Pentecostals in the Public Sphere

Between Counterculturalism and Adaptation (Observations from the Chinese Context in Hong Kong)


  • Tobias Brandner Divinity School of Chung Chi College, Chinese University of Hong Kong



public theology, history of Pentecostalism in the Chinese context, Pentecostalism, Citywide Renewal Hong Kong, Christian counterculturalism, prosperity theology, Christianity in Hong Kong


This paper analyses the public theology of Pentecostalism in the Chinese context of Hong Kong by discussing Pentecostal Christians’ public involvement. It asks whether Pentecostal Christians actively shape society or are rather shaped by the surrounding culture and absorb and reflect dominant trends within a culture. The essay explains the different aspects of a Pentecostal public theology in the Chinese context by first giving an overview of different historical forms of Pentecostalism in the Hong Kong and Chinese context, each of them expressing a different pattern of public expression and engagement with public issues. The essay then presents some cases of how Pentecostalism engaged in public issues in Hong Kong. A third part identifies motifs of Pentecostalism that are particularly prominent in the Chinese cultural context. The article suggests that these cultural elements shape the engagement with public spheres and push Pentecostals in the Chinese context towards a public theology that is similar to that of conservative Evangelicals.

Author Biography

Tobias Brandner, Divinity School of Chung Chi College, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Tobias Brandner (ThD, University of Zurich, Switzerland) is an associate professor at the Divinity School of Chung Chi College, Chinese University of Hong Kong, teaching history of Western Christianity, mission studies, and ecumenism. His research focuses on mission history and mission movements in Asia, Pentecostalism in the Chinese context, and Christian faith and ministry in the context of prison. An ordained pastor of the Swiss Reformed Church, he further serves as a prison chaplain in Hong Kong.


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How to Cite

Brandner, T. (2017). Pentecostals in the Public Sphere: Between Counterculturalism and Adaptation (Observations from the Chinese Context in Hong Kong). PentecoStudies, 16(1), 117–137.