關於我們的文化價值觀

 

         目前西方國家正在經歷快速的文化衰落,因為先進思想的意識形態,導致許多美國教會透過現代化的努力而失去了他們的文化遺產;我們教會最顯著的特點是強盛的中華古典基督教文化,滲透了我們的社群和崇拜的風格。作為世界上最古老的文明之一,華人社會主導世界人口的數字會說話並不奇怪,地球上20%或五分之一的人口是華人。估計華人社會有13億人,它跨越中國大陸的國際邊界,包含在台灣、印尼、馬來西亞、新加坡、和其他國家等顯著規模的人口。在這人口數上,在中國將有越來越多的基督徒,很快地數目會超越世界上其他的國家,使這個國家民族擁有同世代中最多的基督徒人口。基於這個結果,我們要感謝像戴德生這樣的傳教士們,和無數曾致力傳福音給我們祖先的先烈們。

        在巴梳華人浸信會,聖經是我們信念的基礎,因此,我們歡喜以我們的文化遺產為一種崇拜。保羅在哥林多前書第10章31節寫道:“所以你們或吃或喝,無論作什麼,都要為榮耀   神而行。” 因此,生活的每方面都是以取悅    神為目的,這也可以包括文化傳統。同樣的,在以弗所書第6章第4節,保羅指示父親們根據“耶和華的紀律”來教養他們的孩子,翻譯成“紀律”的這個詞,原是希臘語 paideia,這在古希臘語包含教育孩子適應文化以成為理想的公民;因此,當保羅在教導基督教世界觀中,推崇文化作為精神成長的一個重要因素。最後,使徒也針對審美觀寫下,“弟兄們,我還有未盡的話,凡是真實的,可敬的,公義的,清潔的,可愛的,有美名的;若有甚麼德行,若有什麼稱讚,這些事你們都要思念。”(腓立比書4:8)。當然,這也包括一個良好文化的美麗與高貴。

        聖經中有要求以文化來做敬拜,這在    神的話語中是無可爭議的-即使耶穌也參與祂的猶太文化和節慶。文化,正確的理解,是提高生活的品質,也是上帝給人們歡樂的祝福。那麼,我們如何在教會中保存中華文化呢?蒙    神恩典,我們盡我們所能的朝這目標邁進,以榮耀 神的方式來慶祝中國特色的節日和文化的藝術。我們執著於中國傳統與聖經真理的協調;我們每週的聚會,包含有正宗中國菜的團契午餐(參見使徒行傳2:42);我們經常教語言和習俗給我們的孩子、和每一位想加入活力聖徒社群的非華裔成年人;在一些特殊的場合,我們教會的成員會穿著傳統服飾,並且我們建築的裝飾具有鮮明的東方色彩,因此,走進我們的教堂建築,給人感覺就像走進在台北、香港、上海、或北京的任何一座文化藝術中心一樣;更重要的是,我們週日的敬拜服務,包含了宣告    神至高無上地位的中國古典禮儀,我們唱的經久不衰的讚美詩,是詩人以基督教神學填的詞和天才作曲家譜曲,使    神透過我們所做卓越的一切事上得榮耀。

 

 Regarding Our Cultural Values

 

     Whereas the western world is currently undergoing a rapid cultural decline due to progressive ideology, and as this ideology causes many American churches to lose their cultural heritage through modernization efforts, the most noticeable characteristic of our church is the robust Chinese and classical Christian culture which permeates our style of worship and community. Being one of the oldest civilizations in the world, it is not surprising that Chinese society dominates the world population numerically speaking. One in every five persons is Chinese, or 20% of people on earth. Chinese society is estimated to be over 1.3 billion people, and it crosses over international borders beyond mainland China to include populations of significant sizes in Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and other countries. Within this demographic, the growing number of Christians in China will soon outnumber the rest of the world making this country the nation with the largest Christian population within a generation. In consequence of this we are grateful for missionaries like Hudson Taylor and countless Chinese martyrs who worked to spread the gospel among our ancestors.

     At the El Paso Chinese Baptist Church the Bible is the foundation for our beliefs, and we therefore rejoice in our cultural heritage as an act of worship. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Hence every aspect of living is for the purpose of pleasing Him, and this can include cultural traditions. Likewise, in Ephesians 6:4 Paul instructed fathers to raise their children according to the “discipline of the Lord.” The word translated as “discipline” is the Greek word paideia, which in ancient Greek language involved educating children by enculturating them to become ideal citizens. Thus Paul esteemed culture as taught within the Christian worldview as a vital element of spiritual growth. Lastly, this Apostle also wrote regarding aesthetic value, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Surely this includes the beauty and nobility of a virtuous culture.

     That there is a Scriptural mandate for using culture in a manner for worship is beyond dispute in the word of God--even Jesus partook of His Jewish culture and celebrated holidays. Culture, when understood correctly, enhances quality of life and is a blessing from God for human pleasure. So how do we conserve Chinese culture at our church? By God’s grace we do all we can toward this goal. We celebrate distinctive Chinese holidays and cultural arts in ways that honor God. We cling to Chinese traditions which harmonize with the truths of Scripture. Our weekly gatherings include a fellowship meal of authentic Chinese food (cf. Acts 2:42), and we regularly teach the language and customs to our children and non-ethnic adults who desire to be part of our vibrant community of saints. On special occasions members of our church will dress in traditional apparel, and our building’s décor is distinctly oriental. Wherefore, the experience of walking into our church building feels much the same as walking into any cultural arts center in Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, or Beijing. Most importantly our Sunday service includes a classical Chinese liturgy which proclaims the supremacy of God, and we sing the enduring hymns of sound Christian theology from lyricists and composers of superb intellects, so that God would be glorified through excellence in everything we do.

© 2014 by El Paso Chinese Baptist Church 巴 梳 華 人 浸 信 會.  All Rights Reserved.

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