This article examines how two prominent Chinese Christian universities, Yanjing (Yenching) and St. John’s, responded to the anti-Christian movements of the 1920s. I argue that China’s Christian universities became places of vocational and institutional praxis during this period when the implicit theologies of culture undergirding each university’s sense of Christian mission were tested by central government policy and student activism. Despite their common theological worldviews, Yanjing’s and St. John’s responses reflect different views toward Chinese culture and nationalism. Whereas Yanjing University leaders actively reformed administrative structure and curriculum, St. John’s put forth sustained resistance. To conduct this analysis, this article presents a three-step method for theological-structural analysis that includes (1) identifying the ways implicit theologies of culture are structurally institutionalized, (2) critical observation of the way these structures respond to conflicting sociopolitical pressures, and (3) analysis of these responses in the context of the organizations’ institutional and environmental patterns.

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