Monthly Archives: July 2017

Critiquing the Political Instrumentality of the Christian Faith in Chinese Christianity

faith-and-politics

Among certain “Chinese Christian intellectuals,” the use of the Christian faith and even the reformed faith as a mere instrument for a certain secular political purpose, is something that has plagued Chinese Christianity for about a century, often at the expense of doctrinal integrity.

Early Chinese Communist Party figures such as Chen Duxiu expressed his affection for Christianity for that purpose; the Communist Party after the establishment of the PRC uses religion at large and Christianity in particular to control the masses for its political ends by undermining orthodox Christian doctrines, through the efforts of so-called “theological reconstruction;” Today, Christianity is an instrument for the realization of the nationalistic “Chinese Dream” under the Xi Jinping regime.

The more liberal “cultural Christians” of the 80s and 90s and perhaps into the 2000s, similarly viewed Christianity as a means to a political end, for bringing about democracy, constitutionalism, and freedom, as some of these intellectuals realized the Christian roots of these ideals. These “cultural Christians” are for the most part unbelievers, and lack fundamental convictions towards the basic tenets of the Christian faith.

These days, many Chinese Christian intellectuals are evangelicals rather than the unbelieving “cultural Christians”; some are somewhat reformed in their theology, but they still somehow tacitly and perhaps even unknowingly treat the Christian faith as seemingly primarily for a political ends. This is manifested when they are willing to compromise doctrinal integrity of the Orthodox Biblical Christian faith for something they deem politically convenient. This is truly unfortunate, showing their lack of conviction (perhaps even lack of basic understanding) to the genuine Christian faith and some of the most basic doctrines that evangelical and Reformed Christians hold dear.

I believe this kind of misuse of the Christian faith, this kind of theological ignorance and naiveté, as it has been for about a century, will not help to realize a more just society, nor does it glorify God, when the Christian faith is used a mere instrument for a secular political end, while the orthodox doctrines are undermined.

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在劉曉波先生去世之際,再思『因信稱義』與上帝的主權

xiaobo今年是宗教改五百年。想起宗教改革,人們便想起馬丁路德,想到因信稱義(或透過信心稱義)的教義。雖然『因信稱義』不能說是宗教改革這一歷史事件的總結,也不是改革宗信仰救恩論的全部(是其中不可或缺的重要一環),但它確實是一個極為重要的教義。這是絕大部份福音派信仰的教會都認同的教義,人得救不是靠行為,而是靠上帝的恩典,耶穌基督的救贖,聖靈的工作。

劉曉波去世前,我為他的禱告,除了他身體的健康跟行動的自由等實際需要之外,我的禱告更重要的是為他的救恩。即便偉大如曉波者,即便有人說他是比許多基督徒更能體現基督徒信仰的人,他仍不過是凡人,仍是罪人,需要為己罪向上帝悔改,信靠耶穌基督,承認基督耶穌為救主。以人的標準來看,劉曉波,甘地,曼德拉等,可稱為偉人。以上帝的標準來看,依據聖經教導的教導,沒有任何人可以以自己的行為向上帝誇耀以致得救,除非他願意悔改認罪,承認耶穌基督為他的救主。在我們每個人的心中,都有一片不為人知的陰暗角落,沒有一人是聖人。我們或許會否認,或許會壓抑,但是我們知道,上帝知道(羅1)。

我不知道有多少人在曉波先生彌留之際,有為劉曉波的救恩禱告,但這卻是我禱告最為緊迫的事情。因為死亡不算什麼,若是在基督裡的人,我們無需懼怕『那些能殺死身體卻不能殺死靈魂的』 (太10:28)。若是在基督裡的人,可以有確據如使徒保羅那般: 『我…情願離世與基督同在,因為這是好得無比的』(腓1:23)。若是在基督裡的人,現在身體的死亡不算什麼,因為在未來我們有榮耀復活的盼望,上帝會賜給我們一個榮耀復活的身體,與基督復活的身體相似(哥前15)。所以,我不但為曉波先生身體自由向上帝祈求,我更向上帝祈求,求上主施憐憫賜恩典予他,在他人生的最後時日能悔改歸向上帝,與我們眾聖徒一同享受在基督耶穌裡,與祂緊緊聯合的諸多福分(弗1)。

我知道此時許多關愛他的基督徒,包括他身邊最好的一些基督徒朋友在內,充滿了悲傷憤慨,以致於或許不小心做了神學教義性的宣告,表達了與基督教信仰之因信稱義的教義相悖的言論。我完全理解他們的感傷情緒。

或許有人會覺得我迂腐,但允許我這麼說,此時是體現我們作為基督徒之神學底蘊跟堅持信仰立場的機會。曉波先生,無論他是否是基督徒,他是一個常年堅持自己的政治理想跟立場的人,至死如此。我們作為基督徒,特別是改革宗信仰的基督徒,堅持我們最為基礎、最為根本的神學教義跟信仰立場,如果曉波先生在世,應該也會讚許我們對信仰的堅持跟委身。

曉波先生去世後去了哪裡?我沒有答案。這只有曉波知道,上帝知道。我們或有我們的期許跟希望,但是讓我們將這一切交託給這位全知,全善,不改變,掌主權的上帝。當我們願意信靠這位掌主權的上帝,面對困難,面對風雲變幻的人生,我們才會有安慰,我們的生命才會有確定性。

求上帝擦乾眼淚,安慰受傷的人。

P.S. 我寫此篇文章,已經會預料到可能會有人攻擊謾罵。沒關係,我理解大家的情緒。