I wonder how many adults there are like me in the world? Maybe hundreds of thousands, maybe millions? We are non-Chinese adults, but we were born in China and spent our childhoods there. Probably at least one of our parents did too because we come from missionary or business or embassy or military families. And then suddenly, China mainland could no longer be our home. We fled along with many Chinese to Hong Kong or Taiwan or other Asian countries. But a part of our hearts will forever belong to our Motherland.
For us, Ryan Dunch's book is wonderful information and affirmation. It shows what we've always wanted to believe -- that Christianity and the social morals for government derived from it did impact China positively. And that means the lives (and deaths) of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and other relatives in China were not in vain.
Tragically, there has been the Marxist Communism government detour. But even Communism brought some good to China -- one of the main benefits being unification of that colossal country. Chairman Mao was, afterall, influenced by his early education in a mission school. And he did promote many Christian principles without calling them that, such as equalizing the status of females. But ironically, perhaps the greatest good of Communism resulted from persecuting the Church and driving it underground. Christians have always multiplied miraculously under such circumstances, and China is perhaps the best historical example of that yet.
With China advancing on the international scene as never before, this book is a must read, especially for adults with backgrounds like mine. Besides that, it's a great read! It's full of excellent, scholarly research, but it's also written in compelling historical-narrative style with wonderful stories.
I predict that in a few years, author Dunch will need to add another conclusion. With as many Christians as there are in China now (some estimates approach 100 million) and with the need to be secret nearly eliminated, soon China may experience what many thought would happen decades ago. China may yet become a Christian nation to parallel or surpass the U.S.A. Perhaps in a decade or two, immigrants from around the world will stand in line to move to China.
A fairly recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal entitled "The Christian Martyrs" (9-29-00) concludes with this powerful thought: "But this century has demonstrated that a Chinese Christianity that communist authorities fully expected to wither away once they had cut it off from its foreign influences has in fact blossomed. We cannot help wondering if beneath Beijing's war of words with Rome lies the sneaking recognition that when the Chinese people are free to write an honest history of this century, the cross is likely to occupy a higher position of honor than the hammer and sickle."
Readers will fully concur with that comment after they've read author Dunch's remarkable account of "Fuzhou Protestants and the Making of a Modern China." Wow, what a superb book!