Xi Lian

Xi Lian

Professor of World Christianity

External address: 
Duke Divinity School, Box 90967, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Duke Divinity School, Box 90967, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 660-3410


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. Blood Letters: The Untold Story of Lin Zhao, a Martyr in Mao’s China (2018) is his most recent book. It is the first authoritative, documented biography of the most important political dissident in Mao’s China, whose open opposition to communism was sustained by her Christian faith. Dr. Lian’s other research projects include the flourishing of Christianity among minority peoples on the margins of Chinese society and the emergence of Protestant elites and their prominent, if also precarious, role in the search for civil society in today’s China.


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. “Missionaries in the Making of Vernacular Christianity in China.” Shaping Christianity in Greater China: Indigenous Christians in Focus, edited by Paul Woods, Regnum, 2017.

Lian, X. “A New Journey in the Study of Christianity in China.The Chinese Historical Review, vol. 20, no. 1, 2013, pp. 1–4.

Lian, X. “Cultural Christians' and the Search for Civil Society in Contemporary China.The Chinese Historical Review, vol. 20, no. 1, 2013, pp. 71–88.

Xi, L. “PAUL P. MARIANI. Church Militant: Bishop Kung and Catholic Resistance in Communist Shanghai.The American Historical Review, vol. 117, no. 5, Oxford University Press (OUP), Dec. 2012, pp. 1563–64. Crossref, doi:10.1093/ahr/117.5.1563. Full Text

Lian Xi, J. “A Messianic Deliverance for Post-Dynastic China.” Modern China, vol. 34, no. 4, SAGE Publications, Oct. 2008, pp. 407–41. Crossref, doi:10.1177/0097700408318908. Full Text

Lian, X. “Western Protestant Missions and Modern Chinese Nationalist Dreams.” East Asian History, vol. 32, 2006, pp. 199–216.

XI, L. I. A. N. “The Search for Chinese Christianity in the Republican Period (1912–1949).” Modern Asian Studies, vol. 38, no. 4, Cambridge University Press (CUP), Oct. 2004, pp. 851–98. Crossref, doi:10.1017/s0026749x04001283. Full Text

Wacker, G. “The conversion of missionaries: liberalism in American Protestant missions in China, 1907-1932.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research, vol. 23, no. 4, Oct. 1999, pp. 178–178.