Guo Ding, a familiar name to Chinese Canadians, is an influential Chinese opinion leader, columnists, and news television station host. If you’ve been paying attention to the newspaper columns and the nightly Mandarin news on OMNI television, then you would have heard him speak. His pertinent and timely commentaries provide the audiences with a thorough overview and analysis of the major events happening in Canada and around the world in an objective point of view. How does he apply his Christian faith in his life? The following is an interview conducted by The Gospel Herald reporter with him.
Q: Hello, Guo Ding! Can you share us how did you become a Christian?
Ding: It was during the time that I studied abroad in Japan did I come across Christianity. My guarantor in Japan was a very famous professor and a Christian. Although he did not pro-actively preach to me, his prayers and our participation in Christmas services introduced me to Christianity. I was married in Japan, and my wife is also a third-generation Christian. After immigrating to Canada, I began to systematically read the Bible.
After placing my faith in the Lord in early 90’s, I studied at Regent College in 1993, for I hoped to understand more about the Bible’s history and theology, and the process of western culture formation. After graduating from Regent, I began my work at Ming Pao Daily in 1995, and I also prepared to establish a church, which is the Chinese Gospel Church. Until now, I am still attending the service there.
Q: When you studied at Regent College, have you ever planned to become a pastor?
Ding: Yes, when I entered Regent College, I was clear that I wanted to become a pastor, but I couldn’t find any suitable places to serve after graduation. As I was distressed over this problem, Rev. Edwin Su, executive director of Overseas Campus Ministries, replied back, saying there are many people who want to serve, but the altar spaces are few. This gave me some light, so I’ve began to pray. After praying together with some brothers and sisters, we officially founded the China Gospel Church in 1997. Reflecting on the time then, our church is the first Chinese church in Greater-Vancouver established purely by Chinese Christians of mainland China background, which I am very thankful to God.
Q: What is God’s calling for you?
Ding: Mainland China’s needs for the gospel are great, so Christians from all fields are required to carry out this duty. In the past, evangelism are considered as the duties of primarily pastors, but Apostle Paul said that everyone has different charismas, so everyone must testify of God’s work and glory in his own work fields.
I’ve worked at Ming Pao Daily Newspapers for six years, and then I switched to work at television station. I like writing, and I consider the ways of communicating the truth of the matter very seriously, which is the first step in my work. Whether a person is a Christian or an average citizen, he has to understand the truth before being able to advance one step forward and search for the hidden values. That is why I have more burdens in the media field.
Q: Most people say that you are the opinion leader of the Chinese community. How do you view this role?
Ding: This society has developed to a point with many interest groups, but how can we overcome the promotion of self-benefits? In handling some hot issues, my comments lean towards the middle. Apostle Paul said that it is important to always bear a sober judgment, bringing out the truth. I believe that Christians should actively involve themselves in the community, such as helping the disadvantaged peoples and groups, poverty eradication, providing education, etc.
Many Buddhist organizations, such as Tzu Chi, have copied Christian methods to get involved in the society, but Christians, ironically, have drawn themselves away from the society. The Bible speaks of creation and salvation. In this process of salvation, are we able to experience and enjoy the beauty of God’s original creation? We often times only remember salvation, but creation is also very important. Are we able to view this world that God has created with a new set of eyes?
Also, I encourage Christians to get involved in the society.
Q: What kind of qualifications is required of a current events commentator?
Ding: I think a commentator should have a sense of righteousness. As a Christian, we have the advantages of looking at problems from the principles of righteousness.
(To the reporter’s discovery, Ding spends approximately three hours each day reading Chinese, English, and Japanese news media and books, so perhaps wide-ranging reading is also a critical qualification.)
Q: What is your favorite work? What kind of gospel-related work do you want to do in the future?
Ding: I haven’t done my favorite work till now, and that is to make the Gospel indigenous to the Chinese in mainland China. How can the Gospel be spread more effectively within China’s cultural context? How can the cultural barriers be broken down? I hope to write on this subject.
As for my work now, my current events commentaries are usually surrounding the problems that take place in Canada. Many new immigrants arrive here feeling very lost, because they don’t get involved nor have sufficient understandings. While past immigrants would cut off their roots, but as Asia’s economy prospers, many people would leave their belongings back there. And sometimes they want both sides, but end up losing them both. If they take are of one end, then they can contribute to the other side. This is what it means that God works for the good of those who love him. I will diligently seek to understand the politics here, neighboring relations, culture, and then I will share what I learned with them.
Apostle Paul said that he loves those of his own race. As for me, my own race is the Chinese, so I have a great burden for China. Right now, China’s development is situated in a crucial moment in history, and many people have differing opinions toward China, including the Christians. There are different viewpoints when analyzing China’s problems; some criticize and scold, but I look at China with love. Of course, I’ve lived in the West for a long time (he has immigrated to Canada for 20 years), so I would like to introduce what’s good here to China. My approach is more tolerant and loving, bringing the good there.
Although I do criticize, I will give a constructive suggestion, because God won’t destroy unconstructively, for He destroys in order to build up. His purpose of breaking down is for building up.
Meanwhile, I believe that because China is so big, the work that everyone does is only a portion within God’s giant map, so do not think that what you are doing is the only way to save China.
As for spreading the gospel, I believe that Christians should daily do the work of the gospel. If believers in the work fields can spread the gospel in their work, circle of friends, then the gospel can be widely proclaimed. Our generation is changing. I deeply believe that for the gospel to be spread to the ends of the earth, Chinese is the last baton receiver. In this case, even a million pastors wouldn’t be sufficient, so how important it is for every believer to utilize his God-given gifts and offer his best in his own position.
[Reporter Luke Leung translated this article.]