TAIWAN- An unprecedented international academic conference on Christian education in China unveiled the importance of ‘Think globally, Act locally’ in the midst of globalization.
On March 9-11, over 20 scholars and experts from Taiwan, Hong Kong, U.S., Germany and Canada gathered at the National Central University, Taiwan, to attend the conference "Strengthening the Root- Discussion on Christian Education in China Region" organized by the Graduate School of History in collaboration with the German-based education organization Monumenta Serica, the Taiwan-based Christian Tribune News and the Center for Chinese Studies at Fu Jen Catholic University.
The conference aims to evaluate the primary and secondary education founded by Christian churches or organizations over the last century in terms of history, curriculum, impact on culture and society as well as religion and theology.
During the conference, a total of 25 papers- 7 from the U.S., 2 from Europe, 6 each from Taiwan and Hong Kong, 4 from Mainland China- were presented.
Professor Peter T. M. Ng from the Center for the Study of Religion and Chinese Society at the Chinese University of Hong Kong presented the thesis with the theme "Christianity in the Education among Chinese." It looks into how the history of Christian education in China interacts with religions and society. Furthermore, it investigates the effect of globalization on Christian education in China and how to achieve localized education.
Ng applied the Impact-Response model of the famous American scholar John Fairbank to explain the history of Christian education in China. As Christianity entered China, it has greatly impacted China. However, afterwards all changes occur in China is a form of response to the impact. However, on the other hand, he suggested that as the Christian missionaries brought Christianity to China, they have also received great impact from the Chinese culture and social movements, thus adjusting and advancing them to adapt to the new environment.
Through such revolution, not only Christian education in China has been gradually separating from the mode of traditional western Christian education, but has it also become more modernized and localized, Ng said.
Ng highlighted the role of globalization in the localization of Christian education in China. Christianity is a global movement itself as the Great Commission stated "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." From the perspective of globalization, the gospel must be preached such that it is generalized and specialized; globalized and localized; comprehensive and diverse. In the other words, "Think globally, Act locally" is the key point.
The conference was conducted in both Mandarin and English. It has allowed effective communication between the scholars from the East and the West. Father Roman Malek from Monumenta Serica in Germany gave a power-point presentation on some pictures featuring the image of Jesus in Chinese traditional literatures. Professor Jessie G. Lutz from Rutgers University in the United States was invited as the keynote speaker.