Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Chinese evangelicals have rarely interacted. Even if it seems that Eastern Orthodox Christianity and its theology have hardly influenced Chinese evangelicals in the past, this article demonstrates the possibility that Orthodox theology can still indirectly transform Confucian-influenced Chinese evangelicals. Moltmann, a great contemporary Protestant theologian, is influenced deeply by Stăniloae, a great modern Eastern Orthodox theologian, particularly in the development of social trinitarian theology in Eastern Orthodox heritage. Moltmann argues that social trinitarian anthropology can prevent the social and individual problems appeared in the societies shaped by either individualism or collectivism. Selfhood is one academic language used to discuss this relationship between the self and society. Despite modernization and westernization, contemporary Chinese people are still deeply influenced by Confucian models of relational selfhood. Even for Chinese evangelicals who had converted years ago, their way of thinking and behavior might be as much Confucian as biblical. The Confucian-influenced collectivist mindset may lead to problematic selfhood and more challenging interpersonal relationships. This article uses Orthodox theology via Moltmann’s social trinitarian, Stăniloae-inspired approach to develop an alternative relational selfhood for contemporary Chinese Christians.
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