The Seventh Theological Seminar on the Sinicization of Christianity was held in Jiangsu Province, featuring "Quality Church Development in Jiangsu Province".
According to the Jiangsu Theological Seminary, the conference conducted on September 28-29 focused on biblical interpretation in the new era of China, the development and mission of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, and the construction of Chinese Christianity in a new era.
The conference was divided into four sessions with 16 speakers and nearly 100 attendees from political, academic, and Christian circles.
The presentation of Professor Cao Jian from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangdong was entitled "The Bible and Cai Yuanpei's Aesthetic Education Replacing Religious Education" in which Cao introduced Cai Yuanpei's religious view from a dialectical point of view. Cai denied the ultimate value of religions and did not agree that religion could really help mankind build a more moral society. Cai explained the Old Testament from an ethical and scientific perspective, considering the Old Testament philosophically through humanistic lenses. Cai proposed that aesthetic education should be regarded as a basic part of a new way of looking at education and replacing religious education. Professor Cao said that he did not agree with Cai's "Aesthetic Education Replacing Religious Education", but Cai's interpretation of the Old Testament from this brand-new perspective contributed to the understanding and application of the Old Testament in China.
Professor Yan Xiyu of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary gave a presentation entitled "Achievements and Disadvantages of the Three-Self in the Context of Christian Sinicization". Professor Yan said that the Three Self-patriotic Movement was a symbol of China's Christianity moving towards independence. Over the years, the Three Self-patriotic Movement had achieved a great deal and gradually changed people's perception of Chinese Christianity and Chinese Christians. However, Chinese churches had not studied Three-Self theories in detail because they lacked sufficient human resources. Many of the thoughts of their predecessors failed to form a systematic theory which leads to the lack of confidence in the Three-Self Theory. He believed that research on the history of the Three-Self Movement, the religious theory and policy of the CPC, the previous representative conferences, and the important tasks in the Chinese Church history should be regarded as the important direction of the future research on the Three-Self Theory.
Pastor Lin Peiquan of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary shared his understanding of the story of Adam and Eve, as recorded in Genesis Chapter 3. The presentation was entitled "Adam Was Always There: A Study of the Semantic Meanings in Genesis Chapter 3: 1-7". Pastor Lin believes that the view that women are the initiators of sin is due to a mistake in the translation of keywords in the 1919 edition of the Chinese Union Version Bible. By closely studying the five important key phrases "snake", "cunning", "opening (the eye)", "making people wise" and "being with her" recorded in Genesis Chapter 3, Lin proposed that Adam was always present when Eve was tempted to commit sin. Adam and Eve were actually tempted to commit sin together so Adam and Eve should bear equal responsibility.
Ma Zheng, deputy secretary-general of the Wuxi TSPM, had a speech "On the Initiation and Development of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement from the Perspective of Situationa9047 Theology". Pastor Wang Yuan from St. Paul's Christian Church in Nanjing had a presentation entitled "How to Grasp the Relationship between the Interpretation of the Bible and Chinese Culture".
Pastor Li Jiyin from Jiangsu Theological Seminary gave a presentation on "How to Understand Filial Piety from the Story of Ruth Following Naomi". With the book of Ruth as its background, the presentation explored how Christians should demonstrate filial piety through the case of Ruth following Naomi, thus showing how God-fearing people treat their upper generations. He said that he could understand from the Book of Ruth and Chinese traditional culture that it was wrong to take away the basic necessities of life and to emphasize one-sided service to God and people. Giving parents a sense of security was not only about taking care of them but also educating the younger generation on how to love. The Church should promote the example of Ruth's filial piety, love God, and love others so that more Christians could achieve a better balance in serving in their work and responding to the needs of their families. In this way, they could then be enthusiastic about their evangelism work and honoring their parents.
Pastor Wan Honglin, deputy director of the Research Department of Jiangsu Theological Seminary, analyzed the faults of heresy from the perspective of biblical hermeneutics and introduced important principles of biblical interpretation in mainstream churches.
- Translated by Charlie Li