Wu Leichuan (1870-1944)

    Wu Leichuan (1870-1944)

    A advocate of the Inclusive Approach in the Indigenization Movement. This approach was adopted by a group of Chinese culture fanatics. They strove to protect Chinese culture, believing that the Chinese culture has values that's worth our respect. They believed that there is no conflict between Christianity and Chinese culture. Even when conflicts do exist, They tried to explain the differences away. They argued that the true value of Chinese culture is not because it is Chinese, but that it contains universal truth. They claimed that Christianity was not adequate to replace the fine Chinese culture, but could be a companion. If one explain Christianity from the point of view of the Chinese culture, one will find a lot of similarities between the two.

    Wu was an official of the Qing Dynasty and later a professor of Yang Jing University. Wu believed that 'All Truth are God's Truth'. The truth in Confucianism and that of the Word (John 1) refer to the same thing. He believed that Christianity is very similar to other religions and philosophy. According to Wu, there is no uniqueness in Christianity. From a theological point of view, Wu's approach was a failure, although his love for his country and tradition was admirable. Without teaching of the uniqueness of Christianity, there is no difference between Christianity and other religions like Buddhism and Islam. The 'truths' in Chinese culture are not the same as that in Christianity. The Bible teaches unchanging and absolute truth; the same cannot be said about culture. Culture is a collection of subjective information gathered and practiced by a group of depraved fallen men. As the custom changes, the culture also changes accordingly. From God's general revelation to us, we know there is a god, who created the universe and put everything to work in such an orderly fashion. What makes Christianity unique is God's salvation plan through Jesus Christ. In all other religions, men strive hard and try to reach god. In Christianity, God reaches down and died for our sin so that we may have eternal life (John 3:16). This salvation plan is revealed to us through His Special Revelation of His word, the Bible.

    To prove his view, Wu drew similarities between the teaching of Confucianism and Christianity. For example, the Chinese translation of the word God is 'Shangdi', which also appeared in Shujing. Wu also drew parallelism between the Bible's teaching and that of the Chinese classics, e.g., on the account of creation between Genesis (2:7) and Zhongyong (Ch 1) and on the comparison of the Messiah (Isaiah 11:1-10) and a savior in Zhongyong (Ch 31). Wu explained that the Chinese word for kindness is same as that of the Holy Spirit. Thus Confucius' urging of his disciples to pursue kindness, reflected the work of the Holy Spirit, leading people to the Kingdom of God. Wu further argued that since kindness comes from the heart, the Bible teaches that the Kingdom of Heaven is within our heart. Wu's argument was a bit farfetched; just because there were similar terminology and events (in the Bible and Chinese culture) do not imply that they were identical. To imply that kindness is the Holy Spirit is also not correct, for the Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of the Trinity, who is God, and not merely a characteristic. (When Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit, Peter said they lied to God, Acts 5:4).

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