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« Go Wayne Grudem! Go Wayne Grudem! | Main | fann favorites 15 August 2008 »


I have often thought about how to answer question number five. As I read through the New Testament, the endurance of persecution seems to be a primary means of growth (and even assurance) for the believer. Dr. Longman, did you get an impression of how the Chinese church leaders would answer this question? How do they pray in regard to the relationship between the house churches and the government?

Great question. They pray that the government allow them to worship freely and without being harrassed. Of course, they don't want to get arrested, but they are strong in their faith and willing to endure hardship for the Lord. They also pray that the hearts of their leaders turn to the Lord.
Indeed, even though I think it is right to believe that the church often grows during times of persecution, I think it would be wrong to pray for it or to refrain from praying for the conversion of those who persecute. We should also pray that we don't fall into complacency if we live in a basically tolerant society.

This is a really great article Dr Longman - thank you for it. While I am a pastor of a small church and have an MDiv (nothing special), I am a missionary at heart and fear greatly that the Western church merely transports its theology and culture rather than being agents of transformation in the world at large.

It excites me to see theological formation taking place in the Chinese church - and only deepens my sadness over how certain parts of the American Church is tightening its boundaries rather than remaining flexible yet faithful to the biblical witness.

As someone who taught at a seminary for 18 years, let me say there is something very special about an M.Div. I appreciate your humility though. And thanks for the note.

1. How can western churches best come to the side of our Chinese Christian brothers and sisters?

Do what you did, Dr. Longman. Specifically, teach them NT Greek. In addition, teach them hermeneutics, particularly the grammatical-historical method. (To be transparent, I'm not enthused with the historical-criticism method).

Also, I have a preference for Grudem's text on Systematic Theology as a text from which to teach Chinese pastors and church leaders.

3. How can we learn from our Chinese counterparts?

How to persevere in suffering joyfully for the Lord?

That the church is the people and not the steeple?

5. How should that affect our prayers for the relationship between the government and the church in China?

Pray for my government persecution?


A lot of helpful comments here. Hope they do continue to read Grudem (and Longman) but also am enthused about the fact that there are theologians in the Chinese world that are (and are going) to surpass us in theological and biblical insight. I enjoy and look forward to interacting with them as they think about the Bible from their cultural perspective.

Wouldn't having our non-western brothers and sisters read Grudem or anyone else be "westernizing" them? I agree with teaching the biblical languages but I worry if teaching hermeneutics from a western perspective would only further the transporting of culture rather than the transforming of culture? Much of our "systematic" theology is based on a particular Western way of thinking whereas I am not sure our non- western brothers and sisters would approach theology in a similar manner.

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