Ding studied at the Wen Huiguan, the predecessor of Qilu University, in 1883. He finished school in 1894 and taught at the Weihsien Christian Grade School. Together with another preacher, he founded the Wen Nu Zhong (Wenmei Girls’ High School) in Shandong. In 1895, he returned to the Wen Huiguan to study theology. In 1898, he took up a pastoral position and began to preach in different parts of Shandong. He suffered for his faith during the Boxer Uprising in 1900-1901.
In 1909, Ding was at the helm of a strong religious revival at Shandong Union College, inspiring more than 100 young men to enter the Christian ministry. He was then invited to institutions in Tianjin, Tungchow, and Beijing, where he inspired over 200 others to enter the ministry. The Student Volunteer Movement, initiated by the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), was formed in Jun 1910 with the moto, “The evangelization of our mother country and the world in this generation.” Ding was appointed its first traveling secretary. Ding served the movement for 20 years, traveling all over China, meeting with and encouraging students in Christian schools, colleges, and universities.
Ding spent one year doing evangelistic work in Yunnan with the China Inland Evangelistic Society and taught at a Bible college in Shandong in 1923. He also founded a Bible college in Tianjin in 1932, serving as its assistant dean until his death.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, copyright © 2001 by Scott W. Sunquist, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.
- Latourette, Kenneth Scott, A History of Christian Missions in China (1929).