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Pastoral Letter 11th April 2021

11/4/2021
11/4/2021
by
Pastor Steaven Cheung

Our Culture  

Reading through some church history lately, I’ve a short reflection to share. In the 1500’s, there was a movement in Western history that changed the world forever. That movement was the Reformation of the Western church. Alongside the renaissance thinkers, Christian scholars and preachers asked the scripture and the church questions on how Christianity ought to be lived within their culture. It wasn’t enough to have a church that dated back to 300AD, they wanted God to redeem their culture and their thoughts. This gave rise to a renewal in the church, both theologically and ecclesiologically as the ‘western’ ideals of individual rights, freedom and thought was redeemed and expressed in the local church. Much of our reformed theology comes from that time, when the Church actively sought God’s redemption of their own culture. As they reconciled their culture with God, the power of God moved through the world and saved many.  

Today, there is a rising movement within the Asian Church, particularly within South-East Asian culture. There are many young Asian ministers raised up by God to do His work in the church. But the way we do church and our theology is still informed and shaped by our Western roots. The songs we sing, the services we run, the missional values we espouse. Perhaps if we were to offer our culture to God, and see it redeemed, there may be an equally great impact for the world around us. Our culture is rich, and has much to offer the wider church. If we were to find theological and ecclesiological expression of our familial values, our work ethic or even our honour-shame culture, perhaps God can make a great work of them. Just as the young man in the gospels offered up what food he had to Christ so that it may feed thousands, perhaps we can offer our culture to God to be examined and discussed so that millions may be enriched.  

I am convinced that the goal of the Asian church is not to look like the Western church. It is to rise up and be a true partner in the mission of the gospel to reach those that would otherwise not be reached.

我們的文化

最近閲讀了一些教會歷史,想在這裏分享一下。在1500年代,西方歷史上有一場運動永遠改變了這世界。該運動就是西方教會的改革。與文藝復興時期的思想家的同個時期,基督教學者和傳道人從聖經和教會當中,尋找基督信仰應如何在他們文化中活出來。他們不滿足於擁有可追溯到公元300年的教會,他們希望神救贖他們的文化和思想。結果教會在神學和教會學上都得到了更新,標誌著“西方”理想的個人權利、自由和思想在地方教會中得到救贖。我們的許多改革神學教義都是來自那個時代,當時教會積極地尋求神挽救他們自己的文化。當他們在他們的文化上與神和解後,神的力量就遍及世界,拯救了許多人。

今天,亞裔教會,特別是在東南亞地區的教會當中,一場運動正在興起。很多年輕的亞裔傳道人在神的帶領下起來,在教會裡做祂的工作。但是我們管理教會和演繹神學的方式仍然受西方理想根源的塑做和影響,如我們唱的歌,我們的崇拜模式,我們擁護的使命觀。也許如果我們將我們的文化獻給神,讓神把它救贖,那麼對我們周圍的世界可能同樣會有巨大的影響。我們有很豐富的文化,並能貢獻廣大的教會。如果我們從我們的家庭價值觀、職業道德觀、乃至我們榮辱文化等找到適當的神學和教會學的表述,也許神可以藉此做出偉大的工作。正如福音書中的年輕人拿出他僅有的食物,讓基督餵飽數千人一樣,也許我們可以獻上我們的文化讓神檢視和琢磨,使數以百萬計的人活得豐盛。

我堅信亞裔教會的目標不是看起來像西方教會那樣,而是要建立起來並成為福音使命中的真正夥伴,使福音可以傳到那些原本無法聽到福音的群眾當中。

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