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二○一八年十月二十七日/十月二十八日                                                                                    Click here for English version

站穩在主那邊

周曉暉牧師

有人說:多難興邦。我會說:多難能興起忠主之僕。

順境中,談忠於主的託付,尚且不難也不易,更何況在逆境中?人總有理由,為自己的退縮開脫和推搪,然而宣道會眾先賢走過的路,卻為我們樹立了好榜樣,讓我們可以鑑古知今。

已故滕近輝牧師曾將宣道會首 100 年的發展概括為六組詞語:

異象→信心→獻身→聖靈的作為→運動→實現

工業革命造成 19 世紀末的社會貧富極度懸殊,宣信博士就在這個時候謹慎地領受異象,在質疑聲中摸索前行。20 世紀初,歐亞兩大陸出現殖民與革命,權力急速換位,宣道會就在槍尖與刀鋒歇息之間,由偏安一隅之地出發,搶救靈魂歸向基督。一戰爆發,世界崩坍;宣信博士離世,會務停滯,雖後繼有人,但卻諸多紛擾。二戰過後,百廢待興,宣道會從瓦礫中建立,並越趨成熟。北宣就是承繼自這個歷史脈絡,在香港逐漸成長起來。

破碎的世界,人縱憑藉樂觀、理性和科學,但仍無法力挽狂瀾。這是宣道會異象的背景。狂瀾中,先賢們認定,只有信心,一點不疑惑,才能從主基督那裡有得著,也只有持續的信靠,才能敢於在落差之中獻身。然而,獻身卻不為提升自我,不為自我增值,不為贏得肯定,先賢們奉獻一生,是為要走與世情相反的道路——非我惟主。

正因為人的無力,所以歷史是聖靈作為的紀錄。只要我們謙卑地清心回望,就能看見神的大作為。所以,一個普世宣教使命運動的出現,是人的熱心?不盡然;是人的組織策劃?未必是;是信徒追求普世價值的結果?也不是。那麼,百多年來實現了甚麼?我感受到,就是在那破碎的年月裡,在貧苦脆弱之時,先賢們起初從基督領受的異象,經歷了大環境的洗練,而最後異象並沒有失落,子民並沒有放肆,站穩在主那邊。

是啊,先賢們的身影,激勵著我們面前的服事。今天,我們既要承傳美好的屬靈傳統,也要在仍舊破碎的世界中,求主賜下勇氣,以回應時代的新挑戰。

能忠於主的託付,靠的,是主的靈,以致人在強權、群情、甚至生死面前,仍能穩站在主基督的那邊,作主要我們作的事,說主要我們說的話。在成聖之路上,縱有艱難,但也要效法先賢,作忠主之僕。






Pastor's Sharing
Stand Firm on God's Side
Rev Arnold Chow

It is said that trouble raises up a nation. To me, adversity can raise up faithful servants of God.

When the times are good, it is not difficult nor is it easy to talk about faithfulness to the ministry entrusted by God. In adversity, it is even more difficult. We can somehow find excuses for backing down, or getting away from or avoiding an issue. History is a good teacher. The footsteps of the early mentors of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) provide a good example for us today.

The late Pastor Philip Teng has captured the first century of development of C&MA as follows:

Vision -> Faith -> Commitment -> The Spirit's Work -> Movement -> Realization

The Industrial Revolution in the late 19th Century has significantly widened the poverty gap in society. It was against this background that Dr A B Simpson cautiously received his vision. He felt his way forward amid a chorus of queries and doubts. Europe and Asia in the early 20th Century were torn by colonization and revolution. Power changed hands overnight. The C&MA was launched during a recess of the sounds of battle, in a still peaceful part of the world to rescue souls and bring people to Christ. Then World War I broke out, ripping the world apart. Dr Simpson died and the progress of work of the C&MA was stalled. Despite his successors, there remained a lot of troubles. After World War II, the nations recovered amid the rubble. The C&MA became more mature. In this historical vein, the North Point Alliance Church was born, and gradually grew up in Hong Kong.

Optimism, rationality and science were no solution to a shattered world. But the C&MA had a vision. In all the turbulence, the early mentors were convinced that only faith without doubt could gain Christ. And only sustained trust in the Lord could spark devotion amid the ruins. Devoting oneself, however, is not to elevate the self, nor to enhance productivity or to win praise. The early mentors devoted their lives to a path contrary to the prevalent values – not I, but Christ.

Mankind is powerless but history is the record of the work of the Holy Spirit. When we humbly and honestly look back, we can see the mighty hands of God. Now, did the world evangelism mission movement arise from people's devotion? Not really. Was it the result of man's planning and organization? Not necessarily. The result of believers seeking universal values? No. Then, what happened in those hundred years or so? The picture I get is this: Stricken by weakness and poverty in those unsettled days, the early mentors received their vision from Christ. They were tried and sanctified by the hostile environment, but managed to hold on to their vision. The people did not cast off restraint, and stood firm on God's side.

Today, the footsteps of the early mentors remain, and encourage us in our ministry. As we cherish our good spiritual legacy, we all the more need to pray for courage. In a still shattered world, we need courage to respond to the new challenges of the time.

Faithfulness relies on the Holy Spirit. In the face of power, public sentiment, even death, the faithful can still stand firm on God's side, doing and saying what the Lord wants us to. In spite of adversity on the path of sanctification, let us learn from the early mentors and be faithful servants of the Lord.