THE EDITOR’S PREFACE
In a Chinese folktale, a man
pursued the sun from the east. Despite
hunger and thirst, he followed the ever-moving and ever-shining sun. Traversing through the valleys, mountains,
and the seas, he wanted to keep in pace with it. Finally, he collapsed. Moments before his death, he requested the
bystanders to continue with his ambitious task: race against the sun.
The moral: Man has an aspiration
to seek for something bigger, more overwhelming than the transitory life. To the sun pursuer, he was challenging time
and space. His struggle discloses the
irony of human destiny. Man makes an
effort to quest for performance, but he is bound to become a failure. For this reason, one cannot but ask: What is
the meaning of my life?
In this issue, the author of
"A Human Comedy" cites Shakespeare's "As You Like
It" to illustrate the fact that everyone is a player in the human drama
out of the three major types of plays - tragedy, comedy, and history. In the article, the figures of actors, scripts,
and the director invite us to think about what role we have assumed and what
kind of plays we are performing. Will we
have faithfully followed the script and stage direction? In the long run, will we be successful actors
to receive awards?
Our life is full of
anxieties. The rich and the poor, the
honorable and the lowly, are all equal in the face of death. It is said that Alexander the Great,
conqueror of Asia, Europe, and Africa,
commanded, as his last will, a public display of his coffin. With his hands stretching out from the bier,
the Greek king's body was intended for a profound lesson to the Athenians:
Vanity is even found in a great hero's life.
In addition, human life abounds in sickness, toil, and frustration. In the gloomy prospect of life, Psalm 90
does, however, provide us with a ray of hope.
Despite the uncertainties of life, we can come to terms with
"moments of truth," the great, hopeful turning point in our life
drama. Our despair will thereby turn to
hope, and our sorrows to joy.
We need to change our life for the
better, but how can we achieve this goal?
"To Obtain the Truth," the first of two installments, attempts
to answer this question. In the Biblical
context, "Truth" is not a well-contrived theorem, or a lofty
metaphysical idea, which stands the test of time and space. Instead, it comes from the supramundane order, or to borrow the oriental usage, the
Heavenly Mandate. For centuries, people
have quested for it and even would give up their lives for it. Socrates died in
sublime tranquillity for the noble cause he had championed. Like the sun-pursuer in the folktale,
Confucius, the great Chinese moral teacher, was regretful that he had not found
the "Heavenly Way."
The Truth manifested by Jesus
Christ is the "Heavenly Way"
- the sages and men of heroic magnitude have longed for. One of the greatest Biblical statements is
that Jesus Christ is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
Significantly, the connection of the Truth with the Way and the Life is
possible only in Jesus Christ, the Creator of the universe and Savior of all
The Truth is the word of God (Jn 17:17), or the word of life (I Jn
1:1 3) on the one hand, and the Holy Spirit (Jn
14:16-17,16:13,1 Jn 5:6-7)
on the other. In this context, to find
the word of God is to find the truth, the way, and the life of God. This is whv the
"Book of Wisdom" urges men to "buy the truth" (Prov 23:23).
This is also why Jesus Christ in
His parable compares the gaining of the truth to the discovery and purchase of
the one precious Pearl.
(Mt 13:45-46) Shundao Xie
delineates for us the practical suggestions, as prescribed in the Bible, for
our attainment of the truth. He rightly
points out that to obtain the truth, hearing precedes both belief and turning
to the Lord.
Symbolically enough, the white
bones in the valley in Ezekiel's vision must hear the prophesying in order to
live by the rhuach - vital breath, the Spirit of God (Ezek
37:1-14). The apostle
Paul's point is noteworthy: faith comes by hearing, and hearing from the word
of God (Rom 14:17).
To every true Christian,
"hearing" should be blended with understanding and obedience. The call of Abraham, the covenant at Sinai,
and the entire history of the chosen people, Obedience is always required of
all who have heard the solemn proclamation of the commandments of God. Jesus
Christ emphasizes that everyone must hear the heavenly truth expressed in a
simple and imaginary language. The parable of the sower
exemplifies the different “heart” conditions of the hearer - hard, superficial,
or troubled, which will eventually lose the word of God (Mt 13:1-8). In contrast, those who have an honest and
good heart (Lk 8: 15) will keep the God's words which
they have heard and will bear fruit thereon.
In search for the truth, or the
word, or the gospel of salvation (Eph 1: 13, 1 J n 1: 1 14), the Bible has
unequivocally pointed out the way of salvation: believe, repent, be baptized in
the name of the Lord Jesus for remission of sins and regeneration, and receive
the Holy Spirit for sanctification and power (Titus 3:5; Jn
3:5; Acts 1:8; 2 Thess 2:13; Rom 8:9). Certainly one must first of all find the body
of Christ - "the pillars and foundation of truth" (I Tirn 3:15) and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (Eph
We hope the "Forum" will
be of great service to our readers.
"The Trinitarian Formulas" or the "Oneness of God"
has been one of the controversial theological issues in the history of
Christianity. Generally speaking, the Nicaean Council (325 A.D-) of the Catholic Church initiated
the concept of the three persons in God the Father, God the Son, and God the
Holy Ghost. What is wrong with this
"coinage" which has produced tremendous impact throughout the ages? While we hope our readers will respond to
this question, we ask that the arguments in the forum be considered and
elaborated under the divine guidance.
Once again, the testimonies in
this issue are divided into two categories: divine power and spiritual
experience. The Living Water is intended
to glorify the name and the power of God; it will continue to share with our
Christian friends "what great things the Lord has done for His
children" in True Jesus Church. In
the wake of public attention directed toward "the underground church"
we are thankful to learn that the True Jesus Church, which was founded in the
1910's, has been active in spite of the severe political persecution. Many concerned visitors to China have had
the general consensus that miracles, signs and the manifold power of the Holy
Spirit have abounded in the Chinese believers.
All the Christian friends are cordially requested to continually offer
their sincere prayers for the resumption of the mighty work of God in China, as He
did to True Jesus Church in the past.