Chinese House Church Leader Allen Yuan 中國家庭教會領袖袁相忱 (1914–2005)

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As a Hong Kongese who has never experienced the Cultural Revolution or any forms of religious persecution, I always admire those who stand firm for their faith and take the cross to do something no one is willing to. My interest of researching on Allen Yuan (1914–2005) for my MTh thesis was stimulated from the praise of Wang Mingdao (1900–1991), a theologian whom I read since high school, who claimed Yuan as one of the remaining two theologians during the 1960s that stood firm before the Communist Party of China (CPC) for its oppression (Li, 102).

Born into a westernised family, Yuan followed a similar path to his father’s in receiving a western-style education and can speak and translate in English fluently. This gives him an opportunity to meet and host Western missionaries as well as to communicate with Western media so that the West can gain a deeper understanding of Chinese churches. According to Gospel Herald, the US government had even invited him to a prayer breakfast at the White House in 1995, though he declined the invitation due to his disagreement with the close contact with the state as a church leader.

Despite Yuan’s prominent role as a house church leader in the late twentieth century, the research on Yuan is not profound, at least not in the English academic world. One of the major reasons is that he did not have many published articles; instead, he tended to record his sermon and theological thought with cassette and then delivered to the house churches he led.

In my thesis, I highlight that Yuan, despite a close friend of Wang Mingdao, was more open to Pentecostalism, probably due to his training in the Far East Bible College established by the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene and his encounter of the Pentecostal Pastor Wu Xikao in Beijing in 1933 (Aikman, 58–59). Thus, he emphasised the power of the Spirit working in his ministry and believed in the power of healing (Yuan, 92), which was strongly against by Wang.

Another interesting character of Yuan is that, as a fundamentalist who intentionally separated himself from the Three-Self Patriotic Movement initiated by the CPC, Yuan did not hate the country as people thought he would be; rather, he asserted that being patriotic was not equivalent to the love of a political party. his insistence on remaining in China even when he had the chance to emigrate to other countries for missionary work, showed his passion toward his homeland.

While my very short thesis was an attempt to analyse his theology and to compare it with his contemporary, much more research is yet to be done for this important house church leader.

作為一個從沒經歷文化大革命和宗教迫害的香港人,我很敬佩那些不怕背起十架、為信仰作見證的人。這也是引起我開始研究中國家庭教會領袖袁相忱的原因。據另一著名教會領袖王明道(1900–1991) 所說,袁是六十年代其中兩個願意受中共逼迫、仍能站立得住的人 (另一個是林獻羔, 見《活祭》,102)。

袁相忱成長於一個西化的家庭。和他父親一樣,他接受西方教育,且能說得一口流利英語,又能當翻譯。這為他帶來不少接待西方宣教士的機會,又讓他能不時與西方傳媒聯絡,講述中國教會狀況。據《基督日報》所說,連白宮也曾於1995年邀請他出席其早餐禱告會議,但他認為教會領袖不該與政府機構有過度緊密的聯絡,而婉拒了是此邀請。

儘管袁相忱差不多是廿世紀末最出名的中國家庭教會之一,無論是中文或英文, 有關他的文獻並不多。其中一個原因是他不常發表文章, 他多把他的講章存在錄音帶裡,然後寄給他的家庭教會小組。

我在我的論文裡提及到袁雖然與王明道相當要好, 有別於王明道, 他比王更能接納靈恩派。我將此歸因於他在宣聖會 (The Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene) 轄下的遠東神學院的學習,和靈恩派牧師武熙考對他的影響 (Aikman, 58–59)。袁特別強調聖靈在他事工的作為,和相信聖靈醫治的能力 (袁惠珍,92)。這些都是王明道相當反對的。

袁相忱另一特別之處在於他的愛國之心。雖然作為反對三自愛國運動的基要派,一般人也會覺得他應該非常討厭他的國家,但是他強調愛國不如愛黨。而他選擇留在中國服事、而不到其他國家宣教, 也表明他的愛國之心。

雖然我在我簡短的碩士論文中嘗試理解他的神學及將之與其他當代神學家作對比, 我相信袁的神學觀仍需有待研究呢。

Reference 參考書目

· Aikman, David. The Beijing Factor: How Christianity is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power. Oxford: Monarch Books, 2005,

· Li, Diya 李迪亞. Huoji 活祭 [Living Sacrifice]. Singapore: Singapore Every Home Crusade, 1999.

· Song, Christina. ‘Shijie Gedi Xintu Jinian Zhongguo Jiating Jiaohui Lingxiu Yuan Xiangchen Mushi’ 世界各地信徒紀念中國家庭教會領袖袁相忱牧師[Believers All Over the World Commemorated Chinese House Church Leader Pastor Allen Yuan], Gospel Herald 基督日報, 22 August 2005, http://www.gospelherald.com.hk/template/news_view.htm?code=min&id=652.

· Wang, Mingdao. ‘Shengjing Guangliang zhong de Lingen Yundong’ [Pentecostal Movement in the Light of the Bible], Shengming Jikan [Life Quarterly], June 2001, https://www.cclifefl.org/View/Article/558.

· Yuan, Huizhen L 袁惠珍. Xingguo Liuleigu 行過流淚谷 [Passed through the Valley of Weeping]. Streamwood, IL: Christian Life Press, 2011.