This question came into my inbox, “Who are the influential Chinese-American (English-speaking) Christian leaders?” Frankly, the question stumped me.
My hunch is the question behind the question might be to find conference speakers that would draw a crowd. And that’s just how it goes with the business side of conferences, that keynote speakers are often selected based the quality of the content delivery and how much of an attendance they can help draw.
Yes, there is the best-selling author and popular speaker Francis Chan, and he’s well-recognized in mainstream evangelicalism. Some have questions about whether or not his ethnic identity makes a difference in his theology or spirituality. Someone else mentioned that Francis has been significantly influenced by the house churches in China, while he currently develops a church planting network in the San Francisco Bay area.
2 others I have seen on the Christian conference circuit: Ken Fong and Bruce Fong (
no relation second cousins.) Ken Fong is very conversant about Asian American cultures, well expressed in his Asian American podcast; I don’t know how Bruce navigates the Asian Amerian issues of contextualization.
[bulleted list added after initial post]
- Steve Chin, Senior Pastor of Boston Chinese Evangelical Church
- Gideon Tsang, Pastor of Vox Veniae (Austin TX), featured in NY Times article
- David Hsu, Senior Pastor of West Houston Chinese Church
- Vivian Mabuni, speaker & author of Warrior in Pink, cancer survivor
- [update 11/8/17] See this List of Influential Chinese-American Christian Leaders, compiled from Facebook comments
How would you answer the question: who are the influential Chinese-American (English-speaking) Christian leaders?
Aside: In the mainstream evangelical context, race and ethnicity are often rarely discussed. The prevalent thinking is that ethnicity doesn’t matter when it comes to theology, using a “color-blind” theory of one’s personal identity, how our spiritual identity in Christ is preeminent and all that matters. While some Asian American Christians subscribe to a color-blind evangelical faith, recent chatter has surfaced systemic issues and problems with the whiteness of evangelicalism, like these: Raymond Chang’s “Open Letter to John Piper on White Evangelicalism and Multiethnic Relations: Lecrae, Truth’s Table, and an Asian American ministry leader” and “More on Leaving White Evangelicalism: A Response from Bryan Loritts: People of color need to establish our own conferences, organizations, and networks.” (both on The Exchange blog at Christianity Today)
And you know what? The issue of faith and race will not go away, so I do sincerely pray that the right people in positions of power and influence will carve out a better way forward.