Every year, a number of Christians in the greater China region are trained to be scholars overseas under the sponsorship of Langham Foundation founded by Rev John Stott.
Langham Foundation East Asia, the Asian member of Langham Partnership International (LPI), is dedicated in three special ministries- Langham Scholars, Langham Literature and Langham Preaching- to raise the new generation of scholars.
Among the three ministries, Langham Scholars program appears to be the main focus and is reported to have considerable impact. It aims to provide scholarships for evangelical leaders and future teachers in Majority World seminaries and colleges to study for doctorates in biblical and theological studies. Most of them will go abroad to high-profile seminaries in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada or other countries.
The financial support is given by means of a grant, but in return, the scholar must agree to go on training Christian leaders in their home country in the Majority World for at least ten years, beginning immediately after the graduation.
The scholar must also choose his major from of the following areas: Old Testament, New Testament, Theology, Ethics, Church History and Intercultural Studies (based on biblical teaching).
According to the newsletter of the Langham Foundation East Asia, out of the HK$1,500,000 (US$193,500) the Foundation intends to raise for the financial year 2005-2006 for the three ministries, 60 percent will be earmarked for providing partial support to 10 promising scholars in the region to pursue doctorate studies in Theology in evangelical seminaries.
As of June 2005, the Foundation was sponsoring four scholars in their doctoral studies in the U.K. and one doctorate student in the Hong Kong Baptist University. Of the five doctoral scholars, two of them are from mainland China, one from Hong Kong, one from the Philippines and one from Lebanon, the Foundation stated on the newsletter.
The Foundation looks to sponsor five more doctoral students during 2005-2006. It is estimated that the average annual cost per student amounts to HK$180,000 (US$23,220) and the Langham Foundation would contribute half of that amount for each student.
The Langham Foundation interviewed a scholar from mainland China Lu Hongjian and is now pursing her Ph.D. at the Hong Kong Baptist University. Lu shared her joy as she saw how God was accomplishing his work in her life.
When asked about her plan after graduation, she said, "I would like to teach Christianity related subjects in the university when I return home. My primary objective is to have contact with young people, to make them understand the transforming power of the Gospel, to challenge them to have a strong and vibrant faith, so that the church in mainland China can grow into maturity."
In October 2005, another Philippines-born Taiwanese Shirley Ho, has just graduated from the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill., and received her Ph.D. in Old Testament. She is going to teach at the Holy Light Theological Seminary, in Kaohsiung- a southern city of Taiwan.
She told the Langham Foundation her plan after returning to Taiwan, "To impart what I have been blessed with here in terms of knowledge, experience, and a better understanding of the Old Testament. To go back - not directly share it of course, but be able to share the information with them in such a way where contextualization comes in. And hopefully be able to encourage churches, church leaders, and seminary students to love Old Testament."
According to the newsletter, besides providing scholarships, Langham Foundation are funding two literature projects- the Graduate Book Program and the Library Grant Program.
The aim of the two programs is to make available good theological books to students, graduates and the libraries of theological seminaries or universities, especially those in mainland China or others parts of Asia, where evangelical reading materials are in short supply, the newsletter stated.
In addition, the Publishing Grant Program will be used to publish evangelical theological books in the local languages such as, the Chinese translation of the Bible Speaks Today Series.
All these literature ministries are to be funded and implemented in the financial year 2005-2006, and are believed to be very essential for equipping and educating theological students, pastors and Christian lay leaders in the Majority World, according to Langham Foundation.
Langham Foundation East Asia was established in August 2003 as part of Rev John Stott's Langham Partnership International (LPI); its coverage is the whole of East Asia from China in the North to Indonesia in the South. It has an office based in Hong Kong.