Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Another Embarrassing Blunder By the Evangelicals?

NECF Malaysia recently launched its annual 40-day Fast and Prayer movement, leading up to the National Prayer Conference and the nation's Independence Day celebration. This year, the theme is based on "The Lord Revives."

As one who belongs to a church that holds membership in NECF Malaysia, I would occasionally follow the 40-day Fast and Pray booklet for my personal spiritual development.

Last week, I picked up the booklet and read through the short introductory reading on revival during the Reformation. I almost choked when I read the following:

"Luther was outlawed by the Pope in 1520, and then by Emperor Charles V in 1521. He spent the next 20 years expounding basic principles of the Protestant Reformation which, among others, were the Authority of the Scripture, Justification by Faith and Priesthood
of All Believers."

"The Luther’s movement gave rise to the churches known as Protestants with the emergence of three main traditions: Lutheran (in Germany and Scandinavia), Zwinglian and Calvinist (in Switzerland, France, Holland and Scotland); and the Church of England."

It is almost inconceivable for me to even imagine that the umbrella body of the evangelical churches in Malaysia could make such a serious blunder containing glaring errors in the description of the history of the Church. I wonder how my Lutheran, Presbyterian and Anglican friends would say when they read the above.

This is not the first time that such embarrassing blunder has been made by NECF or its representatives. I have highlighted in a previous post on the problematic statements that appears to be theological incorrect made by its then Secretary-General (now Executive Adviser) on the church being apolitical. Has it become a trait among the evangelicals that all we are concerned is our spiritual development and not being historically correct and theologically informed about our Christian heritage and existence?

I wonder whether I have to write in to NECF once again.


Desmond said...

hmm, in personal view...i think you should "remind" them to check all the facts before any publication of articles or booklets lo....

Perng Shyang said...

Yes, agree with Desmond, just a kind "reminder" for them la!

Sze Zeng said...

*fell off from the chair*

*climbed back to the desktop*

WTH! Wow lau... Kar Yong, what's happening to NECF? Is it because it's the seventh lunar month that people start hallucinating?

BTW, i met Choon Min, the political commentator of NECF, over the weekend. I asked him why NECF's leader went around the nation preaching pro-BN sermons and asked Christian to be 'apolitical'?

He told us that the top leaders are all pro-BN while grassroot ppl like him and others all frustrated with the administration. But it's a good news to know that Kim Kong is no longer the GS of NECF. He should concentrate his gifts on the field that the Lord has given him.

Bob K said...

Glad this was pointed out. Since I am no longer with an NECF affiliated congregation, I didn't feel it was proper for me to say it out loud ;)

Personally I don't think the leadership of the NECF is pro-BN per se but they do seem to exhibit a lack of sophistication in appreciating the socio-political situation and tend to take a more simplistic line. Maybe its a manifestation of the generally pro-conservative position of American Evangelicalism that has a disproportionate influence on the Malaysian movement?

sp lim said...

'I wonder how my Lutheran, Presbyterian and Anglican friends would say when they read the above.'

I think there are many Lutherans, Presbyterians & Anglicans like myself who are historically (as far as Christian History is concerned)illiterate and couldn't figure out what's wrong with the 2 paragraphs.

How many Christians are actually taught Church History in church or read Church History on their own?

Not too long ago NECF in one of its editorial 'unintentionally' depicted John Calvin as not unlike a Christian Taliban. Among others, the burning of Servetus was attributed to Calvin which was factually incorrect. I wrote to Rev. Wong protesting the unfair and inaccurate portrayal of Calvin enclosing an article by J.I. Packer on Calvin that actually rebutted such a portrayal.

Rev. Wong replied and thanked me for pointing out some of the errors and stated that it was not NECF's intention to put Calvin's in a bad light and acknowledged Calvin's contribution to the Church. These were highlighted in the following Berita NECF.

So, Kar Yong please do us a favour and write to NECF.

Btw, does TEE offer Church History? If so, I better sign up.

Steven Sim said...

gosh...i also can't detect anything wrong with the para...gulp...

My gf just said i have became too political and lost touch with theology...pls enlighten me, master.

Steven Sim

Kar Yong said...

Hi Desmond and Perng Shyang,
Yes, I will write to NECF.

Kar Yong said...

Hi JW,

While he may not be the Sec-Gen, Rev wong is still the executive adviser of NECF. I would agree with you - Rev Wong has a much wider influence in his preaching ministry worldwide.

Kar Yong said...

Hi Bob,

I would agree with you - Evangelicals tend to simplify things and also spiritualise things at the same time. The influence of American evangelicalism is evident.

Kar Yong said...

Hi SP,

I think Sarah is planning for a church history course next year, but it is for Kuching TEE. Perhaps you can take a well-deserved break in Kuching as well?

Kar Yong said...

Hi Steven,

The existence of Church of England is a different story all together, and it does not trace its roots to Luther's movement! Same goes with Calvin and Zwingli. The Swiss reformation is another story all together.

You got to visit us once again....come to the Rahang Hill in Seremban...you don't need a rail ride to go up the hill, so you can come anytime!! No breakdown - that's guaranteed :-)

sp lim said...

A well deserved break and a TEE course don't seem to jell. Having done 2 TEE courses outside the Seremban campus, it is an understatement to say that they were pretty intensive especially the last one where one day we started at 8.30am and ended at 6.30pm.

Steven Sim said...

i tot he probably meant luther started the ball rolling for this movement generically called protestant. but well...u are the xpert. :D

I wish i have the time to even go as far as ipoh. But will do, you too if you are here call me, buy u a good meal here.

Steven Sim

Kar Yong said...

Hi SP,

Well...you are right. Not only the students, but the lecturers too. It would take a day or 2 for me to recover after teaching TEE.

But perhaps you can go to Kuching for 10 days, take the weekends to attend classes, and the weekdays as your little vacation!

Anyway, I will let Sarah know about the interest in Church History.

Kar Yong said...

Hi Steven,

Even if we take that Luther's movement did lead to protestant reformation - it is not 3 traditions! That would not be accurate too. What about the anabaptists?

The Hedonese said...

tat one is called 'radical reformation' ma hehe