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二○一九年七月十三日/七月十四日                                                                                        Click here for English version

宣信的「社關」:不棄不悲、同擔同省

黃彩蓮牧師

今年是宣道會創辦人宣信博士(1843-1919)逝世 100 週年,北宣人承傳了他哪方面的屬靈傳統呢?我們或會想起會徽中的「四重福音」、崇拜中唱頌的「今要主自己」、「非我惟主」,以及全教會推動的「宣教」。至於「社關」,宣信可有留下甚麼榜樣給我們?

不棄:首先,未創立宣道會之前,宣信牧養紐約第十三街一間長老會。教會附近有一個小意大利社區,住著眾多貧苦的意大利新移民。在 1879 或 80 年,30 多歲的宣信在此街頭佈道,最後竟然有 100 名意大利人信主,可是宣信所牧養的中產教會卻不歡迎他們。然而,宣信並不因此放棄關懷新移民,當他建立宣道會後,便重新關懷一批德國來的新移民。

同擔:十九世紀末,步入中年的宣信繼續與信眾同行,一起開設孤兒院、被侵犯婦女的臨時收容所、以及開辦婦女就業課程等,不少宣道人也起來支持黑人教育。而這些服事及服務所需的地方,皆主要由信徒承擔及奉獻。

不悲:1893 年,50 歲的宣信親臨中國華南,到訪香港、廣東等地,以了解中國情況及宣教需要。怎料,在廣東一條河道上,他見到一名女嬰溺斃於河邊。最令他痛心的,是眼見旁邊有許多船隻,但卻沒有人前來拯救她。假若這是個男嬰,結局會否不同?回國後,他把悲痛化為使命,繼續差派更多宣教士來華,盡力向中國人傳福音。

同省:1914 年第一次世界大戰爆發,起初歐洲為主要戰場,後來美國也投入這場戰爭。年屆 71 歲的宣信,在數年間多次撰文分享他對戰爭的信仰反省,包括:(一)要對時局警醒及追求和平;(二)要對主有永恆及再來的盼望;(三)對戰爭要盡上美國基督徒公民的應有責任。

今天,你會否也看見社會的弱勢社群?悲痛的事?嚴峻的時局?回望 100 多年前宣信之言行,你看到了甚麼榜樣、挑戰與勉勵?

1896年,宣信說:「基督的法則,是要我們承擔別人的重擔,分擔別人的傷痛。」1 願每位信徒靠著基督,與「港人」同行,一同活出「基督愛的法則」。

1 A. B. Simpson, "Not I, but Christ," The Christian and Foreign Missionary Alliance Weekly (Sept. 25, 1896): 277.






Pastor's Sharing
A B Simpson on Social Concern
Rev Kinia Ng


This year marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Dr A B Simpson (1843-1919), founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA). What sort of spiritual legacy do you think the NPAC Family has inherited from Dr Simpson? Perhaps you will point to the Fourfold Gospel in the Alliance logo, or the lyrics of "Himself" or "Not I, But Christ" in worship services. You may also cite church-wide evangelism initiatives. But what about social concern – did Dr Simpson leave behind any examples for us?

Care for the needy: A B Simpson was pastor of the Thirteenth Street Presbyterian Church in New York before he founded Christian and Missionary Alliance. Near his church was an Italian community with many poor new immigrants. In around 1879, Dr Simpson, then in his thirties, devoted himself to street evangelism which saw more than 100 Italians converted to Christ. However, the new converts were not welcome by Dr Simpson’s middle-class church. That did not stop him from caring about the new immigrants. After setting up the Christian and Missionary Alliance, he returned to his caring effort – this time for new immigrants from Germany.

Share the burden: By the end of the 19th century, middle-aged Dr Simpson continued to walk with his congregation, setting up orphanages, temporary shelters for the sexually abused and women empowering courses. Education courses were organized for the black, mainly drawing on resources from believers.

Do not despair: In 1893, A B Simpson was 50. He traveled to Hong Kong, Guangdong and some other places in Southern China to see the local situation and evangelism needs. In Guangdong, he saw a baby girl drowning in the river and he was greatly distressed that nobody from neighboring boats came to her rescue. Would the outcome be different had that been a baby boy? On return to the US, he turned his grief into mission, and sent more missionaries to China.

Reflect with the generation: In 1914, World War I broke out in Europe. Later, the US joined the war. A B Simpson was 71. In the course of a few years, he time and again in his writings shared his beliefs and reflections on the war, including: 1) People should keep up vigilance and seek peace; 2) Cherish hope for eternity and the return of Christ; and 3) Fulfil one's civil duty in respect of the war as US Christian citizens.

Today, are you aware of the vulnerable minorities in society, matters of grief or the tense circumstances? Can you see any examples, challenges or exhortations from the life and writings of A B Simpson from a century ago?

Dr Simpson noted that we need to share one another's burdens and grief in order to fulfill the law of Christ.1 May every believer rely on Christ and care for our fellow citizens in Hong Kong. May they live out the law of love from the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 A. B. Simpson, "Not I, but Christ," The Christian and Foreign Missionary Alliance Weekly (Sept. 25, 1896): 277.