By Mark R. Mullins
For hundreds of years the lodging among Japan and Christianity has been an uneasy one. in comparison with others of its Asian pals, the church buildings in Japan have by no means counted greater than a small minority of believers kind of resigned to styles of formality and trust transplanted from the West. yet there's one other part to the tale, one little recognized and barely instructed: the increase of indigenous activities aimed toward a Christianity that's right away made in Japan and devoted to the scriptures and apostolic culture. Christianity Made in Japan attracts on wide box study to offer an exciting and sympathetic glance behind the curtain and into the lives of the leaders and fans of a number of indigenous routine in Japan. concentrating on the "native" reaction instead of Western missionary efforts and intentions, it offers sorts of new interpretations of the Christian culture. It supplies voice to the unheard perceptions and perspectives of many jap Christians, whereas rais! ing questions very important to the self-understanding of Christianity as a very "world religion."
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Extra info for Christianity Made in Japan: A Study of Indigenous Movements
The heart of religion, however, is spiritual and hidden from the eye. In a word, missionaries should have been more concerned with communicating a spiritual message and allowed the Japanese to develop their own cultural expression of the faith. This hardened doctrinal understanding of Christianity, these critics maintained, prevented missionaries from seeing the experiential dimension of faith so central to Page 38 the New Testament as well as the truth and goodness outside of their narrow denominational traditions.
In accord with the Directive, the wartime laws regulating religion were abolished and all religious organizations, including Shinto groups, were required to register as "religious juridical persons" (shukyo * hojin*) and placed on equal legal footing. The disestablishment directive accomplished the "secularization" of State Shinto in record time, but it also created a freemarket religious economy that allowed diverse religious groups to compete on a relatively level playing field for the first time in Japanese history.
Although the Japanese founders of indigenous Christian traditions were indebted to the Protestant missionary movement in many respects, tensions and conflicts emerged over time as a result of fundamental differences in their understanding of the relationship between the Gospel and Japanese culture. This was true for the earliest pioneer missionaries of the late nineteenth century as well as for the wave of evangelical Protestant missionaries that arrived in Japan during the postwar period. Without denying that Protestant missionaries have also been "transformers of culture" through their activities in the fields of education (particularly for women) and social welfare, the fact remains that their understanding of the relationship between the Gospel and Japanese culture has been fundamentally negative.