Rev. Dr. Shoki Coe and Rev. Dr. B T Huang
Rev. Dr. Shoki Coe and Dr. David Landsborough IV (1937)
Both were born in 1914, Chang-Hoa, Taiwan
Both dedicated their lives to Taiwan
- Shoki Coe, a graduate of Tokyo Imperial University (Philosophy) and Cambridge University (Theology), who first introduced the term "contextualization" in 1972 as a new approach to understand the problematic relationship of faith and culture, was one of the key members of the 20th century ecumenical movement which gave birth to the World Council of Churches
- Ngⁿ Bú-tong (B T Hwang), one of the key members from start to finish the PKU movement (Double-the-Church Movement, 倍加運動1954-64) and the coordinator of the joint General Assembly for the northern (Canadian) and the southern (British) congregations to become the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan
Two Giants from the Presbyterian Church
I met Rev. Shoki Coe (Ng Chiong-Hui 黃彰輝牧師 D.D.) in my first year at the Tainan Theological College/Seminary (TTCS) where he was the first Taiwanese president. He was always warmly greeted as the president (院長,) with a nickname Chiong-Hui sian (彰輝仙.) I also met Rev. B T Huang (黃武東牧師 D.D.) within a few months when he was a guest speaker at the seminary weekly worship service. With his rich literature and culture background, Bu-Tong Boksu was one of the most powerful and popular preachers. They shared many major tasks among the church organizations. Chiong-Hui Boksu was regarded as a thinker full of ideas, and Bu-Tong Boksu was the doer who carried out those ideas by 'translating' into the language and procedures that people would understand and accept. For many years Bu-Tong Boksu served as the general secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan while Chiong-Hui Boksu was the president of TTCS. The impressions I got from both outstanding ministers last till this date. They both were rather small in physical size, yet great in mind and heart. Chiong-Hui Boksu was an exceptional theological educator with European academic style, and Bu-Tong Boksu was such a rare church executive one could feel his decisive power miles away and years apart. Both loved Taiwan so much that they dedicated their lives to witness: “For God so loved the world, the land and the people of Taiwan.”
There are numerous articles and books available about them already. Allow me to add a few personal lines here to salute these two distinguished Taiwanese who had shaped the Taiwanese/Christian movements in the 20th century.
- In one of his lectures of the introduction to systemic theology, Chiong-Hui Boksu mentioned his experience while returning Taiwan from England in the late 1940’s. He was traveling by ship, and he passed through so many countries which had been either independent or self-determination-oriented after the World War II. Then Chiong-Hui Boksu looked at us in the class, and asked, “What are we going to do here in Taiwan?” The entire class sat still in silence. I think, we were either afraid to follow his thought or simply could not comprehend the answer. He continued, “The land were given by God, and the people/life also given by God, and what are we going to do about that?” Talk about the “Truth or Dare!”
- With his unique executive style and true insight of the Taiwanese culture, Bu-Tong Boksu was very humble and always kept his sense of humor. He once said that a pastor should go to a church full of problems, “That’s what a pastor is for. Who needs a pastor when all is well? A pastor and the church should keep on challenging each other.” When he was at TTCS as a student, he was smart and somewhat playful. An unofficial off-line story: he was once accused of stealing the dragon-eyes (a popular summer fruit looks like smaller Lychee) from the school yard, he responded: “I was walking under the trees with a high wooden stick, and those poor dragon-eyes just fell at the contact of the stick.” During his retirement, before returning to Taiwan to complete his memoir, he had helped many Taiwanese churches in north America, and always gave hand to fellow younger pastors, saying, “If you do not accept the torch and pass it on, xx Boksu, would you rather leave you and your fellow Taiwanese in the dark?”
- Three months prior to his death, Shoki Coe spent sometime in
with his former student and colleague, Rev. Andrew Kuo, who once taught Greek and New Testament at the Tainan Theological Seminary. New York City“Word became flesh, full of grace and truth,” Shoki said to Andrew, “so, do not just seek truth, BE GRACIOUS!”
Among other things, The Taiwanese Self-Determination Movement (with Rev. Dr. C S Song and Dr. T Y Lin**) in the 70’s and 80’s has been their joint achievement. As of today, the Taiwanese political future is still unknown, and Taiwan maintains just a handful of countries diplomatically.
The last time I met Chiong-Hui Boksu was in Los Angeles/1984(85?) - at the TTCS alumnus meeting - and remembered he said firmly that "never, ever give up hope for Taiwan..." And it was at the Taiwanese church in Detroit area that I met Bu-Tong Boksu for the last time (1990?). After the service, he came to me, made his sincere bow, called my name and thanked for my sermon. I must have blushed. How could I, of all preachers, deserve to receive the respect from a master of preaching like Bu-Tong Boksu? Dream on. Pass it on. We still have tasks to do, voices to be heard, people to be taken care of, in Taiwan and elsewhere.
Related Website: http://shokicoe.blogspot.com/
** 1972.3.20 黃彰輝、林宗義、黃武東、宋泉盛發表「自決運動宣言」
-- Shoki Coe's picture was provided by Rev. Dr. Pekho Huang, the president of TTCS. And B T Huang's picture was provided by Elder Franz Tsai of TPC, Chicago.