Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Reflection on Faith

I became a Christian 30 years ago in Canada, where I was a “visiting scholar”. A Chinese Christian girl encouraged me to try Christian faith, so I tried, and found my prayers to Jesus worked wonders. Pretty soon I began to share my experience with Christianity faith to my Chinese friends. Pretty soon people followed me to churches and sought out this faith for themselves.

All the Chinese churches I attended are fundamentalist. In other words, my savior saves me from a hell which I didn’t know previously. But my testimonies to all my friends never really mentioned the hell, because the true reason I’d like my friends to know about Jesus, was God’s love that demonstrated through my prayer.

I found Jesus is amazing, not because he theoretically helps me escaping a hell, but I had found the brand new faith gave me a brand new identity, with a brand new set of values, which in turn proved worthwhile and honorable for me to explore.

So, my fundamentalist faith was only on the doctrine side, which never really matched my experiences. But I never realized this. I accepted Christian faith as absolute truth, mainly because my experiences were true. It is when I attended seminary, especially after I received a M. Div., I began to realize the gap between my experiences and the fundamentalism doctrines. I spent much time digging into the gaps… I realized I had to discard the fundamentalist doctrines, for they are just biblically indefensible…I left the fundamentalist ideology.

Now, the day I am nominated and ordained to be a ruling elder, I had to face a few fundamental questions in the ordination. All the questions are supposed to have a “Yes” answer. I’d better be honest. I decided to carefully study every questions, 8 in all. The end result: I fully embraced PCUSA faith statement as listed and explained in the ordination study bulletin.

The first question: Do you trust Jesus Christ as your savior, as the Lord of all creation, as the head of the church? And through Jesus believe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Of course! Except I want to be very clear, I am not very sure about existence of a literal “hell”, which God is said created it for punishment of sin. How Jesus is my savior then?

I know for a fact, that everybody has sinned against somebody, intentionally or not, because we have been separated from God the Creator, therefore lost the art of perfect love and communication. Christ saved me from self-centered life values, from pursuing only selfish fulfillment and pride. He saved me into a life of God’s bigger purpose -- freely spreading God’s loving-kindness towards people.

How? He teaches me new perspectives, new values. I believe there is no life damage that Jesus cannot redeem. God helps and strengthen us in our weakness, disadvantage, and troubles. He is also the Lord of relationship, so that we can forgive.

I believe this PCUSA view of redemption is very biblical, for Gospels and Pauline letters all proclaimed that Jesus resurrected to be the King of God’s Kingdom, which has been established on earth among His people, that we all are God’s works. They never really emphasized a life after death as Christian hope. Regarding Trinitarian God, the bulletin especially points out that “Father” is a traditional way of description for God, and He definitely is not a male idol. Very good! To many people who never know how a good father is compassionate to his children, this is a comfort.

The second basic question to ask: Do you accept the Bible as the Word of God and the highest authority, which is inspired by the Holy Spirit and witness to Christ? I put the question as I understand it, which no matter what church tradition you are in, a “Yes” answer would be warranted. But to the ear of theologian and seminarian, the question itself sounded somewhat like “do you accept Bible inerrancy”? No, I don’t believe any of the extant manuscripts were inerrant. But thanks to the works of many textual criticism scholars, the texts of Hebrew and Greek Bible in print today are highly reliable and trustworthy as it stands to the earliest originals. It is amazing work of the Spirit as a whole.

Regarding the interpretation of Biblical text, i.e. translations and theologies, we have much difference derived from the same Bible. Every faith traditions and denominations offer somewhat different system theologies; each interpretation and understanding has certain historical or culture reasons. Therefore, I am fully aware that, to respect Bible’s authority cannot be just a sound bite to claim.

We uphold Bible’s authority, which cannot mean to claim our own tradition as the only absolute truth, others are heresies. Historically, our own faith tradition had used our own understanding of Bible authority to justify slavery, to justify discrimination against women, to justify wars etc, all proven wrong.

After careful consideration, I concluded that if we really uphold Bible’s authority, we have to keep learning, keep on new researches. Whenever we realize our knowledge was incomplete or mistaken, we have to be ready to yield. This I feel PCUSA is doing much better than many fundamentalist churches!

Monday, February 20, 2017





Friday, February 17, 2017







至於左下角和右下角的博客、小報網站,很多純屬「標題黨」,吸引眼球卻文不對題,或真假混雜,不值得閱讀,或浪費時間。但中間偏左翼的The Huffington Post(赫芬頓郵報),和中間偏右翼的Fox News(福克斯新闻),都有一部份文章很接近主流媒體,可是有相當一部份的報導,這位律師評論說,你讀了可以證實自己已信的東西,卻說服不了不信的人。


Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Paul Hiebert是另外一位近代的宣教學家,神學院的教授,2007年才過世。他研究不同的文化中不同的神觀,因為他的父母是美國去印度的宣教士,他出生在印度,了解東方人的文化和世界觀。




我們既不能夠用世俗化的方式,否定那些世界觀就完事,也不能把所有的事都解釋成神秘兮兮的屬靈爭戰。目前的神學系統框架以哲學為基礎,聖靈論不夠,Hiebert教授建議發展「整全的神學」,Holistic Theology。

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


美國的中學生都有學習一個閱讀技巧,叫作「批判性思維」,即critical thinking skill。我有一年給孩子挑選暑期作業本,就選過那麼一本,其中含有大量的批判性思維的習題。顯然很多人缺乏這種技巧,他們讀到一些很低劣的搧動性文章,就信以為真

  1. 察看消息來源,看看是從哪個網站傳出來的。那些匿名發表的微信消息有可能是某人的謠傳,或者故意把舊的資訊誇張一下,變得聳人聽聞。
  2. 讀消息不要只讀標題,要點擊鏈,進去接讀完整報告。你若仔細看,其實和轉發者的標題根本不符。
  3. 看看文章作者是誰,是不是真人實姓,還是假名。
  4. 看看文中給的鏈接,是否真的支持作者要說明的問題。有時不支持!
  5. 檢查一下文章日期,有時資料已經過期,要看update的資料為準。
  6. 看看是否是開玩笑的文章。沙堤亞風格的英文有可能被中國人誤解,翻出來就成了假消息。
  7. 檢查自己的偏見。你如果對某人有偏見,就很容易相信關乎這人的某類謠言。
  8. 請教專家。到圖書館看看,或察看一些專門察驗和報告消息是否屬實的網站,比如

Sunday, February 12, 2017



Yes! so let your light shine before men; that they may see ... your Father who is in heaven.


在教會中沒有機會作鹽作光,你會怎樣?我們需要增加靈裡的聯結for sure,才能各自反映出天父的榮耀。

Friday, February 10, 2017


我正在上一門宣教的課程,本文是一篇筆記:讀Johannes Verkuyl談普世宣教的聖經基礎。這位荷蘭作者是近代的一位著名的宣教學家,早年在印尼宣教許多年,後來在一所大學教授宣教學很多年,2001年才過世。他寫的《現代宣教學導論》似乎是很經典的宣教學教科書。

Perspectives on the World Movement選了書中的一段,引起我興趣的部分是他所講解的約拿書。Verkuyl認為約拿的故事處理了向外邦人宣教的主題,值得現代的基督徒借鑑!約拿書的作者使用以色列歷史上一位先知的名字(王下14章25節),為以色列的聽眾刻劃了一個討厭外邦人、無心向外邦人宣教、又抱怨上帝對外邦人太仁慈的先知故事。