Dr. Kwok Wai Luen - Transnational Religious Exchange of Chinese Protestant Christians and Its Socio-Cultural Impacts: The Case of The Chinese Coordination Centre of World Evangelism, 1974-2021
Because Chinese Protestant Christians exist in large numbers in many parts of the world, they ensure that Chinese Protestant Christianity is a transnational phenomenon. The complex relational matrix establishes Chinese Protestant churches as a nexus of relationships that develops in transnational religious and socio-cultural exchanges. This project seeks to investigate the characteristics of transnational exchanges of Chinese Protestant Christians and their socio-cultural impacts through the history of the Chinese Coordination Centre of World Evangelism (CCCOWE).
Based in Hong Kong, the CCCOWE is arguably the first and — with 75 district committees globally — the most developed transnational and interdenominational Chinese indigenized Protestant Christian organization. With its activities and ministries, the organization has evolved into a significant religious, political, and social force in the communities that it serves, also emerging as a power center that exerts influence other than the traditional denominations and local church councils. The ministries of CCCOWE articulate and redefine the very understanding of “Chinese” identity in dozens of emerging global communities. It contributes additional complexity to the concept of Protestant Christian and Chinese identity. This project will explore four key questions:
1. What are the religious and socio-cultural factors that led to the founding of CCCOWE?
2. How do Protestant Chinese churches located in different countries connect and interact with each other through CCCOWE, and what are the distinctive characteristics of these relationships?
3. How do religious discourses that develop within the CCCOWE circulate among Chinese churches and what is the pattern of the flow of transnational and transcultural dissemination, influence, and evolution?
4. What are the characteristics of the relationships between religious discourses, Chinese identity construction and socio-cultural impacts of the ministries of CCCOWE?
By employing a historical analysis focused on various documents, oral histories, and ethnographic interviews conducted in major global centers of Chinese Protestantism, Dr. Kwok’s work will provide a fresh, comprehensive, and novel overview of this history, as well as an innovative analytic assessment framework that will allow us to better understand the religious transnational influences of Chinese Protestant diaspora and its recent growth.