On February 26 to 27, 2019, a Training Consultation of the Preaching Group for the Reconstruction of Theological Thinking of Christianity in China was held in Ningbo, Zhejiang. Over 130 staff members from all parts of the country attended the consultation.
In the devotion prior to the opening of the consultation, Rev. Yue Qinghua, vice chairman of National TSPM and chairman of Fujian TSPM presided over the service. Rev. Chen Zhihua, vice chairman and secretary general of Ningbo TSPM gave a sermon titled “An Entrusted Life”, and he shared the verses from 2 Timothies 1:12 about the underlying significance of entrusted ministries.
On the morning of February 26, TSPM Chairman Rev. Xu Xiaohong hosted the opening ceremony.
CCC President Rev. Wu Wei delivered a keynote speech. He reviewed the process of reconstructing the theological thinking of Christianity in China, and accentuated the significance of exploring and practicing the indigenization and contextualization of Christianity in China.
Rev. Shan Weixiang, vice president and general secretary of CCC summarized the work carried out by the preaching group in 2018 and gave work plan for 2019. He clarified that the goals that the preaching group is heading for are (1) to further improve the spiritual level and preaching skills of pastors, layman preachers and theological students ; (2) to step forward to enrich sermon knowledge and pastoral channels, dig out God’s shining revelation to this era, supply the spiritual needs of believers, raise the quality of faith, correct unilateral and extreme thinking and resist heresies and cults; (3) strive to increase believers’ sense of citizenship and social accountability and carry forward the ministry of social care; (4) further promote the morality and ethics in Christianity and allow the church to play an active role in constructing social and culture ethics; (5) deepen the reconstruction of theological thinking and promote the preaching ministry in CC&TSPM of different provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.
In the afternoon, there were group discussions over the speaking laid out in the speeches, and each of the four groups took the floor centering on the theme in 2019 “Cherish God’s Creation, and Build a Good Life”. They resonated with the topic “Build Confidence” proposed by President Wu Wei and advocated that members of the preaching group should focus on self-improvement, and grasp the knowledge in theology, hermeneutics, history and so forth, so that they can be fully capable of preaching; expand the preaching group and let the reconstruction of theological thinking reach the rural areas so as to benefit more local believers; strengthen inter-provincial communication, share preaching outcomes, and make joint efforts in dealing with on particular cases to cope with practical issues; make experience complementary, quantize the service, follow up and if possible record the development of theological thinking in grass-root churches; let all share and benefit from the learning resources.
On the afternoon of 27 February, Rev. Wu Wei hosted the closing ceremony. Each group took turns recommending representative to give a report. Rev. Xu Xiaohong gave a conference summary. Rev. Xu cited what Bishop K. H. Ting said “Theology is that the Church is thinking” and wished more churches to contemplate.
Rev. Xu first spoke highly of the achievements made in reconstructing theological thinking, and from historical perspective then pointed out that there still existed the deficiencies in confidence, innovation and accomplishments and so forth. He urged the members to take the bull by the horns, absorb outstanding traditional c cultures, speak and act in an active voice, preach with techniques when combined with the actual situation with respect to Christianity in China, elaborate accurately, and learn to sort out and absorb the essence so as to have the say to theological thinking and make the preaching activities more practical.
The consultation then came to an end. Attendees found the two-day training activity inspiring and said that they would continue to learn and reflect what was shared in the consultation, and contemplate on how to preach better in their respective contexts.