21世紀神學教育與宣教事工

本文旨在挑戰讀者從聖經角度去思考有關21世紀神學教育與全球宣教事工這課題;及為何基督信徒,教會與宣教機構對此應持有一個更積極,更前進的態度。 一般教會領袖似乎有一種錯覺,一種缺乏聖經根據的錯覺,認為除非教會『人數』或『奉獻』已達某一定水平,上述事工實是難以開展。尤有甚者,有些教會領袖更認為神學教育與宣教事工只是為少數教會屬靈精英而設,與一般基督信徒無關。這是違反了耶穌基督對門徒的教誨,就是在世上作鹽作光,完成神賜予我們新生命的使命,為主作見證。〔太5:13-16,28:16-10;路24:44-48;徒1:8;彼前2:9〕奉父,子,聖靈的名為萬民施洗,又教訓他們遵守主的話,積極地推行神學教育與宣教事工。現代教會領袖同樣地對全球化宣教事工持有一種錯誤的觀念。他們認為教會只要有『宣教』之心,用『祈禱+奉獻』的方式,已足以向基督的大使命作出交代。誠然,這種事奉方式,對殘疾、老弱、邊緣羣體,還可以說得過去的,但用此作為整個教會宣教之宗旨是否恰當呢﹖我在此想指出我們不應去計較神學教育活動能為我們帶來多少知識,或長或短的宣教活動能做到多少事工,而是要著眼於過程中如何為我們及周圍的人帶來生命的改變。〔林前3:10-4:13;林後2:14-7〕 神學教育之目的並不單單使人獲得聖經知識,而是透過學習去明瞭神的計劃和大愛,使信徒在新生命中能藉著耶穌基督和聖靈的幫助,與那創造宇宙萬物之神建立一個更深更美好的屬靈關係。現存有很多不同範疇、不同屬靈層次的神學課程可供選擇,「澳神」亦是其中之一。同時,全球之宣教事工亦可透過不同形式與渠道,盡量配合當地之文化、背景、『處境化』地推行。〔有關『處境化』詳細資料,請參閱將於2010年6月在『今日中國教會』刊登之拙作〕這是一個適時之提醒﹕提醒大家對神學教育與宣教事工不宜固步自封,滿足停留在20世紀中葉之意識形態中。時移世易,我們應與時並進地充份利用這後現代21世紀之先進資源,通過合作與互聯網去幫助那些希望被裝備、 去事奉的人。我們面對21世紀之初曉,要醒覺,要起來,實事求是地行事。更要與身處之地和世界之思想網絡接連,無論身處何方,也能『處境化』地引用富有當地文化背景的例子將聖經訊息闡釋出來,使他們明白福音對他們的適切,與他們的需要是息息相關的。 至此,我仍有很多的話要跟大家分享:我鼓勵你們去裝備自己,更要用你們的新生命服事主。神學教育實是全球宣教之骨幹。沒有神學教育作後盾,宣教事工容易流於偏差,或誤導別人相信一種『有求必應,使人富足』的福音,或誤以服務社會為宣教之目的,忽略了社會服務只是宣教過程中的一種渠道,而非目的之本身。〔路4:16-18〕更甚者,若宣教未能建基於聖經真理,傳教士們便難於分辨經文真義與異端。沒有了神學教育為骨幹,全球宣教事工便有如一艘沒有航海路線圖裝備的船隻在驚濤駭浪中行駛。反之,沒有以全球宣教事工為目標,神學教育便如一艘在壁櫥內研讀航海路線圖的船隻,永遠不能達到彼岸﹗ 作為耶穌基督之信徒,我們應儘量好好的運用在世上餘下的日子,不要留下遺憾,因為主來的日子近了。願神賜福給你和你所愛的人。


Theological Education and Missions of the 21st Century (英文原文)

This article is to challenge the readers to look at Theological Education and Global Mission of the 21st century from a Biblical perspective and why a follower of Jesus, the local church and mission agency should be more proactive upon these, if not already so. Misconceptions abound as church leaders cast these 2 aside into the ‘too difficult baskets’ and impart the un-biblical impressions that these are operational only when their congregations have reached a certain size or level of prosperity. Quite a few even regard these 2 ministries are only for the spiritually elites, for a minority few of their congregations only and not for all followers of Christ Jesus! This is at odds with what Jesus said to his disciples [or followers of Jesus Christ] as the salt and light of the world with a specific task to live out their new lives in Christ as witnesses to the world. [Mt 5:13-16, Mt 28:16-20, Luke 24:44-48, Acts 1:8, 1Pet 2:9] Baptizing in the name of the Trinity and teaching all nations what Jesus taught us, embrace these 2 concepts of theological education and global missions. Similarly, current misconceptions about global mission still abound as some church leaders consider a church ‘be mission-minded’ is sufficient enough with ‘a pray and pay approach’ to The Great Commission. Surely this may be the case for the disabled, elderly and disadvantaged but to set this as a ‘mission policy’ for the whole church? What is misconceived from these approaches are of how much knowledge we may attain through theological education or how much one can do in these mission activities be these as long or short term assignments. Rather the goal should have been of how these ministries can actually transform our lives and those around us in the process! [1Cor3:10—4:13, 2Cor2:14-17] Theological Education is not just about attaining Scriptural knowledge important as it is, but more significantly, it is about discerning God’s love and His plan so that one may enter into an even deeper spiritual relationship in the new life with the Creator through Christ and in His Spirit. There are many and variable courses and biblical studies catered for all levels of academic achievements and spiritual walks of life at different theological colleges and centres of which CTCA is but one. Like-wise with global missions of the 21st century, one may see the diversities and variegated expressions of how global missions can be done through contextualization. [For a more in-depth study on this topic, please refer to my article to be published in the June 2010 publication of Chinese Churches Today.] This is a timely reminder that one should no longer be complacent and remain stay-put in a mid-20th century mode regarding Theological Education and Global Mission. Times have shifted and we are living and serving in the post-modern, globalised 21st century where resources are readily available for anyone who wants to be better equipped and to serve in the world through partnership and networking. We are at the dawn of the 21st century, awake, arise and be realistic. Get in touch with the mindset of the community and the world you are in, by contextualising biblically in the ways we relate to them and be of relevance as a result! There is much I want to share and encourage you towards equipping yourself even better to serve the Lord with your new life in Christ. Theological Education provides the necessary backbone to Global Mission for without which, one may fall easily into the pitfalls of proclaiming a social or prosperity gospel by regarding social services as the end-point and not only as a means to proclaim the gospel. [Lk 4:16-18] Even worse, if one’s mission is not based upon Biblical guidelines, one may not be able to discern the cults from Biblical truth. Global Mission without Theological Education is like sailing into treacherous oceans without any charts whilst Theological Education without Global Mission is like studying all the charts in a closet without ever making it to the shoreline! As followers of Jesus Christ, let us therefore make every of our remaining days on earth count as his Return is near. May the Lord bless you and your loved ones.

原載於澳洲華人教牧神學院,作者授權刊登。