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.


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

A dedicated website by Elder Yang:

A website with collection of his teach-preach sermon notes:

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's church in Indonesia:

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's profile at his church's website (Indonesian):

A forum related to Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's version of Reformed Theology and other topics:

Famous Indonesian website:

Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's delivered paper at 1989 Lausanne II "Sin and Lostness":

Westminster Theological Seminary's page on Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong:

Youtube clips of Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong's sermon, lectures, and Q&A sessions:

Wikipedia on Rev. Dr. 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.