From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Taiwanese Church Historian Faults "Prayer Manual"

From Taiwan Church News <>
Date Wed, 22 Jan 2003 15:40:05 +0800

Taiwan Church News 2656, January 26, 2003
Reported by Ku Hao-jan & Lin Yi-ying. Translated and rewritten by
David Alexander

   A movement to hold "Repentance and Revival" meetings in many
of Taiwan's cities between January 19 and March 1 hit a snag when
Ms. Ong Chao-bun (Wang Chao-wen), a doctoral candidate in history
at National Cheng Kung University read through the Prayer
Handbook that it distributed.  She found errors in nomenclature
and, more seriously, in history.  These were especially
meaningful in the context of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan
(PCT) which is active in the movement. On January 17th a
delegation of three clergymen went to the PCT's headquarters with
apologies and promises to withdraw the book from circulation for
correction. They joined PCT Associate General Secretary Lim
Chong-cheng in prayer, confessing their sin and calling on God to
lead Taiwan's churches in unity.
   The publication in question includes material to guide
movement participants in repentance. It includes sections for
personal prayer, family prayer and churches at prayer. Ethnic
sections focus on Aboriginal, Hakka and "Minnan" (Taiwanese) and
Mainlander groups. Its historical sections look at the period of
Japanese colonial rule (1895 to 1945) and the Nationalist
Government period (1945 to 2000). There are special prayers as
well for residents of Taiwan's major cities.  It was prepared by
leaders from a cross section of Taiwan's many Protestant
denominations and independent churches.
   Since the book took a strong historical approach, Ms Ong, a
member of West Gate Presbyterian Church in Chia-yi, read through
it.  She found a lot that was objectionable. On page 39 a
sentence reads, "Gambling is a deep rooted weakness of the Minnan
ethnicity."  Ms. Ong asks if it is not a problem of other ethnic
groups as well?
  Page 50 discusses the political affair known as "the 228",
during which thousands of local people were killed or jailed by
the Nationalist Party's military government in 1947. One line
reads, "Early in the 228, people (most of whom were vagrants and
Taiwanese soldiers) attacked police stations." That is followed
by the statement that, "The 42 articles published by the
Direction Committee were all treasonous."
Ms. Ong says that this point of view is not only fails to reflect
Taiwan consciousness, it is directly taken from biased court
documents of the time.
   She points out that the book contains many absurdities,
especially contents dealing with "New Residents" (who came to
Taiwan from China following WWII). In another place she found
reference to the miraculous theory of "Christian Feng shui and
wonders what it might be." She finds the book full of editing
errors which subtract from its usefulness.
   Clergy from the PCT and many other local churches have voiced
strong objections to the book, and to the group that produced it.

For More Information: Lim Chong-cheng

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