Friday, September 11, 2009

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong knows about this blog?

Today while corresponding with a friend who has attended Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's weekly preaching, I was told that this blog might has already been known to him.

Not sure if Rev. Dr. Tong was referring to this blog when he said that (paraphrase), "Someone has been monitoring my speeches and pick faults from them... I’m not perfect and I make mistakes… why don’t people quote the hundreds of factual claims I made which that are correct and not focusing on 1 or 2 that are errant?"

Firstly, if he was referring to this blog, then this blog has served well. Secondly, this shows that Rev. Dr. Tong is a humble man who is also in the process of learning, like everyone of us. A commendable and exemplary virtue. Thirdly, nonetheless Rev. Dr. Tong's humility vindicates the veracity of the information provided in this blog.

Hopefully Rev. Dr. Tong would start to be careful when quoting sources or making references from others. Perhaps he does not know how many of his listeners have been transmitting his uninformed remarks around. Within my own tiny social, spatial, and location constraints, I have come across a few.

Humbly, this site serves to alert not only Rev. Dr. Tong but also to others who fabricate or manipulate truth with half-truth to evangelize.

No one should think that the truth is out there and far away. Not even theologically and philosophically trained evangelist. The truth is nearer to us than we think.

However that someone who has been monitoring Rev. Dr. Tong's speeches is also someone who has deep respect and high admiration for the Rev.'s work and his honorable life.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Historical Jesus

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong has held a 4-days seminar on the historical Jesus. He named the seminar as "The Eternal Christ & Historical Jesus". Due to work, I was not able to attend the seminar. And since then I had been looking forward to get hold of the recording of the seminar.

The seminar was held on 24th-27th April 2008. Contacts have been repeatedly made with Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's production team on the availability of the recording. Almost every month I called them to inquire about it. And after waited for 9 months I finally got hold of the MP3 CD on the 2nd of April 2009. It was selling at SGD $45 then.

With great anticipation, I listened to the series of lectures for the next few days. Some of them I listened twice or more.

I have to say that after finishing the series, I was rather disappointed. It seemed to me that Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong did not know about the historical Jesus.

On one hand, I am sure that Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong knows that the historical Jesus is not merely referring to an influential person who existed in 1st century Palestine.

The term 'historical Jesus' is a technical term describing the enterprise for the critical studies being done by New Testament scholars on Jesus Christ in the past two hundred years. Therefore this enterprise is also famously known as the quest for the historical Jesus (since the publication of the English edition of Albert Schweitzer's famous work 'The Quest of the Historical Jesus')

How can I be so certain that Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong knows about this? It was through his naming of his seminar as "The Eternal Christ & Historical Jesus". The title bear an 'either/or' contrast. And such contrast is a well-known one in the theological community. Sometimes it is known as the "theological Christ and the historical Jesus", sometimes the "kerymatic Christ and the historical Jesus". A recent example is Dale Allison's newly published book that twisted the contrast at its title 'The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus'.

That is on the one hand. On the other hand, Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong, despite knowing the enterprise of the historical Jesus, he surprisingly and most disappointingly did not show any familiarity with it. As he titled the seminar to be centered on the enterprise, I was anticipating him dealing with the issues raised from the historical Jesus' studies. But he did not.

Throughout the recording, the names and 'ism' that were mentioned: Adolf von Harnack, Tubingen school, Christian Ferdinand Baur, Immanuel Kant, atheism, communism, existentialism, theory of evolution, Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis, Continental philosophical rationalism, British philosophical empiricism, Rene Descartes, Benedict Spinoza, French Revolution, Voltaire, Rosseau, Logical Positivism, Ludwig Witgenstein, Michaelangelo, Erasmus, Martin Luther, Stoicism, Heraclitus, Seneca, Epitatus, Marcus Aurelius, and others.

Please do not take my word. Do not believe me. Spend SGD $45, get a copy to listen for yourself. He was more like lecturing on the history of philosophy rather than the historical Jesus' quest. Not to mention how does the historical quest relates, influences, and affects the conception of the eternal Christ, as the seminar's title misleadingly described.

Perhaps among the list of names he uttered, the one that really had contributed to the historical Jesus' study was F.C. Baur. And yet Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong got Baur's name in the wrong arrangement. It should be 'Ferdinand Christian Baur', instead of C.F. Baur.

Through the serminar, I found that the only way Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong engaged the historical question raised by the quest was by quoting and doing theological exposition on John's gospel, particularly chapter 1. But that was missing the whole point of the quest. It seems that he does not have a clue on what he was lecturing on.

I am not an expert on the quest, but I do know that Wikipedia provides a good summary of the main happenings and people within the historical Jesus' enterprise (accessed on 9th July 2009). For an extremely brief summary of the quest since the 19th century up until 1993, N.T. Wright's small booklet 'Who Was Jesus?' is fit enough. Then one can moves on to Gerd Theissen and Annette Merz introductory text. And finally to all the fat books on historical Jesus, like the celebrated 4-volumes by John Meier, and the 3-volumes by N.T. Wright.

Monday, December 22, 2008

John Sung & Cultural Mandate

John Sung is no doubt one of the greatest Asian evangelist, but is his approach to vocation a model for subsequent generations?

Timothy Tow wrote a short biography of John Sung. He recorded the incident when John Sung, while on his way back to China from America, dumped all his academic degrees into the sea.

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong has often announced his great admiration of John Sung and mentioned this incident as some sort of highlight or an honorable Christian act.

This is rather puzzling as Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong himself is a Reformed theologian who adheres the great tradition of the Cultural Mandate. Cultural Mandate is the belief in the ordained vocation to engage with external-church issues such as in the academia, parliament, or factory. And those who believe in Cultural Mandate place significant emphasis on academic achievements or at least the extensive exercise of the mind. Thus throwing academic degrees away is anything but a symbol that overturns of the aspiration of Cultural Mandate.

My own opinion is that John Sung remains a great evangelist. His approach to Christian vocation and calling should not be a norm or model for Christians. In fact, I am surprised that John Sung, who earned a doctorate in Chemistry, failed to grasp the bigger divine vision mediated through the Bible to us.

Karl Barth was living in the same era and bombarded by the academia in one way or another in the same way as John Sung. But he did not think it necessary to throw away his degrees. Barth was not only a preacher, he was served in the army at the age of 50+ to defy the Nazi, drafted the Barmen declaration to counter liberal theology, continue to serve as a Christian educator all his life. And Barth does not have a doctorate in natural sciences.

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong and those who adhere to the Cultural Mandate have another more sympathetic option to pick.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cornelius Van Til Confuses over 'Mystery'

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong identifies himself as a 'Van Tilian', meaning someone who adheres to Cornelius Van Til's work. And here is a critique of Van Til's work which indirectly referring to Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's theology:

“…our knowledge is rational because God is ultimately rational. At the same time, God is incomprehensible to us because he is ultimately rational. It is not because God is irrational, and in the nature of the case, ultimately rational, that we cannot comprehend him.” (p.33)

“It is exceedingly dangerous to confuse the orthodox concept of the incomprehensibility of God with the ultimate mysteriousness of the universe as held by modern thought… modern thought believes in an ultimate irrationalism [a.k.a mystery], while Christianity believes in an ultimate rationality. It is difficult to think of two types of thought that are more radically opposed to one another. It is the most fundamental antithesis conceivable in the field of knowledge.” (p.35)
(Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology, 2nd ed. Italics original.)

The idea of using ‘Mystery’ is not to say it is ‘irrational’ but to say that it is something so much more than our notion of rationality to the extend of risking itself to being the unknown.

The ultimate reality is being regarded as mysterious because we recognize our limited and finite rational ability comprehend it in the first place. In Van Til’s own language, this is the absolute rationality that finite creatures cannot comprehend yet have their rationality derived from it.

Van Til is forcing ‘irrationalism’ into the term ‘mystery’. If it is irrational, then ‘Mystery’ wouldn’t has been used. Hence the so-called ‘radical opposition’ between mystery and ultimate rationality is just a corollary of Van Til’s own confusion and eisegesis on the term ‘mystery’.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A.R. Wallace & 'The Principle of Biology'

Dalil ini membuktikan satu kalimat dari orang yang hidup sezaman dengan Darwin bernama Wallace. Dalam bukunya, “The Principle of Biology,” Wallace mengatakan ada yang disebut natural selection (penyisihan alam). Buku itu terbit sebelum Darwin menulis pikirannya tentang evolusi...
(Stephen Tong, Creation or Evolution [Bagian 1]. Italics original. Retrieved on 13 August 2008)

Translation: ...in his book, "The Principle of Biology," Wallace wrote on natural selection...

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong at some occasions claimed that A. R. Wallace and Charles Darwin co-authored a book titled "The Principle of Biology". Here, he states that Wallace wrote the book. In both cases, Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong is wrong.

A.R Wallace and Charles Darwin co-wrote only an article. And that article is not titled "The Principle of Biology". Wallace wrote about '22 full-length books and at least 747 shorter pieces, 508 of which were scientific papers' (retrieved from Wikipedia on 13 August 2008), and none of them titled "The Principle of Biology".

It is clear that Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong is fabricating facts here.

For an exhaustive collection of A. R. Wallace's published works, you may visit Western Kentucky University website: http://www.wku.edu/%7Esmithch/wallace/bibintro.htm

Monday, May 5, 2008

Humans Vocal Cords


“Vocal cords only can be found in humans. Animals do not have it. Vocal cords are given by God so that humans can communicate God’s ‘logos’ (truth).”
(“Wen Ti Jie Ta” CD -14 Aug 2005, translator: Yang Tuck Meng, track 11)

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong is wrong about vocal cords. Almost all animals have vocal cords. They are just different in the position, size, and hence functions. There are animals that have the same vocal cords as humans. In fact, human infants share the same vocal cords with apes. See this article from McGill University's website.

W. Tecumseh Fitch, Lecturer in Psychology at University of St. Andrews, whose major research is on evolution and neural basis of cognition and communication, has pointed out that vocal cords that are similar with humans’ are found in animal like the red deer (Cervus elaphus).

David Reby, Lecturer in Psychology at University of Sussex, on the red deer's vocal cords discovery: http://www.lifesci.sussex.ac.uk/cmvcr/Deer.html

Darwin-Wallace Co-authored Work


"Wallace, an Englishman, published a book that had the concept of evolution which inspired Charles Darwin. He wrote about the idea of natural selection and the survival of the fittest. Later on both Wallace and Darwin wrote on the theory of evolution in the book, “The Principle of Biology”."
(Creation vs Evolution - Part 1, 2 July 2006. The sermon note available here)

There is no such publication. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace co-authored only one article together in 1858 titled "On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection" which was published in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London. Zoology 3: 46-50.

The mentioned of Charles Darwin and Alfred R. Wallace co-authored article:

The article can be read at Darwin-Online website

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong needs to get his information right and stop tampering with facts. From an article, he bloated it into a 'book'; from a technical title, he changed it to a generic caption.

Besides, not sure whether did Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong meant that it was Alfred R. Wallace who coined the term "survival of the fittest" or the idea behind it. If it is the former, he is wrong. The term was coined by Herbert Spencer in his book 'The Principles of Biology' published 1864. If it is the latter, he was giving a ambiguous abstraction that does not really convey anything much about what Wallace was really writing about.

Perhaps, Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong is confused between the work of Herbert Spencer with those of Charles Darwin and Alfred R. Wallace. If that is the case, it is time for him to preach-teach with notes at hand so that he would stop giving out false information, or just stop talking about subjects that he is confused until he got his facts right.

Thomas H. Huxley Is Not An 'Adamic Monogenist'


"Without Spencer and Huxley, Darwin's theory of evolution would not have become so widespread. Yet these two men believed that people of all races must come from a single couple (the same parents)."
(Creation vs Evolution - Part 4, 23 July 2006. The sermon note available here)

"Both Spencer and Huxley acknowledge humankind from all races come from a pair of husband and wife."
(“Chrsitianity and World Religions and Cultures” CD -17 till 20 Aug 2007, translator: Yang Tuck Meng, track 5)

There is no documentation that Thomas Henry Huxley (picture above) think that the world-wide distributed people come from a "single couple" (the same parents). Huxley himself wrote in 'Critiques and Addresses' that the issue on the origin of human races is an "open question". He does not identify himself as either as an 'Adamic monogenist' that believes that all races come from a "single couple"( the same parents). In his own words,

"Five-sixths of the public are taught this Adamitic Monogenism, as if it were an established truth, and believe it. I do not; and I am not acquainted with any man of science, or duly instructed person, who does."
(Critiques and Addresses; Emphasis added. The online book available here and here)

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong is wrong here. Huxley does not think that humans come from a single couple. Between the Adamic monogenism and many forms of polygenism , he sees himself more incline to the idea that our current diverse humans distribution around the world comes from a single species through evolution, not same parents.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Ancient Civilization Disproves Evolution?


“If you believe in the theory of evolution, why did civilization appeared so late and when it first appeared immediately appeared as highly supreme civilization?…[for eg in the ancient architecture accomplishment] the building of the great pyramid… no current Singapore’s engineers qualify to build the great pyramid if they were there back then… And the ancient builders had accomplished these great work thousands of years ago.
The only reason that civilization occurred out of the sudden after thousands years of evolution is because God created man in his own image (This sentence is ambiguous. It suggests that Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong thinks that evolution occurred but that will contradict his later conclusion that evolution is not plausible. Thus, most probably Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong meant it as how his translator forcefully phrased it, “How is it possible that civilization suddenly occurred? The only reason is that God has made us in his image”.)

The fact that the ancients are so intelligent compared to present foolish humans shows that the theory of evolution is not reliable. If not humans would not have been in our current stage.”
(“Wen Ti Jie Ta” CD -14 Aug 2005, translator: Yang Tuck Meng, track 11)

1) Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong’s definition of the ‘supremacy’ of civilization.

First he defines the ‘supremacy’ of a civilization based on their architectural accomplishments. Following that, Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong ridicules present humans as foolish and have lower intelligence as compared to the ancients simply because (he alleges that) we cannot and do not build pyramids now. That alone betrays his narrowness and romantic-idealistic thoughts.

From modern architecture point of view, the building of a similar structure such as the ancient great pyramid is just a waste of resources and space. And pyramids are simply not viable for modern living. The pyramids belong to a different world to serve different purposes which our modern living does not share. Would Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong build a Pantheon? Of course not! He builds churches rather than a Pantheon not because he is foolish or has lower intelligence than the ancient Greeks, but because he does not sympathize with the world of the ancient Greeks, and hence does not anticipates to build such monument.

To ridicule modern architectural practices simply because we do not build pyramids as the ancients did is an absurd mismatch. It is as if he is mocking an East Asia terrace house as compared to the igloo of the Eskimos. Would he says that the East Asians have lower intelligence compared to the Eskimos? To follow his logic, it’s a ridiculous ‘yes’.

And besides, he is wrong that modern people are not able to build pyramids. Modern architects not only able to build pyramids but to build them with more sophistication. Think Louvre Musuem in Paris (picture below). In fact many modern architectures are more complicated and sophisticated than the great pyramid. See Discovery Channel’s Extreme Engineering for great architectural and engineering establishments by modern people. Compare these structures with the great pyramid, then you tell me how justifiable is Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong in comparing the ancients and the moderns.


2) Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong’s perception of the relation between civilization and the theory of evolution.

As described above, Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong’s understanding of the ‘supremacy’ of the ancients is their architecture achievement. Besides, his argument that the ancients are more intelligent because they are able to build pyramids which modern people cannot and do not build has been shown ridiculous and uninformed. Hence his overall argument that the high intelligence of the ancients, as epitomized in their architectures, repudiates the theory of evolution is not tenable.


First, the ancients might be intelligent but not higher than modern people. They are just different sets of social programs which are being run at different era of the human history. The ancients have their pyramids and great walls; the moderns have skyscrapers and “Blue Gene”.

Second, besides architecture, in terms of innovative utilization of natural resources, the moderns supersede the ancients by thousands of years. Think ‘energy generators’. In terms of social responsibility, the moderns advanced beyond the ancients. For eg. when tsunami devastated the southern world, aids from around the world arrive to ease the crisis. This is not being known in the ancient worlds which were ruled by tyrants.

It seems that humans have gone up and down in our history. There are times when we enjoyed honour and glory, and times when we are despicable and wretched. But such complex phenomena relate more to the nature of human beings as limited, aspiring, intelligent, sinful, and redeemed beings. This cannot be entirely explained by theory of evolution.

However, the theory of evolution does contribute to our understanding of human history for eg. our human adaptive behaviour. Hence neither can we say that human history rejects evolution. Saying this is mere absurdity.

At the end of the session, Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong concludes that we are God’s creation and hence there were highly intelligent ancient civilizations. And such observation is the best available reason to reject the theory of evolution.

I think to reject the theory of evolution simply because the ancients are intelligent enough to build pyramids and great walls is rather extremely odd.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Charismatic Exegetical and Theological Contributions to Christian Faith

“The Charismatic movement today fails to produce any worthwhile exegetical works on the Bible. The Charismatic movement today fails to produce a comprehensive systematic theology of our faith.”
(“Wen Ti Jie Ta” CD -14 Aug 2005, translator: Yang Tuck Meng, track 4)

Has Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong not come across the works of Gordon Fee? If not, he should.

Gordon Fee

Gordon Fee is a New Testament scholar who, after teaching briefly at Wheaton College in Illinois, taught at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts until 1986. He then moved to Regent College in Vancouver, Canada where he is now Professor Emeritus. He also serves on the advisory board of the International Institute for Christian Studies. Fee received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Seattle Pacific University and his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.

Fee is one of the foremost experts in pneumatology and also the textual criticism of the New Testament of the Bible. He is also the author of books on Biblical exegesis, including the popular introductory work How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (co-authored with Douglas Stuart), the "sequel," How to Read the Bible, Book by Book, How to Choose a Translation for all its Worth (co-authored with Mark Strauss) and a major commentary on 1 Corinthians as well as numerous other commentaries on various books in the New Testament. In the 1990s he succeeded F.F. Bruce to become the editor of the notable evangelical commentary series, the New International Commentary of the New Testament.

Fee is a member of the CBT (Committee on Bible Translation) that translated the New International Version (NIV) and its revision, the Today's New International Version (TNIV). He is also a member of the "board of reference" for "Christians for Biblical Equality," a group of Evangelical Christians that believes that the Bible advocates complete equality between men and women in both home and ministry. He was a contributing editor to the key Christian egalitarian book Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity without hierarchy (2004).

Fee is an ordained minister of the Assemblies of God (AG) and unabashedly identifies himself as Pentecostal, even though he has written articles disagreeing with a few of the AG's fundamental Pentecostalism-specific doctrines.


There are other theologians with academic postgraduate degrees (contra Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's honorary degrees) who identify themselves with the Charismatic movement, such as Stanley M. Horton, Wayne Grudem, J. Rodman Williams, Charles H. Kraft, Jackie David Johns, Steven Jack Land, John Christopher Thomas, Rickie D. Moore and H. Vinson Synan, have contributed to the Christian faith. It is obvious that Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's sweeping and uninformed remark concerning the Charismatic movement is invalid.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Similarity & Dissimilarity Between Them- Part 1

Both are influential person. And one wonders what is the one similarity and one dissimilarity between Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong and Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama?

One similarity:
Both have no postgraduate education or research but were awarded honorary degrees for their contribution and expertise in respective areas.

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's honorary degrees:
  • Doctorate in Leadership in Christian Evangelism from La Madrid International Academy of Leadership.
  • Doctor of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary.


Dalai Lama's honorary degrees:

  • Doctor of Theology from Florida International University.
  • Doctor of Divinity from Emory University.
  • Doctor of Divinity from Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies.
  • Doctor of Sacred Philosophy from Lafayette University.
  • Doctor of Laws from University of Melbourne.
  • Doctor of Buddhist Philosophy from Rissho University.
  • Doctor of Social Sciences from National Sun Yat-sen University.
  • Doctor of International Diplomatic Science from University of Trieste.
  • Honorary Doctorate from University of Buenos Aires.
  • Honorary Doctorate from University of Brasilla.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Seton Hill College.
  • Doctor of Human Letters from Brandeis University.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Regis University.
  • Honorary Doctorate from University of Colorado.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Chu San University.
  • Doctor of Letters from Nagpur University.
  • Doctor of Humane Arts and Letters from Columbia University.
  • Honorary Doctorate from University of Rio de Janeiro.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Karnataka University.
  • Doctor of Humane Letter from University of Washington.
  • Doctorate in Chemistry and Phamarcy from University of Munster.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Southern Cross University.
  • Doctorate in Humane Letters from State University of New York.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Smith College.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Universtiy of Rome.
  • Honorary Doctorate from University of Buffalo.
  • Honorary Doctorate from University of Santiago.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Rutgers University.
  • Honorary Doctorate from University of Costa Rica.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Puerto Rico.
  • Honorary Doctorate from University of Miami.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.
  • Honorary Doctorate from University of Toronto.
  • Honorary Doctorate from University of British Columbia.
  • Honorary Doctorate from University of San Francisco.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Mongolian University of Science and Technology.
  • Honorary Doctorate from National University of Mongolia.
  • Honorary Doctorate from University of Tromso.
  • Honorary Doctorate from University of Luciada Porto.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Comenius University.

One dissimilarity:
Numerical difference in their honorary doctorates. Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong has 2, while the Dalai Lama has about 40.

Monday, April 14, 2008

About Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong


Some Background Information

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong was born in 1940 in Fukien, China. He is currently residing in Jakarta, Indonesia. He has been called to be a minister of the gospel when he was 17. His living objectives are to remove intellectual barriers to Christian faith, and to lead people back to and shine for Christ through his version of Reformed Theology.

He is firmly rooted in a certain branch of Reformed Theology and identify himself as a proponent of Cornelius Van Til's apologetic method. He is also a composer, a conductor, an artist, and an architect. And so he has vast and extensive knowledge of arts, music, philosophy, science, antiques and architecture. He has founded and currently serves as the President of the Stephen Tong Evangelistic Ministries International (STEMI).


Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's Works:
Rev. Tong is a member of the International Consultants of the Lausanne Committee of World Evangelization. He has delivered addresses in many international conferences, including the World Reformed Congress in Johannesburg 2006, Second International Congress on World Evangelism (Lausanne II) in 1989 at Manila, International Prayer Assembly in Seoul 1985, and as the Seminar Leader in Amsterdam 1986.

He taught theology and philosophy in the Southeast Asian Bible Seminary (Seminari Alkitab Asia Tenggara) in Malang for 24 years (1964-1988) and currently teaches at the Reformed Evangelical Seminary (Sekolah Teoloji Reformed Injili) in Jakarta where he is the founder. He is the author of more than 75 books, including "Theology of Evangelism", "Strategy of Evangelism", "Between God and Man", "Holy Spirit and Gospel", "The Examples from Christ", and "Culture and the Fall".

In 1990, Rev. Tong founded the Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Foundation, which includes a full time theological seminary, the Theological Institute for laymen, the Jakarta Oratorio Society, and a literature department and a theological translation center, and features activities such as city-wide evangelistic rallies, mass theological seminars, and youth and teenager counseling.

Since 2000, Rev. Tong has preached expository sermons weekly on the Book of Romans, Hebrews, and James in Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Taipei.

In 1996, Rev. Tong founded the Reformed Institute for Christianity and 21st Century in Washington D.C., to equip Christians for global evangelization in the 21st Century by training them in the areas of reformed theology, apologetics, evangelism, and the critical study of Eastern and Western cultures. On 15 April 2006, together with Dr. Benyamin Intan, he founded The Reformed Center for Religion and Society (Pusat Pengkajian Bagi Agama dan Masyarakat).

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong is the main person behind the newly constructed Cathedral of Messiah (Katedral Mesias) and the Reformed Millennium Center of Indonesia. The center has an auditorium with 8,000 seating capacity, houses a seminary, a university, and a museum of Chinese porcelain.


The center has since hosted a series of World Reformed Fellowship (WRF) events such as the WRF Global Theological Education Conference, WRF Board of Directors Meeting, WRF Asian Regional Meeting, and WRF Theological Commission Meeting. Add to that, between 24th - 29th March 2009 the center held a theological symposium involving international theologians to commemorate John Calvin's 500th year anniversary.



Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's Academic Background
He pursued a Bachelor Degree in Theology (B.Th) at the Southeast Asian Bible Seminary (Seminari Alkitab Asia Tenggara), located in the city of Malang, Indonesia. In 1985, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Leadership in Christian Evangelism (D.L.C.E) from the La Madrid International Academy of Leadership in Manila, in the Philippines. Besides that, in 2008 he was conferred an honorary Doctor of Divinity (D.D) by the Westminster Theological Seminary, USA.


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Other sites related to Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong and his ministry:

A dedicated website by Elder Yang:
http://www.stephentong.org/

A website with collection of his teach-preach sermon notes:
http://stephentongsermons.blogspot.com/

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's church in Indonesia:
http://www.grii.org/index.html

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's profile at his church's website (Indonesian):
http://www.grii.org/main/profil/profil-stong.htm

A forum related to Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's version of Reformed Theology and other topics:
http://stephentong.org/forums/

Famous Indonesian website:
http://www.tokohindonesia.com/ensiklopedi/s/stephen-tong/index.shtml

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's delivered paper at 1989 Lausanne II "Sin and Lostness":
http://www.lausanne.org/documents/lau2docs/165.pdf

Westminster Theological Seminary's page on Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong:
http://www.wts.edu/stayinformed/view.html?id=161

Youtube clips of Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's sermon, lectures, and Q&A sessions:
http://www.youtube.com/user/bethoumyvison

Wikipedia on Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Tong

Why 'Critical' of Stephen Tong?

There are few theologians in this part of the world who is as influential as Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong. He is a very demanded theological teacher who currently travels to 4 different countries unfailingly almost every week for speaking engagement. Not to mention the other overseas trips that he made around the globe all year long.

Throughout his ministry, he has reached out to an estimated figure of 29 millions people. Such number is big enough to call for serious evaluation of his message in substance. Hence, this blog is to reckon Rev. Dr. Tong's message/theology in a wider theological context.