Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The 9Th Methodist Convention - "Spreading Scriptural Holiness, Transforming The Nation" (Talk 2) - Part 6

Bishop Rev Dr. Hwa Yong pointed out that, in Malaysia, we can't reform just by politics.

"Political parties are not strong enough. However, Christians, if committed, can reform our society," Bishop added.

Generally, Christians in Malaysia have been reluctant to get involved in politics. Bishop cited two important reasons for this social phenomenon.

Firstly, Chinese culture plays a dominating role. As a migratory people,, we are concerned mainly with family and clan. We take care of those on the 'inside'. We focus on our own well-being and generally play safe. and if things go bad, we just pack up and leave.

Secondly, a wrong theology has led to popular misconceptions. Many 20th century evangelicals have accepted a dualistic and spiritualised understanding of salvation, the tendency is for them to advocate a withdrawal from the 'public square' and its concomitant of a 'life-boat ethics'. The world of public affairs is the place where the devil and sin hold sway. It is like a sinking ship in the midst of the storms of life. There is no point in trying to save it, whether through doing good works or socio-political change. Instead we have better jump into the 'life-boat, i.e. the church, and leave the world to sink! So don't waste time of changing the world.

The wrong theology further dictates that our priority is evangelism; socio-political concerns are secondary at best.

Many Chinese church leaders had a similar theology, including John Sung and Watchman Nee.

"Take note of the correction made by the Lausanne Covenant (1974) : 'that evangelism and socio-political involvement are both part of our Christian duty'," Bishop said.
The photo shows the choir singing to the glory of our God in The Masland Methodist Church. Photo: Brother David Ling