标签: 阅读

要理问答:失落的传统

在我们所有为小崽子安排的学习活动中,他最喜欢的,大概除了游泳就是要理问答了。他常常会提醒我,“爸爸,今天的问题还没有做。”并且在小伙伴上门玩耍的时候他也有时会建议大家一起来做问答——当然,很可能带着炫耀的成分。

小朋友喜欢要理问答很可能是因为要理问答的简单、易懂和重复记忆。为什么今天在教会里鲜见要理问答的使用呢?今天的福音派基督教热衷于开发和使用大量的圣经学习课程、查经指南、辅导手册、理财和家庭讲座,像要理问答般深入用经文和理性厘清基督教教义传统的课程却越来越少,乃至于断版买不到。这是何故?

Grounded in the Gospel的两位作者都是今日福音派世界的重量级人物:哥顿·康威尔神学院的Parrett和维真学院的巴刻。他们在该书导论中指出要理问答失落的原因有三:(1)现代世界以自我的主观认识为中心、拒绝外部的客观真理;(2)在基督徒社区里对权威主义的反感;(3)教会日程已经被塞得很紧,没有空间再放入要理问答。然而纵观全书,我还看到其他拦阻要理问答的原因:

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Struggle of law and grace

James K. Hoffmeier. The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens & the Bible. Wheaton: Crossway, 2009. 174 pp. and M. Daniel Carroll R. Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church and the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008. 174 pp.

注:这是《基督教伦理学》对美国移民问题的作业,就是阅读两本观点对立的书并写读书报告。

左边的The Immigration Crisis是我所在的学校旧约教授所写,其中心观点是认为“寄居者”在圣经原文中有两个不同的词汇,一个是指合法移民,另一种是未经许可的进入者或是过路者。两者都需要顺服和尊重所在地的法律、习俗和规定,非法移民应当顺服所在地法律。另一本书是一位南美裔神学家所写,主要论点是美国移民法律的混乱、复杂和不合理,并呼吁基督徒善待寄居者和将每一个个体当作人来尊重。两本书的共同点是都提倡尊重每一个移民个体,无论他的法律身份是合法或是非法,他都带着神的形象,他不是概念上的“难民”、“淘金者”,而是活生生的人,应当得到尊重和对待,享有法律所赋予的权利(如言论自由、上诉权、自由行动权)和福利(各州/地区定义的基本福利不同,但至少保障学龄儿童受教育权)。不同的是,前者提倡非法移民按现行法律遣返,并透过合法渠道按着圣经推动移民法律改革,而后者提倡非法移民不“非法”而是移民法律违背圣经原则,号召基督徒起来照顾和关怀非法移民。

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Reading Report: Reimagining Evangelism: Inviting Friends on a Spiritual Journey

Rick Richardson is an ordained priest with the Anglican Mission in America. He runs the evangelism and leadership program at Wheaton College Graduate School and is associate national director for evangelism with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. In this small book, Rick presented the great truth regarding evangelism that the Evangelists are not Gospel-sellers. Instead, we should learn to be a good guide to lead people into the spiritual community and finally the salvation in Christ.

In this book, Rich first challenged the common perception for gospel-sharing as Gospel-selling. Its a poor conception but it is widely accepted by even Christians. Evangelism is simplified to selling an idea and an invitation to make a decision. I believe this is one of the roots of shallow Christianity in both western and eastern society. This concept of evangelism changed the ministry of Christianity to event-focused and poor Christians had been pushed to sell, pushed to host events, and thus push others to make harsh decisions. I cannot agree more with Rick on his illustration of modern Evangelism. It is true. It’s not only happening in United States, but also in China and many other countries, pushed by various kinds of mission organizations and churches.

Rick tries to correct this view from several aspects in this book. He emphasizes the central role of Holy Spirit in our ministry and our call is to observe and follow the Spirit, not to run ahead of or behalf of the Holy Spirit. He also calls the reader to notice the importance of the spiritual community, and also he shares his story telling and gospel sharing skills in the later chapters. Even in his sharing of conversation skills, he emphasizes the importance of building trust, relationship, and community more than the importance to push for decision.

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Questioning Evangelism: Engaging People’s Hearts the Way Jesus Did Reading Report

The subtitle of the little book written by Randy Newman is Engaging People’s Hearts the Way Jesus Did. “The Way Jesus Did” here is referring to the usage of questioning to trigger deeper rational thinking of the seekers. The author divides the book into three sections: Why asking questions, What Questions are people Asking, When aren’t questions and answers enough. However, though the title of the book suggests that it’s a book regarding evangelism through questioning, the content of the book is more focused on the second section which is using questioning skill to deal with questions raised by seekers. Instead of viewing it as a book about evangelism, I’d rather to say it’s a book of Apologetics.

Though the focus of the book sounds shifting, it’s still a good book on evangelism conversation skills. It’s very beneficial for the author to invest some chapters on the Biblical background of questioning in conversations. He not only showed us how Jesus did evangelism and conversation in New Testament, but also guided us through the conversation skills discussed and demonstrated in Wisdom books. These steps can help us to realize the value of using questions. However, I have to say it again that the subtitle of “the way Jesus did” is too big and not fit because Jesus also did other more important things like training disciples, healing and exorcism.

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The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited Reading Report

In this book, the author Dr. McKnight started with criticizing that American Evangelicals replaced the definition of “Gospel” with “Soterian” and are actively preaching the message of making a converting decision. This criticism is absolutely true. Dr. McKnight is definitely true. Evangelicalism emerged in the middle of last century from the previous generations of fundamentalism. It is said that the decision-based Christianity started from Charles Finney and D.L. Moody and later used by many evangelists and missionaries around the nation and later around the world. Majority of members in my home church back in Shanghai came to faith through this decision-based evangelism.

In this small book, Dr. McKnight suggested that the Gospel that Jesus preached does not include the salvation only. Instead, he suggests that the gospel is primarily framed by Israel’s Story and the saving story of Jesus as the completion of the Story of Israel. And secondly the gospel centers on the lordship of Jesus, not just the Jesus as the savior and many evangelical claimed. Third, Evangelism should involve summoning people to respond, to repentance, to faith in Jesus Christ, and to baptism. And finally, the gospel saves and redeems. The apostolic gospel promises forgiveness, the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, and justification. In order to validate the four points clear, he started with the historical creeds, then back in the Bible to find the Gospel preached by Paul, the Gospel described in the four Gospel books, the Gospel preached by Jesus, and the Gospel preached by Apostle Peter. Finally he revisits the problem of evangelism today and suggested to create and form the Gospel culture, instead of preaching a decision-based Christianity.

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第一学期(2011年秋季)课程书单及部分中文版

很多弟兄姊妹希望我分享三一福音神学院的神学课程都会用哪些书作为教科书,或许可以透过阅读和自学来掌握类似的神学知识。我很乐意把我每个学期的书单推荐给大家,但是我个人觉得要透过自学来掌握神学院的教授内容有很大的难度,我自认为是一个纪律性很强的人,但是要透过自学达到神学院水平还是不太可能。就拿希腊文来说,如果没有每次上课都要测验,且测验计入总分,我想我是没有动力每天都背单词的。

这些课程均为道学硕士必修课,大部分的书都没有对应的中文版,我努力找到了一小部分。其中“宣教基础”这门课所推荐的书中后两本都是小说,帮助我们认识非西方文化(尼日利亚和孟加拉)的挣扎;“个人评估”这门课其实只需要第一本书,后面两本书中部分材料被这门课程引用,但并非必须,老师稍微推荐了一下。

具体书名、亚马逊链接和部分中文译本请看下表:

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7月读的两本基督教书籍

改革宗神学的书籍总是能把信徒从以自我为中心的信仰经历中带出来而回到那位创造天地、伟大的奇妙神面前。这本巴刻的著作也是如此。相对于严苛的加尔文主义者,巴刻比较温和一些,但这并不妨碍他强调神的主权和人在神面前的渺小与无用。

在传福音的时候,我们往往存在着让对方信基督的良好愿望,这本来不是什么坏事——相反正是爱神爱人的表现。正因为我们基督徒爱神,所以传福音;正因为我们爱人,所以不忍看见人因罪接受神的审判、定罪以致忍受地狱永远的刑罚。然而,如果基督徒不把“归信”这个重生的决定归功于神的话,肯定会用自己的方法想尽力说服对方接受福音,其后果可能是:

l 听道对象勉为其难的、或者为了让我们高兴、或者因为某些情感的冲动而作了归信的决定,但几周后又反悔不信,亏损了我们的信心。

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