On 14th November, 2018, the international symposium on ‘Bible and Community with Shared Future for Mankind’ was held in the conference hall of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), jointly hosted by the Institute of Religious Studies of SASS, Center for the Studies of Religion and Culture (CSRC) and Think Tank Construction Foundation of SASS. Biblical scholars from Bible Societies in the UK, Australia and Singapore, experts and scholars from Fudan University and Beijing Jiaotong University, clergy from the Islamic, Catholic and Protestant groups as well as faculty and students from East China Theological Seminary attended the symposium. Rev. Geng Weizhong, Chairman of Shanghai TSPM was invited to deliver a speech ‘Love Your Neighbor and Share the Future’ on the opening ceremony.
In his speech, Rev. Geng shared the story of ‘the good Samaritan’ from the Gospel of Luke Chapter 10 and explored the question of how Christians can properly handle the relationship between ‘loving God’ and ‘loving people’ and the question of ‘who is my neighbor’. Rev. Geng believed that early Christians faced two essential challenges. One is how to testify the faith of loving God in the Roman society influenced by Greek culture so as to be accepted by the Gentiles. Another is how to get along well with the non-Jewish community at that time. Jesus used the example of “good Samaritan” to point out that the faith of loving God should be testified by the good behavior of loving people, and that ”the Gentiles” were also neighbors of Jesus’ followers.
Christians should live out their faith of loving God by loving their neighbors, living in harmony with those who hold different views and helping the Gentiles with different beliefs and needs. The eternal life that Christians are pursuing can not be simply regarded as gifts obtained after death. It would be of greater significance if it is revealed in the behavior of loving neighbors. When there is love, there is eternal life. One who loves neighbors can share the future with them.
The three-day symposium on the theme 'Bible and Community with Shared Future for Mankind' offered a good platform for religious dialogue. The symposium also aimed at inspiring attendees to seek wisdom of building a community with shared future for mankind from the Bible, and making positive explorations and research on such topics as social harmonious development and peaceful sharing for mankind.