Written by a team of internationally recognized scholars, Christian Encounters with Chinese Culture focuses on a church tradition that has never been very large in China but that has had considerable social and religious influence. Themes of the book include questions of church, society and education, the Prayer Book in Chinese, parish histories, and theology. Taken together, the nine chapters and the introduction offer a comprehensive assessment of the Anglican experience in China and its missionary background.
Historical topics range from macro to micro levels, beginning with an introductory overview of the Anglican and Episcopal tradition in China. Topics include how the church became embedded in Chinese social and cultural life, the many ways women's contributions to education built the foundations for strong parishes, and Bishop R. O. Hall's attentiveness to culture for the life of the church in Hong Kong. Two chapters explore how broader historical themes played out at the parish level—St. Peter's Church in Shanghai during the War against Japan and St. Mary's Church in Hong Kong during its first three decades. Chapters looking at the Chinese Prayer Book bring an innovative theological perspective to the discussion, especially how the inability to produce a single prayer book affected the development of the Chinese church. Finally, the tension between theological thought and Chinese culture in the work of Francis C. M. Wei and T. C. Chao is examined.