I read with interest the various reactions to China’s possible attempt to have its own theology. Of course, from the Western side of the faith, people are alarmed. I mean, how in the world can a Christian faith/theology be formed to support an oppressive government? Really, even words like “Constatinianism” comes up. Scot McKnight’s label in his blog surely brands the Chinese the apostates. Of course, it’s so easy to demonize “red” China. After all, aren’t they the bad guys who put Christians in jail and demolish churches, but is persecution the issue or is Constatinianism the issue?
This is where the West once again runs into its own blind spot, especially for evangelicals. The doctrines formulated and hardened by Western evangelicalism have long been just its own version of “Western” theology, from the rise of the Moral Majority to the Gospel Coalition. Furthermore, as I pointed out to my friend, the Religious Right (and sometimes the Left) has already repeated its attempt to occupy and influence the US government. Of course, no one from the Western side is willing to admit that their version of orthodox faith, especially the “biblical version”, is really the Western indigenized faith, but as Suey Park, Emily Rice, and Mihee Kim-Kort points out, the Western version is quite dominated by white supremacy. The only reason why they can consider it orthodox and feel outraged at OTHER kinds of theology being heterodox is because they have long occupied a powerful position in the faith, so powerful that one prominent Western church leader has pronounced recently that he has found the solution to the Middle East problem via Rwanda! Before you laugh, my readers, I’m not joking. The Western evangelical church seems to have ALL the solutions in God’s multicultural, multiracial and multinational kingdom for all the world’s problems. Is Chinese theology any guiltier of Constantinianism than that of the Religious Right? Let’s go further to ask the question that if no one got imprisoned and persecuted, is the version from Western conservatives still the norm and everything else the deviance? Is Constantinianism the sole privilege of the West that the Religious Right is exempt from its own analysis of other kinds of Christianity? Does the Western Religious Right also make the Bible serve their own political agenda?
I will do a series of blogs in the next few weeks to examine one particular influential Religious Right theologian (whose name will be withheld) in how he uses the Bible to support his political agenda. In so doing, I hope to expose the political raping of the biblical text for political agenda that is already rampant and influential in the evangelical church.
In conclusion, I say this to evangelical critics. Physicians, heal thyself.