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Taiwan Church News

3256 Edition

July 21 - July 27, 2014

Church Ministry

 

 

PCT Has To Be Cautious About China's Religious United Front Work, Scholar Warns

 

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

 

On July 19, at the National Taiwan Alumini Court, the Independence Forum of Taiwan Society, who is a group of professors stressing Taiwan sovereignty and subjectivity, holds a seminar discussing Hong Kong's recent political situations. Professor Leung Man-to, an Oxford PhD in politics and now a politics and economics graduate professor of National Cheng Kong University, was invited to deliver his speech, named "The Change of Hong Kong after July 1st Parade". Within his speech, Leung is specially wary about the future of PCT, as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would definitely place PCT as top agenda in united front work to merge Taiwan into China.

 

 

Leung, a Hong Kong native, analyzes the reason why PCT is the top agenda for CCP's religious united front work, because PCT is the most populous protesting group within current religious and civil groups in Taiwan. In order to get close or even penetrate into PCT, CCP would strategically utilize kinds of bottom-up democratic methods, like religious visits, church association, direct contacts or third party agents which has been front united by CCP. As PCT's General Assembly and the medium level institute like presbytery are more politically alert, a distinctive fact of PCT's ecological system which is well known to CCP, most likely they would not become the target of CCP's united front work. Rather, volumes of PCT pastors firmly staying at grass-root local congregations would become the prey of such explicit united front vulture.

 

 

Leung sharply criticized as illusionary and dangerous on recent China-inclined mind-set of the main opposing Democratic Progressive Party(DPP), especially when the Taiwan Independence clause in party manifesto is hotly debated whether to abolish or not. He thinks the main problem lies at DPP's  illusionary and dangerous wish to get closer to China. Therefore, Leung warns that the future of PCT also faces the same grave risk, if following DPP's increasingly China-tilted footsteps without reflection and judgement.

 

 

"CCP's united front work is simple. He just want to make friends with you. His goal is simply to make you not his enemy to go against him,  better you can stand behind him in words or deeds. As to the question, if there is any deal or trade-off involved, who knows. At least, it looks quite dangerous (for Taiwan) at present!", said Leung. China's religious united front work is easy to reach the goal, once the mutual visits increased so strong to stimulate Taiwan's hallucination about China. And CCP would try best to meet Taiwan's unrealistic imagination, only you stop to mention anything sovereign or subjective about Taiwan.

 

 

Leung also strongly criticized The Most Rev. Dr. Paul Kwong of Hong Kong Anglican Church, due to his anti-human rights and anti-democracy remarks after July 1st HK Parade, not to mention his flattery expressions to China authorities. Leung lamented, except minority Christians, most Hong Kong Churches adulate CCP and keep quiet in HK's public interests. Even the anti-communist stance of Roman Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, after the Bishop John Tong Hon was appointed in 2009, becomes more and more blurred. It is believed there is still an internal conflict and power struggle on this issue inside HK Catholic Church.

 

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 
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Taiwan Church News

3256 Edition

July 21 - July 27, 2014

Headline News

 

Restorative Justice Receives Attention After Taipei Metro Stabbing Spree Is Pleaded To Get Death Penalty

 

Reported by Hwang Yi-lek

 

After Cheng Chieh, the 21-year-old suspected attacker of 2014 Taipei Metro Stabbing Spree Event, is indicted by prosecutors for mass killings and pleaded for death penalty, how should Christians think and respond to the succeeding legal punishments? Especially, under a revenging and instinctive mindset, Taiwan society normally want such suspected criminals to pay back their lives as the trade-off price. One mother of the killed victims sadly claimed in fury and that, even Cheng Chieh would get 100 death penalties, she still can not get back her most precious son!


On July 19 a seminar is jointly organized, by the Church and Society Committee of both Taipei and Chi-Shin presbytery, to discuss the issue: how should Christian see the death penalty from this mass stabbing spree event? Dr. Chen Wen-shan, a professor from Yu-san Theological Seminary, is invited to deliver her thoughts from a theological point of view. About 70 PCT members has attended this seminar at Ta-Dau-chen Presbyterian Church.

 

Chen pointed out that this event not only impacts many Taiwanese's common belief and moral values, but also makes we Christians hard to swallow the most treasured verse in Lord's prayer: "And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors". This is we Christians believe that the righteousness of God can not be separated from God's love of salvation, and God love the sinners to be saved yet not fallen.

 

After Chen demonstrates a paradoxical attitude within Taiwan mainstream opinions - while Cheng Chieh is claimed to be clear of any psychological disorder at his killing, meaning that he should be responsible for his mass stabbing spree, many highly mental retarded patients are still classified as highly violence-inclined criminals, she strongly criticizes many Christians within church also hold a double standard to see the suspected attacker like Cheng Chieh is impossible to really repent. Therefore, these Christians set up an threshold for God's grace in "justification by faith" or take a stance behind mind-body dualism, claiming that even if the criminal could be saved within the soul,  his or her body deserves death penalty to get justice.

 

Chen stresses that the idea of restorative justice, developed under a Christian culture background, intends to make the wrong-doers to understand their wrong doings in their day to day prison lives. And, to figure out more facts and truths that the legal justice could not deliver within a hasty and limited jury, the victims could be given more time to adjust their mindset until they are ready to face the wrong-doers and to understand they have rights to decide whether they want to forgive the indicted suspect or not. No healing could come after death penalty, as time is too short to do anything reconcilable except retaliation.

 

By making compensation for the past errors and facilitating a true reconciliation between the indicted and the victims, the punishment of restorative justice has to let the indicted to return his or her own society. Chen emphasized that this is a secular praxis on the theology of forgiveness and "justification by faith", as the sinner has to take the responsibility to reconcile with the victims in order to match the grace he or she assumed.

 

"Not all punishment go against Christian faith. But the death penalty is one, for sure", Chen said, this is why World Church Council and the Vatican has publicly stated their joint opinion to oppose the death penalty. As the Christian community believe that the treasured spiritual values should also be practiced to materialize in our secular society. This is the true meaning of Lords prayer: May Your Kindom Come! And death penalty is no exception.

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 
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Taiwan Church News

3255 Edition

July 14 - July 20, 2014

Editorial

 

 

Editorial: The Carefully Investigated Certainty

 

 

Sinckan Manuscripts, some called it Sinckan language, is the earliest writing documents in current Taiwan existent historic records. This is a writing language used by the Siraya tribe to write contract with the Dutch. So the Taiwanese then called it Phan-Ah-Keh(the Barbarian Contract). Before the Sinkan Language appeared, there was no other written languages to communicate officially in Taiwan society. People can only exchange their ideas and thoughts orally.

 

Historically speaking Sinckan language was invented, during the ruling period (1624 ~ 1662) of the Eastern Indian Company belonging to the Dutch,  by the Dutch missionary with reference to the Siraya spoken language. To everybody's surprise, the Sinckan language was still circulated and utilized in Taiwan, even after the Dutch had left for over 150 years. Though the Chinese language became the lingua franca, dominating on Taiwan island after the Chinese had immigrated into Taiwan in volumes, we could still have some glimpses of the early Taiwan through the written records of Sinckan language which historical continuity may have  been lost and overlooked today.

 

The second Taiwanese writing system, after Sinckan language, was the Romanised spelling system or Peh-oe-ji which was brought by the Presbyterian missionaries. Through the easy-learning Romanization, people could write and spell out the spoken Taiwanese. The shortcomings of the complex and difficult Chinese character were therefore avoided and the ability of the believers to learn was enhanced. Not only the literate ratio was lifted up within the church, the believers could also read the Bible and absorb the new knowledge by themselves.

 

Especially since 1885, the significant issuance of Taiwan Church Press whose encyclopedia and versatile coverage on the topics of theology, society, education, international affairs and etc., prompting the church believers to become the important components of Taiwan society and the wonderfully good witness to our Lord God.

 

"Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I my self have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught"(Luke 1: 1~4). This is what Dr. Luke wrote to most excellent Theophilus in the preface of the Gospel of Luke. And the good news of Jesus Christ is thus proclaimed to the whole world through Luke's careful investigation with the certainty of the things. This is the spirit inherited by Taiwan Church Press to make the good news from Jesus to be known by the Taiwan society.

 

Every third week of each year is prescribed by PCT as the Evangelical Memorial Day Through Literature. On this very day, we ask all our PCT congregations and believers to reflect and contemplate Dr. Luke's carefully investigated certainty to write this wonderful gospel for us. And let us carry on to take up such mission and responsibility to proclaim the gospel through words, expressing our appreciation and thanksgiving to our abundantly blessing Lord God.


 


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