Date of Submission



Since the 1990s there has been a rising tide of discussion and debate on the nature and task of an emerging Sino-Christian theology. In 1995, Liu Xiaofeng responded by calling for a renewed attempt to reconstruct a Sino-Christian theology in close connection to its contemporary socio-cultural-political context. Though Liu's project of "Cultural Christians" is problematic, his proposal regarding the future path of the Sino-Christian theology has opened up a number of specific issues needing clarification. These include the goals, methods, and form of Sino-Christian theology, and the way it might effectively engage the competing Chinese thought-systems informing culture and society. Using Liu's proposal as a point of departure, this thesis intends to further explore the delicate relationship between culture and theology. This project finds Kathryn Tanner's theory of culture particularly helpful in elaborating the inter-relationship of theology and culture, and the significance of cultural context in relation to theological construction in contemporary Sino-Christian context. Along with Tanner’s cultural approach to theology, our project refers to other theological methods such as that of Bernard Lonergan. In so doing it exposes the artificiality of making rigid divisions between theory and practice, reason and faith, and academic and church theology. Christian theology should not be viewed as limited to the interior life of the Church and the faithful, but is relevant in the academic and the wider cultural worlds. As a result, this thesis argues against the separation of Church theology and academic theology, while, at the same time, indicating the academic potential of Christian theology to vigorously engage other concerns as those represented in religious studies, cultural studies and other academic disciplines.


School of Theology

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


347 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Theology and Philosophy