第19期 關於真理權威的加國華人教會兩代對談

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本刊活動‧採訪、資料整理:趙敏能、姚增智

日期:2007年8月9日晚上

地點:East Toronto Chinese Baptist Church

出席人士:

Rev. Alfred Lam (是次座談會主持人,以下簡稱『AL』)

Mr. Norman Young(多倫多東區華人浸信會英語信徒領袖,以下簡稱『NY』)

汪嘉翰牧師Rev. Ka Wong (安省Mosaic Baptist Church牧師,以下簡稱『KW』)

林榮洪博士(安省天道神學院教授,以下簡稱『林』)

李經寰牧師(多倫多中華福音宣道會主任牧師,以下簡稱『李』)

加拿大華人教會的代溝問題──Generation Gap in Canadian Chinese Churches

AL: We all agree that there are issues to be dealt with in the short history of North American Chinese church, e.g. generation gap.  On the other hand, we always try our best in dealing with these issues, e.g. by accommodating or inventing new ways of resolving the problems.  But as you look at this generation, it seems to me there is a gap that runs deeper than simply style of music, choice of instrument, or ministry strategy.  There seems to be something more fundamental in terms of how the next generation approaches faith.  First of all would you agree with that assessment?

KW:I would have to agree with you.  This present generation was born in a very different time than the times before.  They were born into a situation which Internet and YouTube etc. are popular.  The way they communicate is different than previous generations.  That perhaps is the fundamental difference.  We lack the knowledge and the know-how to understand them because we did not experience the things they have today.

林:青少年跟他們的父母非常不同,這兩代之間的不同稱之為代溝。這現象十分明顯,亦不能避免。若果他們是土生土長的華裔青年,而他們的父母都是從外地移民來的華僑,他們便會在雙重文化的氣氛下成長、生活、工作。一方面他們從父母學到一些中國文化的價值觀念、道德標準、處事方法等,但另一方面他們在西方主流文化社會成長、讀書、受教育、工作、在互聯網吸收資訊。在這些衝擊下,便會形成一種身份危機。

聖經權威的理解──The Notion of Biblical Authority

李:當我在教會裡與一班年輕的、或在神學院接受訓練的青年人溝通,發現了一個比較深層的問題,可能對華人教會有頗大的影響。我想,這是跟後現代主義及這時代思潮的趨勢有很密切的關係。這超過文化、身份的危機,超過以前兩代的代溝問題。當進入廿一世紀,後現代主義影響到人類生活的方式、思想的角度,以至教會神學的觀點。如果影響到神學觀點,一定會影響到下一代的傳道人,以至將影響帶到教會。那麼教會未來的數十年將會受到影響。

NY:          I think as I am supposed to be part of this younger generation, there are a couple of things that are worth highlighting.  One of them relates to the notion of authority   What does it mean for someone to be authoritative?  It seems to me that in my generation and younger, there is less automatic acceptance of authority.  You do not necessarily trust somebody because they are in the position of power.  Rather you trust someone because they have earned your trust.  The second aspect of this younger generation is the notion of community.  There is a very deep longing in my generation and after to really feel a sense of belonging.  We see this phenomenon in the online world   internet, social networking sites such as Facebook or Friendster, etc.  These are so critical to the lifestyle of this generation that people will spend hours on these technologies.

林:我相信這是反映後現代的那種意識了。我們那些從中國大陸、香港、台灣、東南亞來的華僑,在家庭當中權威的問題,本身就是一個被接受的事實,因此我們接受這一個觀點,但下一代卻完全拒絕。我相信這是後現代一個明顯的象徵。簡單來說,後現代是真理迷失,道德相對、價值真空,完全是以個人主義、個人抬頭的態度去面對人生。

NY: When it comes to respecting authority, I do not think it is a wanting disrespect of authority, i.e., it is unlike people rebelling against authority for its sake.  There is perhaps a sense of, if not cynicism, guarded skepticism about people in the position of authority.  When it comes to issues of morality and truth, my work experience with students in university fellowships has been that they are some of the deeply passionate people that I know of, and they have a deep craving for truth and for doing what is right.

KW:I tend to agree with Mr. Norman Young.  In terms of post-modernity, it is different in Chinese culture than in western culture.  It may be due to that Chinese culture has deeper connection in families and values, etc.  It is more of a rejection to how authority is defined and used, and how truth is presented and defined, and how morality is played out.  So it is the rejection of previous generation’s definition, use and application of authority and truth.  I think the younger generation, as I agreed with Mr. Norman Young, wants to seek the truth.

聖經真理的定義──The Definition of Biblical Truth

李:It may be just a matter of definition, e.g., how to define the truth.  May be we, and even the post-modern people pursue the truth, but what is and where is the truth?  As to my understanding, young people pursue truth, but they decide what is truth based on their desire.  “If I feel good, and I think it is right, that is right”, they said.  So they reject the objective truth, but only accept subjective truth.  It is a Me generation which started from the western world, and now everyone in the world is affected.   “I am the final say, I am the final arbiter”, they said.  However, in our faith and belief, God’s word is the final arbiter.

林:這就是後現代一個明顯的特色。李經寰牧師所說的十分對。後現代的特色是極端個人主義抬頭。他們否定一個客觀、絕對的真理存在,沒有共認的道德和真理標準,一切傳統的道德、價值、真理、原則完全不需要持守,而且全是所謂的『講人自講』,即自己講的一套便是對的,這就是後現代主義。這與《舊約聖經》中的士師時代相似,當時的以色列人中沒有上帝與他們同在,故此各人任意而行,完全照自己的意思辦事,亦不接受任何權威。因此關於兩代之間的代溝問題,從後現代的角度來看﹐讓我們看到情況越來越複雜,更出現一種解構的情況,很難重建。即使以教會生活幫助下一代青年人重建他們對真理的認識、道德的觀點、價值的觀念、權威的看法,亦需要花很多功夫。

KW:When I mentioned the definition of truth in our previous dialogue, the word “rejection” did not refer to the rejection of truth, but rather to the rejection of the definition of truth, and how to search for truth.  I emphasize that there is absolute truth.  The matter is how we define the truth to be.  Sometimes we have not given enough thoughts, and we are vulnerable to our younger generation and others who challenge us.  When I deal with university students, the most common question is that “Can I date a non-Christian?”  I still remember I pulled out the passage, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.”  But then when I looked back there was nothing called dating 2000 years ago.  We quoted the passage and said, “This is it and final.  That is God’s truth.”  The next generation tends to get confused, and they may reject the entire concept of truth, or even say “there is no truth”.

NY:          I think the difficulty the post modern generation has with the definition of absolute truth and objective truth is that they seem to have a strong sense of certainty.  When the post-modern ears listen to that strong sense of certainty, they have a sense of skepticism and ask, 的s that the only way of looking at it?   For this generation, what we are looking for is not relativism or relative truth, but a certain amount of humility and modesty when it comes to some particular interpretations of scripture.  We may tell them, 滴ow about this interpretation?  What do you think of this?  I am not going to say it is absolutely right, but I think it is a good one.  Let us have a conversation or dialogue about it.

林:NORMAN YOUNG所說的是另一個同後現代有十分密切關係的觀點,即各人有不同的看法和詮解的方式,正如我先前所說的『講人自講』一樣,關鍵是如何尋找到真理的確切性,從而知道孰是孰非。若然大家各持不同的觀點,並相信所有都是相對的而彼此尊重,那樣真理便迷糊了。NORMAN YOUNG提及一點關於青年人未必接受到一種客觀、絕對的真理,那麼我們如何,建立一客觀真理的標準,抑或是不可能建立的呢?這是一個很重要的問題。如果這一代的青年人完全浸淫於後現代的意識當中,那麼我們如何突破這困局,幫助他們回到神在《聖經》內對我們的啟示,作為在信仰和道德上最終及至高的標準,值得我們一生去持守的呢?我相信這是問題核心的所在。

解釋聖經真理的權威──The Authority of Interpreting the Bible

AL: In the church situation, is it true that this generation of post-modern Christians do not object the idea of truth, but rather question who is qualified to define that this interpretation of scripture is the objective and ultimate truth?  How does this affect the way we teach and preach the Bible every Sunday?

KW:Jesus said, “I am the truth”.  Therefore, we need to study Jesus, read Him, see what He is all about, and try to make connections with Him.  I do find that reading the whole Bible as a narrative rather than just picking a verse and studying it helps people understand the whole story of God and Jesus.  The good thing about this post-modern culture is that it forces us as Bible teachers or preachers to get them read more on Bible.

NY: I read a paper by N.T. Wright, and it was called 滴ow can the Bible be authoritative?   He has an interesting way of looking at it.  He broke up the Bible, which you can think of it as a grand play or story, into six acts.  These six acts basically give you the six sections of this story.  Act 1 is creation.  Act 2 is fall.  Act 3 is Israel.  Act 4 is Jesus, and the New Testament began.  Act 5 is the Holy Spirit and us.  Act 6 is Jesus  second coming, and the eschatological aspects of things.  N.T. Wright suggested that in Act 5 we do not necessarily have a script anymore, i.e. we do not have a script that we can read and perform accordingly.  Instead, he said that we need to improvise like a Jazz musician does.  But do we improvise in a completely arbitrary way?  No, because the director of the play is the Holy Spirit.  In terms of what prevents us from doing whatever we want, we have to look at what came before in Acts 1- 4, and what follows in Act 6.  In that sense the story is authoritative in our lives.  It has the authority to modify our behaviour, i.e., the things we do and do not do.  For me, this analogy of this grand Biblical story being a six-act play was tremendously useful to me.

林:當社會人士否定真理的存在,我們當如何在教會中及講壇上傳揚真理呢?我相信大家的責任一定不是隨波逐流,乃是要作中流砥柱。世人不接受權威,否定真理的客觀性,否定道德的標準,推翻任何的價值,我們的責任就是要肯定《聖經》是權威的經典,是上帝的說話。因此,福音派的教會需要傳講的乃是神的主權、基督為中心的信仰、及《聖經》的權威。而前兩點都是從《聖經》中得來的。因此若將《聖經》挪去,我們便沒有信息可以傳揚,只任憑各人各自表述,卻不接受《聖經》的立場。故此我們要思想如何向後現代人,重新宣告《聖經》是神話語的權威。

李:在現今世代,有人強調《聖經》是記敘文,可以讓信徒看錄像帶,然後由他們自己思想,對此我卻不同意。因為就算是耶穌基督的時代,當耶穌講道完畢後,門徒依然不明白祂的話。然後,耶穌在屋內跟門徒及來到祂面前的人,解釋祂的教訓、比喻。所以,《聖經》不單將其故事表現出來,還有一部份是我們需要解釋的。至於解釋《聖經》方面,下一代提醒了我們作為傳道人的需要謙卑,正如《聖經‧詩篇》第119篇第18節所說:『求你開我的眼睛,使我看出你律法中的奇妙。』如果沒有聖靈給我的屬靈洞見,我可能只看到《聖經》字面上的解釋,看不到《聖經》中神的心意。我亦嘗試明白後現代人的感覺,當我們傳講真理的時候,如何向後現代人客觀地解釋神的真理?我們每一次傳講的真理都是神的話語,都是帶著權威的,但是否可以以不變的真理為內涵,而在其表達的形式上變化,使後現代人較易吸收?

向這時代的人傳福音──Evangelizing Among This Generation

KW:I have to say I received theological education in a traditional seminary and was taught on different assumptions  and doctrines, etc.  But somehow, when I pastor and get in touch with people, I found it difficult to connect my knowledge to the world that I minister in.  For example, once I talked to a group of university students about evangelism.  I asked them to use the “Bridge” or the Four Spiritual Laws technique to evangelize to other people.  Afterward, I asked them, “What happened?”  They said that the whole notion of that message somehow just did not connect to people.  I realized that there may be something that has been over-emphasized to the extent that we neglected some other issues of the Bible.  For example, what is salvation?  You go back to the Bible and you asked what salvation was to the Jews in Egypt.  They might think that salvation was about getting out of being slaves.  If you asked the same question to the Jews in exile, they might think it was about rebuilding the city of Jerusalem.  Their understanding of salvation was different already.  To us, salvation is about Jesus, who died on the cross so that we have a new relationship with God, and our souls are saved.  So usually we were just taught one way, and we did not have room to reflect what salvation really is.

李:我有些不同的看法。像剛才REV KA WONG所講的,以色列人對救恩的認識當然是與我們所理解耶穌基督釘十字架、復活的理解有所不同。這啟示的漸進過程大家也是明白的。當耶穌基督降生、受難、復活,救恩完成之後,我們開始有一個清晰的圖畫,明白救恩的定義。正如《哥林多前書》十五章保羅說,他所領受的福音是,第一,耶穌基督為我們的罪死了及復活,因此對福音的定義非常清楚,是無庸至疑的。至於《屬靈四定律》,它不是《聖經》,而是傳福音的工具。這本福音小冊子對某一類人士可能非常有效。但對不同的人,在不同的環境,例如對今天的大學生,是否仍要用《屬靈四定律》呢?我不會堅持必須用《屬靈四定律》,因為它不是《聖經》,乃是傳福音的一個途徑。我們可以從他們在生活上所遇到的事情入手,慢慢進入《屬靈四定律》所提到的幾件事:神有美好計劃,人離開上帝,神如何預備救恩,我們如何才能開展新的人生。這基本的四件事,我們可以將它重新包裝,讓他們在各自的處境中更明白福音。

NY: I think when it comes to the Four Spiritual Laws, it is true that it is an evangelistic tool.  But it also implicitly says about our fundamental understanding of the gospel as well.  We probably agree that the Four Spiritual Laws, in terms of the basic ideas and concepts and scriptures quoted, is fair and true.  When it comes to the understanding of the gospel, I am wondering if this understanding of the gospel is complete.  For me I have grown up in a context in which we were very comfortable reading Paul痴 letters.  We do very well in Paul痴 letters.  But for some reason when we get to the synoptic gospels, i.e., Matthew, Mark and Luke, we have more difficulty with them.  This is my experience, and I am not sure whether it is true for others or not.  We have difficulty with them in a sense that they are not quite as didactic as some of the letters of Paul are.  They are more narrative and story oriented.  Some of them are metaphors and parables, e.g., the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.  My hypothesis is that when we get to the gospel, especially when we encounter a narrative or metaphor, we do not necessarily know exactly what to do with it.

李:I would like to propose an idea.  Regarding the gospel, we may see it as a series of concentric circles.  The kernel circle is Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and He was resurrected and gives us new life.  We must repent and return to God.  This is the kernel, the core value of gospel.  Then for the second and third circles we may extend to healing, caring, and social conscience, etc.  It may affect to every aspect of individual life and holistic social life.  But we must uphold the core value and kernel significance of gospel. 

林:我想對如何有效地向後現代人傳講福音這個問題作一些回應。扼要的來說,第一方面,我們需要向後現代人士指出,後現代人這種極端的個人主義是一個困局,並沒有出路。他們必須打破這一種意識,否則將找不到人生的出路和答案。第二方面,後現代人概然否認權威,那麼我們沒有辦法跟他們傳講《聖經》的真理,故此我們應該幫助他們肯定《聖經》就是真理。至於如何幫助後現代人接受《聖經》就是真理這個前設,乃是辯道學和護教學的工作。第三方面,若後現代人接受《聖經》是神的話語,那麼應該如何詮解《聖經》的真理?後現代人『講人自講』,但如果《聖經》有一信息要給這世代的人,我們就必須藉著不同的學者,以及釋經的工作,對《新、舊約聖經》作一個、甚至兩個比較整全、合理、值得人們考慮並接受的詮解。第四方面,當我們傳遞《聖經》的真理時,理論和實踐是要彼此結合。對後現代人傳講福音,基督徒和教會必須在實踐方面多下工夫。因為後現代人很強調群體性和實踐性,我們不能固步自封,而是需要向這後現代群體作有效的見證。實踐真理是對我們的一個挑戰,以致我們能引起後現代人對福音的興趣,願意考慮基督教信仰的可靠性和真實性。

AL: Tonight’s dialogue is encouraging and much needed in our Chinese churches.  I also found it to be troubling because as I listened to the four panelists here, it becomes apparent to me that we have different opinions on, for example, what is the current post-modern thought about authority.  There are big differences in terms of what we see is happening.  This reaffirms to me that there needs to be more dialogue in the future.