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.