Xi Lian

Professor of World Christianity

External address: 
108 Saint Thomas Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27517
(919) 439-2414


Professor Lian’s research is focused on China’s modern encounter with Christianity. His first book, The Conversion of Missionaries (1997), is a critical study of American Protestant missions against the backdrop of rising Chinese nationalism in the early twentieth century. His second book, Redeemed by Fire: The Rise of Popular Christianity in Modern China (2010), winner of the 2011 Christianity Today Book Award, examines the development of missionary Christianity into a vibrant, indigenous faith of the Chinese masses. One of his current research projects looks beyond grassroots Christianity and examines the emergence of Protestant elites and their prominent, if also precarious, role in the search for civil society in today’s China.

Professor Lian currently serves as editor of the Studies of Christianity in China book series published by Lehigh University Press.

Education & Training

  • D.Art, State University of New York at Albany 1993

Selected Grants

Lin Zhao's Christian Journey in Mao's China awarded by Association of Theological Schools (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2016

Lian, X. "A New Journey in the Study of Christianity in China." The Chinese Historical Review 20.1 (2013): 1-4.

Lian, X. "Cultural Christians' and the Search for Civil Society in Contemporary China." The Chinese Historical Review 20.1 (2013): 71-88.

Lian, X. "Western Protestant Missions and Modern Chinese Nationalist Dreams." East Asian History 32 (2006): 199-216.

Wacker, G. "The conversion of missionaries: liberalism in American Protestant missions in China, 1907-1932." International Bulletin of Missionary Research 23.4 (October 1, 1999): 178-178.