The Protestant Community on Modern Taiwan: Mission, Seminary, and Church

The Protestant Community on Modern Taiwan: Mission, Seminary, and Church

The Protestant Community on Modern Taiwan: Mission, Seminary, and Church

The Protestant Community on Modern Taiwan: Mission, Seminary, and Church

Excerpt

Taibei teemed with life that seemingly ordinary midsummer weekend. Its millions breathed in the choking, pollution-ridden air and coped with the oppressive, greenhouse-like heat, so absorbed were they in the frenetic and unending pursuit of their own individual, secular, and materialistic goals. God--most especially a Western god, and his martyred son--seemed very far away. Yet, there were those among the many who did think of things eternal. The vast majority of those so inclined went to one of the many Buddhist or folk temples that dot the Taiwanese urban landscape. Once there, they prayed to gods the Chinese had long worshiped. But there were those in the populace who turned their eyes to another heaven and their thoughts to a differentan alien--faith's promise of everlasting life. For those few who called themselves Protestant, and who paused to consider the state of Christianity in Taiwan, the events of the weekend of July 31 to August 2, 1987, demonstrated many of the changes their religion had experienced in their island home in recent years. The events of the weekend ranged from the return of exiled Presbyterian leaders, to a memorial service for a Baptist immigrant from the mainland, to services of the True Jesus and Assembly Hall congregations, and, taken together, they symbolized the diversity and vitality of Christianity in late twentieth century Taiwan.

Friday evening, July 31, 1987, a Presbyterian worship service was held in a large church built on the upper floors of an office building located near Taibei's major north-south thoroughfare, Zhongshan Road. The leaders of the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan, the oldest and largest Protestant denomination on the island, were welcoming . . .

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