My Uncle lives in Nanning, China. He moved there a number of years ago because he was unsatisfied with the American way of life. Just a year after living in China we weren’t too surprised to learn he had gotten married. His wife is a school principal and it appears he will spend the remaining of his life in China. I kept thinking of Uncle Mike as I read Simon Chan’s Grassroots Asian Theology.
I appreciated Chan’s look at Asian theology and the voice he gives to the grassroots movement, “Much of what the West knows as Asian theology consists largely of elitist accounts of what Asian theologians are saying, and elitist theologians seldom take grassroots Christianity seriously. Yet it is at the grassroots level that we encounter a vibrant, albeit implicit, theology. It is this theology that I wish to highlight.” There is no doubt a vibrant Asian theology and much for me to learn. Yet, while the point in reading a book like Chan’s is to broaden my perspective and deepen my thinking, I struggled to connect with some of Chan’s comments on egalitarianism.
Chan states, “The problem for egalitarians is that they begin by assuming the truth of egalitarianism and then proceed to read the Bible in the light of this overarching idea.” Chan goes on to share how the Asian priority given to the family should play a part in shaping Asian theology. For example, the ordered relationships in the Asian family reflect ordered relationships in the Triune family. And Chan states “the monarchy of the Father means the Father is the sole source of the Trinity.” This line of thinking doesn’t fall in line with my understanding of the life my Uncle lives and the values he and his wife share about the community they are involved in. Yet, I know my perspective is limited and this is an important conversation to have. I appreciated reading Richard Mouw’s statements about Chan when he says, “Of course, to the degree that we egalitarians can simply be seen as imposing “Western” biases on other cultures, we should pursue this conversation. But it’s also necessary to look at the diversity within Asia itself. Through the difficult years of China’s Cultural Revolution, for example, many rural churches survived under the gifted preaching and teaching of “Bible ladies.” That pattern of strong women’s leadership in church and family persists as an important reality in grassroots Chinese Christianity.” This is a good conversation to have and I know I still have a lot to learn.
All in all I enjoyed reading Grassroots Asian Theology. Chan shows us that the Lord is doing some wonderful things in local communities in Asia. And reading his book challenged me to keep looking for ways to faithfully serve the cause of the gospel in my own cultural context.
 Simon Chan, Grassroots Asian Theology (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2014), under “45” Kindle Edition.
 Ibid., Loc. 1139
 Ibid., Loc. 1155
 Richard J. Mouw, “How Theologians Have Failed Asian Christians—and How They Can Do Better,” August 25, 2014, accessed May 6, 2015, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/august-web-only/how-theologians-have-failed-asian-christians-and-how-they-c.html.