Date of Award
Doctor of Theology (ThD)
Won Yong Ji
Uemura was an extremely able leader and organizer of men, sophisticated thinker, broad reader, and committed to the Christian faith ashes understood it. Part of the fascination of the study lies in observing how the influence of this towering figure and others like him came so quickly to bear upon the church in Japan. Unlike other countries to which the faith has been taken by missionaries, Japan stands out as one in which missionary leadership and influence were replaced by Japanese within thirty years after its introduction. Uemura was one who helped to bring this about. The Christian church in Japan bypassed the usual gradual transfer from missionary initiative and authority to that of Japanese. It came about almost from the start with missionary acceptance and approval. The Japanese believed theirs was an exceptional and unique people. The missionaries concurred. Only Japanese church leadership could be adequate for this formidable task of transmitting and teaching the faith, they thought. Again the missionary body concurred.
Now, more than 120 years after its introduction into Japan, Japanese Christianity remains numerically weak (about) 1 percent of the population. The tantalizing question remains, is this because the Christian faith has not been indigenized thoroughly enough into the thought patterns of the Japanese, as some suggest, or too much, that is, so translated by early Christian teachers that its essential character has been changed?
That question will not be answered in this dissertation, and perhaps not for a long time. What this dissertation attempts to show is the thinking and theology of a man who wished to be both authentically Japanese and Christian.
Soltau, Addison, "Uemura Masahisa (1857-1925) First Generation Pastor, Christian Leader and Instinctive Proponent of Indigenized Christianity in Japan" (1982). Doctor of Theology Dissertation. 17.
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