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Lightning from the East: Heterodoxy and Christianity in Contemporary China (Religion in Chinese Societies)

2015-09-23 Source:Kaiwind Author:Xu Li

Lightning from the East: Heterodoxy and Christianity in Contemporary China (Religion in Chinese Societies) by Emily Dunn is published on May 27, 2015 by Brill Academic Pub.

Lightning from the East uncovers the teachings and activities of Chinese Protestant-related new religious movements such as the Church of Almighty God, how Chinese authorities and Christians have responded to them, and how they fit with Chinese religion and global Christianity.

Eastern Lightning and Religion in China; Protestant-Related New Religious Movements in Contemporary China; The Teachings of Eastern Lightning; The Heritage of Eastern Lightning's Teachings: A Case Study; The Chinese Government's Response to Protestant-Related New Religious Movements; The Art of Persuasion: Eastern Lightning's Recruitment Strategies; Chinese Protestant Depictions of Heresy; Comclusion: Eastern Lightning in Local and Global Perspective

This book grew out of a PHD thesis that was complete at the university of Melbourne in 2010.i am grateful also to Benjamin penny for cheering me on, I am indebted to the academics, theologians and Christians who welcomed and informed me in hong kong ,Beijing. Nanjing and shanghai.

The book is about another type of new religious movement that Chinese authorities have also viewed as serious concern for the past several decades. These movements are loosely related to Protestantism, and emerged in China since the late1970s. They recruit Protestants and espouse doctrines that are regarded as heretical by both Protestants churches and Chinese state. The state’s labeling of them as ‘cults’ (邪教 xiejiao; literally , ‘heterodox teachings’ ) places them in the same political category as Falun gong, which is not tolerated and cannot function in the open at all. The Chinese state regards Eastern Lightning as posing a lesser threat than Falun Gong but as belonging to the same fundamental category, which is theoretically distinct from unregistered religious organizations and subject to a much higher degree of censure and persecution.

The political sensitivity surrounding new religious movements in China is no doubt partly why this is the first monograph to offer a detailed account of Eastern Lightning. Within China. The state’s campaign against Falun Gong has spawned a profusion of publications on “cults flaunting Protestant banner”(打着基督教旗号的邪教 dazhe jidujiao qihao de xiejiao). Chinese articles generally cite the crimes and perils of new religions, locate their origins in rural poverty and ignorance, and call for increased vigilance to combat them. Such literature provides information on the organization and suppression of these groups in selected locales. But rarely draws upon material produced by the religious movements in question. Even social scientists at leading PRC tertiary institutions have been unable to gain access to these due to their politically sensitive nature.

Anglophone studies of religion in China increasingly point to Protestant-related new religious movements as holding the potential to foment political protest and social instability, reflecting fragmentation within Chinese Protestantism, and manifesting continuity with indigenous religious traditions. However, These have been brief treatments, raised in the course of discussing other topics. This book offers a sustained exploration of Eastern Lightning’s teachings, activities and reception by considering five main questions: what does Eastern Lightning teach? How do there teachings relate to those of other religions in China, both past and present? How is the religion disseminated? To what extent has Eastern Lightning challenged the legitimacy of the government and Protestant churches, and how have there parties responded to Eastern Lightning? The focus is squarely on Eastern Lightning——the most notorious group of its kind——but this book also illuminates dynamics in religions in China more broadly, and the historical legacies which shape them. While the Chinese government projects the image of a modern state seeking to protect its citizens against a newly arising movement, its response to new religious movements has been consistent with longer standing relations between such movements and Chinese rulers. Despite forming in the early 1990s. Eastern Lightning likewise owes much to far older religious sensibilities. These are associated not only with Christianity, but also popular religion.

Biographical note:

Emily Dunn is an Associate of The University of Melbourne's Asia Institute. She was awarded her Ph.D. in 2010 by that Institute, where she now teaches part-time.