In a first for the LCA/NZ, a week-long intensive course on Lutheran Theological Identity was presented in Mandarin at Australian Lutheran College (ALC) at North Adelaide in early July. Led by Rev Dr William Chang, who is a pastor at Mountainside Lutheran Church in Auckland, the intensive included the topics Reformation History, Justification, Baptism, Law […]
In a first for the LCA/NZ, a week-long intensive course on Lutheran Theological Identity was presented in Mandarin at Australian Lutheran College (ALC) at North Adelaide in early July.
Led by Rev Dr William Chang, who is a pastor at Mountainside Lutheran Church in Auckland, the intensive included the topics Reformation History, Justification, Baptism, Law and Gospel, Lutheran Hermeneutics, Law and Gospel as Homiletical principle, and Introduction to the Book of Concord.
ALC’s Rev Dr Stephen Haar and Rev Dr Stephen Pietsch also conducted a session each at the course. The 13 attendees included two people from the Lutheran Church in Malaysia, two people from the Basel Christian Church of Malaysia, church leaders, chaplains, pastors, Bible college students and new Christians.
The following are reflections on the intensive by two pastors from the Lutheran Church in Malaysia:
Thank God for his grace! With such honor and grace I participated in the Lutheran Theological Identity workshop conducted in Mandarin, from 8-12 July. It was jointly organised by LCA International Mission and Cross Cultural Ministry. Not forgetting Bishop Aaron Yap for giving me this precious opportunity.
The crash course was mainly taught by Rev Dr William Chang. The main topic as fixed is, “Lutheran Theological Identity”. The content includes Reformation history, Law and Gospel, the Theology of the Cross, the Hidden God, the Book of Concord and etc. There were two lecturers from Australia Lutheran College who taught on the following topics: Justification by Faith and Law and Gospel (Dr Stephen Haar) and Lutheran homiletics (Dr Stephen Pietsch). Dr Chang’s approach was not only an in depth study of the content but also putting participants in groups to discuss related pastoral issues. This allows the participants to apply Lutheran theology and teaching to realistic situations. Such methodology brings forth much benefit.
The course was attended by fourteen participants coming from different countries and districts- 4 pastors from Malaysia ( 2 from Lutheran Church in Malaysia and 2 from Basel Christian Church), ten leaders from LCA districts (3 evangelist and chaplains and 7 lay leaders). We not only benefitted from Dr Chang’s teaching, we also benefitted from our discussion on theological topics such as: infant baptism, early communion, Law and Gospel homiletics and some personal pastoral topics. Although we come from diverse cultures and backgrounds, our understanding of Lutheran theology is quite similar.
The group discussions and personal conversations brought us closer to each other. Thank God, every one of us treasure the learnings and opportunities for mutual service.
– Pastor Kelvin Sia
Thank God that Pastor Kelvin Sia and I had the opportunity to travel to Adelaide and participated in a workshop on Lutheran theological identity jointly organized by LCA International Mission and Cross Cultural Ministry held at Australia Lutheran college from 8-12 July. I would like to thank Bishop Aaron Yap for his recommendation and encouragement.
There was only a week, between being informed and departure, to prepare for the trip. Although it was quite a rush, the return was abundant.
Fourteen pastors and leaders coming from Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand participated in the course which was taught mainly by Rev Dr William Chang from Singapore. Three slots were taught by two lecturers, Dr Stephen Haar and Dr Stephen Pietsch, from Australia Lutheran College.
Besides a more in depth understanding of Lutheran distinctives, this workshop gave me a better understanding of LCA Chinese ministry and the difficulties encountered in its development such as the high mobility among members and tension resulting from cultural difference between East and West.
This trip to Australia, I was deeply impressed by the positive attitude of the participants towards Lutheran theological identity. Together with the lecturer they planned workshops for 2020 and 2021. I hope that such would be my attitude and the attitude of members of my church (Lutheran Church in Malaysia) towards the understanding of Lutheran distinctives.
Lastly, I am thankful to God for his grace, Bishop Aaron Yap for his recommendation and the church for providing me the resources to make this trip a reality. I hope that what I have learned would be of great help to my pastoral ministry.
– Pastor CK Lee
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