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Distributed for National University of Singapore Press

Christian Circulations

Global Christianity and the Local Church in Penang and Singapore, 1819-2000

In postcolonial Singapore and Malaysia, Pentecostal megachurches dominate the Christian landscape, but the "big four" Protestant churches—Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Brethren—remain religions of heritage for many. Sixty Malaysian and nineteen Singaporean assemblies identify themselves as Christian Brethren, and most trace their roots to independent local churches formed in Penang and Singapore in the 1860s. After World War II, the Brethren promoted new forms of evangelical practice, and former Brethren elders founded independent churches, from charismatic local churches to Pentecostal megachurches. This study is a transregional history of the Brethren movement and its emplacement in Singapore and Malaysia, and it is also a history of discontinuous continuities that have shaped the modern field of religious practice in China and Southeast Asia.

472 pages | 45 halftones, 5 maps | 6 x 9 | © 2020

Religion: Christianity

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"DeBernardi’s assiduous tracing of links and interactions between Western and Chinese missionaries as they voyaged between Southeast Asia and China through the port cities of Penang and Singapore. . . . has provided us with an authoritative mapping of the ideational and interpersonal relationships between these individuals and institutions. Not just a cartography of Christian networks, fraying and reforming, Christian Circulations assures us that no religion should be seen as either global or local, or neither local nor global, but always both in flux."

Pacific Affairs

"This encyclopedic work is without question the final word on the large, diverse, and politically influential Christian Brethren movement in peninsular Southeast Asia. . . . Combining remarkable depth of access and an anthropologist's eye for human relations, Jean DeBernardi has produced a history that is sweeping in its global scope, but is always grounded in local realities and the human lives of its many actors."

Church History

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations, Preface, Introduction: Christian Circulations, Part I: The Open Brethren Movement, Chapter 1: The Brethren Movement and the Local Church, Chapter 2: George Müller, Anthony Norris Groves, and the Local Church in India, Part II: Penang and China, Chapter 3: The London Missionary Society in Penang, 1819-1843, Chapter 4: The Brethren Movement and the Penang Mission, Chapter 5: Revival and Rebellion in China, Chapter 6: Crisis in the Penang Mission, Chapter 7: Hokkien Evangelists, Part III: Circulations, Chapter 8: Singapore: Visiting Every City, Chapter 9: Penang and its Networks, 1874-1912, Chapter 10: Alexander Grant and the Boxer Uprising, Part IV: Schism and Continuity, Chapter 11: Chinese Revivalists in Southeast Asia, 1929-1943, Chapter 12: Wilson Wang and Teh Phai Lian, Chapter 13: A New Local Church Movement and Living Waters, Chapter 14: Schism and Continuity, Chapter 15: The Full Gospel Assemblies and the Charismatic Church of Penang, Conclusion: The Brethren Movement and its Modern Fate, Chinese Glossary, Bibliography, Index

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