Thursday, July 19, 2018

緬懷 張輝雄 Remembering Joseph Chang

Please go to Leah Chang's youtube below for pictures, music and celebration the life of Joseph Chang

Amazing grace!  How sweet the sound  That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear,The hour I first believed.  

Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come; 'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far And grace will lead me home.

Amazing grace!  How sweet the sound  That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see. 
- John Newton

I have you in my heart

I thought of you today, but that is nothing new.

I thought about you yesterday and days before that too.

I think of you in silence.

I often speak your name.
All I have are memories, 
and a picture in a frame.

Your memory is a keepsake,

from which I will never part.
God has you in his arms.
I have you in my heart.

- Author unknown

The Life of Joseph Chang 
Joseph was born to Mr. and Mrs. C F Chang in 1943.  After high school, he entered the oldest higher educational institution in Taiwan, the Tainan Theological  College  and Seminary, and received his Master of Divinity.  One of Joseph's favorite professors, the late Rev. Dr. Daniel Beeby, was the officiator during his wedding ceremony.  Joseph Chang was also known for his musical talents such as vocals, choir conducting, classical guitar and calligraphy. 

Upon his graduation, he began his ministry in areas including central and southern Taiwanese churches.  He also spent time working with the Tainan Christian Academy, a school of the Laity learning programs and various churches' choirs throughout the cities of Taipei and Tainan.  

Briefly he entered a career in business with some success.  During his last few years on earth he began working with the elderly groups for the YMCA in the city of Tainan. 

He passed away rather peacefully on July 10, 2014.  He is buried next to his father in Wake County, North Carolina. 

Joseph is survived by his two sons, three brothers, three sisters and his mother.  

Remembering Joseph Chang - 張輝雄 先生

My first impression of Joseph was back in the seminary years more than fifty years ago.  He was younger and more active than most male students then. He had a good voice as the second tenor and he had good skill in painting and calligraphy.  I was told that he was actively involved in student activities, saying that all the campus business was everybody's business.  Students treated him as their big brother which he actually was in his family and on the campus. 

 I first dealt with him in "business" when I organized a sacred music oratorio style chorus in Tainan.  Joseph was selected by the chorus committee as the president of chorus. He was such a good one that after decades and across the Pacific Ocean, some members still remembered Joseph's leadership style. 

After a few years of his ministry in a rural church, he turned to business with some success.  Although he had been running a business full-time, by nature he had never forgotten his call to ministry when he was young.  He often offered his loving and helping hands to the strangers he just met at the bus stop, super markets and elsewhere.  Joseph had a touching smile and understood the language (street talk) of the ordinary people, with whom he made friends in minutes. 

Some six years ago when my wife and I went back to teach at the Tainan Chang Jung Christian University, we reconnected immediately.  

Under some arrangement Joseph regularly went to a rural YMCA facility to teach quite a few elderly men and women singing and shared them the stories from the Bible and elsewhere.  He made friends with them as easily as the way he played guitar and sang.  

From what we observed everybody enjoyed his teaching very much during those time.  Joseph even made friends with  Chen-Kung University students playing soccer games.  

Although we were not able to collect his paintings and calligraphy, we certainly collect those cheerful memories of him showing the love of God in his special way.     - Stephen

John and I met and married in 1980; we hadn't known each other for very long before he talked about his oldest brother, Joseph.  It was easy to tell how much John admired and looked up to him.  He related how beautiful Joseph's singing voice was, and that he enjoyed listening to him practice singing opera pieces.  John taught me to love the "three (Italian) tenors", and he would often play their songs.  I think this enjoyment grew from his great respect and admiration of Joseph.  One of the very only times that I saw tears in John's eyes was when he told me the story of how Joseph was depressed and that, while he (John) was in college, he would mix Joseph's medicine in a thermos drink and ride the bus a long way to take it to him. This was because he loved Joseph so much. And he enjoyed Joseph teaching him to play guitar, a talent that John kept up throughout his adulthood.  The first song Joseph taught him to play was "They Shall Know We Are Christians By Our Love," and when he would play that song, he'd mention that Joseph taught him. 

In 1987, we took our (then) three little children to Taiwan and stayed for 10 weeks for John to do medical rotations there as part of his medical training.  We were welcomed by Joseph and his family to stay in their apartment with them for a month.  Joseph had made sure that things were fixed up very nicely for us - even giving the 5 of us his boys' room with sleeping mats and a twin size bed.  That was a great sacrifice to give us the best, but it showed Joseph's graciousness and his great love for his youngest brother.  I remember hearing Joseph practice singing opera at his house and at the school where he went to take lessons.  He had a phenomenal voice.  Joseph wanted to make sure that I, as the American visitor, and our children were shown interesting sights, good food, and fun times.  I remember I wanted ice cream, and he took us to a place just for that.  Once, he was driving us around in his van, and his seatbelt had broken.  He showed his sense of humor by telling John to take off his belt and let him use it to place across his shoulder so that a policeman would see it and think he was wearing a working seatbelt, so he wouldn't get a ticket.  I remember him touching the belt on his shoulder and across his chest and laughing!  He and John of course spoke Taiwanese together, but he was so kind to speak English to me - as they would be in conversation, he'd stop and say, "Linnea can't understand us" and start speaking English, but I told him that I knew it was easier for him to communicate with John in Taiwanese and that I wanted John to use the chance to speak his native tongue.  Joseph gave our children, Leah (6), Joseph (4), and Nancy (turned 2 while we were in Taiwan) so much fun attention.  They thought he was great.  He let John and (little) Joseph ride his scooter.  I have a picture of the two of them on it.  We had named Joseph for his Uncle and his grandfather Joseph (my dad) because we felt that the name honored both of them.  I was so excited when Joseph came to the States and was here at Leah and Greg's wedding and reception.  I made sure to get a picture of the 3 Joseph's - your brother, my son, and my dad together.  I knew there would never be another opportunity, and that is a treasured picture to me.

I hope these are some memories that you will enjoy hearing.  I always admired and loved Joseph as my brother-in-law.  He was very handsome, too!!  I am sorry that he died too young, but I am glad that all the family has many precious memories of him.

Thank you for letting me be a part of this.  As I have told you, I will always feel a part of the Chang family, and I enjoy telling my children stories about our times together. - Linnea



他是堅持的 --堅持自己的生活方式、堅持自己對音樂的執著、堅持自己要走的路.


他是喜好運動的 --他年輕時身體碩壯,我記得他曾經跟我開玩笑說,他三拳就可以打倒任何對手,雖然是誇張的話,但由此可見他對自己的體能狀況很有信心。

他是仁慈的 -- 他對待團員非常親切,從未惡言相向;他的人緣極佳,大家都喜歡跟他在一起.

他是慷慨的 --雖然他不是有錢人,但是卻常請朋友吃飯,學生團員有需要幫忙的,他總是會替他們想辦法。

他是有靈感的 --常有驚人的名言,跟他在一起會使人感到輕鬆愉快、毫無拘束的心情。

他是嚴肅的 --他專心音樂、執迷不悟; 他也專心經營團務,做事有條不紊;重要的事情他都嚴肅以對,是極佳的領導者。

他是風趣的 --他在嚴肅的表面之下,有著十分風趣的個性,一但跟他熟悉之後,大家就會感受到他不鳴則已的幽默。

他是有哲理的 --他對人生、事務常有超脫世俗的看法,有一次我問他何不喜喝酒,他回我說:我聞到酒味就紅了,還沒喝到肚子就輸了,不喝也罷!

他是熱心的 -- 經常主動的關心朋友、常用他的摩托車載我,我後來上台北、從美國回來,他聽到消息就馬上過來看我,讓我感覺非常窩心。

   在張先生過世四年後,緬懷故人,用這篇短文跟大家分享我所認識的輝雄先生。他已經在主懷中得到安息,我很珍惜我們之間過去的情誼,他將長存在我的心中- 沈新欣

Remembering Joseph Chang

I met Mr. Chang in 1976 in Tainan through Siong Im Chorus. He was the president of the chorus at that time, and I worked with him and got to know him well. We became good friends and remained close until I went to United States for graduate school.  Today, I'd like to share with you the Joseph Chang that I knew.  

He was a persistent person - persistent in his way of life, in his music, and in all his pursuits. 
He was a passionate and emotional person - our choir members received small presents from him on birthdays, or he greeted you with a big hug if you hadn't been to rehearsals for a while. He was known to hum a melody according to his mood. 

He enjoyed sports and was proud of his strength - in his youth, he was a macho, well-built guy. I remember one time he jokingly told me that he was so tough he could take down his opponent with three strikes!! Although he was exaggerating, it showed how confident he was in himself and in his physical condition. 

He was a kind person - he was very personable and treated everyone kindly. He never raised his voice to anyone or had anything negative to say. He got along so well with people around him, and this made him very popular with all of us. We all enjoyed being around him. 

He was a generous person - although not particularly wealthy himself, he often would go out of his way to treat others to a meal or snacks. If students in the choir ran into financial difficulties, he always tried his best to help out in whatever way he could. 

He was an inspirational person - he often recited great quotes unexpectedly. And when you were with him, you would feel relaxed and joyful, at ease and free to be yourself. 

He was a serious person - he concentrated on the music, almost obsessively. He focused his attention on the operation of the chorus in a very organized way, treating all matters with seriousness. In this way, he was an excellent leader. 

He was also a humorous person - beneath the serious exterior, there was a lighter side to him. One had to know him well to realize his hidden humor. 

He could be uniquely philosophical - he had interesting, practical views to many things in life. For example, I once asked him why he didn’t drink alcohol. He replied: my face turns red and I feel sick just smelling the wine, let alone drinking it. So why drink if I've already lost in the first place?

He was an enthusiastic person - he often took initiative to care for people, jumping into action. He eagerly used to give me rides on his motorcycle wherever I needed to go. And when I came back to Taiwan after being in the States for 10 years, he came to see me right away, as soon as he heard the news. 

On this day of remembrance of Joseph, I just wanted to share these few stories with you about who Hui Xiong was to me. Although he is no longer here, he is now with the Lord. I will always treasure his friendship and the time we spent together, and he will forever live in my heart. - Victor Shen

Around 1976 Steve was conducting the TAINAN Song-Yin Chorus, where I sang bass in the choir.  We used to rehearse at Tong-Ning church. Joseph would come occasionally to visit Sue and Steve and had a little chat with us after the rehearsal.  We all loved to listen to him telling jokes and some funny stories.  He was about 10 years older than us and very handsome like the movie star Pat Boone.  I remember one night he played guitar and sang the theme song of the movie “April Love.”  His voice was so charming and romantic, the sound is still cast solid in my memory after 40 years.  I can still see the looks of the girls as they all melted under his mesmerizing looks and his magnetic voice. - Pohsu Huang 

張老師  在此我不願道離說再見,只希望在未來的一天,我們仍能帶有一顆赤子之心及歡樂的笑相會. - 沈秀

Let's go beyond the goodbye business and saying from my heart that we will meet in the future with smiles like babies where the world is nothing but joy and peace. - Andree Shen 



期許我們能用爸爸給我們的天賦好好行善於世,就像爸爸還在一樣.  - 凌宇和益民
Dear Dad,

You have given us all your good qualities: you can play the guitar and sing beautifully, and so can we. We can learn foreign languages faster than others, and we are very good at all kinds of sports just like you were. Dad and my little brother Danny always dressed up; only I am an ugly duck. But once I’m wearing a suit, I’m a gentleman just like both of you.
Dad, you were kind, knowledgeable, and caring for others. I always remember those stories you told of how you impressed those big bosses and made great achievements in business. 

My father had always loved to play football [soccer]. The time of his death was at the World Cup. I wanted to tell you that the champion of that year was the German team~~~

I hope that we do good things for the world with all the good qualities you gave us, just like you did before.

-  Ling-yu & Danny



雖然,生命的本質,是無來,無去,無生滅?不增, 不減!

數十年我們兄弟之情, 帶領我們兄弟妹的典範,難於割捨?

今天, 返回基督準備的厝, 願上帝同在.


Thinking about the time Joseph and I spent together in Tainan for the entire year in 2012, there were so many things that I needed to adjust even I was born and grew up there.  He helped me understand and become familiar with the environment.

When we were together, we  were both just like two senior people,  talking about our past a lot and how the choices we made changed our lives forever.   I always liked to criticize whatever caused the problems.  He  just listened without saying anything negative against anyone.  His loving heart and kindness made me realize that I should looked up to him.   


My brother,  Joseph's passing has brought up many lasting memories in my life.  In 1976, he and Rachel sang "I Am on the Top of the World" during my wedding ceremony.  That beautiful voice still resounds in me even today.

After my father passed away, Joseph took my Mom to the West Coast and stayed with me for a couple of days.  I saw him draw pictures during our trip in Vegas.  I was so impressed with his artistic skill.

When Mom, Rachel and I left Taipei for the States in 2012, he went to airport and see us leave at the gate until we were out of sight.

His loving and caring will always be in my heart.



Joseph has been my oldest brother that I remember in the following ways:

His artistic talents have always inspired and awed me.

He introduced me to opera, classical music, Schubert's art songs, and the Beatles while I was growing up.  His influence in my love for music is his legacy I will never forget.  His own singing of Schubert's lieder was truly amazing and unforgettable!

He has been the historian of our Chang family.  Only he could tell stories of our father and grandparents.  His connection with our extended Chang family members was awesome for me to witness.

His athletic interest has been a delight for me to observe.  His enthusiasm in coaching young soccer players was inspirational.

Last but not least, his attending the Tainan Theological Seminary blazed the trail for me to follow 50 years later.

He will always be in my heart.  May the grace, love and peace of God be with him!



When I think of my "Da-ge" (big brother in Chinese), first thing comes to mind is when I was about 12 or 13.  It was during holidays.  I went with Joseph to Tainan to spend some time with him while he studied at the seminary.  I came down with a fever one night, after I helped him clean up his dorm room.  The next day, he had to take me back home.  I can still remember the beautiful campus, with students going to classes, dining hall, or the library.  It was a fun trip for me, even thought it was cut short due to my fever illness.

I also owe my "Da-ge" a great deal for the free guitar lessons he gave me when I was in high school.  He taught me how to play guitar when he came home from the seminary during holidays.  These simple lessons inspired me to fall in love with the guitar.

I am sad to learn that brother Joseph has passed on.  I am sure his soul has found rest in God.  I am thankful to God for giving me such a wonderful brother.


I remember that Joseph, my brother, always had the musical talent, playing classical guitar, rocking & rolling and singing.  I still remember when he and I were singing on the Taiwan Christian TV show.

What impressed me the most was when our father passed away, and we had a very short time frame to come up with the Memorial Service Program.  We all had different responsibilities to make arrangements for the Service.  Every detail of the Service was designed by him.  From the Service Program cover "The Lord is my shepherd", designed and drawn by Joel, to the sermon delivered  by Stephen, eulogy by George, scripture reading by Leah, Kirsten and the music by him, John, my Michelle and me . . .the whole service program was typed by Richard.  It was a perfect farewell for our father.

That was a "FIRST CLASS ACT".  We felt we had our father's approval for the whole service that night.

Now God has called him to Heaven to rest.  Have faith we'll meet again.

Mei-Mei (Taiwanese for little sister)


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Answers within the Bible

"Then the spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah, and he went through Gilead and Manasseh, and came to Mizpeh of Gilead; and from Mizpeh of Gilead he went over to the children of Ammon. And Jephthah took an oath to the Lord, and said, If you will give the children of Ammon into my hands, then whoever comes out from the door of my house, meeting me when I come back in peace from the children of Ammon, will be the Lord's and I will give him as a burned offering. So Jephthah went over to the children of Ammon to make war on them; and the Lord gave them into his hands. And he made an attack on them from Aroer all the way to Minnith, overrunning twenty towns, as far as Abel-cheramim, and put great numbers to the sword. So the children of Ammon were crushed before the children of Israel. Then Jephthah came back to his house in Mizpah, and his daughter came out, meeting him on his way with music and with dances; she was his only child; he had no other sons or daughters. And when he saw her he was overcome with grief, and said, Ah! my daughter! I am crushed with sorrow, and it is you who are the chief cause of my trouble; for I have made an oath to the Lord and I may not take it back..."  (Judges 11:29-35)

There are a few places in the Bible that bother me when I read them.

One of them is from Judges 11 (see above)

What did Jephthah expect to see when he came home (other than his loved ones)? Why did he make such a horrible promise to the Lord?

Why then did people think that giving a burned offering to the Lord is the ultimate way to please God?

Thanks to the prophet Micah who wrote the following sentences about three hundred years later (8th Century BC) - a much mature idea of "offering" to the Lord:

"With what am I to come before the Lord and go with bent head before the high God? Am I to come before him with burned offerings, with young oxen a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of sheep or with ten thousand rivers of oil? Am I to give my first child for my wrongdoing, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has made clear to you, O man, what is good; and what is desired from you by the Lord; only doing what is right, and loving mercy, and walking without pride before your God." (Micah 6: 6-8)

He has made clear to you, O man, what is good; 
And what is desired from you by the Lord; 
Only doing what is right, and loving mercy, 
And walking without pride before your God.

* Comments

Yes, it took the Israelis hundreds of years to realize that God preferred loving actions and social justice rather than burnt sacrifices.  We see this in Mica, we see this in Amos.
However, As I read Jephthah’s tragic story in the Book of Judges, another question pops up in my mind: “Why God did nothing to spare Jephthah’s daughter’s life, as he did for Isaac, Abraham’s son?  Granted, Jephthah took an oath voluntarily to offer whoever came out greeting him when he came home in triumph while in Abraham’s case it was God who requested the sacrifice of Isaac.  Does that entitle God to demand the burnt offering of Jephthah’s daughter even though she was completely innocent in this bad deal?  Why was it not reported that God show mercy to Jephthah or compassion toward an innocent young woman?  Is that because she was a woman in a time when women were treated as a “thing” and not fully a human being in a male dominant culture?  Note that Jephthah’s daughter in this story didn’t even have a name.
Questions like this point to the reality that human civilization is an evolving process, including religions.  The word “feminism” did not show up until 19th century; and women could not vote in the United States until 1920.  We certainly cannot expect that stories in the scriptures, apparently written by humans, could escape the “evolutionary” understanding of the infinite God.  Understandably, with very few exceptions, authors of the scriptures, predominantly males living in a male-dominantly society, would write in a mentality of male supremacy.   

by Poshu Huang   6/15/2018

p.s.  Send your comments to if you encounter difficulties while posting comments.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Five Hundred Years and Counting

Reformation 500 Years and Counting... 

The Protestant Reformation was the 16th-century religious, political, intellectual and cultural upheaval that splintered Catholic Europe, setting in place the structures and beliefs that would define the continent in the modern era. In northern and central Europe, reformers like Martin Luther, John Calvin and Henry VIII challenged papal authority and questioned the Catholic Church’s ability to define Christian practice. (                          

For the regular people like us there are three important points in our modern Christian lives being changed forever:

1. Sola Fide (Faith alone)

    One does not have to do anything but having "faith"

2. Sola Gratia (Grace alone)

    The "Grace" alone makes all the difference in us

3. Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone)

    The Scripture (Bible) is no longer the clergyman's sole authority of interpretation. It can now be read and interpreted by all the believers as all the translations and printings became available.

In the last 40 years or so, I have been in quite a few churches across the United States and Taiwan where "Adult Sunday Schools" taking place right after the Sunday services.  Many still use the same format of lecture style (speaker there and audience here) with few questions involved.

Why don't we start asking biblical questions in those Adult Sunday school sessions and therefore seeking answers for a change?

500 years (and counting) of Reformation - should the Adults Sunday School approach be changed as well?

We all have the bibles (English, Taiwanese, Japanese and Chinese; not to mention the Latin, Greek and Hebrew versions).

Take your pick, read it and mark the questions and seek the answers with our fellow sisters and brothers.

Who knows?  Perhaps another smaller reformation would take place right here and right now!


-- Comments --

The reason most of us Sunday School students do not ask questions, I believe, is not paying attention to the subject or not thinking independently, including myself.  I rarely ask any question or make comment in Sunday School classes.  Part of the reason, if I want to place the blame to someone else, is that most of teachers do not leave enough time for discussion.

You mentioned three "Sole" in your article.  I think we need to complete our theological basis of the Protestant by not forgetting the other two "Sole" i.e. "Sole Christus" and "Sole Deo Gloria". 

We Christians are easily treating the Grace too cheap if we do not include the last two "Sole".  The first three "Sole" are the free Grace from almighty God.

Christian needs to relate more on the last two "Sole" in order to live out our believe.  That means we need to live our lives, or behave only for our Lord Jesus Christ and give all glory to our God.
 - by Bernard Tsai    5/14/2018                        

Luther proposed “Sola Scriptura” to challenge the authority of the church (i.e., the Pope and the church hierarchy) for their selling of indulgence. However, historically, the authority of canonization of the Bible came from the church itself – through various councils. In fact, the canonization of scripture did not take shape until the fourth century. Luther himself did not include the Apocrypha in the Old Testament and removed Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation from the New Testament (his followers did not agree with him on this part). My point is: the scripture is not an absolute authority by itself. Just like the constitution of a nation, it can be amended, modified, and trimmed by the authority of the church. I always wonder that if Luther were born 500 years later and had studied the libraries of Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi, what would his biblical views be?
On the other hand, as time goes by, the interpretation of the Bible is more and more de-centralized – as Steve said: “The Scripture (Bible) is no longer the clergyman's sole authority of interpretation. It can now be read and interpreted by all the believers…” The “New Eye (vision) Bible Studies” movement which the Presbyterian Church on Taiwan has been promoting for the last decade is actually encouraging all Christian readers to interpret the Bible through their own social contexts, reflections and revelations.
Thus, raising questions in the scripture is truly an important aspect now in Bible studies. The collection of books in the Christian Bible is not necessarily to be viewed as “sacred”, “inerrant” and “non-questionable.” If we view Bible study like a boy learning from his father by unceasing questions and answers – which we all do as we were growing up – then we would never be afraid of asking questions, albeit naïve or stupid. By asking questions bravely, we are giving ourselves the opportunity to approach closer to the truth, one question at a time.

- by PoShu Huang  5/14/2018


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Monday, March 26, 2018

Big Questions / Small Answers

"And Moses said, This is what the Lord says: About the middle of the night I will go out through Egypt: And death will come to every mother's first male child in all the land of Egypt, from the child of Pharaoh on his seat of power, to the child of the servant-girl crushing the grain; and the first births of all the cattle.
And there will be a great cry through all the land of Egypt, such as never has been or will be again. But against the children of Israel, man or beast, not so much as the tongue of a dog will be moved: so that you may see how the Lord makes a division between Israel and the Egyptians. 
And all these your servants will come to me, going down on their faces before me and saying, Go out, and all your people with you: and after that I will go out. And he went away from Pharaoh burning with wrath.
And the Lord said to Moses, Pharaoh will not give ear to you, so that my wonders may be increased in the land of Egypt. All these wonders Moses and Aaron did before Pharaoh: but the Lord made Pharaoh's heart hard, and he did not let the children of Israel go out of his land."
(Exodus 11:4-10)

The Big Questions -

It is sad to say that if I think humanly, which I do most of the time, the above stories were orally carried over generations by generations of Jewish traditions and then written by the ancient Jews - within a Jewish centered history perspective.  

It simply indicated that the eyes and the mind of the Lord were with the Jewish people and them alone.  

No attentions were paid to the innocent children of the Egyptians at all.

The Small Answers -

That is why I prefer the shorter story of Jonah who told a story of a city in modern northern Iraq and how Jonah was hesitated to spread the good news of the Lord to the people of the Nineveh which the culture, religion and language of the people were completely different from the Jews. 

Those gentiles!

They were simply not one of us!  Why did I care about them!?

And Jonah knew better that God might forgive them as well.

"And am I not to have mercy on Nineveh, that great town, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons without the power of judging between right and left, as well as much cattle?" 
(Jonah 4:11)

The big questions are like the bad news occupied the evening news of most of the major TV stations every day and night.

The small answers are like the occasional good news reported right before the reporters say good night to end the program.

p.s. The Bible quoted here is from the Bible in Basic English

   ***  Readers Comments  ***

     by Chong W Chen  4/3/2018

It has been more and more convincing to me that God, understood by the Israelis as Jehovah in the Hebrew Bible was nothing more like a tribal deity. As a result, this God was conceived as protector of Israel and hostile to its enemies. This is why in the Hebrew Bible Jehovah seemed so cruel in many instances to the point of genocide against the enemies, thus the “Big Questions.” One sentence stuck with me to this day when I was reading the book of Exodus in Sunday school decades ago (Exodus 9:12). That sentence is “But the Lord made Pharoah’s heart hard.” And it was repeated four more times (10:1, 20, 27; 11:10). I still don’t know how to make out what kind of “God” would do something like that.
Fortunately, there are different voices in the Hebrew Bible which are more lenient to the “gentiles”. Book of Jonah is one of them, Ruth is another one. Yet, among many Jewish prophets, Jonah was probably the only one who successfully delivered God’s warning message to the recipient people/king and they listened and repented. Ironically, the gentile people of Nineveh listened and believed the Jewish prophet but the so called “God’s people and their kings” never did.
Stories like Jonah may be small answers to the big questions but they speak loudly and, more often than not, they produce good results.
    by Poshu Huang 4/4/2018
埃及的勢力何其強大,怎會譲這些被奴役的以色列人離開而失去無代價的勞工? 為了彰顯耶和華神的大能,故事就必須加上法老的硬心,才能彰顯神的全能。
隨著人智力的發展,思想的改善,今天我們所尊崇的神當然超越古以色列人的理解,這也超越早期基督徒的理觧。 所幸古今許多偉大的神學家幫助我們更進一步的了解神。這也就是我們改革宗的基本信念。耶和華是一致不變的,只是人對真神的理解逐漸改變(改善)而己。以我們有限的智力永遠無法完全真的知道神的本質。
我不敢,也不會提出 Big Question, 也沒有 small answer. 

For the Israel at that time, Jehovah in the Exodus was an omnipotent God who would rescue them out of slave bondage by Egyptian and led them into the land of milk and honey.
However, in reality, how would Egyptian with great military might allow them to leave so they would in turn lose such a great free labors.  In order to reveal the omnipotence of their God, there came the story of Exodus.  Jehovah at that time was merely God of their tribe who would take care of them with great grace and gifts, lead them in the wars to victories against all enemies.  Although some of the Book started to post an idea that God was not the God of Israel alone, but God of all nations (gentiles).

Theory and understanding of God have been improved a great deal with the development of human being and so are better wisdom/knowledge.  Thanks to so many great theologians in helping us improve our understanding of Almighty God.

Of course, we human being with our limited brain cells can never completely understand and know the essence of our God. This is the basic doctrine of Reform Church, i.e. always reforming.  God has always been there and never changed.  Only we, the human being, changed, hopefully with improvement, our understanding of  God.  The One God we believe in and exalt today is for sure far over passing what Israel believed and understood.

For me, I dare not and would not post a Big Question, nor do I have any Small Answer.
   by Bernard Tsai  4/8/2018

           再讀一次、再想一次、再寫一次  *


1.      在這個故事記載裡面至少有三次,講到耶和華使法老的心剛硬,不容以色列人去。這也使我想到所謂的【人有自由意志】的地方在裡。

2.      在這裡,耶和華本身命令『殺了埃及人的頭生的兒子包括他們的牲畜』。結果呢,後來有訂了十誡,其中第六條【不可殺人】。這條誡命是【反對預謀殺害他人】。我不知道,怎麼解釋耶和華這個行

3.      這個故事記載,似乎耶和華也是重男輕女,殺埃及人頭生的兒子。動物,就不管了。



1.      非基督徒一直在感嘆,基督舊約聖經所表現上帝的殘忍這一段的記載,沒有辦法認同上帝的慈愛。

2.      基督的第一個異端,馬吉安主義,也因這個原因不選擇舊約聖經。他們認所稱慈愛的天父不是舊約所描寫的天父

3.       當基督徒調【聖經沒有錯,聖經是神所默示的】就像197810月「芝加哥聖經無誤宣言」基督徒實在很困難來解釋、看出上帝的慈愛。

     by C W Chen  4/11/2018