples and Pentecost of the Hills in Taiwan: The Christian Faith Among the Original Inhabitants .