Date: August 4, 2021
Cover of Bob Fu's latest book,
The Politics of Inclusive Pluralism: A Proposed Foundation for Religious Freedom....
(Photo: Wipf and Stock Publishers)
(ChinaAid, Midland, TX / Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene, OR —August 04, 2021) In his latest book, The Politics of Inclusive Pluralism: A Proposed Foundation for Religious Freedom..., Bob Fu, PhD., founder of ChinaAid, shares critical, contemporary concerns his study covers regarding religious freedom in China. His research led to him developing Baorong Duoyuan, the amenable theory that "encapsulates the potential to facilitate religious freedom in China’s future." Dr. Fu notes:
[President Xi Jinping] envisions the control of the [Chinese Communist Party] CCP to encompass every aspect of the lives of Chinese citizens; from poor farmers to white collar workers; from students to soldiers. The party predicts that it will embed its atheistic philosophy in each facet of Chinese society. Nevertheless, because it has not derived public trust and recognition democratically, to legitimize and maintain its authority, the regime must continuously resort to using repressive instruments and tools of propaganda. For religious freedom to truly exist in China, its political system must shift toward more democratic reforms.
Dr. Fu explains that contrary to President Xi’s authoritarian rule in China:
Baorong Duoyuan, which in English translates as “inclusive pluralism,” correlates with the theme of letting each religion (or school of thought) not only resonate or speak freely in the public square, but likewise permits adherents to freely practice their religious beliefs. Baorong Duoyuan, also harmonizes with the Golden Rule. Versions of this maxim to treat others as one desires to be treated can be found in all major contemporary cultures and worldviews.
In his book's preface, Dr. Fu's shares his personal thoughts regarding, as well as struggles while developing, and hope for Baorong Duoyuan :
The time I invested developing Baorong Duoyuan led me to recount critical life challenges and numerous soul-searing struggles I experienced during my childhood, youth, and early adulthood prior to my life in the United States (US). Ultimately, this time transformed me from a compassionate, biased activist, ready to take a stance of “us [Christians] against them [political liberals and CCP officials]” to an even more passionate, compassionate, objective brother in the faith of Jesus Christ. Now, I prayerfully seek to offer hope and help to those persecuted for their faith, furthering the quest of religious freedom for all.
My quest to further the reality of religious freedom for all began years ago, when, as a student attending Westminster Theological Seminary, I helped organize a retreat for numerous, prominent political dissidents. The conference, ‘Christianity and the Future of China’, focused on the concept of the Christian faith and explored the potential role of Christianity for the democratization of the anticipated new China. During the conference, the CCP arrested 58 leaders and sentenced five of the top leaders within the South China Church to death. Those of us attending the conference joined in prayer for these imprisoned, persecuted believers and explored how we might help them.
Later, however, I and others at the conference discovered that the circumstances were more complicated than we initially thought. We had originally considered this case to be another example of the State persecuting the Christian church due to its animosity toward unregistered religious groups. Then, we discovered that the founder of the South China Church, Gong Shengliang, had been engaging in numerous extramarital sexual relationships with other believers in his church network. Although we could not confirm the CCP rape charges against Gong, we realized that the State had a legitimate concern for their investigation. This revelation forced me to rethink the State–religion relationship in China. Prior to this time, I had envisaged aspects of this connection as 100 percent black and white, with the State totally at fault when targeting believers for their religious beliefs and legitimate practices. Now, I had to reconsider problems relating to both sides of the issue.
Ultimately, the CCP freed most of the jailed South China Church leaders after they had served their prison sentences. This experience prompted me to launch China Aid, a ministry with the mission to expose religious persecution, to encourage those brothers and sisters in the faith of Jesus Christ, particularly those the State persecutes, and to equip leaders to help strengthen the persecuted church in China. The more involved I became in the work of China Aid and the more I learned of the ongoing, inhumane torture the CCP inflicted on the South China Church, the more concerned I became. Even though, I knew that torture regularly occurred, I did not realize the magnitude of the cruelty the church suffered—that the cruelty extended beyond my imagination.
As I regard myself as part of “the Church,”2 I began to prayerfully and physically dedicate myself to helping persecuted believers, preachers, and their families in China. In 2002, China Aid helped overturn the death sentences of the five South China Church leaders. My work with China Aid encouraged me to explore the potential for a healthier, biblical model for the State–religion relationship. Research I conducted at Boston University Library helped me recognize that a myriad of complex legal, theoretical, and other components contributes to the State–religion relationship. This revelation led me to expand my concentration beyond the purely theological form.
Due to being diagnosed with kidney cancer and undergoing treatments necessary for my recovery. I took a medical sabbatical until my cancer went into remission. Under the direction of Dr. Robert Song, I completed this study and in 2019 I obtained my PhD. Today, I continue to work to contribute to the development of a better State–religion relationship in China that will hopefully help ensure religious freedom for all.
Baorong Duoyuan, the theory which evolved from my study, proves culturally compatible as well as mutually beneficial to Chinese government officials, Chinese Christians and those who choose to practice or refrain from practicing diverse religions. It also reflects my heart for China, that the country of my birth will listen to . . . will hear the cries of its people; stop the CCP’s reign of persecution, and procure, permit and practice—religious freedom for all its citizens.*
Recent stories/articles reflecting President Xi Jinping's war on religion [as well as anything contrary to the CCP's quest to control...].:
* Excerpts used by permission from Wipf and Stock Publishers,
Be diligent [Study]
to present yourself approved to God,
a worker who does not need to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth.
~ 2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)
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