Monday, September 30, 2019

Starting a new church in rural Yilan County

As I write this, the wind is howling outside as another typhoon is passing through.

After many years of delightful and sometimes difficult ministry, seeing people become Christians and grow in their faith, we had to say goodbye to our beloved church in Taipei, so that we could begin laboring in a new church plant in the rural Yilan County using a different language. We had been commuting to Taipei for the Lord's Day worship while doing outreach Bible studies and events in Yilan. But the exciting day finally came when we started our Lord's Day worship service. As I post this series of pictures, we have now been meeting for worship at Riverside Church (https://kbchurch.tw/) for four months. If you go to https://fb.me/kbchurch.tw  you can find videos of the worship service, the sermon, and the Sunday afternoon Bible studies. My sermons are in Taiwanese, while the Bible studies are a mix of Mandarin and Taiwanese.

Our last worship service with New Hope Reformed Presbyterian Church in downtown Taipei that we started with a team in 2003. The following Sunday we began our first worship service at the new rural church plant across the mountains in northeast Taiwan. Mission Sending Service coworker Rev. Daniel Cohee (and a former pastor of New Hope) stepped back into the role of preaching and pastoring responsibilities at New Hope over the summer until the new pastor could come. The new pastor recently took up the ministry at New Hope in mid-September. 
My final sermon at New Hope
Those who attended our first worship service at Riverside Reformed Presbyterian Church in Yilan County, Taiwan


Our intro to the Christian Faith series on Sunday afternoons at Riverside Church

Speakers of Taiwanese are forced to use Mandarin in the schools in Taiwan. So they often never learn to read and write in their heart language. This summer I taught a class on how to read and write Taiwanese with the Latin orthography called P.O.J.

We get to know people when we go out for walks. Here we are visiting a home in the neighborhood. Ashlyn made apple pie and the neighbors provided tea.

Taiwanese love barbecues in the early fall around Mid-autumn Festival. We were invited to one across the river from our home. Building trust through relationship is an important part of the culture and evangelism.


A former pastoral intern of mine is taking his ordination exams in the September presbytery meeting


I serve on presbytery oversight committees of several church plants in northern Taiwan. Here, our Mission Sending Service coworker, Rev. Eric Pilson, is welcoming the first group of official members at Grace Hill Reformed Presbyterian Church in a district of New Taipei City in the mountains south of Taipei. This was an exciting and joyous milestone to their labors there.

An advance team from a church southwest of Taipei (Chhiū-nâ-á Presbyterian Church) came to visit us. Around 300 of their church members will be coming later in October. They have asked me to speak to them on my church planting missionary work and vision for Taiwan. We do not have enough room in our small ministry center so will hold the meeting at an outdoor location at a nearby park. I pray that our church will quickly outgrow the current meeting facility that can seat a maximum of 60. Currently we have 20-30 attending every week.

To support our labors, please go to http://taiwanchurch.org/linton/commit.html
Thank you. 

In Christ's keeping,

the Lintons

Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018 Year Highlights

Week 1 of the Men's Leadership training series
Teaching the summer Introduction to the Bible class

After the Ordination of Wesley Chuang.
In the back row: Rev. Lin, Rev. Shih, and Rev. Tsai (of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Taiwan), Dr. Lu (O.P.C.), Dr. Wang (R.P.C.T.), Dr. Yates (P.C.A.), Dr. McCafferty (P.C.A) (of the Reformed Theological Seminary in Taipei)
 In the front row: Rev. Pilson (P.C.A. with Mission Sending Service), the Chuang family, Rev. Lin (from the Philippines), Dr. Yeo (with C.R.T.S.), and Dr. Linton (P.C.A. with Mission Sending Service)
Men's leadership training class at New Hope Reformed Presbyterian Church in Taipei
Interviewing some young children who are professing their faith (including our youngest, Seren)
Although New Hope has a bi-lingual English-Mandarin worship service, the church also provides a Taiwanese-language Sunday school class after lunch. Providing venues for Taiwanese language shows welcome to a large percentage of the people whose heart-language is Taiwanese rather than Mandarin.
The Introduction to the Bible class that Dr. Linton taught
Temperate rain forest in the higher elevations of the mountains of sub-tropical Yilan County. During Taiwan's 50 years under the Japanese Empire from A.D. 1895 to 1945, Yilan was a major producer of Formosa Cypress timber. This tree species is now endangered and protected by the government.
Our youngest, Seren, did well on the hike
Yilan County church plant Saturday Bible study. Dr. Linton teaches mostly in Taiwanese. The reading and discussions are in both Taiwanese and Mandarin.
Hosting the Poythresses in Yilan County (always fun) 

October meeting of the Second Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Taiwan



Three cute church kids
The sign of God's gracious covenant with Noah. We do not see rainbows very often in Yilan County because either it is too cloudy and rainy or the clouds build up in the west above the mountains in the afternoon.

Driving New Hope ruling elder Mark Kuo and his family to the airport.
The Kuo's moved to America so Mark could attend Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary's M.Div. program.

Rice is harvested once a year in the summer. In other parts of Taiwan, rice can be harvested two or three times a year. But Yilan County is too rainy in the winter when the second crop would need to ripen in dry weather.

We took care of 14 chickens this summer for another family while they went to the U.S.

We sing one Taiwanese-language hymn before our Saturday Romans Bible study class in Yilan County

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

What does the Bible say about itself?

I periodically teach on what God's Word says about itself. Does it contain a record of man's experience with God as Karl Barth claimed? Or does it contain God's Word down to every word choice: singular or plural, masculine or feminine pronouns?

Rather than approaching the Bible based on our own constructed theories, it is good to consider what the Bible claims about itself, what Jesus claims about the Bible and what the Apostles claim about the Bible.
You might disagree with them, but we have to say this is the Bible's testimony about itself.
So what does the Bible say about itself?
Even within all these different prophets of the Old Testament who have different writing styles, they say "Thus says the Lord."
Or look at the New Testament writers:
The testimony of the Apostle Paul: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." - 1 Timothy 3:16-17
The testimony of Apostle Peter: "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 2 Peter 1:20-21
And the Apostle Peter also testified that Paul's writings were Scripture: "... just as our dear brother Paul also wrote with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable men distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction." 2 Peter 3:15-16
Paul's writings are treated as equivalent to the other Scriptures.
Now how do Jesus and Paul treat the Scripture? They make their argument based on every single word, even whether the word choice was singular or plural. Jesus states "and the Scripture cannot be broken."
That means that although the Holy Spirit used individual men to write Scripture and they wrote in their own styles, that every single word in the Bible is inspired by God even to whether the word is singular or plural.
There is no half-way point. If you want to except anything in the Bible, you have to accept it all. Otherwise, it is just a collection of opinions of man and can be thrown away.

All Scripture quotes are taken from the NIV1984 translation.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

December Update

Invitation flier to the 500'th Anniversary Lecture on How the Reformation in Europe Affected Taiwan's history and culture





Invitation flier to the Christmas outreach lecture on the meaning behind different Christmas customs in America and on who Jesus is



Invitation flier to the Introduction to the Bible class series in January 2018

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fall 2017


Giving Taiwan History Tour lecture to students at the Tsunah Foundation Democracy Movement Museum
A Gospel tract Joel wrote on "What is Love?"

The children love handing out Gospel tracts

Telling about the Gospel on Taiwan "Valentine's Day" 

Helpers

Community Outreach Lecture


Romans 8:38-39 explains the hope of Christians that would make them be willing to die for their faith.



How the Reformation impacted future missionary labors

How the Reformation directly resulted in a world-wide Bible translation movement. And how the Bible-translation movement led to not just the spread of the church, but also the preservation of local cultures, languages and identities.

How the movement to abolish the slave trade was led by Protestants.


QandA
Ruling Elder Mark Kuo, of New Hope Reformed Presbyterian Church sharing the Gospel using a tract he wrote.

Joel's former pastoral intern now planting a church in southeast Taiwan.

The widow, Mrs. Lai, sat was seated next to Joel on the train and then accepted his invitation to come to the church worship service.