Taiwan Urged to Surpass All Barriers for Christ and to Preserve a National Identity

Nov 16, 2002 03:00 AM EST

The Rev. Dr. C. S. Song, current president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and a promoter of Taiwan's self determination for 40 years, was the speaker when East Gate Presbyterian Church in Tainan City celebrated its 100th anniversary on November 10th. His sermon was entitled, "Sing a New Song Unto The Lord."

Dr. Song used the text from Psalm 96 to look at the nature and legacy of the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. and the opprobrium with which many people of Arab ethnicity view the United States. "Part of the hatred," he said, "stems from the Arab perception of the United States as a Christian nation. American missionaries have preached that only Christians will be admitted to heaven, and have consigned believers of all other religions to hell. But Arabs understand themselves as descendants of Abraham, must they be condemned forever to hell? This type of mission style had engendered enmity opposition and vengeance in many hearts, and contributed to the events of September 11th. Terrorism is the outworking of ill fortune. This is clearly seen in the car and suicide bombings that occur in Israel."

Dr. Song berated that the early Christian missionaries to Taiwan equated the veneration of ancestors with the worship of idols. Such act had created a situation where many who thought to become Christians hesitated. It set up many psychological barriers to faith. The Taiwanese people venerate their ancestors, they memorialize them, but these practices are not the same as worship of idols.

Based on this foundation, Dr. Song asserted that celebrating the 100th anniversary of East Gate Church should not just mean holding a ceremony or redecorating the building. The mission proclamation style and the hearts of the members must be renewed. In the name of Christ, the psychological barriers to faith must be stormed and taken out, that all might accept the salvation available in Jesus Christ and become reconciled to God.

His final summons was to the citizens of Taiwan to select a new mayor who could work for the renewal of the city. When voters go to the polls in Taiwan's next presidential election in 2004 Song urged not to opt for a Taiwan unified with China, assimilated by China, and eventually formed into a province of China. They should opt for the legacy of their ancestors who walked their own road.

He declared: if not, the established democracy, freedom and independence of Taiwan will become an evanescent reality and the "New Song" will become a lost echo.

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By Albert Lee