Dear Praying Friends:
Thankful for all God did in 2015, and trusting him to be faithful in this coming year, we invite you to join with us in prayer as we place our (always tentative) plans before him.
As you know, we do two things: Minister directly to Chinese, and encourage others to serve effectively among Chinese.
This two-fold ministry is carried out through two “divisions,” China Institute and Global China Center, both of which engage in both aspects of outreach, but in different arenas and ways.
Encouraged by my Board and by Chinese friends to make this my first priority, I hope to continue sending monthly prayer letters like this one, and weekly email updates. Write me if you would like to subscribe.
Thirty years after its publication, New Testament Reference Works needs to be brought up to date, with new information and a revision of my chapter on Greek grammar. In the past, it has been used as a textbook in Chinese seminaries and as a guide for individuals. Like all my works, it is composed in English and then translated by Chinese believers.
Increasingly, I have been conscious that Chinese Christians need to be given the best of Western Christian theology, so that they can construct their own expressions of faith with a fuller awareness of those who have gone before.
That is why I wrote Carl Henry: Theologian for All Ages. It has been translated into Chinese, but we have not yet found a publisher. The last two volumes of my abridgment of Henry’s six-volume God, Revelation, & Authority are supposed to be issued in Chinese later this year. I hope they will, and that my book introducing his magnum opus can also come out in 2016.
Currently, I am working on a book introducing some major works and concepts of St. Augustine, on whom I wrote my dissertation forty years ago. My goal is to supplement existing books and to counter some common misconceptions about this great theologian.
As part of my daily morning preparation for the Leadership Training Course (see below), I am also gradually composing a theological and ethical commentary on the whole Bible. That project will take several more years.
Encouraging those who serve among Chinese
China Institute Partners now include five couples, serving in Taiwan, England, the U.S., and Canada. One couple now living in England is preparing to go to Taiwan later this year for further study of Mandarin and also theology and the Bible.
As often as possible, but not as much as I should, I try to stay in touch with them through telephone, Skype, and email. I want to be more diligent about that this year.
The Leadership Training Course has five men, with whom I meet in two groups monthly by Skype. We have almost finished our intensive study of the Bible, begun more than three years ago, but our fellowship has been so rich that I would love to continue with them.
Mostly through email and Skype, I am privileged to be in touch with many more people in the West and in Asia by Internet. Their letters to me often contain questions of theology or personal matters that require careful thought and sometimes further research on my part.
The volume of this correspondence has increased dramatically in recent months and demands more of my time than before, but I thank God for these marvelous openings.
When we first arrived in Texas, we did not plunge immediately into ministry with the Chinese who attend our church. Now that we have settled in more, we are ready to take some small steps.
This coming Sunday afternoon, God willing, Dori and I will start meeting with a couple from Taiwan who would like to discuss the sermon in Chinese with us before they go to the special ESL class for them that will also begin tomorrow.
Since there are more than 1,500 Chinese living in our county, there is a possibility that more will come to the church in the future, especially when they hear about the ESL class.
Next month, I will share our hopes for the work of Global China Center in the coming year.
Your prayers play an essential role in our ministry. We rely on them to be used by God to work in and through us and our friends, and to override human error, weakness, and sin to accomplish his great and gracious purposes.
May I ask you to re-read this letter and pray over the things mentioned now, and also in coming months?
Your fellow-servant in God’s kingdom,