ministry in the traditional ethnic Chinese church

Date: Wed, 17 Sep 1997 01:21:03 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: All Labels all that helpful?

In a message dated 97-09-16 09:01:49 EDT, you write:


I believe what he was asking was whether most of the political posts on this
mailing list is of the liberal persuasion not that CAC is a liberal list. To
this I would have to agree from regularly reading the posts. Despite being
more conservative in my views, I find many of the posts educational and would
say this leaning is neither good nor bad.

To give Rev. Lew the benefit of the doubt, he could have been curious about
why the one-sidedness of the postings at times. On the negative side, he
could have been labeling, as you say, to which I would agree is not very
productive. As you concluded, we are Christians first and I for one would
like to see more discussion based on Biblical principles and much less of
writing off people’s views as right-wing politics or liberal propaganda.

Regards, DC

— End —

Date: Wed, 17 Sep 1997 02:11:39 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: ANNOUNCE: Work. Gp. on Asian Americans & Religion

FYI, Tim

================= ANNOUNCEMENT =======================

UC Berkeley
Townsend Center for the Humanities

Working Group on

We are pleased to announce that the Working Group on Asian Americans and
Religion has once again received generous support from the Townsend Center.

For the 1997-98 academic year, it is the working group’s aim to highlight
new scholarship and research being conducted in this interdisciplinary
field both locally and in other parts of the country. The working group
arena provides an informal and relaxed, yet stimulating environment in
which to share and get valuable feedback on one’s work.

If you have a paper or project focusing on Asian Americans and religion
you would like to present, we are eager to hear from you….

Carolyn Chen (
Jane Naomi Iwamura (
Russell Jeung (
Young Mi Angela Pak (

Rev. Dr. Timothy Tseng
Sallie Knowles Crozer Assistant Professor of American Religious History
Colgate-Rochester Divinity School
1100 South Goodman Street
Rochester, NY 14620
OFF: (716) 271-1320, ext. 260
FAX: (716) 271-8013

— End —

Date: Wed, 17 Sep 1997 02:13:11 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: ARTICLE: Religious Heads Urge Visa Extension


See attached, FYI. – Tim

Religious Heads Urge Visa Extension
The Associated Press, Friday, September 12, 1997

By Darlene Superville
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Religious leaders urged a Senate committee Friday to
renew an immigration law that makes visas available so religious workers
from other countries can work in the United States. Mother Teresa, in a
letter written just weeks before her death, implored “help us and our

Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Mich., chairman of Senate Judiciary immigration
subcommittee, released the letter at a hearing of his panel and said he
planned to introduce legislation that would make permanent the religious
workers provisions of federal immigration law.

He said he was swayed on the issue by Mother Teresa, who wrote in her
letter: “Please, help us and our poor by extending this law.”

Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit said the program is critical “not only for
religious denominations and organizations who make use of it, but also for
the individuals and communities we serve.”

Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Patrick Leahy,
D-Vt., have agreed to be co-sponsors of his bill, Abraham said.

The Immigration Act of 1990 set aside 10,000 visas per year for “special
immigrants,” with up to 5,000 of them available to religious ministers. The
remaining 5,000 could be awarded to qualified individuals working for
religious organizations outside the United States.

The law has permitted nuns, brothers, cantors, lay preachers, religious
instructors and counselors, missionaries and others to live and work in this
country at the request U.S.-based religious organizations.

David Grunblatt, chairman of the immigration subcommittee of Agudath Israel
of America, a national organization of Orthodox Jews, urged the panel to
refrain from imposing additional restrictions on the workers.

He said House lawmakers were considering extending the law for three
additional years and including income and other restrictions, such as
requiring that workers belong to their denominations for five years before
qualifying for a visa. The current membership requirement is two years.

“We must not shut the doors, certainly to those who helped to enrich us so
much spiritually and culturally,” Grunblatt said.

Rev. Dr. Timothy Tseng
Sallie Knowles Crozer Assistant Professor of American Religious History
Colgate-Rochester Divinity School
1100 South Goodman Street
Rochester, NY 14620
OFF: (716) 271-1320, ext. 260
FAX: (716) 271-8013

— End —

Date: Wed, 17 Sep 1997 02:13:15 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Re: CAC_Mail: All Labels all that helpful?

Hi Garrick and Sze-kar:

Amen to both of you! The hopes of “one bloodism” and “the beloved community”
must never yield to tribalism.

Yet, something still nags me about these statements. It is utopian to assert
that we are Christians or members of a universal human race without first
taking seriously the socio-historical consequences of our particularities
(i.e., the way we divide ourselves up along denominational-theological and
racial lines). I see few examples of “evangelicals” and “liberals” or
homosexual Christians ignoring their particularities in order to live out the
assertion that they are Christians first. I see few examples of groups
behaving as if their race played second fiddle to their common humanity.
Instead, what I see are tactics whereby one group with power defines
another group as less-than Christian or less-than human in order to justify
expulsion or self-segregation. And if one happens to be a member of a group
so-defined, all talk about the essential unity of humanity and Christianity
sound like mere platitudes.

This, of course, leads back to the question I raised about Sze-kar’s biblical
tour-de-force regarding PK. If Scripture points to an eschatological vision
where all our differences are dissolved into oneness in Christ, what recourse
and resource do those who are defined as less than Christian or human have in
the world today? The problem for me is NOT the Bible. Rather, it is trying
to find resources from Scripture to critique the idolatry of placing our
version of Christianity or our race on top of the heap and defining others as
“less than” us (Eric Erickson called this “pseudo-speciation”). Any

In Christ,

In a message dated 9/16/97 12:25:05 PM, you wrote:

<<In a message dated 97-09-16 09:01:49 EDT, (Sze-kar Wan)


Amen Sze-kar!

And I hope we all remember that we are members of the race of “human”, before
we are “Asians”. >>

— End —

Date: Wed, 17 Sep 1997 02:13:36 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: NEWS: dissension in the Dobson camp?

Hi Clarence:

Good to hear from you. Congrats on your new role as large-group coordinator
– reminds me of my days in a similar role at NYU’s Chinese Christian
Fellowship many, many moons ago.

Here are some thoughts (they may not be useful):

1. Would an Asian American awareness event be open to the entire Wheaton
community? If it is, be prepared for some criticism regardless of how tame
you may have designed to program. Many feel threatened by anyone lifting up
their racial identities.

2. If you invite some well-respected Asian American scholar to speak [I
recommend people like Gary Okihiro (Cornell) or Him Mark Lai (US San
Francisco) or Judy Yung (UC Santa Cruz) who are more sympathetic or
respectful of Christianity], be sure to explain to them Wheaton’s context
very clearly. Sometimes I bang my head against the wall trying to explain to
Asian Americanists why being an Asian Christian is not an oxymoron.

3. Better yet, invite Asian American Christian scholars or preachers
familiar with Asian American studies to preach, lecture, or lead a workshop.
It will be good to give them this type of exposure. As Ken Fong shared
earlier, if we don’t nurture, mentor, and recognize our future leaders now,
they won’t be recognized by mainstream society tomorrow. (This raises
another pet peeve of mine: why certain Asian Christian conferences tend NOT
to invite Asian speakers) This doesn’t only apply to ministers, but also to
seminary and college professors who often feel isolated and unsupported by
their fellow Asian American Christians. I won’t embarrass them publically on
this list, but email me privately and I’ll give you the names of some Asian
American Christian scholars.

4. Contact Asian American Christian Fellowship for resources and
suggestions. You may also want to connect with the many quality Asian
American InterVarsity Christian Fellowship staff (many are in Chicagoland)
who have their ears to the ground with regards to Asian American concerns.
[I’m terribly biased, but I really like AACF and IVCF – two of the most
sensitive and sensible campus ministries around]

5. Invite Michael Chang to speak and give **free** tennis lessons.

6. Something really different: bring the many Asian Americans who have found
niches in mainline Protestant seminaries. Though most are not evangelicals,
it might be interesting to get their take.

7. Show movies that focus on the Asian American experience [Joy Luck Club
probably won’t work – too much of a tear jerker] and discuss Christian
responses. I like “Eat a Bowl of Tea” and a few others. I don’t have their
addresses with me at the moment, but I can connect you to some Asian American
film companies.

8. The Asian American Book of the Month Club: Gosh, with all the novels
written by Asian Americans these days, how can we ignore them? It will be
quite an experience to give Christian reflection on Asian American

9. Agitate for a full time, tenure (or tenure-track) Asian Americanist
faculty and department or program. At the very least, ask for courses about
the Asian American experience. The argument: we need to have a place where
Christian Asian Americanists can provide their perspectives in the field of
Asian American studies dominated by persons dismissive or antagonistic to

Now for some topics:

– 50 reasons why we need to understand our Asian American identities
– Asian Americans, Affirmative Action, and God
– So you think you’re a model minority?
– Hey! Where are the Asian faces in Christian history?
– The Zen of Asian American Theology
– Confucius and Christ: Friend or Foe?
– What ever happened to Connie Chung? (topic about Asian American women)
– The Musicology of Wes Terasaki
– The Gospel Beyond Black and White
– Why Asian American women don’t marry Asian American men (uh oh)
– Racial “Wreck”-conciliation or Reconciliation: the Asian American
perspective (okay, no mas)

It will be difficult to bring together worship and awareness. The moment one
brings up Asian American awareness, a statement is being made which goes
against the grain of the often unspoken belief that we should check our
particular identities at the door before we enter worship. But I admire your
willingness to take a stab at it!

All the best and God bless you in your endeavors!

In Christ,
Tim Tseng

In a message dated 9/16/97 2:43:32 AM, you wrote:


Rev. Dr. Timothy Tseng
Sallie Knowles Crozer Assistant Professor of American Religious History
Colgate-Rochester Divinity School
1100 South Goodman Street
Rochester, NY 14620
OFF: (716) 271-1320, ext. 260
FAX: (716) 271-8013

— End —

Date: Wed, 17 Sep 1997 02:56:39 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors


I want to echo the statements regarding the need for mentoring and nurturing
by fellow ABC ministers. I also wonder whether denominations with relatively
strong Asian American constituencies can provide support for younger
ministers so that they can have the staying power for the long haul. I know
that had God not given me the calling to teach, I would have found many Asian
and non-Asian mentors within my denomination (and I know they would have
gladly helped me through difficult times).

No hard facts, but I wonder whether ABC pastors drop out …

1. because they’ve been “miseducated” in American seminaries where the Asian
and Asian American context is ignored. Is there a need for more Asian
American seminary professors who are willing to take seminarians under their
wings and support them? [yes, yes, a very self-serving question]

2. because after so many years as second on the pastoral staff totem pool,
they need outlets to express their ambitions – but cannot find it in socially
marginalized Chinese congregations. In general, I find that most people who
aspire to ministry are rather ambitious and enjoy being in leadership (at
least initially). IMHO, this is not a bad thing so long as Christian leaders
are courageous, ethical, and display servant leadership. But given the fact
that most Chinese churches are independent, there are few opportunities for
young ministers to find their potential beyond the local church (I’m not
suggesting that local church ministry is somehow less important – just that
many ministers I know get frustrated when their world is limited to the local
church). Perhaps one can compare drop out rates with degree of participation
in denominational structure.

So what to do? Unless 2-4 generation Chinese Christians consciously stay in
and help grow Chinese or Asian congregations, it doesn’t appear likely that
there will be as many openings for ABCs in the future – unless many non-Asian
congregations suddenly open their pulpits to Chinese ministers. Unless
Chinese American Christians begin to articulate an Asian American
consciousness, there will be no rationale for staying in English-speaking
Chinese (or Asian) congregations. Unless Asian American consciousness is
legitimized by ABC ministers and not dismissed as being political, they will
have no theological basis for race-specific ministries. Practicality aside,
it looks like we have to be race conscious (playing the race card?) if we are
to find futures for ABC ministers. – Tim

In a message dated 9/16/97 5:38:53 AM, you wrote:


Rev. Dr. Timothy Tseng
Sallie Knowles Crozer Assistant Professor of American Religious History
Colgate-Rochester Divinity School
1100 South Goodman Street
Rochester, NY 14620
OFF: (716) 271-1320, ext. 260
FAX: (716) 271-8013

— End —

Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: All Labels all that helpful?
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 1997 12:40:16 EDT

On Wed, 17 Sep 1997 02:13:15 -0400 (EDT) writes:
>Hi Garrick and Sze-kar:
> …The problem for me is NOT the Bible. Rather, it is trying
>to find resources from Scripture to critique the idolatry of placing
>our version of Christianity or our race on top of the heap and defining
>others as “less than” us (Eric Erickson called this
“pseudo-speciation”). Any

Tim, Sze-Kar, Garrick, et. al.:

Unlike for Tim, until someone can clarify the ff., the Bible IS a
problem. I touched on this issue earlier in asking about Jesus’
Jewishness, ie. his own racial identity. For example, he retains it and
he differentiates it sharply from ‘pagans’ (‘Gentiles’, ‘the Nations’
hence non-Jews), in the Sermon on the Mount:

Matt. 5:46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are
not even the tax collectors doing that?
47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than
others? Do not even pagans do that?
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matt. 6:7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for
they think they will be heard because of their many words.
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you
ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed
be your name,
Matt. 6:31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall
we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father
knows that you need them.
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these
things will be given to you as well.

Again, in these verses, Jesus is sharply criticizing Gentiles and saying
to his Jewish audience ‘don’t be like them!’. Them is us, I think 🙂

So, if the foregoing is accurate perception, what do you make it in the
context of dissolving racial identities in the New Creation Jesus
forged/es? In the ‘beloved community’?

I could ask similar questions about Paul’s identity. Feel free to refer
to him. I don’t think I’m asking indirectly about the role of Israel in
prophecy (in the sense of Romans 11, ff.) but basically about our (new,
current) human identity starting with, Did Jesus lose his somewhere? Is
he a Jewish man (still)? What happened to him (and/or Paul) race-wise
relative to the New Creation?

fyi: You gentlemen can probably tell from this that I’m Swedish, not
Jewish or Chinese—help!!! 🙂

Your Brother in the New Creation, G

— End —

Date: Wed, 17 Sep 1997 12:43:39 -0400
From: Sze-kar Wan
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Are Labels all that helpful?

Dear Garrick and Tim:

I think my statement, “I hope we are Christians first before we are
‘evangelicals,’ ‘pentacostals,’ ‘liberals,’ etc.,” has been
misunderstood. I was writing in the context of Asian-American
Christianity, in which labels like “evangelical,” “liberal,”
“pentacostal,” ought not be privilieged over against “Asian-American.”

This is not mixing categories, bc for me the so-called “theological”
labels are in fact socio-political ones. German conservative
theologians are adamant that they are not “evangelicals.” Even tho they
share much theological affinities across the Atlantic, the “evangelical”
tag carries too much North American baggage for their German shoulders.
Same goes, mutatis mutandis, for “pentacostal,” “liberal,” etc.

Rather than flattening all specifics into a featureless, abstract
“Chrstianity” (as if it were possible), I am advocating deeper
reflection on what it means to be Asian-American Christians. While I
would still privilege “Christian” over “Asian-American,” I would not,
and indeed could not, leave out the latter. A theology of the cross
stands in judgment of all relative, temporal existence, but does not
deny or replace it.

In this connection, my problem with partisan politics in the context of
CAC is not that it’s partisan but the facile assumption that one party
stands for truth and the other does, or that the politically
conservative stand for all Christians (incl. Asian-American Christians)
and the politically liberal do not. Let us not be naive: neither party
is motivated by anyone else’s but their own self-interests (almost
always those of white middle and upper-middle classes). Such are the
cold facts of Realpolitik.

The same is true with theological positions which always carry with them
sociopolitical implications. I’ve been in both evangelical and liberal
institutions. While the rhetorics might be different, the end results
with regard to Asian-American issues have always been the same: we play
second fiddle to (usually) white males. Even in supposedly enlightened
or liberal institutions in which, say, feminist, liberationist,
African-American, or Jewish causes are in the forefront, these are
invariably defined vis-a-vis white males–be it in terms of guilt (re
African-American and Jewish issues), responsibility (re liberation
theology), or struggle for power (feminism). I remember sitting in a
lecture by a well-known feminist extremist, an erstwhile heroine of
mine. Fifteen minutes into the lecture, after she had set up a
dualistic contention between men and women, it dawned on me that her
“men” were just white males. I wasn’t even good enough to be her
enemy! I was “invisible,” to use Ellison’s apt term, to her and her
adversaries. It was then I learned: To adopt labels like “liberal,”
“modernist,” “conservative,” “evangelical,” “fundamentalist,” and
whatnot unreflectively is to shirk our responsibilities as
Asian-American Christians and to be content with being led by others.

In sum, I totally agree with Tim’s call for social-locational
specificity. In due time conscience will triumph over busyness, and I
will fulfill my promise to post my notes on positive biblical warrant
for Asian-American theology.

Till then, continuing to stand under the cross,

— End —

Date: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 00:13:40 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Re: CAC_Mail: Are Labels all that helpful?


In a message dated 9/17/97 11:56:15 AM, Sze-kar wrote:




Thanks for the clarification and amen to the last statement! To invalidate
our particularities would deny the significance of the Incarnation and
theology of Creation. While there are apocalyptic strands in Scripture, on
the whole, I don’t believe that God wants to annihilate His Creation, marred
as it is by sin. To do so would admit defeat and contradict God’s
omnipotence. Thus, ignoring our Chinese or Asian identities amounts to a
rejection of God’s interest in particularities and God’s hand in the way we
were “created.” I’ll state this point even more strongly: it is self-hatred.
I look forward to your future posts!

I also resonate with your thoughts concerning Realpolitick and being ignored
by extreme white feminists. It may surprise CACers that I am not all that
enamoured with political liberalism, either (I just think that it is the
lesser of two evils; in fact, I believe in many conservative values such as
the importance of integrity of the family, self-sufficiency, discipline,
etc.). Like you, I’d like to see us Asian Americans develop our own voice
and not have our issues defined for us! Oh how I long for the time when
Asian American Christians can get organized and stand in support of those of
us who are seminary educators. Then we can have something both positive and
critical to say to both our non-Christian Asian American activists and
mainstream society.


— End —

Date: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 00:24:12 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Re: CAC_Mail: All Labels all that helpful?

Gary (my cool white dude bud):

Hey, you’ve got a point there! I got so fixated on the Pauline doctrinal
teachings that I forgot about both Jesus and Paul’s biographical data in the
N.T. Both were rather proud to be Jewish, weren’t they? Some historian I
turned out to be! On the other hand, don’t most Christians tend to celebrate
Jesus and Paul’s openness to and inclusivity of Gentiles? It seems that we
downplay their Jewishness. Good food for thought! – Tim

In a message dated 9/17/97 11:56:17 AM, wrote:


— End —

Date: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 00:58:49 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Re: CAC_Mail: Asian Americans Charge Fund-Raising Scandal Bias

Rev. Lew:

I really hoped to have heard some substantive discussion from the perspective
of politically conservative Asian American Christians… but in the spirit of
your recent post, I thought I’d repeat it with slightly modified editing.

In a message dated 9/16/97 10:59:41 PM, you wrote:


What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, so I hear. Some call it
whining, others say that the squeaky wheel gets the oil. But is the
alternative to remain silent when one is hurt or disenfranchised? What would
local churches be like if pastors dismissed their own members in this manner?
So, can we hear more substantive defenses for politically conservative
Christian perspectives?

In Christ,

— End —

Date: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 11:33:38 -0500
From: Samuel Ling
Subject: CAC_Mail: Volunteers needed, UCLA area church, PRC and in ABC ministries


Does anyone feel called to spend a year as
a volunteer in a small, growing, spiritually-
oriented Chinese congregation, to help
this church grow its young English
congregation, and/or to help grow a
PRC outreach based in the church?

I serve as consultant to the Chinese
Bible Church of West Los Angeles,
one of a small number of Chinese
congregations in the UCLA vicinity.
This church, 22 years old, is largely made
up of UCLA undergrads, graduate students,
and alumni. Students are coming to know
the Lord and being baptized each year. The
church is mobile, given student population.
Mandarin/Cantonese worship, 11 am;
English worship, 2 pm.

The young English congregation (2 years old)
has potential to grow.

The church did have a PRC ministry, and two
years ago “gave/sent” their PRC people to a
church plant nearby. The church would now like
to re-start another PRC outreach.

We need volunteers to come help these two
ministries grow. Perhaps you can think in
terms of a one-year commitment as a
“missionary” from your church?

For further information, contact:

Samuel Ling
Consultant, Chinese Bible Church of West Los Angeles
(General Director, China Horizon)
16334 Fieldcrest Ct.
La Mirada, CA 90638

Office: China Horizon
1605 E. Elizabeth
Pasadena, CA 91104
Voicemail: 626-296-7615

Email: sling@chinahorizon

— End —

Date: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 15:39:16 -0400
From: Sze-kar Wan
To: CAC ,
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors

Dear Rev. John Lo:

As a one-point-fiver, I always feel guilty about the way in which ABCs
are treated in predominatly OBC congregations. On the east coast, there
are relatively few career opportunities for ABC pastors, still fewer
senior positions. The current growth of Chinese churches (can’t speak
for churches of other ethnic groups) are mainly immigrant- and foreign
student-driven, which means we are doing a poor job reaching ABCs.

The problem you mentioned is alarming, I think. Can other ABC pastors,
church workers, seminarians speak on this?


— End —

Date: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 17:24:28 -0500
From: Samuel Ling
Subject: CAC_Mail: amen to Ken Fong et al — good mentors

I cannot agree more with Ken that:
Too little mentoring goes on in Anglo
institutions to groom future leaders
of color.
I had a wonderful mentor during my
years with the home missions board
of my denomination. My immediate
boss understood that it takes years
to network in the Chinese/Asian
community before Chinese/Asian
pastors would step up and apply to
our denomination to be church planters.
His boss did not (or if he did, his
major donor churches did not).
Result: my immediate boss (in
my interpretation) was shown the door.

Good news: my immediate boss,
8 years since we parted company,
is STILL tangibly encouraging and
supporting MY ministry!!!!!!

God needs just a few good servants!

Sam Ling

— End —

Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 01:55:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors


first time posting but I am an ABC pastor in Oakland, CA. over the last
several years I have heard of several english/ youth pastor kind of positions
in churches here in the bay area. churches that have a reasonable size englsh
speaking group are seeing the need for someone who can connect with them
better (often youth). though still “junior” positions, they are nevertheless
positions. but the lack of people that leads churches to hire non-Chinese
clergy/ staff says that the chinese community does not encourage its young
people into the vocation of ministry.

anne lau
Chinese Community UMC

— End —

Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 01:27:23 -0700
From: “Stephen K. Leung”
Subject: CAC_Mail: My Boss is a Jewish….?

Brother Gary,
Thanks for the “Swedish message!” (Hope you’re not offended by that weak
attempt at humor.) My boss is a Jewish carpenter! So proclaims the
familiar bumper sticker. You raise good questions; i’m surprised nobody
has offered any comments in response. Maybe, nobody’s as impulsive as
yours truly.

Yes, Jesus does seem to set forth a “we” and “they” distinction in your
sited text from Matthew. However, i think we must ask for what purpose?
Rather than trying to find or reaffirm his own Jewishness, I believe he
was setting forth a very good model for those who wish to communicate
truth. No, Christ never denies being Jewish. But, i think his purpose
here was to identify with his audience and to speak with them in terms
they would readily recognize. His audience was Jewish! We see that
Christ sets apart the Pharisees, the tax collectors, and Gentiles as what
not to DO in this portion of the Sermon on the Mount.

The question then is why? Why “demonize” these groups? Is it just
because the Gentiles weren’t Jews? I could understand someone coming to
that conclusion. However, I would say that what it was about the
Gentiles that Jesus used to appeal to the indignation of his audience was
their beliefs or lack thereof. Some translations render them as pagans
instead of Gentiles. This would contrast his listeners to the Gentiles
in a manner analogous to how they were also being asked to understand
themselves as being different from tax collectors and Phaisees – the
“disgusting” people. Personally, i interpret Christ’s comments here to
not be malicious against certain “disdainful” groups nor to set up
Jewish, non-tax collecting, non-religious people as the only ones worthy
of the Kingdom and his revolutionary Kingdom ethics. Could we really
suggest that Jesus practiced the politics of hate or elitism?

What was he trying to get over to his audience? I think he was telling
the followers that they couldn’t settle for being just like the folks
they may have tended to mistrust and even loathe. Instead, particularly
with respect to love, they had to go beyond doing just what these
“others” did. John Stott in _The Message of the Sermon on the Mount_,
(not that he has the difinitive interpretation) in fact brings out that
Christ was actually insisting that his followers would have to get past
the revenge/recompense and the racialism forms of love that the “others”

Love your enemies! Can’t find someone disagreeable to love? Try the one
who oppresses you, piously looks down upon you, wields power over you, or
doesn’t believe as you. And, if it really IS a Jewish thing – you
(Gentiles) wouldn’t understand, then try loving those racially different
from you – even if they don’t/won’t extend love outside of their racial
boundaries first. Is this an example of Jesus (positively or negatively)
playing the race card?

Well, my point here isn’t that the sermon was just about love. But, to
summarize, Jesus was bringing out the Gentile/Jewish difference as an
aide to his audience’s information processing and comprehension. After
all, that’s what culture helps us do. Paul who certainly didn’t deny
being Jewish and a Pharisee, also shared that he became all things to all
men for the purpose of communicating the truth that saves. Let’s pray we
use our understanding of identities (ours and others’) likewise.

In the Redeemer,
Stephen Leung

— End —

Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 08:03:38 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors

Dear Sze-kar:

There are many opportunities for ABC and OBC pastors in the United Methodist
Church. My associate was an African American woman UM pastor who ministered
in New York’s Chinatown from 1993 to 1996. After she was reappointed to an
African American UM church, we had a hard time filling the position as ABC UM
pastors were in short supply! UMC is open to
ministers-from-other-denominations (MOD).

In addition to pastoring the Chinese United Methodist Church, 69 Madison
Street, New York, NY 10002, I am also the Chairperson of the NCCAM (National
Committee on Chinese-American Ministries) of the UMC. The NCCAM’s sole
mission is to strengthen exisiting Chinese-congregations and develop new
faith communities/congregations within the UMC. To establish new faith
communities, we need a lot more ABC pastors and lay missioners.

For more information please contact at (212) 267-6464

Rev. Dr. James K. Law
Senior Pastor
Chinese United Methodist Church

— End —

Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: My Boss is a Jewish….?
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 12:12:04 EDT

Hi Stephen,

You’re welcome. I feel welcome among the ‘sons’ of CAC because of letters
like yours. I too hope my jokes, etc. have not offended anyone; so far no
one has complained. CAC has been a great place to be myself; sometimes
better than Swedish-American family 🙂

About Jesus constructing a model for communicating truth, try it. To me
His Sermon words are blistering…

If you were to speak/communicate to other Chinese from the same type of
(truth) perspective that Jesus demonstrates toward his Jewish friends,
followers, audience, is there any doubt that non-Chinese people would be
greatly offended?
Particularly in Matthew, e.g read Ch. 23 for the most vicious speech
perhaps ever recorded, Jesus offends the World. Comparing, for example,
John 3:16, 17, it’s puzzling.

your Brother,


— End —

Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors
From: (Stephen N Wong)
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 14:50:23 EDT


The postings from Anne Lau and James Law not only indicate a shortage of
ABC pastors, but a shortage of attractive ministry positions. I would
think that the two are very much related. As Sze-kar points out, a lack
of ABCs in an educational enterprise is an anomaly. We seem to be
teaching our kids that God loves doctors more than preachers!

As a church planting pastor, I’m becoming more and more enamored of the
idea of encouraging young ABCs to think of planting churches as an
exciting and worthwhile career choice. This will require both
denominational support, in the form of infrastructure and finances, and
support from established pastors in Asian churches who can act as mentors
and sponsors. Can I hear an “amen”?!

Dios le bendiga,

Steve Wong

— End —

Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 10:53:05 -0400
From: Sze-kar Wan
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors

Dear CACers:

Recent postings by Anne Lau and James Law seem to indicate a real
shortage of ABC pastors, a problem I’ve noticed in mainline seminaries
(very few ABC students and fewer faculty members–surely an anomaly in
American education) and churches (often hiring non-Chinese staff
instead, when Chinese are more suitable). Perhaps CAC could begin to
address this issue in some systematic fashion as well. What do the
others think?

En Christo,

PS: Will be out of town till Tuesday.

— End —

Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 16:08:19 -0700
From: Ken Fong
Organization: Evergreen Baptist Church
To: Stephen N Wong
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors

steve and etc.

I agree that there is a dearth of ABC pastors. But suggesting that
planting new churches with most of them, while I can appreciate the
reasoning, may beg at least 3 very important questions:

1) if they’re just out of seminary, how prepared will they be to pastor
a church, let alone a brand new start up?

2) if this is based on the prevailing model of solo pastorates, most of
these fresh faces will be doomed to years of frustration, even lingering
feelings of failure, simply because the Spirit doesn’t ever give any one
person all the gifts needed to pastor a church. I’m not against
planting new churches, but I am beginning to question solo model, esp.
since I’ve been nurtured under the multi-model. How to do it? Not
sure. Would require a high degree of collaboration and investment from
several churches, denomination, etc.

3) if they’re going to plant churches, what paradigm of church will they
be using? my suspicion is that, too often, these ‘new’ churches are
mainly younger ABCs following the same blueprint for worship,
evangelism, etc., as the churches they don’t feel called to serve.

just food for thought,
ken fong

— End —

Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 18:36:20 -0600
Subject: CAC_Mail: NEWS (2 FYI’s)
From: (G Ottoson)

FYI #1

In _The Denver Post_ (newspaper) today (9/19) appeared a very interesting
article by Cal Thomas about the confusing politics of the Christian
Right; ‘confusing’ in the sense that people have been distracted from the
_Kingdom of God_ by them. I tried unsuccessfully to locate Mr. Thomas’
article(s) on the web. The closest I got to an article was at this site: (or .org, can’t recall which now), which is password
protected. fyi, the following paragraph is from this site:

[Cal Thomas'] twice-weekly column, distributed by the Los Angeles Times
Syndicate, appears in such newspapers as the New York Daily News, Boston
Globe, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Denver Post, Baltimore Sun,
Milwaukee Journal, Philadelphia Daily News, Houston Post, Washington
Times, Tampa Tribune, Detroit Free Press and St. Paul Pioneer Press &

FYI #2

Local article (I live near Denver, CO):



— End —

Date: Sat, 20 Sep 1997 02:35:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors

I agree with Stephen that until we deal with some of the issues of how ABC
ministries are treated in Chinese churches and the issues of money and
security (what nice, smart chinese kid would consider or be encouraged to be
a pastor!? what parent would want or let them?) then we are stuck where we
are. few ABC pastors, no value or serious consideration of this ministry, and
the need to strike out on our own for that to happen which may be what it
will be. who else could/ should serve this population except their own? we
need to make an effort to raise leaders to articulate and theologize for
themselves, not folks generations older or from another culture or place.

blessings, anne lau

— End —

Date: Sat, 20 Sep 1997 02:35:29 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors
X-From: (darryl fong)

I echo Anne’s message regarding Chinese-American Pastors. The difficulty
I have experienced is the rapidly changing “culture” of the younger
ABC’s. When I was pastoring, I found that I had to litterally learn a
different sub-culture and then when I thought I understood it, it

Darryl Fong

— End —

Date: Sat, 20 Sep 1997 13:28:48 -0500
From: Samuel Ling
Subject: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors

Has anyone heard of Robert
Goette’s attempt to mentor
Asian American, second
generation church planting
in Wheeling, Illinois? Anyone
benefited from him or other
sources of mentoring?

Sam Ling

— End —

Date: Sat, 20 Sep 1997 20:14:17 -0700
From: Ken Fong
Organization: Evergreen Baptist Church
To: Samuel Ling
Subject: CAC_Mail: Re: Chinese-American Pastors

I’ve heard of Goette’s efforts, have spoken with him, but I don’t know
how fruitful things have been.


— End —

From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Sat, 20 Sep 1997 23:12:54 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: re: Chinese American Pastors

This is a great discussion that’s underway; I’ve been having mailer problems,
but here were my initial thoughts to John’s message about Chinese American

John has rightly observed that there’s a considerable attrition rate for ABC
pastors; I have heard statistics as high as 66% (two-thirds) of ABC pastors
quit ministry within 18 months of starting. This is not just changing
churches, but quitting ministry all together. Those stats are alarming, and
unverified, but I would not be surprised if it were true. (but these stats
sure _feel_ true *grin*) I myself am new to ministry, and when I passed the
18-month milestone and still had faith in my God and toward ministry, it was
cause for rejoicing and celebration, I tell you!

>From one Chinese pastor’s opinion, he believes ABC pastors’ high attrition
rate is due to (1) lack of perseverance, (2) ABC’s lack respect in an ethnic
Chinese church, and (3) ABC’s have a 2nd career to fall back on. There are
certainly other factors; I myself am one that is moving on from an ethnic
Chinese church, having served here in Raleigh Chinese Christian Church for 2
years as youth pastor, but finding the ethics and process and values of the
church to be restrictive.

As one English pastor said to me, the Chinese church is more of a cultural
institution than a biblical one. I would add some other reasons: ABC’s are
not encouraged to enter ministry, so the number of ministers are not
proportional to the need; and the Chinese generation (which I believe are
responsible to reach the next generation, and at least be supportive of
them) are not upholding their leadership and mentoring role. But this is a
difficult diagnosis, for some may interpret this comment as a failure to
“show respect” to elders..


On 14 Sep 97 at 3:26, wrote:

> My question is two-fold:
> (a) what has the drop-out rates for thirty-something ABC pastors been? What
> do you think have been the reasons for the drop-off? (b) how many
> twenty-something seminarians and young pastors are out there, and do they
> face the same circumstances? Should we expect the same kind of drop-off
> ratios, or has anything changed out there?

* * ICQ UIN 508675

— End —

Date: Sun, 21 Sep 1997 21:24:17 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors

Dear CACers,

As a 3rd generation ABC born in So. Cal let me share my perspective on the
issue of few ABC’s in the Chinese church. I grew up in an all white
neighborhood & attended an all white church until seminary. I felt the call
to ministry in 1977 before I entered college. At that time I was unaware of
the needs in the Chinese church or ABC ministry. It was only after I met
Wayland Wong from Chinese Presbyterian church in Orange County did I know
this need in the Christian church. Eventually I interned under him. I
entered seminary with the original intent of becoming a missionary in Asia,
etc. In college I studied Mandarin for 2 years and even went to China for
several months to learn the language.

I have “survived” ministering as an ABC in an immigrant church for the past
10 years, but not without a lot of difficulties & wounds. How have I
“survived” and continue to stay in a difficult place of ministry. Several

1) Knowing My Call.
Ministry in the church in general is difficult. If you read literature on
ministers in North America or have read Barna’s book, “Pastor’s Today,” you
will find that those men & women called to pastoral ministry have a tough
job. It is not limited to Chinese churches. I think someone said the
average pastor in the So. Baptist convention lasts about 1.5 years at a
church. (correct me if I am wrong) There have been numerous times I have
wanted to quit ministry. At one time my wife even told me to go teach or
something else. But I have been convinced that God has called me to be a
pastor. So I have determined I will not quit.

I think some young ministers and even some in the middle age bracket (I
myself am approaching 40) may question their calling. I think seminaries are
often taking students because of the need to get bodies to pay tuition and
not because they have a calling to ministry. Just my opinion.

2) Carrying the Cross.
Jesus says that being a disciple of his will require self denial & suffering.
In Luke 9:23-24. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and
take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life
will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

In ministry the disciples and early church experienced suffering &
persecution. Remember your church history of the persecutions. So, why do
we have a hard time when we suffer in the Chinese church? Shouldn’t we
expect it to come? When I was fresh out of seminary I naively expected the
church to be a wonderful & great place to work. In my first position of a
small Chinese church as the youth pastor it split after 6 months. (Not
related to my ministry) I was upset with God because I felt he had sent me
to a horrible place. I blamed him for the pain I experienced. But It wasn’t
God’s fault. It was people.

I myself as an ABC am not ready to take up suffering & pain as a part of
ministry. Especially if it is from the church. So, I have learned to deal
with suffering in the ministry and develop a tougher skin. Do I still get
hurt. Yes I do. I have just learned how to cope with it better.

In Chinese church theology the general thought is that the more you suffer
the more spiritual you are. The heros of the faith are those who have paid a
great cost personally to follow God. Read about Wang Ming Dao or Watchman
Nee. I don’t know if there is a way to prepare people to expect suffering in
ministry but often you will have it in the Chinese church, or in any church
in general.

3) Missionary Cross-cultural Sensitivity.
I think that ABC’s have a great difficulty in understanding the Chinese way
of thinking. At Fuller seminary I had classes on cultural anthropology and
on ministry in the Chinese Church by Hoover Wong. Yet what I learned in the
classroom did not prepare me for the real life conflicts I experienced in the
Chinese church. Experience is the best teacher, but it can be a pretty harsh
one too.

For the longest time I was irritated by the way things were done in a Chinese
church. I said to myself. “We are in America, not China, Taiwan, Hong Kong,
so why are we doing it this way?” But I have come to realize I cannot change
3,000 years of Chinese culture. So my solution is to view myself as a
missionary on American soil. I have to operate & think as a missionary. I
know some ABCs might say that this is a bit extreme. That they are called to
pastor, but not to be a missionary.

Paul says in 1 Cor 9:19-23 19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make
myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I
became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one
under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those
under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having
the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so
as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the
weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I
might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may
share in its blessings.

For myself, I feel called to reach the ABCs. So I may have to become more
sensitive to “Chinese” issues in order to minister and reach those in the
Chinese church. In regards to this mentality I have spoken with missionaries
who agree with my perspective. That is maybe why some Chinese churches hire
non-asian missionaries as English ministers. These people have had training
in cross-cultural sensitivity, etc.

4) Understanding the Chinese church.
Churches are complicated. Chinese churches are even more complicated. One
must understand the history of the Chinese church in China & in North
America. Why? Chinese churches carry a lot of cultural baggage from the
past. The reason a Chinese church may act a certain way is probably because
of what they were doing in Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc. (Where the OBC pastor was
influenced & trained) An ABC must understand Chinese church theology. Read
Watchman Nee & you will understand Chinese church theology.

5) Humility, Humility, Humility & Patience.
It is one thing to say to God you will be his “bond-slave.” It is another to
be treated like it by the church. I don’t like being treated like a slave.
But in the Chinese church you may be treated that way. High demands, low
pay, long hours. But I still think my job is easier than some of my friends
who are missionaries in remote places. So, are we producing men & women who
will be servants and will be treated like servants?

An ABC will 99% of the time be # 2 or #3 on the totem pole. I don’t ever
expect to be Sr. in my role. And that is fine. I have been there & done
that. I need to accept my role in the church and deal with my own attitudes
of why people don’t do things my way.

I am learning that leadership is influence, not position. (Read John
Maxwell). So, I am learning to lead in the church from a #3 position. It is
a challenge. But I have been able to influence my church elders, etc. It
takes time & patience.

6) Character, Age & Perseverance.
Fact of life. If you are starting fresh out of seminary with no gray hair,
wife, or children, you may not get a lot of respect in the Chinese church.
We must not let people look down on us because of our youth but set an
example in character. In my younger days in ministry I acted immaturely when
I did not get my way. (e.g. gossip, pout, point fingers, become impatient,
etc.) Too often I blamed others for the problems in the church without
examining myself first. I think us ABC’s have a lot of baggage to deal with
before we enter into ministry. Understanding the dysfunctions of an Asian
home, etc. would help the person in ministry. Over 10 years I have had to go
through personal counseling and tests to understand myself better as a
person. It has helped me to be a better Christian & minister. We need to
help younger ministers know themselves.

7) Vision.
Without a vision or passion, the minister will perish. Having a vision &
sticking to it takes more than seminary or training. It is something that
comes from the gut. For myself I need to have vision & passion to stay in a
challenging ministry. A vision to see the ABCs in my church become men &
women of God. A vision to train up the next generation of youth to serve
God. A vision to see God’s purpose’s achieved in spite of an imperfect
church. It may take me a lifetime to see my vision fulfilled, but I will
stick to it. We need to help ABCs have a vision. Believe me, the devil &
sometimes men will convince you just to survive in ministry. I plan to

In conclusion, some may say that this is a lot to know & do if you are to
minister and thrive in the Chinese church. It is because it is a tough job.
For me it has never been easy. I think we need to help people understand
the immensity of the task. At least they can know what to expect.

Sorry that this is a long essay. But it has been in me for about 10 years.
I hope that this may offer encouragement and assistance to some of us out
there trying to minister to this unique people group in a unique church.

For the Kingdom,
Rev. Arthur Lum
Chinese Church in Christ
San Jose, CA

— End —

Date: Sun, 21 Sep 1997 19:22:01 -0700
From: (Edmund K Law)

Ahhh! I knew you could’t resist.

Thank you fellow CACers for some very interesting cyber-discussions. I
have been lurking on CAC mail for many months. At first, the posts were
infrequent and sedate (“typical Asian,” I thought). But ever since Asian
PK, this group has been quite lively and provocative. So provocative,
that like Elihu of old (Job 32), I can barely restrain myself from
contributing my half-baked ideas. 🙂

But first…a test of e-mail technology. All systems go?

Grace and Peace

Ed Law

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 01:51:29 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Are Labels all that helpful?

Dear CACers,

I’m sorry for only now responding to posts from last week, but this is the
busiest time of the year for campus ministers.

My pointing out that most of the POLITICAL posts on this mailing list is of a
LIBERAL persuasion comes from the number of times I’ve read Tim Tseng and one
or two others use the terms “ultra-conservative,” “right-wing agenda,”
“religious right,” and “right-wingers”– terms that carry a negative

I know that this is not a necessarily liberal mailing list. I was pleasantly
surprised by the half-dozen or so messages appreciative of my posts against
affirmative action and the whining of the AA Friends of Bill and Hillary. But
I would have preferred that those of you who sent them, did it publicly
through the mailing list, rather than sending them to me privately.

It’s not very Asian-American to stick our necks out. But then didn’t Richard
Nixon once say of Americans as a whole that “the silent majority is

Yours in Christ,
Harry Lew

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 01:51:18 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors

Dear Steve,

You said, “We seem to be teaching our kids that God loves doctors more than

How true! As a campus minister, I often hear Chinese-American students tell
me that they would love to go into the ministry, but their parents would
throw a fit if they depart from the traditional medical or engineering career

I could understand it if their parents were nonbelievers, but many times
their folks are professing Christians and church members. That’s really sad.

My Korean-American students don’t seem face the same kind of discouragement
from their parents. Are Koreans more likely than we Chinese to regard the
ministry as a worthy calling and profession?

Yours in Christ,
Rev. Harry Lew

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 02:07:41 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors


hear hear for what Arthur and Steve and Ken are saying. as a lay elder, I
truly appreciate the trials and truths of fire they have walked in the
chinese church in america. To be an ABC pastor is truly a rough calling.

Ronnie Fong
Fremont, California ( SF Bay Area )

P.S. how about typically signing off with our location, to help lend
perspective on where we are residing / coming from.

In a message dated 97-09-22 00:52:59 EDT, writes:


— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 02:24:09 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors

In a message dated 97-09-22 02:02:24 EDT, writes:


It’s my understanding that in Korea, Christianity has penetrated the culture
to such an extent that when a son expresses a calling to be a pastor, the
parents are delighted because it is considered “prestigious” even the parents
are not Christians.

Ron Fong
Fremont, CA ( SF Bay Area )

— End —

Date: Sun, 21 Sep 1997 23:49:03 -0700
From: Ken Fong
Organization: Evergreen Baptist Church
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors

Nice to hear from you, Art! Was wondering where you ended up after
leaving Branches in Rosemead.

Wow, you shared a mouthful. Thanks for the honest, earnest musings.
They definitely have the ring of wisdom that comes with age and time…
and untold scars.

I want to say, first, may the Lord God bless your efforts, Art, and
anyone else out there who has been clearly called to reach ABCs by
serving/operating WITHIN the paradigm of the OBC churches. I’m sure
that, for many of the ABC laypeople struggling to find a good fit at
these churches, having ABC pastors who are willing to suffer and serve,
at great personal cost, is truly a blessing.

My story, now more than 20 years old (yikes!), took a different turn
than yours. I grew up NEVER wanting to be an ABC pastor. Years later,
when I finally felt Him leading me to enter seminary, OBC pastor after
OBC pastor told me that same thing: unless you learn how to speak
Chinese, you’re always going to be JUST a youth pastor! Even one of my
then ABC benefactors, Rev. Dr. James Chuck from SF, kept after me to
take private Cantonese lessons like he did for 10 years. I respectfully
told Dr. Chuck that, since his church was smack in the middle of SF
C’town, it made total sense for him to have to speak Chinese. But even
though we both spoke English, my way of thinking and speaking would
appeal much more naturally to ABCs who never set foot in C’town more
than once or twice a year. Different calling, different requirements.
You see, all the advice I was getting was for me to become MORE CHINESE
than God had made me. I know, I know, there’s the argument about being
all things to all people in order to save some, to be like a missionary,
but I still firmly believe that becoming MORE CHINESE than God made me
is taking me in the OPPOSITE direction of reaching the more americanized
ABCs and AsiAms in general. Does that make sense? In other words, by
the time I or anyone wins the blessing of the OBCs for being so
Chinesey, maybe it’s at the selfsame moment that we’ve lost our
God-given, innate ability to reach this expanding segment of more
acculturated ABCs. If anything, I think it mades more sense
evangelistically and demographically to contextualize myself in the
direction of the targeted unreached people group, in this case,
westernized ABCs and AsiAms.

Of course, there’s a built in problem with this plan, right? If I
become more americanized to reach the more americanized, then I won’t
fit in in most OBC churches, correct? But this is a losing battle to
begin with, imho, because it’s HIGHLY doubtful that these ABC unchurched
seekers would be naturally into the culture of an OBC church. What’s my
point? Simply this: imho, most who are truly called to reach more
americanized ABCs will not be able to accomplish this through the
paradigm of the OBC church. For the above 2 reasons: you either won’t
be embraced by them because you’re TOO Chinese -and/or- even if you
reach them, most probably won’t dig joining a predominantly OBC church.
Am I wrong or am I right?

One big exception to my theory: if you’re fundamentally called to reach
the ABC offspring of the OBC church folk. That’s different. But let’s
be crystal clear: making sure the church-born ABCs don’t leave someday
is definitely reaching out to never-churched, newly skeptical AsiAms.

To really reach these unreached folk, we must plant new churches and/or
renew existing JA ones whose Issei pop. has passed on and are waiting
for a new twist. I know, planting new ABC churches isn’t a new or novel
idea. Many have tried. Many are struggling. One of these days I’ll
share what the Lord has been teaching me/us lately about creating a
multi-Asian/multi-ethnic ministry, which is what the Lord is doing at
Evergreen Baptist Church of LA right now. The irony of our new
situation is not lost on me: here I am, for years stating that there’s
no future for a multi-generational AsiAm church and we’ve become a
church with both growing numbers of americanized AsiAms AND growing
numbers of OBAsians, esp. from South Asia now. And a growing number of
non-Asians. The difference? Our church is staffed and led by primarily
3rd gen./sansei, very americanized AsiAms.

Didn’t mean for this to be such a discourse. But Art’s email prompted
me to blurt this stuff out. So I guess you can blame him. 😉

later. ken fong.

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 00:02:25 -0700
From: Ken Fong
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors

Several years ago, a Korean-Am. seminary student told me the following
story: “When I was getting ready to go off to college, my father, a
nonbeliever, pulled me aside and said ‘Son, if you want to make me and
your mother proud then you become a doctor, a lawyer, a cpa, or a

I’ve been passing that little gem along since then as a way of
illustrating the difference between the encouragement that our KA
brethren receive re. pastoral ministry and the kind that many of us ABCs

Recently, however, my KA pastor friends told me that that attitude is
changing. A growing number of KA parents, even Christian ones, are
discouraging their kids from being pastors because that role/job now is
starting to fall into disrespect (America) and not be as well
compensated as before.

In my own case, my dad (then not a believer) was against it but my
Christian mom was all for it, even in the face of her shaming female
friends. God used my mom’s blessing to take me a long way.

ken fong.

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 00:12:00 -0700
From: Ken Fong
Organization: Evergreen Baptist Church
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors


thanks for the words of encouragement. 20 years ago, when I kept
hearing the same advice from OBC pastors (“Learn to speak Chinese or
die!”…ok, they didn’t say “die” but that’s what it sounded like in
those days…a death sentence), it suddenly hit me. So long as I agreed
to play in their ‘game,’ then I had to play by their ‘rules.’ That was
fair. But, being a rebel back then and feeling so strongly about my
calling to reach more westernized AsiAms, I decided that I wouldn’t have
to play by their ‘rules’ if I wasn’t playing their ‘game.’ With God’s
grace and mercy, I and others would start a NEW game where who God had
made us essentially to be wasn’t a liability, wasn’t something to be
repressed, but was a great ASSET and was to be EXPRESSED.

By definition, a paradigm shift only happens when the rules change.
Without changing the essential rules, it could be just rearranging the
deck chairs on the Titanic! I don’t mean to sound perjorative about the
OBC churches. It’s very late and I’m running out of mental energy. So
please forgive me if my metaphors or analogies are a bit crude. No harm

ken fong
just outside of Los Angeles, CA

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 02:18:45 -0500
To: “DJ Chuang” ,
From: Samuel Ling
Subject: CAC_Mail: On “cultural institutions”

I certainly agree with DJ’s (and all of our) critique
of the Chinese church’s failure to mentor/encourage
ABC’s into the ministry.

I would like to suggest that, though the Chinese
church IS a cultural institution rather than one
fully faithful to the Bible, it is important to
also realize that we as Chinese-Americans and
Asian Americans (ABCs, ARCs, 1.5ers, 2.0er, etc.)
also bring our culture/subculture into our
thinking. And our culture/subculture is
not necessarily biblical, nor American,
nor even purely Asian/Chinese-American,
but a combination of all these.

Chinese church leaders are not purely Chinese
in their decision making/responses. They respond
to situations with a combination/mixture of biblical,
Chinese, American, Chinese-American presuppositions.
And most people don’t realize which combination
they use, at any split-second!

DJ, I am not picking on your choice of words, but
I guess I always have my missiological antennae up
when I hear AA’s talk about the ethnic church
as a cultural institution. Perhaps it’s just semantics;
I am pleading for a cross-cultural dialogue where
the Bible remains ultimate authority, and we dialogue
across cultures and subcultures. Tough task; most
of the time, it’s pure delight, too!

Suggestion: How about getting some other OBC’s
(in addition to me) involved in this ongoing conversation?
How about printing out some of the email pieces which
have appeared in recent weeks, and sharing them with
our OBC leadership (perhaps omitting the authors’ names)?

Sam Ling

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 02:31:58 -0500
From: Samuel Ling
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors

Amen amen! Thanks Arthur
for your mature essay. It adds
to our already stimulating

Sam Ling
China Horizon
La Mirada/Pasadena, CA

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 02:50:46 -0500
From: Samuel Ling
Subject: CAC_Mail: Hist. Bkgd. of Stature of Chinese Pastors

Dear Harry,

As a pastor’s son, I have felt it was more
important to be a doctor (or to hold a
Ph.D., which I do), than to be a pastor.
The image of the pastor is still lowly,
among Chinese Christians and non-

I understand that in Korean society, the
status/stature of ministers have risen
steadily in the past decades. What about
the Chinese pastor? Although it has
not been lowered, it is still quite low
in the eyes of Chiense business and
professional people. And the cultural
gap between OBCs who think this way,
and AA leaders (judging by the CAC
discussions posted recently), may be
widening. Anyone want to challenge me
on this assessment? I sincerely hope
I am wrong!!!

Years ago I read an article by Jonathan
Chao on Chinese church development
from the 19th to the 20th century in a
festschrift honoring Dr. Philip Teng
published by the China Grad School
of Theology in Hong Kong
(alas, it is in Chinese), in which Jonathan
pointed out that:

Missionaries in the 19th century hired
a good number of their early converts as
pastors — understandably, especially as
these Christians were evicted/ostracized
from their clans, and were often the only
recruits available for the ordained ministry!

These early Chinese pastors (1870’s 1880s etc.)
were paid 5 to 10% of the missionary’s
support package. Thus was begun the tradition
of Chinese pastors’ being underpaid.

(Tim Tseng, do I have my historical
facts right?)

I realize that pay isn’t everything, but
it IS a factor in shaping a minister’s image
in his societal context.

(Perhaps Fenggang Yang wants to chime
in here, or anyone else…)

Add to this the fact that Buddhist monks
beg for a living (it’s their CALLING to beg),
and you have a tradition of keep them poor,
keep them humble.

There is also a difference among denominations
re. pastors’ pay, and therefore church members’
view of the pastor. For example, for decades
the Episcopalians paid their pastors the highest

The pastor’s image as lowly and thereore
lowly-paid is not an easy concept to change in the minds
of Chinese. How we need to heed Arthur Lum’s
advice to stay humble, carry our cross, remember
our calling, etc.

Just a historical note to share with you brothers
and sisters out there in CAC-land.

– – –

Response/echo to Arthur Lum’s remarks:

I am an OBC and came to the US at age
14 (in 1965). I have been very idealistic and
enthusiastic as a youth director (1976-78),
acting pastor (1978-79), church planter
(1980-85), senior pastor of a Chinese
church of 1000 people and 9 worshipping
congregations (1992-95), and adjunct prof
in American seminaries teaching on
Chinese/Chinese-American church
history (1980-present). None of
the above was easy — whether as unnoticed
in the trenches, or in the boardroom of a
major institution. Or advocating for the Chinese
church among non-Chinese. Just about everywhere I
went, I have been bruised. I, also, have
been healed by our loving Savior and
High Priest…!

I am learning to persevere as God’s
bond-slave by His grace. Many times I
have felt discouraged, felt like quitting,
and felt so very, very inadequate. I had to
look inside and deal with insecurity and an
inferiority complex.

God has been gracious.
He is still working with me. I have found
that the key is: accepting God’s love in Christ,
and ministering out of a heart which has
thus been liberated. Perhaps this is
synonymous with Arthur’s reminder to
re-kindle our sense of “calling.”

I have felt the “calling” (maybe too strong a
word; I think not) to be an advocate for
AA/C-A ministries among OBC leaders.
Anyone want to assign me to do
something in this regard?

Sam Ling
China Horizon
La Mirada/Pasadena, CA

(Harry: Long time no see, since
bookstore days at RES Phila.,
circa 1976, do I remember correctly?)

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 02:58:13 -0500
From: Samuel Ling
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors

Thanks for pointing out how
ABC pastors become very
acculturated in the OBC milieu
after their attempt to be
servant-like, etc., and thus
distanced from the very ABCs
and AsAms they are trying to
reach. This point needs to be
heard by OBC’s more often.

In Christ,
Sam Ling
La Mirada, CA

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 03:06:25 -0500
From: Samuel Ling
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors

My turn for authobiographical blurp:

My dad and mom were teachers in a Bible college
in Hong Kong (where one doesn’t drink, smoke,
dance, play mahjong or poker, or go to the movies).
They dedicated me to be used of God. But my
deceased father seemed a lot more proud when
I got my PhD than of the fact that I entered the

Reason: My grandfather, an Anglican parson in
China, had 5 children(my father was #4 son). When
the Sino-Japanese war broke out in China in 1937,
the bishop told all the minsiters to find a tentmaking
occupation to support themselves. Thus my father
had always wanted to be a free-lance preacher
(Mandarin: zi yu chuan dao). He ended up majoring
in education at St. John’s University in Shanghai
(Anglican; BA 1943), and teaching in Bible colleges
in Hangzhou, China and in Hong Kong (Bethel
Seminary, 1948-1957, 1959-64)–and I was born
into the latter. My dad did become a pastor eventually
(Philadelphia Chinatown, 1967-81, until he died).

In that little Bible college I saw how the students prayed,
read their Bibles and did direct evangelism. In retrospect,
I saw that they were disadvantaged because they did
not receive strong training in (a) English or any western
language; (b) liberal arts; and (c) theology as we know it
in the west. That was the 1950’s, and Bethel was the
premier Bible college in Hong Kong at that time. Dozens
of OBC pastors now in North America were among the alumni.

I saw my dad’s students (i.e. my Sunday School teachers)
pray earnestly for their Sunday School students; take us to
public housing projects to do Sunday School on Sunday
afternoons to less privileged kids (the stench in the stairwells
is still fresh in my memory, 32 years later!), etc.

I am proud of being a son of the fundamentalist tradition.
I am not proud of the lack of respect which many fundamentalists
owe their pastors. I am grateful that, despite all its weaknesses,
the Chinese church does INTEND to love and honor her Lord.

Sam Ling
La Mirada, CA

— End —

From: “Ray Downen”
Organization: Mission Outreach (Joplin)
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 10:01:43 +0000
Subject: CAC_Mail: Politics

Harry Lew is political. I share his political views. I figure
every Christian should. Yet every saint must think for him/her
self, and then speak as that person feels led by the Lord to do.
To speak disrespectfully of one who occupies high office in
our land is distasteful to me and likely to us all. It’s good if
we can commend those GOOD things that are done, however
unusual they may be, rather than speak negatively as it is so
easy sometimes to do.
It would also be good if we are sharing things about God
and the Christ if we try to avoid convincing others to share
our political views. Was Jesus interested in politics? Does He
call us to preach the gospel or to change political structures?
Let’s do what we’re called TO do. — Ray Downen in Joplin MO.

from Ray Downen respectfully on this day of the Lord.
417/782-0814 2228 Porter Joplin Mission Outreach.
Mail address is P O Box 1065 Joplin MO 64802-1065.
Internet home page addr =

— End —

Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Politics
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 12:18:44 EDT

Dear Ray:

A couple of other issues for you. First, may I make a suggestion? Please
think through what you wrote (below), re-posing your questions to
yourself. By ascribing to Harry Lew’s views are you 1) proposing to
change the political structure of US Fed govt.; 2) is this what you and
Harry are called to do; 3) and, if Jesus was uninterested in politics,
why are you interested in them?

Second, I think Tim effectively (helpfully) pointed out the subtle
reversal of meanings in labels ‘Conservative’ and ‘Liberal’, the idea in
part being to encourage us look beneath, to examine political maneuvering
for what they are (e.g Clinton-esque corruption of power,
Gingrich-esque aspirations, via the right wing, to the same power which
corrupts). Tim said forthrightly that his current political bag is mixed
to a degree, esp, as I recall, in terms of opposing facets of big
govt/supporting some tax cut proposals. It sounded sincere to me and got
me to think through my Scandinavian approach to govt. BTW, Did
you/anybody see the segment by _60 Minutes_ lat night on Norway? How
about this week’s Business Week re: the call for change to capitalist
style economics in China? What’s wrong with what they’ve got? Any
feedback on these stories?


On Mon, 22 Sep 1997 10:01:43 +0000 “Ray Downen”
>Harry Lew is political. I share his political views…Was Jesus
interested in >politics? Does Hecall us to preach the gospel or to change
political structures?
>Let’s do what we’re called TO do. — Ray Downen in Joplin MO.

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 12:54:01 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Take heart young ABC’s (C-A pastors)

In a message dated 97-09-22 01:53:33 EDT, writes:


Dear Rev. Lew,

I was one of those Chinese American students who felt called to go into the
ministry. For me it wasn’t being a doctor or engineer – it was going to law
school (but the same idea). I still remember the day I sat down in the
living room of my parents’ house and told them that I was going to the
mission field.

They wept, I wept, they shared their “disappointment” (which for most ABC’s
is far worse than anger) and their sense of wondering why they spent all that
“good money” on my private education.

After countless hours on my knees and many prayers from hundreds of faithful
“warriors”, nine years later my parents have begun regularly attending the
multi-racial church which I now pastor. God works in His time (I have
friends from the mission field who are still praying for parents after 15
years or more).

God is still working in my parents’ hearts. But I knew that one day I would
have to stand before our Lord, and being true to Him has been a decision that
I have never regretted (faced many trials with, but never regretted).

Encourage your young people to be true to the Lord, but to search their
hearts to make sure that they aren’t going into ministry out of rebellion or
to prove anything to anybody (these I feel are major contributors to burn
out, frustration, and unhappiness in ministry)

Hope you are encouraged by this testimony of our Lord’s faithfulness and
continue to encourage our young people to be faithful to God’s calling on
their lives (that includes some being doctors and engineers too! 🙂

Being in full time vocational ministry doesn’t always provide the best pay –
but the benefits are out of this world (quite literally)!

Joyfully serving the Master,

Garrick J. Pang
Wellspring Christian Church
Bellevue, Washington

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 12:47:44 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: Adding One’s Name and Address
From: (Richard Wong)

How about adding the church you attend or pastor, so that we can
appreciate the diversity of the contributiors?

(it might also be useful to know where these Chinese churches are located
so that we can drop in on a service if we’re ever on the road on a

Richard L. Wong
Arlington, VA
Chinese Christian Church of Greater Washington DC

P.S. Our church’s website is located at

P.P.S. There’s a listing of Chinese churches in the Washington DC area at

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 14:33:55 -0400 (EDT)
From: Tom Lin
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Take heart young ABC’s (C-A pastors)

Thanks for the encouragement.

Some of you know my story…choosing full-time ministry and now going
on my 4th year of a severed relationship with my parents, who are not
speaking to me at this time. stories like yours give me hope and
encourage me to wait on the Lord. Thanks!

Being in asian american campus ministry, i have heart-to-hearts with
100’s of korean americans…overall, it ain’t much easier for them in
their personal relationships with their parents, although admittedly,
acceptance and affirmation in the korean community is much higher.

waiting on the Lord,
Tom Lin
(IVCF Staff, “Losing Face, Finding Grace” author)

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 14:19:23 -0500
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Politics
From: (Richard Wong)

Instead of challenging contributors to this list and putting them on the
defensive, I think it would be far more constructive to share one’s
personal views and to say how you got there, with the intention of
helping others to understand and appreciate an alternative point of
view, and maybe even to incorporate them into our own world view. It’s
not very encouraging to have one’s views challenged in a public forum.

Personally, I don’t view Christianity and politics as incompatible. We
are members of this polity called the United States. God has placed each
one of us under this form of government, rather than under some other
form of government (like under the Red Chinese banner, for example). If
God has put you someplace, He allows you the freedom to fully partake of
your rights as a citizen. For example, Paul exercised his rights as a
Roman citizen, while simultaneously retaining his identity as a Jew and
as a follower of Christ. Similarly, we too can exercise our rights —
the right to vote, the right to freely worship, the right to express
one’s opinion, and the right to petition government for the redress of
greivances — without compromising our identities as Asian Christians.

I feel I have not just a right, but a duty to express my views as part of
my Christian Asian-American identity. If some of my views happen to
correspond with a particular political belief or coincide with a
particular party’s philosophy, it follows as a result of my personal
identity, not from a desire to be identified with any particular
political movement.
Moreover, as members of this polity, we are called upon to pay taxes and
to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. As Christians, we are also
called upon to be responsible stewards of our resources. When those
resources are involuntarily tithed to the state in the form of taxes, we
have not relinquished our stewardship over those funds. Instead, we
still have the ability to direct this government in its trusteeship over
those funds. Whether the funds are used to support blasphemous artwork,
or to fund the deaths of prenatal infants in military and government-run
hospitals, or to build homes and shelter for the poor, is up to the body
politic to decide, and as members of that body, we have a right, if not a
duty, to speak out.

Just my two cents.

Richard L. Wong
Arlington, VA
Chinese Christian Church of Greater Washington DC

P.S. Gdot — my thoughts about Scandanavia will be in my next message.

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 16:29:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: NEWS (2 FYI’s)


I read that editorial in the Rochester daily and actually found it quite
interesting! I don’t agree with many of Thomas’ political statements, but
this editorial seemed to me to be on target. My own “political” statements,
notwithstanding, I believe as Thomas stated, that we must be wary of
“confusing” our mission to be Christ’s body with the political process. –

In a message dated 9/19/97 5:41:24 PM, wrote:


— End —

From: “Cheuk, Clarence”
Organization: Wheaton College
To:, “Ray Downen”
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 20:48:47 CST6CDT
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Politics

Hi. I would like to respond to Ray Downen’s
message. But in order to do so, I feel compelled to preface my
response in an Asian-y way. So here goes…I would like to note
that I am still young and a bit naive (I’m only a third-year
undergrad), so whatever I say, I say it with humility and respect.

I feel that the call to abandon political concerns
when discussing spiritual matters sets up a dichotomy that was never
meant to be established. Part (a large part in my opinion) of our
evangelism efforts involve social changes on a macro level.
Otherwise, we run into some kind of evangelism paradox: the more we
try to “just preach the Word,” the less favorably people will respond
to it. I believe that the collective advocation of certain macro-
social changes by a Christian body can do wonders for evangelism
For example, take the issue of racism.
During the Civil Rights Movement, the Evangelical churches were
curiously silent. It was too politically touchy for them to get
involved. What an impact they would have had it they had gotten not
only more involved, but rose as a leader to defend the rights of the
oppressed! Christianity in America would be entirely different if
that had been the case.
Of course, wisdom and tact should be used when
talking about political issues; we should never let them overwhealm
us. But sometimes, political issues are not just political issues.
Their implications dive into the pool of theological truths (e.g.
issues of social justice). Therefore, they are worth our time, and
the discussion thereof is valuable even (especially!) in a Christian
I end this response the same way I began it —
Asian-y. I would just like to say that I could very well be wrong.
I’m young; I still have years of education ahead of me. So who

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 15:05:10 -0700
From: Tom Steers
Subject: CAC_Mail: recent dialogues

Thanks to John Lo for starting up the present discussion…

Here are a couple of thoughts that are in my heart after the last couple of
decades of God’s School of Learning in “ABC” and “Asian American”

1. The need to have “both-and” thinking rather than “either-or” thinking.
In relationship to the ABC/OBC reality, it’s my experience that there are
many paradigms Chinese American Christians have in regards to their
ethnicity and how it works out in their church life. For example,
1. OBC who only wants OBC church
2. OBC who can be in either OBC or ABC church
3. OBC who prefers ABC church
4. OBC who prefers an Asian American church
5. OBC who prefers a multicultural church
6. OBC who prefers an European American church
7. OBC who prefers any other church (e.g. Japanese, Korean, Hispanic, etc.)
8. ABC who prefers an OBC church
9. ABC who prefers one OBC/ABC church with translation in English
10 ABC who prefers parallel OBC/ABC ministries in a church
11.ABC who prefers a separate ABC church
12.ABC who prefers an Asian American church
13.ABC who prefers a multicultural church
14.ABC who prefers an European American church
15.ABC who prefers any other church of another culture
What is interesting is how people change from one to another these days.
There’s a lot of movement. Or, should I say, “dyno-movement!” In the
“old” days there weren’t as many options. Regardless, my point here is
that ALL are valid. ALL need to be respected as options. ALL paradigms
need vital ministries to bring OBCs and ABCs into maturity in Christ.

Thank God for all OBC-ABC possibilities. Thank God for those who persevere
in parallel ministries who serve The King. Thank God for the exciting, new
ministries who have their unique purposes and problems. It’s not one, or
the other, but all (“both-and”). Thank God for meeting the needs of people
in each different paradigm. And thank God for the laborers He has raised
up for each paradigm (and will definitely continue to raise up!). Thank
God for all the new possibilities so that the 90% who are not in the
Kingdom or church can get in via many new ways.

#2. At this time in history, I believe The God of Hope is speaking MUCH
HOPE into all Asian American Christian leaders. Rom 15:13. Hope is an
incredible quality to possess since it is inseparable from faith, prayer,
vision, and victories in Christ. Having hope helps us wield strongly the
Sword of the Spirit in prayer and in preaching. And, if leaders have hope,
the congregation will, too.

Reasons for hope:

1. As mentioned above, there are unprecedented alternatives for ministry.
It’s not just ABC’s pastors needing to serve their initial “entry” time in
OBC churches. There are so many other kinds of churches and para church

2. God gave me a verse some years ago that gave me MUCH HOPE for
generational healing, deliverance, and victory that was needed in many
ABC’s because of immigrant parents who went through awful culture shock in
the U.S. plus, racism, exclusion, economic injustices, and 1st vs. 2nd.
generation panics and problems. The HUGE PAIN that all these
disorientations and sins gave parents, grandparents, great-grandparents,
etc. were displaced into the future generations, overtly or subtly, either
by anger, nagging, fear, or non-verbal aloofness. Of course, how this
played out is different according to person and family. The good news is
that God has been healing and delivering many from this stigma. It seems
after that the consequences of some sins and “stigmas” need generations for
healing…about four generations… WHAT A PERSONAL HOPE!

3. The Aug. 9 PK conference in Castro Valley was a watershed event for
“hope-giving.” First of all, God has called an awesome bunch of Asian
American leaders and has anointed them for service. This is a new
generational anointing from my perspective. FACE and JEMS represent the
former generation, both somewhat “ethnic specific” in their focus. But
this new leadership represents more of an “ethnic general,” Asian American
and Multicultural focus. Regardless, the present day Asian American
Christian leadership has an assignment from God to impact 21st century
Asian Americans… like never before in U.S. history. The dozens who came
to Christ or rededicated their lives at Castro Valley speaks volumes to this.

Also there was an unplanned phenomenon that occurred. Each Asian American
pastor that spoke, shared struggles, sins, temptations, defeats, in an
unprecedented way. It seemed as if “saving face” was “slapped in the face.”
In effect, it was the first time I have heard such overwhelming personal
honesty and transparency coming from Asian American pastors. More
importantly, it gave permission to the Asian American Christian men
conferees to deal honestly with their sins, trials , temptations, struggles

3. There is unprecedented missions involvement with OBC/ABC churches.
Not only is missions giving up, but more and more Chinese Americans are
finding their way to short-term or long-term missions. Asian Americans are
one of God’s key ways to finish the Great Commission task. There are so
many reasons for this. Let me just mention that I have two letters, one
from the Philippines, and the other from Japan…asking specifically for
Asian Americans to help nationals reach and disciple their countries. ONLY
Asian Americans could fill these needs in these two countries. God has a
special assignment for many ABC’s who expend their lives for the gospel.

We all know that having hope doesn’t exempt us for all kinds of trials,
tribulations, and “death” (and then, resurrection) experiences.

BUT, what a beautiful day this is. What a great opportunity for ABC’s in
this generation.

Jer. 33:3,

Tom Steers

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 22:30:16 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors

Ken, thanks for your response. I would like to add my humble opinion to

In a message dated 97-09-22 02:50:57 EDT, you write:


Dear Ken. I don’t consider myself becoming more Chinesey. Just becoming
more aware of the Chinese cultural context and how to play by their rules. I
have learned to speak some chinese but don’t want to watch Chinese soap
operas, etc. So I have learned to be flexible and adopting to a cultural
situation. So, in my church I work with people from Hong Kong, Taiwan,
Singapore, and America. Each one has unique personality & cultural cues that
communicate. Seems like a confusing job to switch between all types. Like


IMHO you are correct! If you want to develop a model to reach the unchurched
americanized ABC’s you cannot do it in the paradigm of the traditional OBC
church. Realistically how many unchurched Asian Americans would want to go
to any church, let alone an immigrant church to find God? I think the issue
of attraction is not with me, but with the church structure. I have had some
genuine ABCs tell me that my church was too Chinesey. I hope I can refer
them to Steve Wong’s church when things get off the ground. Go Steve!


Ken. Clarify. Don’t you mean “definitely NOT reaching?” I think that we
can reach a small percentage of the unchurched ABC in our context. Maybe 5%?
I’ll let you guys know what happens 10 years from now. Maybe someone can
get statistics from Jeff Louie’s ministry in San Francisco. I know the
church is growing but don’t know who they are reaching. Another church is
Cornerstone Baptist in San Francisco.


Agreed. But how many guys or gals out there are called to church plant? Who
is raising up these future church planters and where will they get their
backing? I have yet to see an OBC church do that. (There is probably one I
am not aware of somewhere.) In Northern Cal, which has the 2nd biggest
Chinese church population we are about on decade or more behind LA. Not
everyone is gifted to plant a church. Any suggestions, solutions, or models.
Will Evergreen provide all those church planters ;)? I know you have that
vision for it, but who else has the vision?

My personal vision with this need. I think we need to raise up a generation
of youth, starting in Jr. High with a passion to serve God & reach others.
If we can work and build them up we will have a good crop of ministers 10
years from now. I know John Lo has been working with some guys for several
years since they were in Jr. High in his church and now they are entering

I have an idea for the next 10 years. To somehow work & network with
churches so we can get young people into full-time ministry. Those in
college & career may not want to answer the call. I think the majority of us
felt called to ministry when we were in our teen years. (Mine came before I
entered college). I know it won’t solve the current staff crisis shortage
out there but maybe 10 years from now we won’t still be talking about the
same things.


I appreciate your discourse Ken. That was the part of my essay/musings. I
think you & others including myself have alot to say on this subject because
it something close to our hearts! The bottom line is a passion to reach
people whether they are in a Chinese church context or outside. Hope you
appreciate my 3rd generation Chinese “Chong Hay.” (Long windedness)

Two final questions?
1) Which churches have consistently been turning out future ABC or AsAm
ministers and how have they done it?
2) What is the conversion rate at your church? Baptisms? I just want to
get an idea of how effective we are in reaching the unchurched. Most of my
baptisms are youth! They are just as important for the kingdom.

For the Kingdom,
Rev. Arthur Lum
Chinese Church in Christ
San Jose, CA (Silicon Valley)

— End —

Subject: CAC_Mail: Asian-American Church Planters
From: (Jonathan c Ro)
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 02:35:31 EDT

Ken and Arther,
Amen to what you are saying about the need for more Asian
American church planters. It’s exciting to hear what Steve Wong’s doing.
The way he is going about it is blazing the trail for future
Asian-American church planters.
I’m curious to know how many potential “Steve Wong’s” are out
there? It would be great to network with all potential church planters.
My wife and I are attending a “Church Planting Assessment Seminar” this
October and would greatly benefit from a network like that.
I’m interested in learning more about church planting as it
pertains to reaching Asian Americans. Any advice Ken? Arther? Dave
Gibbons? Anyone? What things need to change from a typical church plant
reaching Caucasians?
Another thought is… could we combine forces with the 2nd
generation Koreans and other Asian ethnic groups to plant these churches.
The Korean Americans are talking about the same issues within their own
circle. The 2nd generation Koreans are a strong force. They have a lot
of zeal that we ABC’s lack. I’m not sure if ABC’s have much dialogue
with them. It would be great to see leadership from both sides working
together to plant these churches. Am I being too idealistic? Is there
an established church planter that can bring us together?

In Christ,
Jon Ro
(Associate Pastor – Chinese Bible Church of Oak Park, IL)

— End —

Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 23:32:47 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: Position Announcement

First Chinese Baptist Church, 1-15 Waverly Place, San Francisco, Ca 94108
Monday – September 22, 1997

Position Announcement


The First Chinese Baptist Church is accepting applications for the position
of Senior Pastor. The Senior Pastor is responsible for the following:
Leading the total church in all its activities especially in the areas of
preaching, interpre-ting the faith, pastoral care, spiritual life
development, evangelism, church growth, nurturing fellowship, and worship
Administering the business of the church including personnel supervision,
communi-cations, and organizational planning.
Preaching and developing the Sunday Wor-ship Service in English.
Working with the church staff, officers, boards, and committees to carry
out the work of the church.
Giving equal attention to the development of both Chinese-speaking and
English-speaking ministries.


The ideal candidate . . .

Has a M.Div. degree or equivalent from an accredited seminary and has been
Agrees substantively with Baptist beliefs and traditions and is committed
to support the American Baptist Churches of the USA and to work within its
Has experience and competence in the areas of responsibility indicated in
this position announcement.
Has experience working in a church with multiple staff and multiple
Has the commitment and proven ability to lead the total church in a Chinese
bilingual bicultural context.
Communicates in English and Chinese.

Individuals not meeting all requirements, but who have a strong interest in
serving the church in this position, are encouraged to apply.


A complete application for the position requires the submission of the
The Senior Pastor Application Form
A Current Resume and Photo
A Tape of a Recent Sermon
Your Statement of Faith
ABC Personnel Profile
(If Available)

Please send application materials and inquiries to:
Senior Pastor Search Committee c/o Dr. Roger Tom, Chair
2280 Redwood Road, Hercules, CA 94547 (E-Mail:

DEADLINE: Completed applications must be received by Friday, October 24,


All application materials will be acknowledged and treated confidentially.
Telephone calls and follow-up correspondence will be directed to your home
unless you advise us otherwise. If you become the finalist for the position,
we will request information from your current place of employment. Please
direct all inquiries about the position to the chair of the Search Committee.
The selection process includes an initial paper screening, an interview with
semi-finalists, and a weekend with the finalist.


Salary, benefits, and moving expenses are to be negotiated with the Search
Committee subject to the final approval of the church membership. The total
salary and benefits package range is $65,000-$72,000 plus health plan
The term of the position is for an indefinite period subject to the
termination procedures indicated in the church’s constitution.


Affiliation. The First Chinese Baptist Church is located in the heart of San
Francisco’s Chinatown. Organized in 1880, the church is affiliated with the
American Baptist Churches of the USA, regionally with the American Baptist
Churches of the West, and locally with the Chinese Christian Union of San

Church Profile. The church has an active membership of 465, and carries out
an extensive and comprehensive ministry for both Chinese-speaking and
English-speaking individuals and families. The current church staff includes
a Senior Pastor, Pastor for Chinese-Speaking Ministries, Pastor for Youth and
Young Adults, Minister of Christian Education, a Night School Coordinator,
Custodian, and 1.5 Secretaries.

Major Initiatives. For the next three years, we are committed to retrofit
the Chinatown church building and to plant a new church in the Sunset
district of San Francisco. During the transition period, we are one church
in two locations.

The Future. We seek God’s leading as we work with our new senior pastor in a
collaborative process to re-examine the church’s vision/ mission, ministries,
and organizational structure in the development of both short-term and
long-range plans.


A Typical Sunday

The current Sunday schedule includes a weekly 9:00 am Youth Service, a 10:00
am English Service, an 11:00 am Cantonese Service with a monthly 2:00 pm
Contemporary Service in English. Scheduled concurrently are church school
classes for children, youth, and adults. A number of church groups meet on
Sunday afternoons.

Church Groups

There are fifteen fellowship groups covering the age span from college
students to senior citizens. During the summer, there are a day camp/vcs
program, our own youth camp program, young adult retreats, and a family camp.

Community Outreach

During the week, in cooperation with the Community College District, the
church provides facilities for ESL classes for adult immigrants. In
conjunction with this program, the church has a Night School Coordinator and
sponsors a variety of outreach activities for the children of immigrant
families living in the immediate Chinatown community.

Current Church Vision/Mission Statement
The First Chinese Baptist Church, San Francisco is a multi-generational
bilingual bicultural church.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are called to be a people so
transformed by
God’s gracious love in Jesus Christ that we joyfully commit ourselves
in worship, witness, discipleship and ministry.



Name Date

Home Address

City/State/Zip Code

Home Telephone Work Telephone

E-Mail Address Birthdate Birthplace

Married? _____Yes _____No If you have children, please list their

Please check the category that best describe your language proficiency:
English: _____Native Speaker _____Fluent _____Limited _____None
Cantonese: _____Native Speaker _____Fluent _____Limited _____None

Denominational Affiliation(s)

Name of Your Area Executive Minister


City/State/Zip Code Telephone

Your Current Position



City/State/Zip Code

No. Active Members Avg. Sun. Attendance Salary Package

References: On the back of this form, please provide us with the names,
addresses, and telephone numbers of three individuals who know you and your
work well and who can comment on you and your ministry.

Application Deadline: Friday, October 24, 1997
If you are applying, please send a completed application form, a current
resume and photo, a tape of a recent sermon, your statement of faith, ABC
Personnel Profile (if available) and a cover letter explaining your interest
in the position to the Senior Pastor Search Committee, c/o Dr. Roger Tom,
Chair, 2280 Redwood Road, Hercules, CA 94547. Thank you.

— End —

Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 02:52:17 -0500
From: Fenggang Yang
Subject: CAC_Mail: Re: Chinese-American pastors

This list is becoming more and more interesting and stimulating. I have
been carefully reading every posting on this topic. But I was hesitant to
say anything about it. One reason is that I feel I’m an outsider, neither
an ABC nor a minister. As a sociologist researching Chinese churches in
the U.S., I see myself as an observer rather than an advocate. A
sociologist tries to help to achieve better understanding with a special
angle, not necessarily a better angle. Anyway, here are some questions
and ideas:

1. Do you see an overall negative attitude toward Chinese culture by those
ABCs or ABC pastors(-to-be)? Why? Are these ABCs children of earlier
Chinese immigrants? I think that American-born children of earlier
Chinese immigrants (lao qiao) have their reasons to distance themselves
from Chinese culture. Their parents or grandparents came to the U.S. when
there was strong anti-Chinese laws and atmosphere. To be Chinese before
WWII was very disadvantagous. However, children of new Chinese immigrants
(since the 1950s) tend to more appreciate Chinese culture. They came in a
time when the Chinese, along with other Asian ethnics, is becoming the
“model minority”. Their cultural identity helps rather than hinders their
status in American society. For those ABC pastors who are children of
earlier Chinese immigrants, if they want to work among children of new
Chinese immigrants, they may need to understand this.

2. There are some “Asian-American churches”. I really hope to learn more
about these churches. What is their culture? How is their
“Asian-Americanness” constructed? Is it substantially different from the
WASP identity? Is it simply a racial identity–people congregate there
because they all look the same with black hair and yellow skin.

3. For those who want to just evangelize Americanized ABCs, I think it is
still too difficult to keep the exclusiveness. As long as you have the
Chinese identity, no matter how vague it is defined, you will get
not-so-Americanized ABCs, and probably many OBCs as well. Rev. Samuel
Ling once planted an ABC church in New York, but after a few years, it
turned to be a multi-lingual church. (Am I right, Sam?). The Chinese is
a people with strong ethnic identity. You may like it or dislike it, but
it is the reality.

4. Most CAC subscribers are not OBCs, I guess. Therefore, I don’t know
how can you change the OBCs. The magazine has been working
to change OBC churches, but I do not think it very successful so far. It
is a reality that a majority of Chinese in America today are immigrants,
and most churches are immigrant churches. This is a hard reality. As an
OBC myself, I do not want to suggest that ABCs should change themselves.
But I do not see other options for those who have the calling to the

5. I strongly agree with Tim, Szeka, Sam, etc. about the lack of
institutional supports for ABCs who want to become pastors. Many Chinese
churches are non-denominational, which is not benefitial to the ministers.
And there are too few Chinese (or Asian) professors at seminaries. The
latter contributes to the negative attitudes toward Chinese culture by ABC

6. I believe that there is no pure Christian who does not have any
culture. You must have some culture, if not Chinese culture, it must be
European-American culture, or some other culture. Here is my challenge to
ABCs: why do you favor European-American culture over Chinese-American
culture? Please do not see this as blame or accusation. Tell you the
truth, before I came to the U.S. I hated Chinese culture myself, just like
the dominant ethos of Chinese intellectuals. However, since I became a
Christian in the U.S., I have become more appreciative of certain Chinese
cultural values.

finally, please pardon me for any grammatic errors. I’m an OBC anyway
:-). I can never speak English like a native-born American. (At a
conference in NY last summer, after three presentations about Asian
American Christian churches, the discussant regarded all of us three
presenters as children of immigrants. However, I’m not a 2nd generation
person, not even a 1.5 generation person. But I did not correct him.
That reflects my wish.)


Fenggang Yang, Ph.D. email:
Department of Sociology
University of Houston phone: 713-743-3973
Houston, TX 77204 FAX: 713-743-3943

— End —

Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 10:18:52 -0500
From: Fenggang Yang
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-Korean Differences
To: Edmund K Law ,

1. Differences between China and Korea: Christian missionaries came
to China along with Western gun-boats and opium-trading boats, which
smashed China’s closed-door and also China’s pride as a highly
civilized nation; whereas Christian missionaries joined other forces
to defend Koreans against Japanese colonialists. Consequently, for
most Chinese, Christianity was stigmatized as a “foreign religion”
or, even worse, a means of Western imperialism, a spiritual opium.
For Koreans, however, Christianity helped to uphold their national
dignity/identity. Consequently, Christianity has grown fast in Korea
since WWII (or earlier?), but grew very slow in China until all
foreign missionaries left in the early 1950s. Today 30% to 40% of
Koreans in Korea are Christians (am I accurate?); but only 1% to 5%
Christians in Chinese societies (mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong). Do
not simply blame Chinese for not very spiritual or not open to
Christianity. There are historical reasons.

2. Differences between Korean Americans and Chinese Americans: the
church has been the center of the Korean American community in the
last more than a hundred years. Actually it was some American
missionaries who helped or encouraged the first Korean immigrants to
the U.S. However, Chinese immigrants came as coolies at first, and
the church has never been the major ethnic Chinese organization. For
Korean immigrants, the church is often the only place they can get
help in both material and spiritual aspects. For Chinese immigrants,
they have more options. Actually, except some mainline Chinatown
churches, Chinese churches generally do not provide material
assistance to immigrants. The church is in the margin of the Chinese

3. Differences between Korean American Christians and Chinese
American Christians: about 75% Korean Americans attend ethnic
churches, whereas only 10%, or maximum 32%, of Chinese Americans are
affiliated with a church. This means that Korean American Christians
have to go beyond their ethnic boundary IF they want to contintue to
grow or maintain church attendance. 75% is perhaps the ultimum ratio
of Christians. The other 25% in principle will not become Christians
no matter what you do (sorry for my sociologist bias). Also, Korean
immigration to the U.S. began to decline in the 1990s. Therefore,
Koreans have to open-up their church to non-Koreans. Whereas
immigrant Koreans are not willing or able to do that, some 2nd and
1.5 generation Koreans are trying hard. Maybe ABC pastors should get
help from ABKs to evangelize other ABCs.

Fenggang Yang, Ph.D.
Department of Sociology
University of Houston 713-743-3943 (FAX)
Houston, TX 77204-3474 713-743-3973 (phone)

— End —

Subject: CAC_Mail: Re: Chinese-American pastors
From: (Stephen N Wong)
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 20:39:06 EDT

Dear Fenggang,

I hate long emails, but your posting really interested me. Here are my
answers to some of your questions (I’ll try to be brief):

I think you’ve hit upon an important distinction within the
Chinese-American community. For example, my parents were raised under
the Exclusion Laws, but my wife (a 1.5 generation ChiAm) has no
experience of the US before the Civil Rights movement. My parents think
that it’s up to the Chinese to reach the Chinese-Americans. That makes
no sense to my wife. But it made sense in the ethos that fostered the

Your questions 2. and 3. ask about Asian-American-ness and
Chinese-Americans. For my own church plant’s target group, I would say
that we’re aiming at people who think of themselves as Asian-Americans.
This is not a physical or ethnic identity. It’s a cultural identity,
coming out of the constructs presented to everyone who’s attended “Asian
American studies” classes in the past 25 years.

It’s nice that people are trying to define the Asian-American and
Chinese-American cultures (see your questions 3 and 6), but both of those
cultural identities are in flux, and as a practitioner I want to reach
people wherever they’re at (pardon the dangling preposition :)) and I
can’t wait for the definitive word on cultural identity.

In the meantime, yes, there’s a lack of support structures for ABC
pastors. The immigrant church will probably not change because of their
own issues of survival (i.e, of their own cultural identity). So it’s up
to those of us who see the need to provide as much support as we can.
Kudos to Ken and Corey for Evergreen’s efforts to mentor those called to
the pastorate. And praise God for this forum!

For the Kingdom,

Steve Wong
church planter
San Jose, CA

— End —

From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 15:50:50 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: Church Planting stories

[the following is an email from Ron Fong which got bounced to me by the
server because of some magic keyword in the first paragraph or something]

Subject: Church Planting stories ( was Chinese American Pastors )

In a message dated 97-09-22 22:38:02 EDT, writes:


where is the True Light Presbyterian Church of L.A. with their church
planting stories? where is the northern California equivalent? What
happened to the 1980’s CMA vision to church plant chinese american churches in
surburbia? I know there are chinese american church planting stories.
let’s get them out and share what went right and what could have been done
better and then build on it.

Ron Fong
Fremont, CA ( SF Bay Area )

— End —

Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 17:37:18 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: Asian Ministry Directory?

Part of my job with Promise Keepers is to help promote greater networking
within the Asian/Asian American evangelical community. Presently I am
seeking help in pulling together as many listings as possible of Asian or
Asian American para-church ministry organizations in the USA. I realize
there are several directories already in existence but these tend to be
focused on primarily one Asian sub group such as Chinese, etc. I would like
to help create a new directory that would become as comprehensive as
possible. I could help make this directory available via email or printed
form (nominal fee for printing and postage).

Here are the parameters –

1. Any Christian organization/ministry that considers itself to be

2. Primary focus of this group is ethnic specific toward an Asian or Asian
American audience. (Large ministries such as InterVarsity may list key
staff or departments that have a focus on Asian or Asian American groups)

Here is a list of data we would like to gather –

1. Name of organization/ministry
2. Key contact person
3. Address of ministry and key contact person
4. Phone numbers
5. Email addresses
6. Please state the general mission statement of the organization
7. Please state the general target audience of the organization
8. Please provide a brief history of the organization
9. Please specify the general range of the ministry, ie. national? regional?

Some of the organizations that I would like to see listed in such a directory
would include groups such as FACE, JEMS, AACF, IWA, CCM, Catalyst,
Ambassadors for Christ, etc. It might be helpful to also list conference
ministries such as MCBC (Midwest Chinese Bible Conference) and many others
from around the country.

This directory would be available only for ministry purposes and will not be
released to anyone or any group seeking to use it for commercial purposes.

Please send me info and data you might have personally as well as passing
this note on to others who may be able to help. I will eventually seek to
pass this ministry project on to a group of volunteers who can help maintain
and develop this directory resource.

In His service with you,

Louis Lee

— End —

From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 21:18:34 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: JEMS concerts

originally From:
Date sent: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 21:07:38 -0400 (EDT)

two JEMS fall concerts. Both are free

Southern California
September 27, 6PM
SoCal – First Chinese Baptist – Walnut (City of Industry)
1555 Fairway Drive, Industry (60 off at Fairway So)

Featuring: Calvin Joe, Holiness Youth Choir, Steve Moriya, Valerie Oishi, Tim
Yang, Lowell Sue

Northern California
October 11, 6PM
No Cal – San Lorenzo Christian Church (Holiness Church)
615 Lewelling Blvd, San Leandro (Frwy 880-So, Off at L
turn R; Frwy 880 No. off at Hesperian, turn R on Hesperian, and immediate L on
Lewelling. Featuring: Karin Cheung, SL Gospel Youth Choir, Valerie Oishi,
Selah, Wendy and John Tode and Peter Lum, and Becky Lum

— End —

Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 19:19:52 -0700
Subject: CAC_Mail: Chinese-Korean Differences
From: (Edmund K Law)

On Mon, 22 Sep 1997 01:51:18 -0400 (EDT) writes:

>My Korean-American students don’t seem face the same kind of
>from their parents. Are Koreans more likely than we Chinese to regard
>ministry as a worthy calling and profession?

Quite possibly. In the Chicagoland area there are about forty Chinese
congregations/fellowships and about four HUNDRED Korean
congregations/fellowships. Note: The Chinese population of the
Chicagoland area is much greater than the Korean population.

Another more general observation: The spiritual vitality of the average
Korean Christian tends to be greater than the spiritual vitality of the
average Chinese (American) Christian.

Some highly speculative musings:

1. Culture. After centuries of repelling Chinese onslaughts (on the
mother continent, mind you!), Koreans have learned to band together for
self-defense. Except for family ties, the Chinese don’t have a clue.
Hence, Koreans are culturally predisposed to the mutuality and community
of church life.

2. Spiritual Discipline. After centuries of harsh living on the Korean
Peninsula, Koreans are culturally predisposed to a serious commitment to
spiritual disciplines, particularly prayer. God has heard these prayers,
and God has blessed Korean Christians with much fruit, not only in South
Korea, but throughout the world.

3. God is similarly blessing and growing persecuted Chinese Christians
IN CHINA. Spiritual lethargy and lack of commitment seems to the be
condition of Chinese Christians OUTSIDE OF CHINA.

Any other ideas in CAC-land?

Grace and Peace

Ed Law (a Chinese guy)

— End —

Date: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 01:46:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: a source of joy

Hi Art;
Thank you for sharing. Your own commitment and understanding of the needed
commitment to Christ in order to serve His Church is very positive and a
source of joy for me. I know a few like yourself and probably a few more who
have not declared themselves so clearly. I carry a great burden for the
Chinese churches, which has not treated me well either, but we served them
since 1961, for the sake of Christ. Because He is faithful, you’ll be able
to speak like that too, some day. 🙂

Although much insights are being shared these past few days about the
difficulties in trying to serve the Chinese churches, the OBC leadership must
not only become aware of them, but must be somehow drawn into a search for
solutions. I believe Dr. Gail Law’s thesis had pointed out the loss of ABC
children from the Chinese churches over almost a century is about 96%. A
century when OBC leaders have been telling the ABCs that you have to become
like us, to serve or survive. They must somehow realize, their ways have not
worked and will not. Without that, they will continue to impose their
cultural Christianity on their churches, which leaves the ABCs on the
outside. Ironically, the loss is their own children – in a culture that
prioritizes the welfare of their children.

Art, as I said, I liked your input, but there is one item I’d like to add an
idea. You wrote Maxwell’s axiom, “leadership is influence.” I would propose
the question, what is the responsibility of a spiritual leader? My answer
is, “In whatever situation, To make clear what is GOOD to do and the RIGHT
way to do it.”
2 Tim. 2:24 And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind
to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting
those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading
to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses {and
escape} from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do
his will.
I think the spiritual leader’s responsibility is not to MAKE people do what
is good.

Your yokefellow in Christ,
Joseph C. Wong
Church Dynamics International (Chinese Ministries)
(SF Bay area)

— End —

Date: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 01:47:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: re: Chin-Amer pastors

I have been a pastor in Chinese churches on the West coast since 1961, but am
now serving as a consultant to pastors and church leaders.
Please allow me to submit an offering: I’ll try to be brief.

IMHO (“in my humble opinion,” I think) there may be a need to re-examine the
place of culture in the Chinese churches. The practice seems to be a
promoting of one’s own culture as better, and a despising of the other. We
may even be as bold as to call those of the other culture “evil.” However,
we usually soften it with “lazy” or “uncommitted” or “lacks integrity” or

My perspective is that foreign missions of the 19th and early 20th century
missionaries brought the Gospel to third world country and applied it by
developing Western-style churches. This was acknowledged as a mistake and
forsaken in the mid-20th century and a new approach was adopted. The
churches in the third world countries were to be allowed, encouraged to
express their Christianity according to their own culture.

This resulted in Philippino (sp?) churches, Chinese churches, African and
Chicano churches. Interestingly, this has done little to unify the
Christian Church. Implied in this development is the concept that the
Christian Faith may be expressed within the many cultures of this world. It
seems to me that a basic concept is being overlooked. The Gospel is not
designed to be EXPRESSED by the culture in which it blossoms, but its purpose
is to TRANSFORM the very culture in which it blooms. Rather than the culture
of a land acting as a covering over the Gospel, the Gospel is to radically
alter that culture.

It needs to be said, that the Gospel is not only to eliminate the “evils” in
a culture, but to transform the “good” of a culture as well. I believe this
is what caused some considerable tension in the first century church.
Christianity was changing even the culture of the Jews, transforming its
sins AND values.

Significantly, the accusations against Stephen were not denied.
Acts 6:13-7:1; And they put forward false witnesses who said, “This man
incessantly speaks against this holy place, and the Law; 14 for we have heard
him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the
customs which Moses handed down to us. ”
Also the accusation against Paul. Acts 21:21 and they have been told about
you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake
Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to
the customs.

For me, the passage in Isaiah 55:8-9, is the basis for understanding the
place of culture in the bi-cultural churches. The two characteristics that
God disavowed are the basic parts of a culture; “the thoughts and the ways of
a people.” The point seems to be that God does not recommend nor chose any
of the cultures of Man, but proposes that His Kingdom’s culture is undeniably
and radically different from those on earth.

The application suggested is that neither the Chinese nor the American
culture is the standard of the Christian Faith and therefore, we can stop
comparing between them and competing. We can be released from the duty of
defending our own culture as the better one. Instead, let each of us humbly
renounce the culture of our childhood as unfitting for the Church and seek to
discover what is truly the “thoughts and the ways of God.”

enuf for now.

Joseph C. Wong
San Rafael, CA (SF bay area)
Church Dynamics International (Chinese Ministries)

— End —

Date: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 15:43:52 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: Chi-Am is a wonderful challenge

I continue to appreciate the thoughtfulness and forthrightness (eg:
“Titanic”) of your inputs. Even when I have a different perspective, they
are instructive to me. So, thank you.

Since we have had little opportunities to visit, your latest email to Art
“fleshes out” more of your thinking for me. In many ways, your journey is
similar to mine. I too was told, late 50’s, that I needed to learn Chinese
to serve in the Chinese church and I had seriously considered going to Hong
Kong for a year to do so. But I realized that there were a lot of OBC
pastors available to serve the immigrants and very few of us ABC pastors. So
why am I preparing myself to minister among OBCs? Like yourself, early in my
ministry, I decided that I didn’t want to become more Chinese.

But since the characteristics of the Chinese church is bi-cultural, the
context of serving the ABCs included the OBC culture. I sought to understand
OBC culture, their “thoughts and ways.” (Of course, today, we know that ABCs
outside of the church need the Lord too.) This was reflected by Rev. Steve
Chinn in Boston, who wrote about his aim at Getting along with the OBC pastor
for the sake of the ABCs. (published by CCM’s “Challenger”) It doesn’t have
to be an either I become less Amercanized, or I can’t serve in the Chinese

Still, Ken, I saw in the East coast Chinese churches, ABC’s who were serving
in the Chinese churches, who reflected a great deal of the OBC’s culture.
Their adaptation to the situation is very great. There, the grip of the OBC
culture is tenacious. It is truly a sad situation for ABC ministries. 😦

So, I agree with you Ken. The ABAsians will probably not readily join a
typical Chinese church without a paradigm shift. Their change can happen if
a multi-ethnic, multi-culture church is anticipated and welcomed. In your
situation, it seems to be happening, but from the context of an ABAsian
controlled church. Can it happen from an OBAsian church? What would it

My approach (as was FACE’s) then, has been to address the OBC leadership in
the OBC church to call them to make adjustments for the flourishing of ABC
(not simply survival) ministries. ABAsians is a further step, but not
necessarily far in the future, if we can achieve the first. I believe one of
the significant concept to try and achieve this is an understanding of the
place of culture in God’s Kingdom. (my earlier input)

Joseph C. Wong
Church Dynamics International (Chinese Ministries)
near San Francisco

— End —

Date: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 15:55:35 -0700
From: “GE Liang”
Subject: CAC_Mail: A Coffee House Dialog

Dear CACers:

The ongoing dialog between Joseph, Fenggang, Art, Stephen, Ed, Ken and others is

On the heavy subject of Christianity and Culture, i’d like to submit a lighter piece.
It’s a fictional coffee house dialog and it can be found at
It starts like this:

“The Starbucks was brand new in the Kingstowne community and in the early evenings
was never crowded. Martin and John found a table by the window with a view to John’s
’96 Accord without difficulty. The two had just enough time to grab a cup of joe
between work and the baby shower for Ken and Barbara later that evening. They had
been friends for almost a year now. They had met at the Traditional Ethnic Full Gospel

It’s got an East Coast lense on the matter. But, i think some of the recent thoughts
are captured in broad strokes. Enjoy!

Thanks go to Rebecca Yee .nee Fong for editorial assistance.

Coram Deo,

Guo En Liang
Washington, DC
The one who carves the Buddah never worships it.
– Chinese proverb
God created man in his own image, in Gods image created he him. Male and female created
he them.
– Genesis 1:27

Free web-based email, Forever, From anywhere!

— End —

Date: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 15:59:15 -0700
From: “GE Liang”
Subject: CAC_Mail: Galations 3:28

Dear CACers:

Also checked out DJ’s recommended sites and found interesting material covering or
alluding to Gal. 3:28.

(Sorry for bringing up old subjects.) These are some links to ponder.

Coram Deo,

Guo En Liang
Washington, DC
Free web-based email, Forever, From anywhere!

— End —

Date: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 20:35:28 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: Chinese-Americans in Ministry

Friends –

when i wrote my first set of questions re: ABCs in ministry, i had no idea
it’d spark such a discussion. i thought i’d hold off before writing anything
and just read what comes up, but at last count there have been 41 posts on
the subject in the last week (whew!)

one of the thing which has concerned me about this whole subject has to do
with where the leaders for our present youth group-aged kids will come from
in the next ten years. i’m sure we’re all aware of the high drop-off rates
for ABCs in traditional OBC churches at two points: (a) when they first get
into college; (b) when they graduate. and this is a different question
altogether from their unreached peers.

the high number of asian-americans in college ministries like iv and navs
seem to indicate that college-aged abcs are being reached at a high
percentage than the 5% figure that’s usually thrown about for ABCs as a whole
(am i right in this assumption). but what happens afterwards?

frankly, when i was in seminary (i graduated from fuller in 1987, i think i
was a little more optimistic about some of these questions than i am now). my
reason for this is that it’s seemed to me that in the LA area, while some ABC
and AA churches are being planted (go steve!), most bilingual churches are
kind of going *backwards* on the assimilation scale because of the high
number of immigrants who have been coming in from asia over the last 15 years
or so. i used to think that the assimilation process was just a natural
phenomena and that young ABCs would get involved in ministries, and that as
their churches changed with the times, everything would iron itself out.

i wrote a paper on FACE, and my conclusion at the time was that the kinds of
things they were trying to implement maybe weren’t really necessary.

but after my years of watching this scene, i’m beginning to get a little
worried. as many of you have pointed out, since most chin-am churches are
independents, this whole mentoring thing for abc’s left to (a) obc pastors;
(b) iv staff workers, who aren’t really ministering in churches; (c) no one
[take your pick]. and abc post-seminarians aren’t all making it through.

scary scenario.

in our own church, as i mentioned before, i have one recent fuller grad, and
three students who are just getting started at fuller. i’m concerned about
how to get them ready for what’s out there. at our church, we just hired a
senior pastor from singapore who doesn’t speak any chinese. our english
ministry is the larger than our two chinese ministries, and our board
meetings are all in english.

but our church is atypical. and i’m afraid my guys are going to get spoiled
by the kind of freedom that i have over here, and then will not be able to
make it when they take some job somewhere and get hit by the “real world”.
those “junior positions” at chinese churches would, i’m afraid, be culture
shock to my young people, unless they feel God calling them to cross-cultural
ministry (unless, of course, the Lord moves in our church enough for us to be
able hire them in three years…. =)

i appreciate art’s words re: carrying the cross, cultural sensitivity,
perseverance, etc. that’s part and parcel of the ministry anyway. but any of
us that has seen that high school-to-college drop-off and that post-college
drop-off in traditional OBC (as well as bilingual) churches knows that if
those of us that don’t have a little more seasoning (having “made it” through
the first 18 months) put our heads together, things aren’t going to get any

as an ABC son of an OBC pastor who (barely) made it through THAT transition,
i think there are specific differences between the 1.0 and 2.0 mindsets,
understanding of the gospel and experience of the faith which have to be
addressed (i think ken can speak better about what comes after that). in my
own household, during the time i was in seminary, and afterwards, during my
period of leaving the church and faith (NOT a fuller issue, i don’t think
=), my father and i had LOTS of discussions about the big emphasis on our
sinful human nature which always seemed to be such a big part of his sermons.
they weren’t theological discussions, but practical ones, in terms of the
amount of emphasis this should play in preaching, etc.

since that time, i’ve felt like there is a primarily will-oriented,
cognitive-based faith basically which assumes that if the truth is laid out
there correctly, people will know what to do. if this doesn’t work, them
guilt or shame can be used to light the fire and get the spiritual atoms
moving =).

in contrast, i’ve found that that just doesn’t work that well for me. there
are lots of times when i know what to do, but motivation, etc. are hard to
come by. there are other ways to change behavior. social relationships are
important. so is narrative preaching. and mentoring. and they seem to be
really important for 2.0’s. i will listen to someone who i can sense is a
real person because of their vulnerabiility. without that, it just sounds
like a lecture.

whether or not this is a 2.0 thing or a gen-X thing is a little hard for me
to figure out. either way, it’s cultural, and our culture affects our
understanding and expression of the faith.

i feel fortunate to have been able to minister in a place where i was allowed
to figure this out. my church (thank God, it just wasn’t my father and me …
he actually was never my direct supervisor) allowed me to start a youth
service without much fuss. over there, i was able to work on some of this
stuff without being critiqued at every single point.

i think young ABC pastors are going to need those kinds of healthy
environments or terrariums in which these little seedlings can take root, be
shielded from everything that’s out there for a while until their spiritual
and ministry roots have sunk into the soil a little bit.

what kind of things do you all think are necessary for an environment like

* * * *
John Lo
Pastor of Youth and Young Adults
English Congregation
First Evangelical Church, Glendale, CA
* * * *

— End —

Date: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 19:15:16 -0600
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Galations 3:28
From: (G Ottoson)

On Wed, 24 Sep 1997 15:59:15 -0700 –> DJ via “GE Liang”

>Among the evangelicals, there are 2 major organizations that deal with
>issues regarding gender roles:
>Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
>Christians for Biblical Equality

Interesting, esp the second time around 🙂 Is the ‘confusion’ reduced by
the fact that there are two opposing interpretations of Scripture?

Apparently Evangelicals, under one sovereign name, have two supposedly
‘valid’ interpretations of one (supreme) authoritative book guiding two
approved organizations opposed to each other’s meaning of gender and

What message does this send to people?

Do Jesus’ observations…’the blind leading the blind’ (redacted, Matthew
15, 23) properly come to mind?


PS. Brother Richard: I’m impressed with your challenge to me on how to
challenge people:) Thx. How’s your email on Scandinavia comin’ along?
Here’s a poem for you:

Man Power

To Man fallen
You man be..

You man callin’
You Man free

Oh my goodness
You man sweet
You man would this
Mankind meet

You man kind
You a-lone..

You Man find
You Unknown

You man speakin’
You man God
You man love me
i am awed

c. 1997 go

— End —

Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 00:19:38 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: OCA list of upcoming Asian American Conferences


The Organization of Chinese Americans just posted a list of upcoming Asian
American conferences. It is a rather lengthy post, so email me privately if
you would like a copy. – Tim
Rev. Dr. Timothy Tseng
Sallie Knowles Crozer Assistant Professor of American Religious History
Colgate-Rochester Divinity School
1100 South Goodman Street
Rochester, NY 14620
OFF: (716) 271-1320, ext. 260
FAX: (716) 271-8013

— End —

Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 00:42:55 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: Fwd: AAASCommunity: “The Korean American Dream”


FYI. Looks like Koreans are not just more “spiritual” than Chinese, but
better at getting published about their own communities! Hang in there and
lean upon God, everyone! – Tim
Rev. Dr. Timothy Tseng
Sallie Knowles Crozer Assistant Professor of American Religious History
Colgate-Rochester Divinity School
1100 South Goodman Street
Rochester, NY 14620
OFF: (716) 271-1320, ext. 260
FAX: (716) 271-8013
Forwarded message:
From: (Don T. Nakanish)
Date: 97-09-24 15:51:09 EDT

Diana de Cardenas ( For Immediate Use
(310) 206-1464 Sept. 16, 1997


Korean immigrants in the United States establish their own small
businesses at a rate exceeding that of immigrants from any other nation,
according to a new book by UCLA Professor Kyeyoung Park. In “The
Korean American Dream: Immigrants and Small Business in New York
City,” Park writes that more than one third of all Korean immigrant adults
are involved in small businesses.

Park examines this phenomenon in Queens, N.Y. — where
two-thirds of New York City’s Koreans live — tracing its historical
foundations and exploring the transformation of Korean cultural identity
prompted by participation in an enterprise. The book documents ways in
which Korean immigrants use entrepreneurship to improve the quality of
their lives, focusing on their concerns and anxieties, as well as their

— End —

From: “Peter Szto”
Organization: Calvin College
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 12:50:58 EST5EDT
Subject: CAC_Mail: ethnic church challenge

DC makes a good point about knowing and “interpreting” the
surrounding culture. Another perspective to take is for Christians, of
whatever theological and ethnic stripe, to be more self-consciuosly involved in
the production of culture. Why must we Christians always be passive
respondents to culture, whether high or low? Doesn’t God call us to
be agents of cultural transformation?

Peter Szto

— End —

From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 09:39:14 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: ethnic church challenge

I shared a good chat online with Timothy Tseng last night, and wanted to
share with you some of our observations concerning the challenge of
ministering in the ethnic Chinese church. (a new chat software called AOL
Instant Messenger allows Internet users to talk with AOLers real-time, check
it out at ; my screen name is djchuangix)

The challenges of ministering in the ethnic Chinese church perhaps shouldn’t
be blamed just on culture, especially since culture is always changing and
fluid, and among the ethnic Chinese, there is a great diversity of background
and such.. Timothy suggests that we who minister to the ethnic Chinese need
to understand power dynamics in a congregational setting as well as the wider
community and societal context in which a congregation resides.

Culture is not something that solely shapes people. People are free agents
to alter culture whenever they want to. What actually happens is that
some will employ stereotypical cultural patterns of both Chinese and American
whenever it suited their advantage, thus the power struggle aspect enters
into ministry dynamics.

For the “OBC”, Chinese patterns were preferred.. perhaps this is because that
is the only way that OBCs can exercise authority over us ABC types. Now why
would OBC’s want to control ABC’s, as such? Perhaps out of fear, out of
concern, out of genuine faith in what they’ve been taught theologically and
ecclesiologically, and/or out of discrimination they face in society.

>From my conservative evangelical training (I’m DTS trained), we were equipped
to be biblical minded pastors, but for many congregations (and especially
ethnic ones), they have certain pastoral molds and certain cultural contexts
that they desire to be respected. Timothy commented that seminaries should
train pastors to be culture exegetes, and places like Fuller and other
“mainline” seminaries tend to teach people how to analyze the culture.

Now I retorted, if that’s true, that we have cultural exegetes, then wouldn’t
someone have exegeted the ethnic Chinese culture, and come up with a viable
model for bi-cultural ministry? I don’t think that’s happened yet, or it
takes more time to exegete culture.

Some pastors have noticed that churches that are pastor planted do okay, but
churches that emerge from a Bible Study don’t do so well, in the pastoral
ministry aspects. And that might explains a lot. Lay leaders not used to
submitting to anyone now must listen to the pastor they called. Hard for
them to change. Lack of ecclesiological theology (that happens when one
only does Bible Study without theological or church history foundation).

Where did all this come from? I myself am leaving an ethnic Chinese church
ministry, having served 2 years as youth pastor in one. Yes, I’m fresh out of
seminary, and this is my first ethnic Chinese church ministry; having no
Christian home upbringing background, no Chinese church background, a Bible
church background where many lay people were well-versed in Scripture, my
idealism was high.

Even though I do speak the Chinese language, and even preached once in
Chinese, that’s not enough… recognizing that I made some irrevocable
cultural “faux pas” (concept of forgiveness seems foreign in this context),
and receiving the Lord’s provision for another opportunity, I’m putting
closure to this chapter.



— End —

Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 12:54:27 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors
From: (Richard Wong)

Regarding Arthur Lum’s comments on pastoral burnout and how he “survived”
as an ABC in order to minister in an OBC church, I share a lot of his
experiences and views. I was born and raised stateside, and attended
all-white churches and schools through high school and college. After
moving out here for grad school, I started attending and serving in my
current church. At first, it was difficult to get used to the OBC
“Chinese” culture, but the Lord has worked on my heart and attitudes to
enable me to serve and to stay. Although I don’t have an formal ministry
title, I’m serving in a variety of ministry roles as a tentmaker. Most
recently, I feel like I’m being used as a quasi-Youth Pastor — right
now, I’m serving as a Teens Group Sponsor, a Senior High Sunday School
teacher, an English congregation core group member, and representing the
younger “English” (ABC) congregation on the church board.

Finding a ministry niche was hard at first, because as an ABC, I had to
get used to the church’s dominant OBC culture. But once I realized the
need for someone to reach out to the ABC offspring of these OBC
congregants, I found my calling. It really has to come from a love and a
desire to see others saved, a vision that keeps you going despite
setbacks and adversity, a willingness to sacrifice, a willingess to
humble oneself, and from a desire to learn and understand a “foreign”
culture, even if it’s supposed to be your own! It opened up a lot of
people’s hearts when I finally enrolled in the Church’s Chinese school!
(Reading back over this paragraph, the concepts and thoughts in this
paragraph are the basis for a successful marriage!)

During the seven years I’ve been with the church, the church has had
three different senior pastors (Chinese-speaking) and three associate
pastors (English-speaking). I guess this falls within the time span
given for ministers who drop out due to burnout and frustration, but
although they all had their frustrations with the church from time to
time, none of our pastors left because of burnout. Rather, two of the
Chinese pastors were “terminated” by the congregation (I guess you could
consider it due to frustration and burnout on the congregation’s part),
while two of the English pastors left for other opportunities. One went
to a larger church to be closer to family, while the other left for law
school(!). Personally, I don’t know why somebody would leave the
ministry for law school. I know a couple of guys who did the reverse
(Greg Jao — are you still receiving these messages?), and some who are
doing both law and ministry full time (like myself), but to go from doing
the Lord’s work to the, ah, “other guy’s” work, puzzles me. But I guess
God can use a few good lawyers, too. 🙂

Richard Wong
Arlington, VA

— End —

Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 15:46:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: Dennis Low
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-American Pastors
To: Richard Wong

Hi Richard. Rev. Dennis Low here from Silicon Valley. Thanks for your
sharing & encouraging words.

Just to add to the continuing discussion, it is also good for ABC pastors
to see the work the “OBC” church is doing to reach out to
immigrants/Chinese speaking people. I sincerely doubt that an ABC church
would be as successful shepherding a CHinese speaking congregation.
Since I am an ABC in a Bilingual church, I could identify with Richard &
Art’s situation. Hi Art!

But I have found that it’s helpful to not just focus on “my” ministry to
English speakers. I’m also concerned about the Mandarin congregation.
My perspective is that I am a pastor of the church, which includes both
English & Mandarin speaking people. My area of focus is to those who are
English speaking, whether they are ABC, ARC, OBC who prefer to speak
English, Asian AMerican, or just plain English speakers. Yet I also
minister to those in the Chinese congregation when the need or
opportunity arises.

It’s a good reminder to not see the “OBC” as an enemy or obstacle for
growth. Romans 12:9-21 has given me much advice on how to deal with the
OBC-ABC struggle in Church ministry, especially verse 18

Romans 12:18
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

I’m going on my 5th year as a pastor at the same Chinese church. It’s been
an exciting time seeing the Lord grow His church. I look forward to many
more years. But I also know there’s a great deal still to learn. Thanks
for all the sharing from everyone.

In Christ,

Pastor, Home of Christ in Cupertino

— End —

From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 18:01:42 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: tips on posting

Note to CAC subscribers:

The CAC Mailing List now has almost 200 subscribers, which by Internet
standards is not that large, but for many of us who are new to online
discussions, the number of posts by even a handful can seem

In order to keep the flow of discussion efficient and effective, here are a
few tips on posting to the CAC mailing list:

— post messages to all by sending an email to

— only quote back a few lines in your replies, just enough to give a
context; not the whole message

— write in a cordial and clear manner, since email doesn’t convey
non-verbal cues

— keep each post within 4 screen fulls; no lengthy articles or treatises
(if you do have something really useful/ good, do let us know about it on
CAC, and those interested can request it from you)

The recent discussion have been cordial and insightful, and I would invite
those who are readers to contribute accordingly. Also I would like to ask
you to let others know about the CAC Mailing List, whether to join as active
contributors, or to become readers who might benefit from our discussions.

To join CAC, simply send an email message to “” and on
the first line of the message body, write “subscribe cac” [without quotes].
You’ll receive a confirmation/ welcome message.

Thank you for being a part of CAC,


— End —

From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 18:10:26 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: (Fwd) BlockParty ’97

——- Forwarded Message Follows ——-
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 13:40:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Re: could you post this information


This is your official invite to BLOCKPARTY’97 music fest, Sat. September 27,
1997 10a-6p. That’s right, FIVE kickin’ bands hitting you hard with
everything from Pop to Hip-hop. The line up includes:

GINA – performing from “The Nitro Praise album” and her newest release,

“Never Knew Love Like This”


We”ve got FOOD&FUN goin’ on as the band to their thang. So, don’t you fret
over what to bring. Just get yourself, your friend, your blanket/chair to

Checkout our website at:

Bellflower First United Methodist Church Parking Lot
14525 Bellflower Blvd, Bellflower,CA 90706
Corner of Bellflower & Rosecrans

91 fwy (near 605), exit Bellflower, go north (1.5 miles), left at Maplewood.
or… 605 fwy (between 105 and 91), exit Rosecrans, go west (1.0 mile), left
Bellflower, quick right at Maplewood. or… 105 fwy (near 605), exit Bellflower, go south (1.0 mile), right at Maplewood.

— End —

Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 20:46:01 -0400
From: Sze-kar Wan
Subject: CAC_Mail: ABC Ministry: Random Thoughts

Dear CACers:

Left town for a few days and am pleasantly surprised by the outpour of
excellent, rigorous posts on ABC ministry. Keeping up with CAC is like
taking a language course: if you are a week behind…

First all, I am deeply moved by the sharing of frustrations by John Lo,
Sam Ling, Arthur Lum, etc (I haven’t finished reading). I’ve learned a
great deal, and the stories reinforce a lot of my suspicions and
experiences of how ABCs are treated in predominantly OBC churches.
There is no malice, of course, on anyone’s part. But the OBC culture is
tough to stomach. I here speak as an OBC, though “1.5er” is nearer the
mark. I don’t see much change in OBC churches, not when they continue
to grow the way they have been growing–on strength of immigrants and
foreign students.

Yet, I am convinced the future of Chinese churches in America belongs to
ABCs. I hope I am not perceived here as dichotomizing the Chinese-Am
churches. But the OBC identity is inextricably tied to the old country:
every event, every change “over there” triggers an emotional response
more profound than anything experienced as part of this society. No
value judgment, just reactions issued from the core of our being. Here
I speak from experience: despite more than 20 years as citizen of this
great country, things across the Pacific affect me like nothing else.
I’ve lived in Philippines, Israel, Holland, Germany, not to mention
China and Hong Kong, and I’ve visited a great deal more; there is no
nation that can match America in its enlightened attitudes and
humaneness (problematic as they still are), and there is no designation
other than “American” I would rather hyphenate my identity to. (Boy,
it’s liberating to dangle your preposition!) Still, I’ll never forget
this overwhelming, powerful, utterly transcendent surge of emotions that
took me out of and beyond myself into the bosom of the congregation when
I first witnessed the reopening of the Shanghai Community Church after a
decade of Cultural Revolution. The attachment is real, and OBCs are
dishonest if they (we?) think they (we?) are above it.

That’s precisely the problem, isn’t it? They (We?) still want to
re-create their (our?) now-lost worlds in the new.

For ABCs, however, your (our?) place is here. If any genuine
Chinese-American Christianity is to come about, it’s your (our?)
responsibility. Chinese-Americanism is a cultural or subcultural
system, whether you (we?) like it or not; the question is whether or not
you (we?) take ownership of it.

Correct me if I over-analyze. It seems to me that when questions about
PK were raised, there appeared to be an unspoken preference for “pure”
Christianity to an Asian-American version of it. In our current
discussion of ABC ministry, however, as opposed to OBC ministry, there
seems to be a willingness to entertain the constitutive role culture
plays in our Christian identity. I haven’t thoroughly digested the
dialogue between Tim and DJ and will perhaps comment on it later.

If this is true, it may be the result of an inherent paradox in
Christianity. There is no such thing as “pure,” “abstract,” or
“disembodied” Christianity. Since it is incarnational in essence, no
one has access to Christianity except through its concrete
manifestation, namely the congregation, the church, fellowship, you and
me. A Christianity without ecclesiology (systematic thinking about the
church) is like life without body. But as soon as we factor in the
human dimension, culture–that comprehensive system of symbols, rituals,
customs, morality, values that informs who we are and what we aspire
to–insinuates itself into our consciousness. The result is that, when
we worship God, we do so as fully enculturated people.

A question for the better informed: Are there national supports for ABC
ministry? FACE (Fellowship for American-Chinese Evangelicals) is one,
but is it adequate for the needs articulated in our discussion? There
are mainline-denominational supports as well (e.g., UMC, Episcopal, Am
Baptist), as well as academic programs (Fuller, Regent College,
Princeton, Claremont, Garrett-Evangelical, to name a few), but they
rarely have the national stature CAC appears to be attaining. Maybe
strong support could come out of CAC. It seems to provide the kind of
forbearing understanding, patient ecumenical spirit that we yearn for.
Maybe one day we can get organized….

Peace and grace,

— End —

Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 19:13:45 -0700
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Galations 3:28
From: (Edmund K Law)

G writes:

“Apparently Evangelicals, under one sovereign name, have two supposedly
‘valid’ interpretations of one (supreme) authoritative book guiding two
approved organizations opposed to each other’s meaning of gender and

What message does this send to people?”

Sola scriptura. Better get up to speed and read the Bible for yourself.

Ed Law

— End —

Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 19:30:15 -0700
From: Ken Fong
Organization: Evergreen Baptist Church
To: Fenggang Yang
CC: Edmund K Law ,
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-Korean Differences

Hey, Dr. Yang, I for one truly appreciate your socio-historical info on
the diff’s between Chinese and Koreans. Very helpful. I learned a
lot. Thanks for taking the time.

Rev. Dr. Ken Uyeda Fong
Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles
(a multi-Asian, multi-ethnic ministry)

— End —

Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 20:34:55 -0700
From: Ken Fong
Organization: Evergreen Baptist Church
To: Stephen N Wong
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Re: Chinese-American pastors

I agree with Steve that the Asian American cultures (yes, plural) are in
flux…and I think they always will be. But I also believe that we
church leaders can play key and active roles in shaping some of them.

For example, this year, as I’ve taken on the senior pastor role at the
newly re-established Evergreen of LA, I’ve felt led to evolve our
demographic target audience from what we’ve been calling Americanized
Asian Americans to what we’re now calling “multi-Asian, multi-ethnic”.
Some of this is due to what I’ll label a leading from the Lord, some due
to observing the shifting grouping patterns of our core congregation as
well as the gradual broadening of a good portion of AAA Xns, who
apparently are growing weary of all this ‘just Chinese’ or ‘just AA’
ethnocentrism. And lo and behold, these past several months, we’ve been
picking up a growing number of IVCF students, many of whom are ‘these
type’ of AAAs, who recognize the kingdom values they’re getting on
campus. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

But I realize that we might be on the thin edge of the wedge as far as
AA churches go. I’m sure most ABC or OBC churches are poised for this
paradigm now or the near future. However, some of us are called to
pioneer this type of ministry, if for no other reason that there are
growing numbers of AAs who are looking for just such a church.
Interestingly enough, just like Dr. Yang stated, there are increasing
numbers of first gen. and second gen. Chinese coming to this new model!
Who coulda guessed? This model by no means we abandon our exploration
of various Asian cultures. In fact, I believe that having such a
diverse population actually makes it more imperative that we do our
homework, for Asians especially, but also for the other ethnic groups
who make up our new family.

’nuff for now.

Ken Fong

— End —

Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997 01:00:27 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: church plants

Hi Ron;

You asked about church plantings in Northern California. It’s pretty slim,
but here’s what I know about.

The initial ABC church planting events were done by Chinese Bible Evangel,
back in the mid-50’s. Under the leadership of a farm boy from Idaho, Rev.
Sen Wong begin planting ABC churches. The Oakland Chinese Bible Church
(today’s Bay Area Chinese Bible in San Leandro) was first, then came the SF
Bible Church, another one was started in Stockton (has closed), and then the
Chinese Gospel Mission was transformed into Chinese Grace Bible Church in
Sacramento. After that came Chinese Fellowship Bible Church in Belmont, the
Chinese Faith Bible in Fremont, and efforts is underway for one in San Ramone

I have watched this with amazement and interest, learning from his efforts
what works and what are not so good ideas, adding to my own ideas. His work
is largely ignored by the Evangelical community, because of his Separatist
stance. In spite of that, I must applaud what God has wrought through his

The San Francisco Chinese Independent Baptist Church planted a couple of
churches in the late 70’s; Sunset Chinese Baptist and Marin Chinese Christian
(now Marin Community Christian) MCCC was an ABC effort, while Sunset Chinese
Baptist grew parallel ministries with “co-pastors.”

It’s a bit of information to encourage you as to what God has been doing here
in the Bay Area. Nor am I blind to the great neglects and handicaps still
confronting the growing of ABC ministries.

Joseph Wong
Church Dynamics International
SF Bau Area

— End —

Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997 12:47:31 -0400
From: Sze-kar Wan
Subject: CAC_Mail: Job Opening

It has come to my attention that The First Chinese Baptist Church of San
Francisco is looking for a senior pastor. Their former pastor, the Rev.
Dr. Jeffrey Sharp, is going to be missionary in Hong Kong.

Bilingualism is preferred (but not required I think, since they already
have a pastor fo the Chinese-speaking ministries). Other qualities they
look for: MDiv, ordained, Am Baptist, ability to work in a multi-staff,
multi-congregation, bilingual, bicultural environment. “Individuals not
meeting all requirements, but who have a strong interest in serving the
church in this position, are _encouraged_ to apply.”

The application deadline is 24 Oct 97.

Please get in touch with Roger Tom, chair of search committee, directly;
all I have is the job description and I have no first-hand knowledge of
the church.

Dr. Roger Tom, Chair
Senior Pastor Search Committee
2280 Redwood Road
Hercules, CA 94547

Church address:
First Chinese Baptist Church of SF
1-15 Waverly Place
San Francisco, CA 94108
Tel: (415) 362-4139/4298
fax: (415) 362-7644


— End —

Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997 13:28:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: Need Anne Lau’s email address

Greetings. Anne Lau asked me for the list of upcoming APA conferences, but I
lost her email address. Could she send me her email address so that I can
send her the list? Thanks. – Tim

— End —

Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Politics
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997 18:06:09 EDT

Dear Richard:


As I mentioned, thx for this challenge, my Brother. Some thoughts:

…’incorporated’, an interesting word selection.This system we live in,
the only one I’ve really known, not only incorporates, it digests. Who
mentioned the Borg a while back 🙂 In the ‘ideal’ American World, in
reality, people are not allowed to live in peace, unincorporated, as
Swedish, Mexican, African, etc.; not allowed to be (as) God created.
These distinct peoples (treated like machine parts, trained for this role
in schools inc Seminaries) are gone. They lose their roots, despair in
the soul, and can’t seem to focus clearly on their Maker (e.g. what
language does ‘he’ speak? How long ago? As Sze-kar wisely raised in the
‘tour de force’, I believe: What is my/your/our purpose HERE)?

Reflecting also on Brother Sze-kar’s closing comment yesterday (and not
meaning to be excessively combative but informative), people are able to
organize within this system, e.g. as Teamsters, Church, CAC, but
definitely may not counter-organize. Some organizations inc the Communist
party try organizing Am. from within it, fail. Just ‘Unincorporated’ is
fine with me.

Do Jesus’ people gear into this (any) system? So much unlike Jesus in
this regard, ‘Church’ in this society renders itself tax-free (Yes, Jesus
paid his taxes). Protectors protected by what they protect, ‘Church’ is
highly organized, even rich, but Spiritually blind (to Jesus)–IMO,
because the ‘digestive’ system works.

e.g. ministry talk, focused on ministry, is VERY meaningful esp in the
case of CAC but can be babble in a country where ministry (focus) is
(part of) big business. Pls don’t take this wrong, I speak in love here:
It would be essential for business to have you wonderful and brilliant
people ‘babbling’. It’s like education in the school systems; I’m a
teacher. Ed/Ministry is millions of dollars spent systematically on
organization/property; results: a Spiritually bankrupt culture
politically oriented toward maintaining a grasp on/the vitality of
private enterprise/property and capitalism through organized ‘morality’.
(What is morality anyway? I think Sam Ling touched effectively on the
depth of this morass in his recent encyclical).

Evangelism is an economic proposition, too; winds up robbing Paul’s
church’s (giving units) to build Peter’s, vice versa. It produces church
hopping, not conversion (Col. 1:13).

Basically, Am. pans out as a situation about which/to which the prophets
like Jonah speak. We are institutions religious but blind to the living
God (cp. Eph 2:2). In the US, ‘Church’ has to do with embracing a tax
exempt god-system (and money machine) disguised in culture by lotsa lingo
in the spirit of (which?) Christ or anti-Christ..I tend to be sarcastic,
whatever. Pls forgive me if I wrongly offend anyone…I think it’s
correct, Richard, that a ‘challenge’ to such blindness from someone going
down this (digestive) tube sideways causes others who are loyal to the
system to become ‘defensive’. There’s plenty of evidence for this in
Scripture, too, e.g. in Matthew 23 when Jesus convicts his foes of murder
(the direction THAT sermon, not necessarily this one, takes). They do not
repent, they plot another murder! They never saw the alternative: a new
loyalty to the ‘Eye-opener’ (Jn. 9) who was soon to be murdered not only
‘by’/’for’ , but ‘because’ of them…The World system participated in it
then, participates now: IMO it repeats the murder of Jesus daily (see
Rev. 1:7); it digests Jesus/his loved ones one way or another. But, like
the big fish with Jonah, the system is free to regurgitate whatever it
can not stomach. If followers of Jesus are regurgitated and ‘Church’ is
not, so what. We live to preach/teach about it. Though absent from
‘Church’, we follow Jesus like Jonah (eventually:) to God.

All for now.

Best regards, Bro. G

— End —

Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997 14:46:04 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: Porter Moves to Cut Off Bilingual Voting Funds


I wonder how our recent discussions about the difficulties ABCs have in
Chinese churches connects with efforts like the following to cut off funds to
assist new immigrant voters. Because of length of article, I’m only
attaching the first paragraph. Please email me privately if you’d like the
entire article. Thanks. – Tim


Rev. Dr. Timothy Tseng
Sallie Knowles Crozer Assistant Professor of American Religious History
Colgate-Rochester Divinity School
1100 South Goodman Street
Rochester, NY 14620
OFF: (716) 271-1320, ext. 260
FAX: (716) 271-8013

— End —

Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997 14:48:07 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: Re: why Asian American women don’t marry Asian American guys


Min (Colorado College and associate for my Chinese American Christian
Oral-video history project) agreed to have the following posted. Your
comments are appreciated. – Tim
Forwarded message:
From: (F H Min Min L)
Date: 97-09-19 21:05:29 EDT

Hi Tim

your list of suggestions were excellent
to Clarence Chuck at Wheaton…maybe I’ll write
him too.

on your uh oh topic..
Why Asian women don’t marry Asian men..that one phrased
like that always kind of bothers me and
to me I always see it as a comment from the perspective
of Asian men. We’ve had similar signs up at Berkeley
stuff like: “yo white boys give us back our women”
“Asian women belong to Asian men” and granted that
that is not what your topic states, but I think
almost implies that Asian women have some
“duty” to a racial group….also why isn’t there more oohs and
ahhs the other way when Asian men marry outside of the ethnic
group? Also, of my own small observations, many Asian females
have brothers who dated non-Asian females, and why is that not
a topic?

I suppose that topic as a flyer around campus would
certainly stir interest and curiousity, but I
think a topic that would address the questions
raised by your header would be something along the
lines of Interracial Marriages or Media Images of Asians
(which by the way both are topics I will be presenting
lectures to the community of Colorado Springs when I
return) To me, it would bother me (even if I wasn’t dating
Bob if I saw that title on a flyer of a Xn campus) It doesn’t
make things very complex…

anyway, just food for thought, I know you
were just presenting Chuck with interesting topics.

God’s blessings


— End —

Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997 19:09:00 -0700
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Galations 3:28
From: (Edmund K Law)

On Thu, 25 Sep 1997 13:37:10 -0700 (PDT) Lawrence Lem

If I may, can I also remind you to be gentle in your
>responses to the CAC forum…Prov 15:1? 🙂

Yikes! (“Ai-Yah”) I re-read my response. I meant a generic “you” but I
can see how my sentence could be construed as a personal “you.” It was
unintentional. Sorry G. Thanks Larry for calling me on it!

Ed Law

— End —

Date: Sat, 27 Sep 1997 01:18:59 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: Fwd: AAASCommunity: Can I interview you?

Anyone want to volunteer and give a Christian perspective? – Tim
Forwarded message:
From: (yamagata)
Date: 97-09-26 20:58:07 EDT

I am doing research for dissertation on current Japanese American college
students’ ethnic identity formation patterns.
My research questions are:
1. What is the relationship between Nikkei college students’ social
factors (e.g., birthplace, generation, travel, media, language, parenting
style, age, major, etc.) and other identity domains (e.g., gender,
politics, life-style, religion, recreation, friendship, dating), and
their ethnic identity formation.
2. How many formation patterns do they have? (I am wondering if previous
ethnic identity models emphasizing mainly on minority-majority polar
relationship and ethnic identity crisis are still suitable in the 1990s.)
3. Is it possible that their other identity domains are so important that
their ethnic identity is not a central issue any more?

In order to collect data, I need to interview twice with and give
a questionnaire to 50-60 Japanese-American college students.
Is it possible that I interview with you? I will go anywhere.
Thank you.

Yutaka Yamagata (Intercultural Education, USC) FAX 213-740-8646(USC)

* AAASCommunity, the Discussion & News list of the
* Email Network of the Association for Asian American Studies
* Coordinator:

— End —

Date: Sat, 27 Sep 1997 01:19:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: Article for Sojourners curriculum

Dear CACers:

David Yoo (Claremont McKenna) and I have been working on an article for
Sojourner’s new curriculum on race relations. It is now in its second draft.
If you’d like to take a look and give us some feedback, please email me.
I’ll be away until Tuesday. Thanks! – Tim Tseng

Rev. Dr. Timothy Tseng
Sallie Knowles Crozer Assistant Professor of American Religious History
Colgate-Rochester Divinity School
1100 South Goodman Street
Rochester, NY 14620
OFF: (716) 271-1320, ext. 260
FAX: (716) 271-8013

— End —

Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997 23:33:24 -0700
From: Ken Fong
Organization: Evergreen Baptist Church
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Need Anne Lau’s email address

After reading entries by you, Ling, Sze-Kar, etc., I definitely know my
gift isn’t scholarship!!! But if sharing my perspectives adds to the
richness of the mix, all the better.

I agree. This CAC thing is finally taking off. Boy, if you don’t keep
up, it’s easy to get swamped!!

One subject I’d like to see dialogue around in the future is that of
LEADERSHIP in the church. Been studying a lot about that lately and am
increasingly convinced that it’s the LACK of good and godly leadership
that’s to blame for the malaise of many ministries. This gets back to
good mentoring. But it takes one to make one!!!


— End —

Date: Sat, 27 Sep 1997 04:43:42 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: Culture, our enemy

Warm Christian greetings;

I am grateful for you guys who are sharing their thoughtful perspectives
about culture. It forces me to clarify and consolidate my thoughts. Here
are some of them.

Since the Gospel is intent on changing the individual from the inside out, I
want to examine culture in the same way. That is, a modification of church
structures and practices is no more than “shuffling deck chairs.” The heart
of the people will re-create their environment according to their values and
ways. I confess with Romans 12, that the way a transformation of our church
life can take place lies in the renewing of the mind. Of course that must
come from Scripture, not our universities, nor our PhD’s/experts.

As implied in my earlier contribution, the problem in the Church is that NONE
of the cultures on earth are acceptable in God’s Kingdom, because our
thoughts and our ways are no where near God’s thoughts and ways. Whether a
culture is fluid and whether the individual is shifting in his cultural
mixture, does not alter that fact, the best of our culture is still no more
acceptable to God. Yes, culture, in any form, is our enemy.

Do we really need to do research on our/their culture? What do we hope to
find? The only cultural shifting desired is when the Christian is developing
a mindset matching God’s. As we discover God’s idea of good, believers are
to change the one given by their culture. That sure sounds simplistic. The
culture the Church wants and needs is the one that is described by God’s
Word. Let’s look and share what we’ve found.

So, for me, any intent on exegeting culture will be simply for the purpose of
identifying their error and the changes needed in our pursuit of righteous
living. (we must not be looking for some eclectic culture mix to form an
ideal, human culture) It is the major reason I encourage ABCs to minister to
ABCs. They are equipped to challenge through experience and an understanding
of the culture of the ABCs. Cross cultural ministry is possible, but much
more difficult. As Ken Fong suggests, the church leaders ARE tools for the
re-shaping of the members’ cultures. And as Peter Szto asserts, let’s “be
more self-consciously involved in the production of culture.” I think that
is CENTRAL in the concept of making disciples. And as Richard Wong implied,
is there any kind of labor more satisfying and significant? Be a pastor,

However, as Ralph Winter (USCWM) pointed out, we all are handicapped by
cultural blind spots. That is, because we were raised in our culture, we do
not readily recognize the lies and fallacies, which masks as good and true,
in our culture. This problem is the “blessing” of a bi-cultural church.
Someone from a different culture would be ideally suited to spot those
cultural blind spots. To receive that blessing, we need to respect and trust
those in the other culture to serve us in that way. That requires a very
humble attitude towards my beloved culture and a passionate desire to
discover God’s thoughts and ways, but do-able. PTL!

This then is a viable model for bi-cultural ministry. The realization that a
brand new culture is to supplant the existing cultures in the church. And a
commitment to not use MY culture as the preferred culture, but the searching
of Scripture to discover the thoughts (values) and the ways (methods) of God.
This is also the UNITY of spirit the churches are seeking.

A personal note: My service with CDI is taking me to Chicago to serve as
Intentional Interim Pastor for 12 months. Leaving on Monday, I hope to make
new acquaintances, learn more about Chinese churches in the midwest, and be a

Joseph C. Wong
CDI (Chinese Ministries)
San Francisco area

— End —

Date: Sat, 27 Sep 1997 09:00:30 -0500
From: Gregory Jao
Subject: CAC_Mail: Culture, our enemy

Joseph Wong wrote:
>As implied in my earlier contribution, the problem in the Church is that NONE
>of the cultures on earth are acceptable in God’s Kingdom, because our
>thoughts and our ways are no where near God’s thoughts and ways…. Yes,
culture, in any form, is our enemy.

I would agree that no culture is acceptable in its totality in the Kingdom,
but I would also assert that some aspects of our culture may reflect Kingdom
values at some level. Recall the words of clause 10 of the Lausanne
Covenant, “Culture must always be tested and judged by Scripture. Because
man is God’s creature, some of his culture is rich in beauty and goodness.
Because he has fallen, all of it is tainted with sin and some of it is demonic.”

The difficulty, I think, with the statement “culture, in any form, is our
enemy” is that a culture-less church, society, or people cannot exist.

Biblically, I also hesitate from asserting that culture must be our enemy. I
agree that the Kingdom transforms many aspects of culture, but I see God
honoring human culture as well in the Incarnation, the gift of glossolalia,
and Paul’s incarnational approach in evangelism. Unlike Islam, for example,
Christianity does not mandate a single language for our official Scriptures.
We translate — and we translate with a passion because our model of
engagement includes an Incarnational aspect.

We engage in culture exegesis not only to critique (which is certainly
necessary) but also to capitalize on those aspects of culture which reflect
biblical values.

Greg Jao

(And, yes, Richard, I still receive (though I don’t always have time to
read) CAC. Howdy!)

— End —

Date: Sat, 27 Sep 1997 20:59:36 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: In Search Of A Pastor…..

Hello everyone,

My name is Jonathan. As a proud member of the Orange County Chinese
Evangelical Church, I would like to ask all of you if you know or like to
apply for a English Pastoral candidate. We have been searching for that
“perfect” pastor yet not one has satisfied everyones expectations. If you
are someone that can speak English fluently and would love to hang out with
some teenagers, then you should probably leave me a note. We are located in
Irvine, California (the nation’s 2nd best city) along the coastal area.
Please email me back if you are interested in this position, we would really
love to hear from you!! Thanks and please keep us in your prayers!

In Him,

Jonathan Fu

— End —

Date: Sun, 28 Sep 1997 16:32:44 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: PK’s SITG and Operation Hope

Fellow CACers,

For those of you coming to this coming Saturday’s Stand In The Gap assembly
in Washington DC, we in the DC area would like to extend a warm welcome. We
don’t want you to get the impression that PK and the Family Research Council
are the only folks welcoming you to our area. Your fellow CAC’ers also

If you or someone you know in your congregation or community of faith is
arriving early, I would like to bring to your attention a volunteer
opportunity. I believe it is called Operation Hope . It is a project
co-sponsored by PK for those joining its rally to contribute volunteer hours
on Friday, the 3rd of October, in refurbishing and renovating schools in the
District. For those who do not know, the schools in the District, like
others in many urban settings are in fairly poor states of repair. In fact,
schools in DC opened 3 weeks late this school year because of unresolved
problems impacting safety. This Friday, at 8:00 a.m., PK participants are
again meeting at the RFK Stadium parking lot to form working parties headed
to various city schools.

Why would I encourage and exhort those coming early to consider helping out?
There are several reasons, but the most compelling for me are these: 1) the
Washington Post and some of the other local press are now portraying SITG as
a big drain on the city’s resources and harping on the fact that PK will not
be obligated to pay certain fees because of the 1st Amendment status of its
SITG event; 2) Asians have been visibly absent in past events like these.

As for point number (1), without considering the economic boost that a large
gathering of people means to local businesses, those involved with PK in past
events have already proven valuable to the District’s finances by the number
of volunteer labor-hours put forth in good faith. Local businesses furnish
the supplies and equipment. The work done by the volunteers equates to
repairs that the schools don’t have to fund. The District’s school
superintendent definitely seemed appreciative last time. Anywho, it’s a good
chance to bear witness for the Lord. Last time, besides the chance to meet
other Christian men, different from me, I was moved by one “shining” moment
that is etched into my memory: African-american, Latino, and Caucasian men,
and one (?token?) Asian guy, holding hands and saying grace together in front
of some slightly stunned inner-city, school children (mostly boys) at the
beginning of our lunch break. I seriously doubt the children had witnessed
anything like that before.

As for point (2), there were two thousand volunteers who came to help at the
schools before the stadium event in DC this past spring. There are five
thousand expected this Friday. Last time, I surveyed the two thousand before
we boarded the buses to the schools and DID NOT find one other Asian in the
crowd of volunteers. Plenty of Asians showed at the stadium event, but none
at the service event. You can draw your own interpretations and conclusions.
Okay, I do wear glasses. But, I do pray there will be a more visible
showing this time.

Thanks for bearing with my long-windedness. Perhaps (doubtful), I will run
into some of you this weekend.

In the Redeemer,
Stephen Leung
Alexandria, VA
CCCVA, Falls Church

— End —

Date: Sun, 28 Sep 1997 20:56:23 -0400
From: Sze-kar Wan
Subject: CAC_Mail: Prestige of the Pastorate

A perspective on the low prestige Chinese culture places on ministers.

Before the 70s in Hong Kong and Taiwan, there was a stigma attached to
those who entered the ministry. They were perceived to be poor students
who couldn’t get into a “proper” college. Many came out of humble
backgrounds. Children from wealthier families were given a good
education and were expected to take up successful professions.

(This is great irony: studies have shown that, at least in Hong Kong,
elites came to be such THROUGH their connection to the church. Once
they reached the higher echelon, however, they don’t want their children
mired in the lowly profession that gave them the status in the first
place. The church is a stepping stone for many. I’ve seen this played
out time and again among pastor-kids. Though not rare, pastor-kids’
entering the ministry is definitely in the minority. It would be
interesting to have hard statistics on this.)

This situation is gradually changing, at least in Hong Kong where a
small group of very promising young people started in the mid-70s what
amounted to a movement of higher theological education. It has raised
the consciousness of church members and begun to make inroads outside
the church as well. This has yet to reach immigrant churches in this
country in any significant way, I don’t think.

Two resultant attitudes assoc. with this stigma: one is that in a
modernizing society, a non-profitable position like pastor is deemed
impractical. “What contribution do they make to society?” The other is
that people in the ministry must not be “smart” enough to do anything
else. These attitudes are still prevalent among immigrants, namely our

This is of course not entirely true. Mainline denominations actually
have very high academic and personal requirements for ministerial
candidates; their higher salaries commensurate with corresponding
expectations. But OBC churches in this country are by and large
non-denominational or are connected with traditionally low (liturgically
speaking) churches. Most mainline OBC churches do not seem to fare as
well as independent, local startup churches; if this is true, others
better informed (are you back yet, Tim?) would have to tell us why.
Traditionally, of course, we all know what a pivotal role the church and
in earlier times monasteries played in shaping western civilization.
Without such tradition or historical awareness, however, Chinese culture
continues to hold ministry in disdain.

ABC-ministry has unfortunately inherited many of these problems.

What can we do? I think it’s very hard if we tried to tough it out
individually. If we are honest with ourselves, we to a large extent
have internalized a good deal of these values. In a Chinese culture
that worships competence and success, who wouldn’t want to be known as
“smart” and “successful.” We need to combat the negativity not only
among our friends and relatives but also IN OURSELVES. We need to
remind each other who are in the same boat of our commitment to the
ministry, of our first love as it were. This is perhaps another appeal
to get organized.

Secondly, I think we also need to educate our congregations what
theological education is all about. They need to be taught what
theology is, what exegesis is good for and why, the rudiments of church
history, the theory and practice of pastoral ministry, etc.–so that
they have respect for the profession. It’s been my experience that
casual churchgoers are almost always awed by the complexity of the
discipline, and some are even challenged by it. I hope I’m not
advocating elitism; nor does it sound self-serving. A little rigor
never hurts anyone, and education could both raise their consciousness
and be an aid to their spiritual journey.


— End —

Date: Sun, 28 Sep 1997 21:41:19 -0400
From: Sze-kar Wan
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Culture, our enemy

Greg Jao raises a valid objection to Joseph Wong’s portrayal of culture
as “our enemy,” in my estimation. Culture, like anything human, is a
given, it seems to me: being human means acquiring a mother tongue (and
perhaps a few step-mother tongues as well), being reared in a given
environment, being habituated into liking certain things and disliking
others, cultivating certain aspirations and dreams, etc. None of these
is value-free; all are human “products” (in Peter Szto’s sense). To
pretend none of these things matters seems impossible to me.

To say, then (to follow Joseph Wong’s logic), that culture is sinful is
saying both too much and too little: Too much, bc it glosses over what
some Reformers called “common grace,” goodness found in every culture
per God’s appointment; too little, bc it amounts to saying human beings
are sinful, which while true doesn’t seem to advance the current
discussion on ABC-ministry very much.

I would agree that Scripture must stand in judgment of culture. But as
Greg Jao observes, while there are biblical languages, they are
immediately relativized by the mandate that the Bible be translated into
the vernacular of its new home. There is no sacred or absolute culture,
as it were; but at the same time, the Bible would be unintelligible
without culture.

The incarnation, that God became a Jewish man who spoke Aramaic (and
probably Greek), defines the paradox for us: Absolute Truth chose and
continues to choose to reveal to us through relativistic cultural
vehicles. Even the Apostle Paul, when God revealed the Son to him,
expressed the experience and its consequences in Jewish terms (Gal
1.5-16). Paul wrote in Common Greek, using (and modifying)
well-established Hellenistic-Jewish epistolary forms, dealing with
mundane, oh-so-human problems like sex and marriage (1 Cor 6, 7)–all,
however, in the service of a transcendent ministry (2 Cor 3, 4).

Don’t misconstrue my argument here: I am NOT equating revelation to
culture. I am simply saying culture is a sine-qua-non condition for
understanding truth and revelation. To the extent we deny culture, to
that extent we fail to appreciate the particular obligations we’ve been
entrusted with in ABC-ministry; to the extent we deny our humanity, to
that extent we deny our Christian identity.


— End —

Date: Mon, 29 Sep 1997 00:25:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Chinese-Americans in Ministry

Dear John, Thanks for stimulating this dialogue. I feel that we need to come
to a solution rather than ignore a huge problem that the Chinese church
faces, and many of the people we minister to also.

In a message dated 97-09-24 20:37:12 EDT, you write:



I think you are correct in assuming your guys will be spoiled. I interned in
an ABC church without a Chinese ministry and I was not prepared for the
reality of working in the typical Chinese church setting. Let me assume for
the sake of discussion that most churches with an opening for your people
graduating from seminary will be a church of about 150-200 people. It has an
OBC pastor and is looking for someone to work in the English department.
Maybe the board does everything in Chinese. There are few if any adults.
The English ministry will be primarily “youth ministry.” (This describes
the church I was at in my first year.)

I think this describes about 80-90% of the available positions out there.
So, how would you prepare them?
1) They have to be prepared to do cross-cultural ministry. How do
missionary organizations prepare people for going overseas?
a) Seminars & teaching on the culture they will be immersed in. (Hoover
Wong teaches a class on that in Fuller)
b) Somehow forcing them to do a short internship at a really “Chinese” type
church. (3-6 months)
c) Having them meet with and hear the reality of ministry in the Chinese
church from guys like us.
d) Psycological & personality testing. Sometimes the person needs to know
himself better.

I think the key word here is REALITY CHECK. They need to see how the real
world will be. Not to scare them, but just to know what they will face.
Consider how soldiers are prepared for battle. Boot camp, simulations,
exercises. Not that the Chinese church is the enemy, but a soldier is
prepared for the worst so he will survive and be victorious. Too many of us
ABC’s have been ill prepared for the “battle” we face. Part of it is
spiritual, some of it is human, some of it is part of ministry.

It would be ideal to have some protected place of ministry for guys to get
ready before they go out. There may be a few large churches equipped to do
that. Otherwise you are on your own, in my opinion. There was definitely
not any terrarium for me in 1986 when I graduated from seminary.

Let me offer a few practical suggestions. Maybe we can collaborate with some
1) Get a couple of us to give an annual seminar to graduating ABC
seminarians. They can hear in person what we go through and how to cope.
2) Publish a newsletter or booklet with articles to give to all these ABC
and other Asian Am seminary graduates. Kind of like a survival guide to
working in the Chinese Am or Asian Am church.
3) Locate churches with people in ministry who have the experience to intern
or mentor guys before they head out.

Give me your feedback on my ideas. I’d like to see someone develop something
for those headed for the front lines. Maybe there is something out there I
am not aware of.

For the Kingdom,
Rev. Arthur Lum
Chinese Church in Christ
San Jose, CA (Silicon Valley)

— End —

Date: Mon, 29 Sep 1997 03:18:17 -0700
From: ohbrudder
Subject: CAC_Mail: my ten cent

At the risk of imitating the rude guy butting in on a cocktail party
conversation, I am injecting my ten cent worth . . . a week after DJ
signed me up for this CAC. I haven’t decided whether to thank him yet.

WHERE I AM COMING FROM. An ABC who has pastored and otherwise served in
the Chinese church for over 25 years . . .have led hundreds to faith in
Christ over the years . . .built up 4 ABC groups from under 20 to over
100 (one to about 60 and another to over 250, others to over 110). I’m
not bragging . . .just trying to give you all perspective as from where
I’m speaking and hopefully a little credibility to what I say.

A BIT ABOUT CULTURE. I think dissecting culture as it relates to ABC
ministry effectiveness is majoring in a minor. It is science with an
evolutionist mentality . . .a psychologist attributing every problem to
the environment. I believe the bigger key is our Christology . . .that
is the way we perceive Christ and his actual role in building His
church. . .the kind of Christ we perceive and imitate, etc. The culture
issue tends to relegate God to a disinterested distance . . .while we
may think that understanding and solving the cultural differences will
solve ABC/OBC ministry problems. For myself, an awareness of the
cultural differences is enough. . . I do not need to know every facet
and nuance before I can be effective as a minister. (I’ve ministered in
a Formosan church, Mandarin church and Cantonese church.)

pastor who is secure and aware of the ABC “creature.” Some of you have
mentioned mentoring and leadership . . .this is in the ballpark.
Let me throw out some names of “great OBC” pastors to whom I am forever
indebted and owe my success and fit in this category: Dr. Felix Liu,
Rev. John Shiao, Dr. Anthony So, Dr. Ernest Chan. They are all humble
men of God; they recognized their inadequacies and trust God’s gifting
in me to minister to their ABCs. I can’t do what they do . . .however,
they can’t do what I do. We had this understanding. I know many of you
know these prominent Chinese pastors in the Chinese church and other men
like them.

Getting verbose . . .out!

Bill Leong

— End —

Date: Mon, 29 Sep 1997 19:23:18 -0600
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Prestige of the Pastorate
From: (G Ottoson)

If to people *ministry* ever means ‘faithful emissary of Jesus’ it will
be because of those who choose to follow Him in faith, in culture, in
conflict, AND in much love. Sze-kar, your (wise, gentle) perspective
(below) and love for people should be mine, too..still considering some
issues, e.g.:

*ministry* takes the Holy Spirit’s approach to Satan, who is also
incarnate in a way, is present in our culture(s), people, govt’s, and
institutions. We read how God (incarnate) hammered Satan (‘incarnate’);
how this confrontational ‘ministry’ shaped the NT (~35 references in 32
NT verses) and anchors the Kingdom of God in hostile places; and

*ministry* takes the Holy Spirit’s approach to the Lord’s followers. e.g.
apparently the first thing the disciples said after Jesus’ scathing
sermon in Matthew 23 was the comment to him about the beauty of the
Temple stones. But the Lord was so gracious to these guys…loving his
followers so they can get beyond their fascination with religion,
buildings. I need to be loving like this.

**profession**..hmm…as professing faith in Jesus through the Spirit in
the (organized) World?

…time to do some fishing..I’ve been thinking about going…no, Richard,
not off the coast of Ninevah:)


— End —

Date: Mon, 29 Sep 1997 21:34:30 -0600
Subject: CAC_Mail: FYI
From: (G Ottoson)

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 1997 09:24:06 -0700
From: Gilles Poitras
To: ATLA Electronic Discussion
Subject: Re: Sacred texts

>Would you please post to ATLA what you sent in response to the query
>about sacred texts?

All I sent was some information about what kind of links we had here on
web pages. We have no single page for such texts but tend to spread them
about in the subject pages that are most appropriate.

Bible texts linked on the Bible pages.

Buddhist texts on the various Buddhist pages etc.

Demoninational documents are sometimes linked to on the denominational
resource pages, of which we have quite a few given the nature of the GTU.

On our home page, we have a search engine
can be used to search for the word TEXT which will turn up a list of
with that word, most of these pages have links to texts on them.

Gilles Poitras
Reference Department Graduate Theological Union Library
2400 Ridge Road Berkeley, California, USA

— End —

Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 20:36:38 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: CAC_Mail: Washington DC

hiCACers, for those of you who are attending the stand in the Gap event in
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the night before. here is the information. if you have any questions or
would like a guest pass, feel free to email me.

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as to a light shining in a dark place,
until the day dawns and the morning star
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info line……301.293.4442
my voicemail…301.371.9352

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From DC take 270 to Interstate 70
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Follow 81 Northbound for a few minutes and then
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The first stop sign is at W. Washington – Go straight through…
The location is on the Right.

— End —

Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 23:44:22 -0700
From: ohbrudder
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: my ten cent

Bless you Clarence. I do sense your heart for the ABC souls of your
May the Lord raise you up to win many. Maybe the Lord is raising you up
along sociological/anthropological lines to prepare you for His
harvest. I’ve
given up long ago trying to figure out God. Just when we think we have
figured out, He does it differently . . . always the best way. Not the
way we
might have or would have done it, but His way. So maybe God is leading
differently than He led me.

I do believe culture and Christianity is intricately connected. But this
is not the
same as saying I believe the success of ABC ministries depends upon our
understanding of cultural issues. In my experience, culture issues never
me from winning an ABC to Christ nor an ABC from receiving Christ. My
Christology tells me that Jesus loves and wants the ABC more than me.
Lord led the ABC to me or my congregation and that is all I need to have
confidence I can win Him for Christ. I let all the believers of my
church know
that if they bring any non-believer to church, he will become a believer
two months or he will leave. . . I think most of the time it was one

When I was about 20 like yourself . . . almost 30 years ago . . . I was
aware of the great ABC/OBC dichotomy—only the Chinese and “white
I started an afternoon Sunday School in Alhambra (suburb of LA) with
11 kids and built it to over 100 in 5 months.

About that time, I received this from the Lord:
He said, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; they are already
white ready for harvest.” But the vision He gave me to see was it was
YELLOW, not WHITE! Since then, the burden for ABCs never left. But
why ABCs and not all Chinese? I grew up finding “FOB’s” odd. We called
OBCs, “FOBs” (Fresh On Board or Fresh Off the Boat) back then. They
just for some sovereign reason weren’t actively part of my world.

It was many years later at Fuller in an Asian American ministry class
given by a Japanese professor – – –
I don’t even remember his name it’s been so long ago- – – that I became
more aware of the different Asian generational differences and problems.
I’m trying to point to the Christology that preceded any definitive
awareness in my experience. That as a pragmatic priority, culture
took a back seat . . . in the trunk actually. Heck, thru these years, I
plead ignorant to understanding the cultures of the Boomers and the
Generation Xers . . . too much, just can’t keep up. Never felt the need
Only to be aware. I think most ABCs relate to and listen to me
merely because I’m one of them and because I’m from Him.

And of this I am positive: I know in the most intimate way, to the
part of me that “God love me.” And I still don’t fully understand
and still learning about myself. I know God loves me because of the
witness of His Spirit with my spirit; the witness of Christ and the
of His Word. I heard Him tell me, I felt Him comfort me, I saw His
provision and guidance . . . and worst of all, I felt his rod of
I KNOW God’s love because I know His grace . . . having been sifted,
and failed more than once . . . I truly, truly know His grace.

In a side note: In my days at Fuller, wondering if any ABC felt about
ABCs as I did, I met Greg Owyang. He was a pioneer ABC minister;
he was (all the stuff I wasn’t) handsome, intelligent, talented, young,
godly . . .in most people’s mind, the perfect leader for winning ABCs
for Christ. Then he was suddenly killed. Why did God allow it? Why
raise him up and take him before the job was done? Many other
questions. Like I said, I cannot figure out God’s ways; I just know He
loves ABCs and I trust Him.

Bill Leong

— End —