Mary Li Ma and Jin Li

Written by Mary Li Ma and Jin Li

Mary Li Ma is a Senior Research Fellow at the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College in Michigan. Jin Li is a doctorate student at Calvin Theological Seminary. Ma and Li co-authored a book, Surviving the State, Remaking the Church: A Sociological Portrait of Christians in Mainland China (Pickwick, 2017) and co-columnists for China's largest media group, CAIXIN.

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Max Weber in his sociological classic The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism addresses the question of what gives birth to rational capitalism in the west. Weber proposes that for Protestants, especially New England Puritans who experienced a sense of anxiety in their assurance of salvation, the Calvinist conviction of “calling” led to a type of this-worldly asceticism which…