Mark Shan's Upper Room
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Mark Shan

Christian writer and theologian from House Church Movement in China, a PhD Student in the US and UK, based in Boston

Posted 3/18/13 at 6:04 PM | Mark Shan

Christianity and Civil Society in China

Hard copy of the book is available at

Christianity and Civil Society in China

---- Christian Ethics is Transforming Citizenship Rights and Church-State Relations in China Through Invisible and Unstructured Church Communities [1]

Mark Chuanhang Shan (2012)   Translated by two Christian translators

Read Chinese version of the papere here:

Abstract: Christianity is promoting citizenship rights in China today primarily through invisible and unstructured church communities. Through the pastoral regions’ culture based on “justice- and love-centered Christian ethics,” churches and Christians are holding fast to their faith ideology and its application principles, not giving up meeting and worshiping together, popularizing the model of using the law to defend their rights, and influencing church and society. This model has pushed forward the development of civil society in China and facilitated the birth of a new form of church-state relations. To sum up, the model of a constitutional citizenship society and church-state relations, an institutional cultural capital borrowed from the West, is being contextualized in China in a positive way through Christianity’s “new culture movement,” and it will avoid the situation that exists in the modern Western model of a civil society from which a code of ethics is absent. FULL POST

Posted 3/17/13 at 4:47 PM | Mark Shan

Critical Analysis of the Chinese Translation of “Logos” in the Gospel of John

Critical Analysis of the Chinese Translation of “Logos” in the Gospel of John

By Mark Chuanhang Shan

Published on Africanus Journal Vol. 4, No. 2 November 2012

In the commonly used Mandarin Union translation of the Bible, the word logos, used in John 1, is translated as dao (道). Is this translation correct or not? This article begins by considering the concepts of contextualization and syncretization, pointing out that syncretism begins in Bible translation. Then, through discussion and comparison of the meanings of logos and dao, and the problem the Chinese church faces as to whether or not Jesus Christ is the dao, we address the issue of the appropriateness of dao being used in the Bible, considering the deleterious consequences this translation has had on the Chinese church. This paper suggests that the correct Chinese translation of logos should be li(理) and emphasizes the urgent need for a revision of the Chinese translation of the Bible.


Syncretism undermines the very kerygma of the Gospel of the Holy Bible, therefore, Christians need to know where and when syncretism starts. The first syncretism in regard to China may have appeared in Bible translation. Chinese Christians, then, must be careful to discern the wrong translation in the Chinese version of the Bible. FULL POST

Posted 3/16/13 at 8:17 PM | Mark Shan

Review of Christianity and Chinese Culture edited by Miikka Ruokanenand Paulors Huang (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010)

Mark Shan: Review of Christianity and Chinese Culture edited by Miikka Ruokanenand Paulors Huang (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010)

Published on Africanus Journal Vol. 4, No. 2 November 2012

On August 13, 2003, mainland Chinese and Western scholars and theologians gathered for a first-of-its-kind five-day theological conference, “Christianity and Chinese Culture: A Sino-Nordic Conference on Chinese Contextual Theology,” in Lapland, Finland. The 19 papers that comprise this book were all presented at that conference. The book, which includes responses to the papers, is best suited for academics specializing in Christianity in China and theologians interested in church growth in China. Its thesis focuses on a question of both enculturation and contextualization: how is Protestant Christianity, which is experiencing phenomenal growth in China, both reacting to and adapting Christian teaching in the Chinese cultural and traditional context as well as China’s modern social, political, and economic context?

A brief introduction to the background of churches and theologies in China is necessary to better understand the papers. FULL POST

Posted 12/8/12 at 2:36 PM | Mark Shan

2010 June CECC Roundtable: Mark Shan’ Remarks on "CHINA’S POLICIES TOWARD SPIRITUAL MOVEMENTS"

June 18th, 2010, invited by the U. S. CONGRESSIONAL-EXECUTIVE COMMISSION ON CHINA roundtable, Mark C. H. Shan joined a panel of experts in analyzing the religious policies in China, at the roundtable forum hosted by Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) on June 18 in Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 628. The two-hour afternoon discussion, also featuring James Tong, a professor of political science of Chinese descent from UCLA and two Western scholars from NGOs, touched on political and social trends influencing Chinese policies toward faith practitioners in country.

Photo: Mark Shan (2nd from left) in the CECC Panel

Summary of the Remarks The traditional concept of the Mandate of Heaven as a sensitive political-religious philosophy has influenced the relationship between Chinese governments and spiritual movements throughout the history of China. More recently the case of the Christian lawyer Gao Zhisheng defending the religious freedom of Falun Gong practitioners reflects the sensitivity in Chinese culture to this symbolic concept. FULL POST

Posted 11/28/12 at 10:39 PM | Mark Shan

Leading Dutch Paper Features Latest CCTA Publication: Beware of Patriotic Heresy in the Church in China

(Barneveld, Netherlands--Nov. 27, 2012) One of Holland's national newspapers has featured the latest publication released by the Chinese Christian Theological Association: founder Mark C.H. Shan's Beware of Patriotic Heresy in the Church in China: Drawing on the historical lessons of the Nazis' Volk Church in analyzing the Zhao Xiao phenomenon.

The Nov. 23 edition of Nederlands Dagblad (The Netherlands Daily) featured an interview with Shan about his booklet in a report headlined "'Nationalism greatest danger for church in China" by the foreign affairs editor Gerhard Wilts, who said the paper received "some positive and surprised comments from our audience.”

The Dutch-language report is here: Below is an English translation, kindly provided by Nederlands Dagblad. FULL POST

Posted 11/27/12 at 9:05 PM | Mark Shan

Thanksgiving 2012 Thoughts: The Church in China is Entering the Pauline Era

Chinese Christian Theological Association (CCTA) , November 20, 2012

The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in mainland China, after developing in the countryside in the 1980s, spreading among China's intellectuals in the 1990s and experiencing fast urban growth post-2000, has since 2010 been entering the Pauline era.

The Apostle Paul was a great intellectual, an expert in the law, a theologian and a member of the elite class. He was the last apostle chosen by the Lord Jesus Christ and he carried out these great missions: he wrote one-third of the New Testament, he was the first to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, he preached the Gospel to the Romans, who had an advanced and developed Greek civilization, and he established and taught the church in developed urban centers. Paul was also the first missionary sent out by the church, starting with the church in Antioch. The church in Antioch later also became the church that spread the Gospel to China, mainly by way of the Silk Road (see History of Christianity in Xinjiang, China - With a Brief History of Xinjiang, published by CCTA). Paul was called by God to take up and carry out the purpose of the mission, which was: after the church has finished the early growth stage, it needs to start developing its academic mission, which is to develop an intellectual system centered on theological thought that will lead to the creation of a completely new church civilization and social civilization that God delights in. FULL POST

Posted 10/29/12 at 4:58 PM | Mark Shan

Author of Jesus in Beijing chooses CCTA to translate and publish Chinese edition

CCTA (Chinese Christian Theological Association)

(Boston—Oct. 29, 2012) David Aikman, the author of the groundbreaking book on Christianity in China Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power, has selected the Chinese Christian Theological Association to translate and publish the Chinese edition of the book.

CCTA signed a contract with Regnery Publishing last week and plans to release the Chinese version in October 2013 to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the book's first publication in October 2003. An updated and expanded paperback English-language edition was released in 2006, and the Chinese edition will be translated from the 2006 edition. The book has already been translated into Swedish, Korean and Vietnamese.

When it was first published, Jesus in Beijing was hailed by a respected scholar of Christianity in China as the "most useful treatment of the church in China." The most recent reader review on Amazon, in July 2012, said, "David Aikman presents the endurance of Christianity in the great nation of China throughout the centuries and especially in modern times as the Church continues to grow even while facing brutal persecution. I was inspired by the stories of these faithful Chinese Christians."


Posted 10/14/12 at 10:48 PM | Mark Shan

New CCTA Book Warns Chinese Church is in Danger of Following “Patriotic Heresy” Like the German Church Did under Nazism

(Boston—Oct. 11, 2012) The church in China is in danger of walking down the same dark path of the German Church under Nazi rule, warns the latest English-language book published by the Chinese Christian Theological Association.

The author of Beware of Patriotic Heresy in the Chinese Church: Drawing on the historical lessons of the Nazis‘ Volk Church in analyzing the Zhao Xiao phenomenon, Mark C.H. Shan, sounds a sharp warning that an insidious danger lurks in the Chinese church, both China’s official church and the burgeoning house churches, as well as the overseas Chinese church. This danger has been adeptly utilized and manipulated by the Communist government such that patriotism is already starting to replace God’s rightful place in the Chinese church.


Posted 9/26/12 at 3:43 PM | Mark Shan

Envoy Gan Ying of China’s Han Dynasty Traveled to Antioch

Chinese Christian Theological Association (CCTA), Boston, August 31, 2012

* This was taken from Footnote 13 in Chapter 1 of Mark Chuanhang Shan’s History of Christianity in Xinjiang—with a brief history of the region, published in 2009 by this association.

Foreign and Chinese historians generally agree that the earliest written record of the ancient history of Xinjiang and Central Asia is found in the historical records of China’s Han dynasty. It was China’s Han dynasty court that dispatched Zhang Qian and later Gan Ying on separate missions to the Western Regions, thereby formally documenting the Silk Road that connected Europe and Asia and the local conditions of the different people groups in the Western Regions.

According to the History of the Eastern Han, by historian Fan Ye from Song of the Southern dynasties, in 97 A.D. (the 9th year of Han Emperor He), General Ban Chao, the Han dynasty satrap in the Western Regions (stationed near modern-day Kucha, on the north side of Xinjiang’s Tarim Basin) sent his deputy general Gan Ying as an envoy to Da-qin (also called Li Jian, that is, the Roman Empire). His delegation arrived on the eastern bank of the Western Sea (the Mediterranean Sea), at the city of Antioch, which was then the provincial capital of Syria in Roman Empire, went to its harbor Seleucia (from where the Apostle Paul had started his first missionary journey 51 years earlier), and then returned home. FULL POST

Posted 6/27/12 at 4:44 PM | Mark Shan

A fundraising letter from CCTA

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Christ the Lord Jesus,

Greetings in the Lord the Jesus Christ! My organization received tax-deductible status!

I established an academic NGO, Chinese Christian Theological Association (CCTA) and we had its first conference in 2010 August, to meet the growing needs for indigenous theological development for the churches in China to carry out Great Commission. Based ont Church's healthy developement in China, we will also try to promote through academics for transforming China to be a real Chrisitan nation following Christian ethics. Therefore our vision and mission is transfroming academia, transforming church and transforming society in China .

Two years have passed; I still think it is a call from our Lord to do this mission work for the Church in China and around the world. So we are taking this next step in our development and outreach and invite you to join with us.

Last month, my church, the Ruggles Baptist Church ( in Boston, is willing to be the organization's Fiscal Conduit. That means all for donations for the Association will go though the church's fiscal account so that the donors can get a tax-deductible receipt at the end of each year. The church will help manage and inspect how donations will be used according to the Association’s budget. The Association will pay the church 10% of all of donations as the fee for them to do all of our financial accounting. FULL POST

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