A Study of the Emergence and Early Development of Selected Protestant Chinese Churches in the Philippines

Author: Jean Uy Uayan

In this interesting study on Chinese Churches in the Philippines, Dr Jean Uayan comprehensively weaves the story of six Protestant Chinese churches in the Philippines into the local history of their individual settings in this important study. Uncovering new insight and historical information from extensive primary and secondary sources, Uayan presents a rich and previously unacknowledged heritage and support from four American mission organisations during the US occupation from 1898–1946. The seeds sown amongst Chinese communities across the Philippines resulted in indigenous churches that took differing journeys to full independence and now are also bearing fruit in missionary activity in South Fujian, China. This book is an important contribution towards a global church history acknowledging the work of the Holy Spirit establishing and building up the church of Jesus Christ among the nations.



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Since its birth two thousand years ago, Christianity has been in large measure a religion of diasporic communities. Just as the early disciples found a receptive audience among the God-fearers of the Roman Mediterranean and the Jews of Persian Mesopotamia, today the gospel message has borne an abundant harvest among the Chinese scattered across Southeast Asia – in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia – and elsewhere. Though the field of diasporic studies has burgeoned in recent decades, the study of diaspora religion, and especially of religious change among men and women uprooted from their ancestral homelands, is still in its infancy. Jean Uayan’s pioneering book on the early days of Protestantism among Chinese Filipinos shows what diligent research and the careful weighing of evidence can accomplish. Her work sheds light on the spread of Reformation Christianity among Chinese Buddhists in the Catholic Philippines, deepening our understanding of the emergence of what Philip Jenkins has dubbed “the next Christendom.” It has my highest recommendation.

George W. Harper, PhD
Program Director, Theological Studies and Church History, Asia Graduate School of Theology, Quezon City, Philippines

Dr Jean Uayan’s book is another important addition to historiography of religion of the Chinese-Filipino community in the Philippines. ere has been erstwhile little known information and data on the emergence and evolution of Protestant Chinese churches in the Philippines, which is a vital institution in the Tsinoy community then and now. How the six churches emerged in the predominantly Catholic Philippines, how the membership and leadership were formed and how they related to the Christian missions of early years, and how the churches resolved issues and challenges, enlighten the readers and fill a serious gap in the body of literature on the study of the Chinese Filipinos.

Teresita Ang See

Former President, International Society for the Study of Chinese Overseas
Former President, Philippine Association for Chinese Studies

This book is a comprehensive account of the emergence and early development of Chinese churches in the Philippines. The focus is on the individual stories of the churches but the stories are examined within their historical, social, and religious setting. Thus, it includes the history of the Chinese in the Philippines and the histories of the cities where the churches are situated. It also describes the history of early Christianity in the Philippines and China. Dr Jean Uayan is to be commended for her hard work and careful research.

In a recent gathering of theological educators in Asia, a church history professor lamented, “There is a dearth of materials on Asian Church History, we need local textbooks, please write about the history of Christianity in your country.” This book meets such a need!

Theresa Roco Lua, PhD
General Secretary, Asia Theological Association

This is a great and significant work on the history of Chinese churches in the Philippines. The author has critically researched, studied and evaluated primary resources and come up with this history. Aside from helping the existing Chinese churches in the Philippines to go back to see God’s graciousness in establishing his church, the book can be a tool for critical researchers, church historians, and church pastors to study and plan on how to establish new churches in Asia and beyond. Reading this book gives us missional principles on church growth, the proper relationship between mission and local churches.

Joseph Shao, PhD
President, Biblical Seminary of the Philippines
Board member, Chinese Congress on World Evangelism International

About the Author
Dr. Jean Uy Uayan is Professor in Church History at the Biblical Seminary of the Philippines, Valenzuela City and has been with the institution for nearly forty years, as well as the Head of the Library and English editor of the seminary newsletter. She gained her PhD in Church History from Asia Graduate School of Theology, Quezon City, Philippines. Her academic career has seen her articles feature in various publications and she has written and edited books in English and Chinese. Uayan’s extensive academic studies include Middle Eastern Studies at Jerusalem University College.

A Study of the Emergence and Early Development of Selected Protestant Chinese Churches in the Philippines