Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fall update pictures

New Hope Reformed Presbyterian Church

I shared the Gospel with this bed-and-breakfast owner in Puli, central Taiwan.  He had questions about the nature of God and I was able to answer using the wording from a Taiwanese-language catechism published in 1960 by the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan.

Welcoming Caleb and Miyoung to Taiwan.  They will study Mandarin for two years.  But Caleb is already networking and wants to start some Bible studies for businessmen and also doctors.  He still has to knuckle down to master the language.  

Church planting committee meeting.  Wesley (on the right) is starting a reformed/presbyterian church in downtown Taipei.  Right now he hosts an outreach Bible study Friday nights.  He hopes to develop enough of a core group to start a Sunday worship service sometime in the middle of next year.  Since there are very few healthy reformed churches in Taiwan, we are trying to work out a good funding support system for church planters like Wesley.  Right now he is simply stepping out by faith.

The Friday night group of the Ren Ai Reformed Fellowship church plant in downtown Taipei.  

New Hope's goodbye fellowship meeting for Jason Chen, my summer missionary intern. Everyone enjoyed an impromptu concert with Jason playing violin and Judy playing piano.  They both studied music at Indiana University.  He has one more year of seminary left.  Please pray that God will direct his steps.  We hope he will come out to Taiwan as a church planting missionary.

My men's business lunch Bible study.  We are working through the Westminster Confession of Faith and following a modified version of Dr. Joseph Pipa's study guide.  (Of course mostly discussed in Mandarin and Taiwanese)

This fall I began mentoring Joshua Tân, meeting him weekly.  Joshua will graduate seminary by next spring and desires to start a church plant in southeast Taiwan in Taidong. 

Meeting with the director of a Christian drug rehab ministry, his wife and one of the men who came through the program and now volunteers there.  They came to the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Taiwan presbytery meeting.  They are all Hakka.  Please pray that I can also recruit some missionaries to focus on learning the Hakka language and church planting in Hakka areas of Taiwan including Miaoli where this drug rehab ministry is located.

Having a Monday evening discussion on the Biblical roles for men and women.  

One of our church members, Carol Vhong, with a young couple with their first baby.  Very often after church on Sunday, Taiwanese couples will come during the lunch time to ask questions from Judy or Carol about infant care.  We hope to be able to share the gospel with many Taiwanese parents through this infant care outreach.

Amanda sharing her testimony in the Taiwanese Bible study.  At first there were more women, but recently more men have joined.  The Bible study group is studying a Taiwanese-language catechism as well as the Gospel of John.  Tâi-bûn Sèng-keng-pan

Speaking at a youth retreat of a church from Taoyuan County

Judy's grandfather's 100-year-old birthday celebration

Hope you will get a chance to enjoy this documentary on Taiwan

However, one thing to realize is that these videos were filmed on good sunny days with clear skies.  Much of the time Taiwan is humid and cloudy -- either very hot and humid or cold and clammy in the winter.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Hope Beyond the Grave

Sometimes when I am trying to share the gospel in Taiwan, I start the conversation by asking about funerals in Taiwan. Then I move the discussion to the difference between Christian funerals and funerals of Buddhist or traditional Taoist religions of Taiwan.  I have seen both.  Whatever the philosophies and teachings of traditional Taiwanese religions, as a practical matter, there is a sadness without hope characterizing traditional funerals.  Christian funerals also have a sadness and feeling of loss, but there is also a hope and a joy and a sense of celebration.  

Christians have a hope in this life, but their hope extends beyond the grave. They hope for a fully restored relationship with the Creator of this universe, and the eternal life that flows from Him drives them to act differently in this life. Their treasures are not stored up on earth. They know this present world is passing away. They look forward to the Day when death and decay meet their doom. 

"On this mountain, the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine -- the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. In that day they will say, 'Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us.' Isaiah 25:6-9. (NIV 1984)

There was a mountain in Israel where Abraham's son Isaac was saved from death by a sacrifice that died in his place. What happened to Isaac prefigured what happens to all of us who put our faith in Jesus, the Messiah. Jesus, the Lamb of God, died in our place to take our sins. He took the punishment for us, and we receive the inheritance of His righteousness, eternal life with our Creator, Lord and Redeemer.

A Christian singer, Steven Curtis Chapman, has put his hope as a Christian into words: 

Out of these ashes,

Beauty will rise
And we will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes

Out of this darkness
New life will shine
And we'll know joy is coming in the morning

I can hear it in the distance
And it's not too far away
It's the music
And the laughter of a wedding and a feast

I can almost feel the hand of God
Reaching for my face to wipe the tears away
You say "It's time to make everything new
Making it all new"

This is our hope
This is a promise
This is our hope
This is a promise


Steven Curtis Chapman - in "Beauty Will Rise"

He wrote this song as part of an entire album "Beauty Will Rise" after facing the death of his youngest daughter in a car accident.  The album expresses agony at loss, but also being filled with hope and joy and anticipation of seeing her again.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Errors in Bible translations in Classical-Chinese derived languages.

I thought I would create a post where I listed clear translation errors in Mandarin language translations (and other Classic Chinese derived languages) of the Bible that have a negative impact in the churches in Taiwan.

1. One was brought to my attention on Tuesday at our Business Lunch Introduction to Christianity Bible Study in Taipei.  It came to light this way: beginning from Deuteronomy 1:13, we were discussing how the pattern among God's people was to vest authority and rule over the church by election by the members and also ordination from someone already ordained.  We then proceeded to the New Testament to look at the passages that speak of church officers and election and ordination in order to vest them with authority.

Coming to 1 Timothy 3:11, one of the men was confused because in the most commonly used Mandarin translation, the Chinese Union Version 和合本 translates γυναικας gunaikas in this verse to mean "female deacons" when the actual meaning of the word is "women or wives".  From the context, the most likely meaning is wives.  See my exegetical paper on this text under the section titled "Discussion of γυναικας".  At the very least, the Chinese Union Version should have simply left the translation as "the women" rather than adding words, "female deacons," not any where in the original Greek.

I'll check the other major Bible translations to see whether this is a common error.

It has a major impact on the church in Taiwan in one of two ways:  Either people treat deacons as an office lacking authority, and therefore the whole issue of election and ordination patterned in Scripture is confused, or more often, they end up accepting women wielding any authority in the church, even preaching.  There are very few churches in Taiwan that will obey God's command in 1 Timothy 2:11-14 and not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man in the church which is "the household of God."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pray for Judy's book readers and our summer outreach planning

Saorsa posing next to Judy's child training book
at a bookstore in Taipei 101,
formerly the tallest building in the world.

Dear prayer partners,

Below is a note one young Taiwanese mom posted on Judy's baby book blog: 

Please pray for us as we plan further ways to outreach to Judy's baby book and child training book readers.  Next week we will be planning outreaches for the summer.

In Christ,

The Lintons

Dear Judy

Dear Judy
Thank you for introducing Dr. Denmark to us.
Because of you and Dr. Denmark, I became a Christian and was baptized.
And last month I gave birth to my third child. I believe my child is a a gift from God.
As you said in your book, the more children the better.
Thanks to you and to Dr. Denmark.

Discussion groups after the New Hope Church worship service on Sunday

How to make baby food demonstration at our home

Thursday, January 3, 2013

More 2012 Pictures

New Hope Church group shot after the Christmas worship service
Please click on the picture to enlarge.

Baptism of my daughter Seren:


Following are the questions used for baptism of children with Mandarin translations:

Covenant Promises:(約的應許)

For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are far off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto Him. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your seed after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto you and to your seed after you. Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household. (Acts 2:39; Genesis 17:7; Acts 16:31)


Questions for the believing parents:(信主的父母請回答下列問題)

Do you acknowledge your child's need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, and the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit?


Do you claim God's covenant promises in your child's behalf, and do you look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for your child's salvation, as you do for your own?


Do you now unreservedly dedicate your child to God, and promise, in humble reliance upon divine grace, that you will endeavor to set before your child a godly example, that you will pray with and for your child, that you will teach your child the doctrines of our holy religion, and that you will strive, by all means of God's appointment, to bring your child up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?


Question to the congregation:(請會眾回答下面這個問題)

Do you as a congregation undertake the responsibility of assisting the parents in the Christian nurture of this child?


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sin-nî Chhut-thâu-tiⁿ

Happy New Year!

We are having a series of joyous celebrations at New Hope Church in Taipei, starting with our Christmas service. Next week we will have another big celebration. It so happens that New Hope Church was started almost 10 years ago to the day of next week's worship service.

In the summer of 2002, Judy recorded a gospel outreach music album in Nashville. In September 2002 we arrived on the mission field for the first time to begin church planting in Taipei. For three months, I took full-time language study. We also began investigating record companies to release Judy's album and to help host Gospel outreach concerts. (In 2003, while I helped start New Hope, Judy released her Gospel outreach album. Judy and I probably did about 50 concerts partnering with local churches all around Taiwan where she performed, I shared a Gospel message, and the local church members tried to outreach to their neighbors and friends.

Meanwhile, three families met to plant a church. Judy and I met with the Conklings (Tim and Evie) and the Changs (Harry and Grace) to choose a location and plan a church plant in Taipei. We did not have any extra funds raised as is common in American church planting works. We only had our own mission support. But that was enough to get things going. God was gracious to provide.

On January 5, 2003, New Hope Church held its first worship service, renting the gymnasium and classroom from an Bethany Christian School, near two of the largest universities in Taiwan: National Taiwan University and National Taiwan Normal University. We have since moved facilities twice in the same area and now worship on one of N.T.U.'s campuses, with good parking facilities.

In 2007, New Hope officially instituted formal membership. In 2008, New Hope elected its first three elders, Aaron Heidel, Larry Dilley and Ben Kask who were ordained in December of that year, making New Hope a particularized church and full member church of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Taiwan

Our founding character traits:

At first holding two separate English and Mandarin language worship services, New Hope eventually combined them to hold a joint bi-lingual worship service aided by very gifted translators. From the start New Hope was characterized by being very Bible-centered and therefore Gospel-centered and Christ-centered.

Further we tried to foster an atmosphere of every attender actively participating rather than passively sitting as if listening to a lecture or watching a performance. As a result, one distinct characteristic of our assemblies was a time of question and answer where the members could ask anything, and the pastor would answer from Scripture alone.

Third, New Hope's leaders tried to embody 2 Timothy 2:2, where men were always being sought out, mentored and trained for ministry. The membership of New Hope graciously encouraged these interns -- both Taiwanese pastoral interns and foreign missionary interns -- over the years as they were given many opportunities to preach, lead Bible studies, and worship to explore and hone their gifts.

New Hope's bilingual nature has meant that we have had worshippers from many nations. On average about half those attending have been Taiwanese and half foreigners. Over the years, New Hope has also been characterized by a high turnover as people come for several years and then move away. We have had many bittersweet goodbye parties. And many of our friends are sorely missed. Recently, New Hope has seen an increase in membership of Taiwanese families who have helped to stabilize the church's membership.

Even as we thank God for our past ten years, please pray for New Hope Church this year as they plan to seek God's will for their future.

Joel & Judy Linton with ...

Mission Sending Service
111 Knights Bridge Road
Florence, AL 35630

Here is part of the email invitation sent out yesterday. If you happen to be in Taiwan, I hope you can make it.

親愛的希望教會的親友們 Dear New Hope church family and friends,

新年快樂 Happy New Year!

誠摯地邀請您來參加希望教會的十週年主日崇拜 You are cordially invited to New Hope Church's 10th Anniversary Worship Service.

這個星期的一月六日,就是我們正式成立的十週年慶了 This week, January 6th, is our official 10th anniversary.

時間: When

一月六日(星期天)早上十點 Sunday, January 6, 10:00 A.M.

地點: Where:

希望教會, 臺北市中正區10087思源街18號1樓B棟 New Hope Church: Building B, 1F, 18 Siyuan Street, Zhongzheng District, Taipei 10087

主日崇拜後,請留下與我們一起享用愛宴和十週年的慶生蛋糕 Please join us for lunch and an anniversary cake after the worship service.

2003年的一月五日,是希望教會開始的第一個主日崇拜 On January 5, 2003, New Hope began its first worship service.

我們非常感謝上帝在過去這些年間所賜福於我們的,以及為祂自己的榮耀使用我們來成就祂的工 We are so thankful for all that God has done to bless us and use us for His glory the past years.

我們把我們的教會和未來都交託給上帝 We want to commit our church and our future to God.

期待這個主日能在教會與您相會! Looking forward to seeing you there.