Lecture: The Model, Development Path of Christian Charity in China

A picture shows a woman accompanying a person in a wheelchair.
A picture shows a woman accompanying a person in a wheelchair. (photo: unsplash.com)
By Christine Lau June 9th, 2022

A  Christian scholar named Luo Shuai gave a lecture titled “The Model and Development Path of Christian Charity in China” to report on how Christian charity in China has developed.

As part of the 11th “Charity Culture Lecture” organized by the China Institute for Philanthropy and Social Innovation at the Renmin University of China, the lecture includes four main points.

The background of charity, biblical basis, and research methods

On the background of Christian charity, Mr. Luo talked about four aspects: religion, Bible, charity, and society. The ideas in the Bible have greatly influenced Christians and thus brought new factors into the development of the traditional charity. There is a lot of teaching about charity in the Bible, which makes charity the norm of Christians’ daily life, directly guiding their behaviors.

From the biblical basis, the Bible teaches that believers should not persecute others, instructing, for example, that more blessed are those who give than receive - these teachings make Christian charity active and passive, theoretical and practical all at the same time.

Luo’s common research methods include interviews, participant observation, literature reviews, and participation.

Conceptual definitions and relevant theoretical analyses

From two angles: correct understanding and accurate positioning, Mr. Luo defined the various concepts within Christian charity. Then, he summarizes the characteristics of each concept. Finally, he gave analyses of the related theories from the perspective of “margins and collisions between religion and charity” and briefly introduces the social campaigns supported by the theories.

Christian public welfare models

Mr Luo first gave a summary of Christian public welfare models, including charitable foundations with religious color, charitable institutions and organizations centered around churches, public charitable organizations centered around biblical ideas, religious charitable donations centered around God’s love, and religious institutions centered around service of various kinds.

The serving targets of Christian charity include Christians, non-believers, and the nature.

The three perspectives of the macro development of Christian public welfare include charity theory, charity history and charity practice.

A brief analysis on the development path of Christian charity in China

The four influential factors for the development path are charitable awareness and culture, governmental stipulations, laws and regulations, and the internal administration of the organizations. Although all of these have impacts on the development of Chinese Christian charity, the intensity of each of them is different.

The direction in which Christian public welfare is developing is legalized identity, professional skills, and secularized charity.

Finally, Luo concluded that since the development of Christian charity, outstanding achievements have been made in the field. However, under the background of the new era, one must consider how balance may be made between the religious purpose and charitable purpose of Christian charity on the basis of maintaining the original charitable achievements, and how the “religious” label of charity can be removed, and how we can adapt to the changes of social policy and environment. These are all realistic issues that  Christian charity will face and solve now and in the future.

- Translated by Charlie Li

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