Category Archives: 公共神學 Public Theology

Church, State, and Citizen讀後感

xuezhe這是最近讀到的一本有關政教關係以及基督徒參與政治的書。這本書的目的不是要闡述一種單一的政教觀,而是從不同的基督教傳統—如路德宗,改革宗,天主教,重洗派,泛福音派等—探討各個傳統的政教觀念。這本書由八位不同的作者寫成,編者一開始便說明(disclaimer)這些學者他們不是神學家(theologians),而是政治學學者(political scientists),在不同的基督教傳統中成長,他們以政治學者的角度探討他們各自傳統的政教觀及基督徒如何參與政治(或不參與)。

 

雖然如此編者如此聲明,免得人們對這些作者的神學功底期望過高,但是單從寫改革宗政教觀的作者James Skillen博士(我將他的姓名中譯作『史齊倫』)的那一章來看,可以看出當中至少某些作者的神學功力其實不低。確實,史齊倫博士本身是有過神學裝備的。他在1969年從費城西敏神學院獲得道學碩士學位,之後負笈著名的荷蘭自由大學研究Dooyeweerd ,之後又回到美國並在1974年獲得杜克大學的政治學博士。史齊倫博士本身長年是Center for Public Justice這個基督教公共政策機構的會長,也曾經是幾所基督教大學的教授,包括加爾文學院跟多特學院。

 

讀過史齊倫博士的一些著作,我猜測他應該是一個相對溫和的新加爾文主義者(非凱旋主義者),他的政治神學是訴諸聖經,以聖經原則為根基的;他的著作中明顯運用了凱波爾的『範疇主權』(Sphere Sovereignty)的政教觀念(雖然類似的觀念在其他更早的改革宗加爾文主義者的著作中已經出現),並提出一種溫和的,與世俗版本根源與性質不同的『多元主義』(pluralism,雖然在他的著作中未必有直接有這個詞)。雖然他的政策性的政治神學著作大多是以美國政治跟歷史處境做出發點來討論(他對美國教會史宗教史的了解跟詮釋連知名美國教會史學者Mark Noll也予以褒評),但許多的建議或許也很適用中國的文化與政治處境,對於希望日後在中國構建更為公義社會的華人基督徒知識份子,特別是改革宗信仰的基督徒知識份子,史齊倫博士的著作應該是必讀之作。很可惜的是,他的著作尚未被翻譯成中文,而且翻譯他的著作也有一定難度。

 

但史齊倫博士不是一般象牙塔式學究型的學者,他不只研究跟探討抽象的政治哲學跟政治神學的觀念而已,他的著作中也實際地探討跟提出許多背後有改革宗信仰之底蘊,實際的政策性意見,例如如何改革美國聯邦層面的選舉制,以更好地實現『公平正義』(justice)的政策等等。這樣實踐型,但又有紮實神學跟政治學功底的學者,在華人基督教界,乃至整個普世改革宗世界恐怕都是很少見的。對我而言,他稱得上是真正的『基督徒知識份子』,是我的榜樣,難以望其項背,我一生若能學得幾成,便很知足了。

 

另外,從這本書我也體會,我們華人世界或許還太少這種類似的書籍。各個學科的華人學者一般缺少神學裝備,無法有深度地融合基督教信仰跟他們的專長。而早年留學海外的華人,有些在成為基督徒跟全職傳道人後,又完全放棄了他們的過去所學(也或許多少是因為過去的所學只是為了找工作吃飯的工具而已)。如果各學科的華人基督徒學者加深他們的神學,華人神學學者也涉獵一些學科(特別是他們以往就已經熟悉的學科),然後彼此再有機會跟平台有所交流,捨棄華人世界中的那種彼此看不起,自恃甚高的戾氣,為主的榮耀一起合作,這或許應該會是件好事。


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.


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。


論三自

Sanzi

朋友貼出這幅圖,有人回應說無需敵對三自,為福音的緣故應遷就融入三自。這樣的觀點既不了解中共建立所謂『三自愛國運動』的目的,也不了解當初加入三自之人士的信仰背景。

共產黨領導下的三自教會與西方傳教士起初定下的三自原則大大不同,前者是控制教會的手段,後者是西方宣教士中的有識之士為了使中國教會有日能自立不依賴西方差會與宣教士而推出的建議。

而中共移花接木的三自政策,根本不是為教會的益處,更遑論傳福音。

三自在50年代初成立之後,沒多久便經歷了幾場政治運動的浩劫。三自內的少數福音派領袖如陳崇桂被打成右派,下場淒慘。而三自自創立起初是以親共的持自由派神學的人士為主,也就是不信派人士主導,如吳耀宗,丁光訓等人,文革前與期間,三自跟其他四個控制主要宗教的鷹犬,即五個宗教協會停止運作。三自的不信派到文化大革命之後又卷土復來成為三自領袖。保守的福音派基督教人士如王明道,倪柝聲等本土非宗派基督教領袖則因不苟同三自而沒有參與跟加入三自,並因此入獄。

中共領導下的三自本來就是以不信派人士為主,被當時福音派的基督徒所斥責。認為為福音緣故而加入三自融入三自沒什麼不好,其實不了解三自自其創立起初的目的及其主要領袖的不信背景。中共成立三自的目的不是為福音,這樣想有點一廂情願。三自創立時主要及大部分的領袖也不是堅信聖經的基要派福音派基督徒。融入三自,是與不信派為伍,對當時許多堅持聖經信仰的基要派基督徒來講,加入三自即是賣主求榮。

當然,今天的三自或許已經跟當初的三自或有不同,三自教會內相信聖經的福音派基要派基督徒也比半世紀前多了許多,講台信息甚至也很福音性。但三自作為中共統戰工具的性質並沒有改變。而且從近年來中共也迫害一些個別三自教會,三自的基督徒及教會領袖的個案表明,中共會不吝嗇嚴懲那些反對它的教會人士,無論他們屬於三自與否。我們也看到有三自前牧師脫離三自成立家庭教會的情況。

從歷史源頭看來,不加入融入三自不是反福音。恰恰相反,反對福音反對基督的是中共的宗教政策,三自是統戰跟控制教會的工具,不是傳福音的工具。


Pluralism?

The idea that when a Christian citizen enters the public square, he/she must somehow conform to the majortarian secular values and abandon his religious convictions altogether to fit in, and if he wants to practice his religious faith, by which his worldview and moral values are informed, it must be relegated to private quarter, and private quarter only–betrays “pluralism” and “equality” in the true sense of the word.
When a Christian citizen peacefully dissents from the secular majority in the public square about a certain matter, because his Christian conscience tells him so, he might be called a bigot, all at the same time when the secular majority practices the same kind of bigotry they accused the Christian of. Yes, they cannot tolerate the Christian point of view voiced peacefully in public. This kind of logic is absurd, preposterous, and self-contradictory, sadly also advocated by some Christians who buy it. This reasoning somehow suggests that a Christian citizen is less of a citizen of the republic because of his religious faith, and that he must be a secular individual if he wants to engage in any kind of public debate for which the Christian is a part.
Basically, the secular majority gets to define what “pluralism” and “equality” mean, and “pluralism” and “equality’ they are clearly not!
Unfortunately, this kind of absurdity and pseudo-pluralism is something the Protestant Christian majority helped created in the 19th century America. So, quite ironically, it seems that evangelical Protestants have no other to blame but themselves for the “cultural wars” raging in America today. Alas.

A Commentary on Left-wing and Right-Wing Populism

I have said this all along for so long, I am afraid of a Trump’s presidency that would bring right-wing fascistic populism.

Trump hasn’t started his presidency yet, there is enough irrational populism, if not outright fascism going around in this country already. The president-elect’s silence on these emboldened racists, will equate to or be perceived as an endorsement. He had been reluctant during his presidential campaign to denounce the likes of David Duke and the KKK, white supremacists who endorsed his candidacy. As the President-elect and the president, what you say or do not say, mean a lot. Welcome to the presidency, Mr. Trump. Can you handle it?

This is not to say that racial problems under a leftist president was any better, Black Lives Matter or BLM while promoting their political agenda, has turned into a kind of racist movement as well, as “only black lives matter” and no other lives matter? Racism against Asians in the United States largely go unaddressed, with a rapper YG releasing a video encouraging those in the black community to rob and hunt Asian business owners. It’s just entertainment they say, treating it as no big deal. In a last few months, several such incidents occurred (there were so many more such cases). I have not seen any left-wing big-name politicians or so-called “civil rights leaders” address this issue, leaving many Asian American business owners to arm and fend for themselves (1992 LA riot, sounds familiar?). What you say or do not say, mean a lot. Mr. Obama, Mr. Al Sharpton, Mr. Jesse Jackson, you couldn’t handle it, or did you care?

As a Reformed Christian, I harbor no illusion that social ills can be cured by government public policy alone. It is only in Christ, with the power of the Gospel through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, can the wall of hostility be destroyed between groups (Ephesians 2). But, still, as a Christian citizen, I, we, have a responsibility to keep our political leaders accountable for their actions and inactions, when they do not faithfully fulfill their mandate and duty to carry out justice (Rom 13). They too, have a duty before God.


世上的光與鹽 salt and light of the world

Some friends look at Trump’s win as a revival of a Christian nation. America is not a Christian nation. It is a nation historically influenced by christianity. This is not our new heaven and earth. Don’t misplace our hope. Long for the return of Christ, not looking to Donald Trump and any one else as Savior and Lord. We are nevertheless called to be the salt and light of the world, we have work to do while here, for his glory. According to the Bible, we are in the world, but not of this world (John 17). This tension will continue to exist until Christ returns.

有朋友誤以為川普之勝利是美國作為基督教國家的復興。但美國不是“基督教”國家。她不過是歷史上深受基督教文明影響的國家。這裡不是我們的新天新地。別錯置我們的盼望。我們的盼望是基督再臨,別把川普或任何政客看作救主。但我們畢竟是世上的光與鹽,要繼續努力,為祂的榮耀。聖經教導,我們在世界中,卻不屬於這世界 (约17)。這張力將持久存在,直到基督再來的日子。