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When Your Friends Speak Another Language

A New Resource from China Academic Consortium

I spent most of my adult life in Hong Kong serving with a cross-cultural sending agency. Because my husband and I also had four children while we were there, my involvements varied greatly during that time; one thing on that eclectic list was teaching at several local seminaries. One of the classes I taught at Evangel Seminary was theological English.

Initially I was a bit disappointed to be assigned that class but found that, as Anne of Green Gables would say, there was “scope for the imagination” in designing the syllabus for that class. I could pretty much do whatever I thought would be helpful, motivating, and confidence building. A staple component each year was to read through John Stott’s Basic Christianity. I knew it was a good book—well written and would introduce a decent amount of vocabulary at a manageable level of comprehension. After teaching it for several years, I realized how good it really is and how much I had gained from reading and discussing it with the students.

I also chose articles from English-language Christian magazines that dealt with current and timeless topics affecting Christians and the church. Christianity Today was one of my go-tos.

The students took turns preparing and giving a brief devotional in English for class. They were also required to attend an English-language church service, write a short report, and briefly share their experience in the next class. That was undoubtedly one of the more challenging and entertaining assignments for them. Not only did they get the chance to sing in English, listen to an English sermon, and be greeted in English by interested parishioners who were curious about the newcomers in their midst, it also gave them an opportunity to experience a worship service in a tradition or denomination other than their own. They almost always went in groups for courage and came back eager to tell the rest of us what it was like.

Each year I started the class with a quote from Charles William Eliot. “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” Then I would extoll the virtues of the seminary library that was just upstairs from the classroom where I usually taught. But then I would note that most of those friends, those counsellors, those teachers that were waiting for them among the stacks spoke English. At that time over half (and I don’t know how much over half) of the books in the library were written in English. For them to succeed in their classes, they would need the specialized theological vocabulary that we would work on in class.

All that came to mind as I heard of a new resource for theological study. Our friends at China Academic Consortium (CAC) are making available a translation of An Exploration of Christian Theology by Dr. Don Thorsen. They write:

CAC has published the Chinese translation of an introductory but comprehensive theological book, An Exploration of Christian Theology by Dr. Don Thorsen, as a gift to Chinese church leaders, and Chinese seminaries.

Anyone who is interested, please write to CAC with your request. A donation of $50 for CAC’s future projects of translation and publication will be greatly appreciated. We will send three copies of the book for a $50 donation.

For those who require a large volume of books, such as a church or seminary, please directly contact TienDao Christian Media Association, 1160 Cadillac Ct. Milpitas, CA 95035, Tel Tel:408-446-1668 /408-996-8388,

“作为给中国的教会领袖和华人神学生的礼物,对华学术交流联会 (CAC) 出版了一本全面且又深广兼顾的神学入门书籍《基督教神学初探》。有兴趣者请发邮件至 CAC ( 。

作者為 Dr. Don Thorsen. ( 任教於南加州 Azusa Pacific University) 本书探索基督教的信念、价值与实践,内容涵盖更正教(新教)、天主教、东正教,以及更正教内部各宗派的神学观点,清楚指出各种观点的分歧之处。全书的论述兼顾广度和深度,无论是初步探索基督教神学,或是已对基督教信仰有较深入了解的读者,都可从本书中获益。为 CAC 翻译和出版事工奉献$50美金将收到三本《基督教神学初探》若有教会或神学教育机构有较大的需求量,请直接联系 Milpitas 天道書房定購 。1160 Cadillac Ct. Milpitas, CA 95035, Tel:408-446-1668 /408-996-8388。CAC 只有 400 贈書, 贈完為止。

If you or anyone you know would benefit from this book, please pass this information along to them and introduce them to a friend who speaks their language.

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Image credit: CXH on Unsplash.
Narci Herr

Narci Herr

Narci Herr and her husband, Glenn, lived for just over 30 years in Hong Kong. They were first involved in working with the church in Hong Kong and then for the last 20 years of their time in Asia they served workers living in China. During that time Glenn traveled extensively throughout China and Narci …View Full Bio

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