Category: Back to the Bible

READING THE BIBLE FROM THE MARGINS

Written by Winnie Fung (Board Member of CEDAR Fund, Academic Head of Lumina College) Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy… Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work… Deuteronomy 5:12-14 When you read this passage, what jumps out? Many of us may answer: the seventh day is meant for rest. However, for the impoverished, it may be the opposite. Justo L. González, in his book Santa Biblia: The Bible Through Hispanic Eyes, shares about a pastor who, when preaching this passage, asked his poor and urban congregation: How many of you were able to work

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Reconciliation towards an Authentic Community

Written by: Bernard Wong (Assistant Professor (Theological Studies) and Associate Dean of China Graduate School of Theology, Board Member of CEDAR Fund) Scripture reading: Revelation 7:9-12 Genesis described the diverse and rich world God created, and the future will be even more abundant. The apostle John was shown a vision concerning Christ’s second coming, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…” (Revelation 7:9) From the beginning of the world, God commanded human beings to be fruitful and increase in number, giving rise to different nationalities and languages. The eschatological vision brings us several

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The Real Meaning Behind “Seventy-Seven Times”

Written by: Bernard Wong (Assistant Professor (Theological Studies) and Associate Dean of China Graduate School of Theology, Board Member of CEDAR Fund) If a Christian has been wronged, other believers often encourage her to offer forgiveness immediately, for Jesus teaches us to “forgive a brother seventy-seven times.” We may think that a good Christian should endure unfair treatment, and ought to be forgiving under all circumstances. Did Jesus really mean that? “Seventy-seven times” is Jesus’ response to Peter’s question – “How many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?”(Matt 18:21-22) However, in the previous passage, Jesus had just discussed the situation of “if your brother sins against you”. Therefore, “seventy-seven times” must be

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Listen to the Cries of the Oppressed

Written by Tony Chan (Senior Partnership Development Officer) “During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.” (Exodus 2:23) The old Pharaoh promised to the prime minister Joseph that Joseph would take his father’s family to live in Egypt and live in the “best part of the land” (Genesis 47:6), the region of Goshen. Jacob, the ancestor of the Israelites, was able to reunite with his son Joseph and escape the famine with his family, so he seized the opportunity and moved to Egypt with his family of 70 members. Over the years, Jacob’s family and

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Serving Beyond Your Ability

Written by: Raymond Kwong (Chief Executive) Over the past nearly 30 years, CEDAR has participated in over 100 relief campaigns and the most touching thing for us is seeing the disaster-stricken victims help each other. They do not worry about what will happen to them next, instead, they make every endeavour to help those around them. Even though they barely have enough for themselves, they still try to help others, which is not an easy thing to do. This spirit of selflessness is a grace from God. In the Bible, the Macedonian churches are an exemplar of selflessness. In 2 Corinthians 8, the apostle Paul described how the Macedonian churches served the poor Christian believers in Jerusalem. Back

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A Spiritual Response to Structural Oppression: Paul’s Reminder

Written by: Professor Ip Hon Ho Alex (Assistant Professor, Divinity School of Chung Chi College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong) The economy of the Roman Empire was founded upon oppression and exploitation. In the early period, one third of the Empire’s population were slaves; while another third were freed slaves. There were also many people who owned no land and served no masters. These people were often employed as casual workers or day labourers. To put it simply, the relatively high economic growth during the early period of the Roman Empire was a result of exploiting manual labourers who did not have much power to fight for their own interests. However, structural evil did not arise from

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Caring for God’s Creation and Discipleship Training

Written by: Raymond Kwong (Chief Executive) Mankind is unique in God’s creation because we have been made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). We are living beings (Genesis 2:7) and we have been granted stewardship to take care of all other forms of creation (Genesis 1:28-29; 2:15). These are mankind’s intended identities. Unfortunately, when sin enters the world, these identities are distorted. Our stewardship has been altered beyond recognition. Mankind’s role has morphed from stewards of God’s creation into owners, or even exploiters. God’s creation should have received mankind’s love and care, but now it has become an instrument for personal gain. This simply goes against God’s intention in Creation! Jesus Christ’s salvation is to enable mankind

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The Trap of Discrimination in Poverty Alleviation

Written by: Wance Kwan (Assistant Professor [Practical Studies], China Graduate School of Theology) “If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:3-4) If you are one of the few in your church who are involved in poverty alleviation work, you may be angry with the snobs in the scripture above. You might probably think that you would never be like them. However, have you ever thought that always putting the poor at the receiving end can also

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Resurrection and Integral Mission

Written by: Au Bing Chung (Lecturer at the Christian Ministry Institute) Resurrection is an eschatological idea, and Integral Mission addresses the responsibility and stewardship of Christians living on earth. Although there seems to be no apparent connection between the two, the eschatological view of Christians will affect how they interpret their missions. For instance, if a person believes that the world will be in ultimate destruction at the end days, he will put less effort in constructing a world that will be wiped out eventually. On the other hand, if the believers anticipate a forthcoming new world that is connected to and evolved from the present world, they will somehow attend to the world’s development and conservation. Paul

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Whose Neighbours Do I Want to Become?

Written by: The Reverend Anders Chan Ming-chuen (Board Member of CEDAR, Associate Senior Pastor of Mongkok Baptist Church) The parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 is a well-known passage of scripture. An expert in the law asked Jesus to provide an objective definition for the word “neighbour”, but his real intention was to justify his xenophobic point of view – there were people whom he did not have the obligation to love (to him, “neighbour” probably only referred to other Jews). This reflected the sense of national superiority of the expert in the law and his moral values. Even though the Jews did not have their own country at the time, they still prided themselves in

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