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Asian Christianity in the 20th Century: People, Themes, and Lessons

Dr. Scott W. Sunquist
OMSC Senior Mission Scholar—Fall 2017
Dean and Professor of World Christianity
School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary

Seminar Description

Born in western Asia, Jesus’ influence, until the 20th century, was formative in every continent except for Asia. The 20th century experienced a marked departure from this 19-century history. How this came about is somewhat of a mystery. Some of the greatest persecution the church ever experienced happened in the 20th century in Asia and so were some of the greatest man-made and natural disasters. The greatest missionary movement of all time occurred in East Asia, but with little results. A remarkable shift in global politics occurred in a brief period of time with the dismantling of both Asian (Japanese) and western colonialism.

This seminar will describe how such a history must be studied to help the church move forward today. What are the clues and the issues that need to preoccupy us? There is too much material to study, so both the missionary and the historian must be selective. Rather than surveying all of Asian Christianity in the 20th century, we will look at critical places and times. Major figures, mostly Asian, will be highlighted to show how they were both people of their time, and pioneers of Christian witness in the least evangelized content.

Seminar co-sponsored by TMS Global.

Seminar Schedule

Tue., Nov. 7
9–9:30 a.m. Worship
9:30 a.m.–12 p.m.  Session 1: Global Christianity’s Most Remarkable Century
2–4 p.m. Session 2: Israel, Oil and West Asia's Christian Decline
Wed., Nov. 8
9 a.m.–12 p.m.  Session 3: Ethnicity, Religion and Politics: Sri Lanka after independence
2–4 p.m. Session 4: Asian Leaders and their Impact upon Asian Christianity
Thu., Nov. 9
9–9:30 a.m. Worship
9:30 a.m.–12 p.m. Session 5: Indonesia: Islam's East Asian Home
2–4 p.m. Session 6: China: Confucian Christianity in the Late 20th Century
Fri., Nov. 10
9–11 a.m. Conclusions: Doing Mission in Asia in Light of the Past

Resource Person

Scott W. Sunquist has served as a staff member for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church (Republic of Singapore), missionary with the PC(USA) as lecturer in Asian Christianity at Trinity Theological College in Singapore, professor of mission and world Christianity at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and has now served for five years as the Dean of the School of Intercultural Studies and Professor of World Christianity at Fuller Theological Seminary. His publications are in the areas of world Christianity, Asian Christianity and missiology. He has studied at the University of North Carolina, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Princeton Theological Seminary. He has a wife, Nancy, four children, and nine grandchildren.

Later Event: November 15
Intercultural Theology