Seminary Teacher Chen Xun: Church in China is at the age of puberty not of independence
By Issarch Li, September 04, 2015 11:09 AM
It is exactly 30 years since the foundation of the Church in China in 1978. Namely, thirty years of age, the years in life at which a person should be independent. However, Pastor Chen Xun, a teacher of Yanjing Theological Seminary, shared in a preaching recently that "The China Church isn't at the age of independence but at the age of puberty, because our churches still have difficulty surpassing some external pursuits."
Pastor Chen Xun shared his point recently on Sunday school in Gangwashi Church of Beijing. Gangwashi Church is situated in the downtown area, neighboring Xidan. It is one of the most time-honored churches in Beijing and just celebrated its 150th birthday in 2013. According to the statistics on the website of Gangwashi Church, more than 5,000 followers attend church.
Pastor Chen Xun is the dean of Dean's Office in Yanjing Theological Seminary. He teaches History of Christian Thought and the Current Situation of Contemporary Theology. Yanjing Theological Seminary is a college that provides higher education in religion. Its primary mission is to cultivate pastoral clerics for Christian Churches in North China and 10 provinces, cities and municipalities of northwest China.
The theme that Pastor Chen Xun shared on that day was Belief is Transcendence. He cited some verses from Matthew 6:31-33 and Hebrews 11:1-3. Chen Xun indicated that everything we see is difficult to transcend: laziness, greed, the human condition, triviality, lust, mercenary, fame. However，Iif we cannot transcend these issues，how can we lead a happy and unrestrained life?
Where after, Chen shared a story about a student's addiction to Internet games and pointed out that Internet games cannot help us to shake off the stress. Then he made the transition into bureaucratic rules of the game interests, the fame and fortune race, money games, academic competition, honor game, battle game and emotional game and so on. He showed clearly what seems to be the game of life who will eventually win. In this vast world, "life is like a play" is used to describe our life realities with regards to our the obsession with desire.
"We human beings can hardly surpass the things we thought we can control by ourselves, which is a pity and a harsh reality as well." As a pastor of the Christian Church, Chen talks frankly on the rostrum that a pastor is also a layman. It is relying on faith that helps him to outdo himself. He still pointed out some repeated presence of questions in the China Church," People say that it is exactly 30 years since the foundation of China Church in 1978. Thirty years of age, the year in life at which a person should be independent. But I would say that the China Church isn't at the age of independence but of puberty because we are curious about the miracle of growth in others, yet we do not have our own development. He quoted from another priest who had been to domestic churches over 20 provinces that some of our churches are like social enterprises. They work rapidly in development. They want to make it well, bigger and stronger in a hurry with vigor and vitality. A serious problem that comes up in our Church is that it is turning out to be aggressive and competitive, which is not healthy. This kind of situation will be harmful to Christians.
"This is the challenge we face now and our churches have difficulty surpassing it," says Chen. It keeps reminding us that if our church is not silent, how would our Prophet comes down and be with us? How can our followers hear the gentle whisper from God? How can sinners look for God? Where is the heart harbor of sinners? How we wished that our church can be a silent heart harbor for us in this noisy world.
Scriptures in Matthew 6:31-33 reminds us: Take no thought in what shall we eat or what shall we drink. But Chen also admitted that we all have the desire to eat and drink. We just need to control and overcome our desire and be not a slave of desire. He believes that we can overdo ourselves by relying on our belief. "And this is what belief helps us to surpass external pursuits," he added.
Hebrews11:1 says："Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Pastor Chen explains the scripture in this way: How should we regard the distant future as a sure thing in our heart? How can we take an invisible thing in our hearts as a proof? Except through faith we don't have any other option to achieve this result. The Christian faith is not based on a hypothesis or blind expectation but the wisdom and belief that God has given us. Christians totally believe in the fulfillment of God's promises ,only in this way can we surpass reality.
Chen thinks that belief helps us to reduce mankind's reliant sense on reality and keep away from splitting hairs. Because of this, we pay little attention to current worries and bitterness. When we put God's kingdom and God's justice above everything else, we will lead a life that surpasses external reality. He told the multitude: "When you have a long-range ultimate concern, you will become some kind of reputation-careless."
However, even though we have faith, Chen still deems that surpassing reality is not easy. He said that if we really understand our belief, we must rely on the power of it to transcend reality, however the process is long. Maybe at the beginning we can just surpass a part of it instead of everything, and that is already good enough.
"Choosing to follow a faith is actually choosing to surpass reality." Chen said, "We need a belief that will help us surpass reality and outdo ourselves. Moreover, after we follow that belief, we are learning how to control, improve, and transcend ourselves in each step.
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