These are our essays from this past Sunday.
I had originally written on Hong Xiuquan and the Taiping Rebellion for my submission, but since Michael did his on the same subject, I wrote a new essay instead on Pentecostalism.
Learning about the roots of the Pentecostal movement was interesting in that I had been heavily immersed in a Pentecostal church myself in years past. My beliefs of course have changed over the years, but doing this essay brought back a lot of past memories for me.
This was a very interesting last half of the chapter. The parts about Protestantism in Asia were particularly interesting. I remember when we watched an episode of MacColluch’s BBC series based on his book and he went to a remote area in China to visit a very old church built many centuries ago, many of the Chinese locals were vehemently angry at the presence of Westerners there. MacCulloch said in the program that he wasn’t surprised at all by their negative reaction against his presence. After reading this chapter I can see why such an animosity still runs high against Westerners and the Church as well in China (not just caused by communism). After the Treaty of Nanjing opened up trade in China again in 1842, a flood of Protestant missionaries arrived (mostly from England) and became entangled with the opium trade, ‘sailing above holds stacked with chest on chest of the drug, and generally mission finances were kept afloat by the credit network maintained by the opium merchants.’ (loc. 17434) Furthermore, MacCulloch writes that for ‘both Chinese people and their government, missionaries became associated with assaults on their fundamental assumptions about the world… The knowledge of military defeat and the social misery caused by the opium trade made ordinary Chinese … hostile to missionaries’. (loc. 17434 – 17438)
Only two more chapters to go!