Stephen Tong


Stephen Tong

Infobox Person
name = "Stephen Tong"
birth_date = 1940
birth_place = Gulangyu, Xiamen, Fujian, People's Republic of China
occupation = Reformed evangelist and theologian
spouse = Alice
children = Elizabeth, David, Eunice, And Rebecca
parents = Tong Pai Hu and Tan Tjien Nio (Dorcas Tanjowati)

Stephen Tong (zh-cp |c=唐崇荣| p=Tang Chongrong; born 1940) is an Indonesian Reformed evangelist and theologian. In his ministry spanning 50 years, he has preached to more than twenty million people since 1957. [http://www.tokohindonesia.com/ensiklopedi/s/stephen-tong/index.shtml Dr. Stephen Tong, Pendeta, Ketua Sinode GRII | Ensiklopedi Tokoh Indonesia ] ] As an evangelist, Tong has preached in Asia, Europe, Australia, North and South America, and guest lectured at many theological seminaries in Asia. He is the founder and the President of the Stephen Tong Evangelistic Ministries International (STEMI) which has established offices in the US, Europe, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Taipei.

Early life

Stephen Tong was born in 1940 in Xiamen, China, to a Chinese father and an Indonesian mother of Chinese descent. His family migrated to Indonesia when he was 9. The family had seven sons (Paul, John, Peter, Caleb, Solomon, Stephen, Joseph), five of which would became Christian ministers later on, [cite book | last = Kwantes | first = Anne C. | title = She Has Done a Beautiful Thing for Me | pages = 247] and one daughter (Mary). He was also known as a bright student Fact|date=August 2008. At the age of 17, he dedicated his life to Christ after hearing a sermon by Andrew Gih at a youth conference near Surabaya. [cite book | last = Kwantes | first = Anne C. | title = She Has Done a Beautiful Thing for Me | pages = 245-246] His mother, who was a widow since he was 3, was instrumental in his spiritual life. He said of his mother, "When I was small, the first words I'd hear in the morning were those of my mother while she prayed. She prayed for each of us children by name, and asked God to guide us." [cite book | last = Kwantes | first = Anne C. | title = She Has Done a Beautiful Thing for Me | pages = 245]

Education

Stephen Tong obtained his Bachelor Degree in Theology (B.Th) from Southeast Asia Bible Seminary in Malang, Indonesia, where he later served as a faculty, teaching theology and philosophy for 25 years. In 1985, Stephen Tong was awarded an honorary doctorate in leadership in Christian evangelism from the La Madrid International Academy of Leadership in Manila, in the Philippines. Since then he is usually formally referred to as "Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong", despite the usual practices of a honorary degree. In May 2008, he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the Westminster Theological Seminary. [cite web | title = Honorary Degree to Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong | publisher= wts.edu | url = http://www.wts.edu/stayinformed/view.html?id=161 | accessdate = 2008-08-08 ] [cite web | title = Stephen Tong Awarded Honorary Doctors Degree at Westminister Theological Seminary | publisher= Gospelherald.com | url = http://www.gospelherald.net/article.htm?id=44241&code=education | accessdate = 2008-08-08 ]

Ministry

Stephen Tong developed a unique blend of theology, which he calls Evangelical Reformed, aiming to meet the challenge of Charismatism on one hand and Liberalism on the other hand. [cite web | title = Sekilas Visi | publisher= grii.org | url = http://www.grii.org/grii-visi.htm | accessdate = 2008-08-08 ] Evangelical Reformed seeks to invite churches to come back to the Bible, as it believes that the Bible alone is the word of God, and to encourage evangelism. Tong often laments that many of those who are fervent in holding to the biblical doctrines are not as fervent in introducing people to Christ, and vice versa Fact|date=August 2008.

Approach

Tong's approach is to preach about Christ's salvation based on the Reformed faith, apologetics, and theological applications. He is an advocate of the Cultural Mandate. He is also a fervent creationist, presenting his creationist ideas in rallies held in Taiwan and Singapore.

His expository sermons and seminars are attended by hundreds and thousands of people in various cities, among which the majority are young people. His rhetoric flair has been likened to that of George Whitefield and Charles Spurgeon Fact|date=August 2008. Many of his sermons and seminars have been transcripted, among which were published into 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".

Tong often conducts question and answer sessions in his seminars and sermons.

While Tong preaches from time to time in English, his ministries are mainly conducted among Mandarin and Indonesian-speaking audiences. Since 2000, Tong has preached expository sermons on the Gospel of John, Romans, Hebrews, James and other topics in Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Taipei every week. Every year, Christmas and Easter mark the occasions for evangelistic rallies in these cities, in addition to other rallies in these cities and others which he visits less frequently. As an evangelist, he has influenced hundreds of thousands to become full-time ministers of the Gospel Fact|date=August 2008.

Indonesian Evangelical Reformed Church

Stephen Tong was the founder of Indonesian Evangelical Reformed Church. The church subscribes to the Reformed confessions generally accepted by Reformed churches, but it has its own confession of faith [cite web | title = Pengakuan Iman Reformed Injili | publisher= grii.org | url = http://grii.org/grii-visi.htm | accessdate = 2008-09-02 ] and confession of faith for evangelism [cite web | title = Pengakuan Iman Penginjilan | publisher= grii.org | url = http://grii.org/grii-visi.htm | accessdate = 2008-09-02 ] .

The church has expanded to include branches in many parts of the world including Europe (Germany), North America, and Indonesia. A new building for the Evangelical Reformed Church in Jakarta, the Reformed Millennium Cathedral, which includes a 4000-capacity auditorium, concert halls, museum, and many other facilities, was scheduled for completion in December 2007. The church building was designed by Tong himself. It is one of the largest Chinese Christian evangelical church facilities in the world, with 600,000 square feet of space.

The Indonesian Evangelical Reformed Church and its affiliated institutions have woman evangelists, lecturers, and church council members. These are allowed to preach and assume authoritative roles, although they are not ordained. [cite web | title = Gereja Reformed Injili Indonesia | publisher= reformiert-online.net | url = http://www.reformiert-online.net/adressen/detail.php?id=1354&lg=eng | accessdate = 2008-08-27 ]

Departures from Reformed theology

Stephen Tong teaches that man's choice in relation to God's sovereignty falls into either one of these four degrees, namely (1) determined/decreed by God, (2) guided/led by God, (3) permitted by God, or (4) suffered/tolerated by God. He also said that God does not determine all things, otherwise it would be incompatible with human's responsibility, and that God's predestination only applies in salvation—although some of those in the pastorate do not equally share the view.

Other activities and interests

Tong has composed numerous Mandarin hymns and chorus, popular among many Christians Fact|date=August 2008. Other than preaching and teaching, his other activities revolve around conducting choirs and orchestras, and educating the church in the appreciation of sacred music. His other interests include arts and architectural design, having contributed to the design of many church buildings in Indonesia. He is also known to have interest in classical music, watches, and antiques. [ [http://www.stephentong.org/about.htm Stephen Tong Resource - About Stephen Tong ] ]

Personal life

Stephen Tong currently resides in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is married to Alice. They have one son and three daughters.

Notable achievements

* 1984: Started SPIK (Christian Faith Edification Seminar) series.
* 1985: Keynote speaker at the International Prayer Assembly in Seoul.
* 1986: Founded the Indonesian Evangelical Reformed Foundation.
* 1986: Founded STRI (Evangelical Reformed Seminary) in Surabaya. This was followed by the establishment of further branches of STRI in Jakarta (1987) and Malang (1990).
* 1986: Seminar Presenter in International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists (Amsterdam '86), sponsored by Billy Graham Association. [cite web | title = Records of the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists (Amsterdam '86) - Collection 560 | publisher= wheaton.edu | url = http://www.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/GUIDES/560.htm | accessdate = 2008-08-08 ]
* 1986: Founded Stephen Tong Evangelistic Ministry International (STEMI).
* 1988: Founded Momentum Publishing. [cite web | title = Momentum Profile | publisher= momentum.or.id | url = http://www.momentum.or.id/profil/indexeng.php | accessdate = 2008-08-08 ]
* 1989: Founded Indonesian Evangelical Reformed Church.
* 1989: Keynote speaker at the Second International Congress on World Evangelization. [cite web
last = Tong
first = Stephen
title = Sin and Lostness
url=http://www.lausanne.org/documents/lau2docs/165.pdf
accessdate = 2008-08-08
] He is a member of the International Consultants of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization.
* 1991: Founded Evangelical Reformed Theological Seminary.
* 1996: Founded the Reformed Institute for Christianity and 21st Century in Washington, D.C., to equip Christians for global evangelization by training them in the areas of Reformed theology, apologetics, evangelism, and the critical study of Eastern and Western cultures.
* 2006: Launched a series of worldwide seminars in attempt to debunk the claims in the Da Vinci Code. [cite web | title = Evangelist Stephen Tong Pinpoints Da Vinci Code Falsities | publisher= Gospelherald.com | url = http://www.gospelherald.net/article.htm?id=19701&code=education | accessdate = 2008-08-08 ]
* 2006: Started the Reformed Institute of Christianity Summer Courses. [cite web | title = Stephen Tong Reformed Theology Summer Course to Open in N. America | publisher= Gospelherald.com | url = http://www.gospelherald.net/article.htm?id=19700&code=education | accessdate = 2008-08-08 ]
* 2006: Keynote speaker at the World Reformed Fellowship Congress in Johannesburg.
* 2006: Together with Dr. Benyamin Intan, founded The Reformed Center for Religion and Society.

Bibliography (in Indonesian)

* "Evangelical Reformed Movement: What and Why?"
* "Sin, Righteousness, and Judgment"
* "God the Trinity"
* "Baptism and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit"
* "The Dynamics of Living under the Guidance of the Holy Spirit"
* "Sin and Culture"
* "The Kingdom of God, the Church, and Ministry"
* "God's Image"
* "Reformation and Reformed Theology"
* "Holy Spirit, Prayer, and Revival"
* "Holy Spirit, Conscience, and Satan"
* "Who is Christ?"
* "Jesus Christ the Saviour of the World"
* "Time and Wisdom"
* "Fruitful Christian Life"
* "Faith, Suffering, and Human Rights"
* "Faith, Hope, and Love in Crisis"
* "Blessed Family"
* "Godly Child Rearing"
* "Knowing God's Will"
* "Young Generation and the Crisis of the Age"
* "The Art of Molding a Christian Character"
* "The Seven Sayings on the Cross"
* "Trials, Temptations, and Victory"
* "The Sanctification of Emotion"
* "Architect of the Soul"
* "Architect of the Soul II"
* "The Believing Servant"
* "The Servant's Worldview"
* "The Run-away Servant"
* "The Grieving Servant"
* "The Servant who Pitied Himself"
* "The Servant's Labours"
* "The Servant's Inheritance"
* "The Sacrificing Servant"
* "The Happiness of Judas"
* "The Servant who Tells the Gospel"
* "The Shaping of a Servant"
* "The Servant's Struggle"
* "From Faith to Faith"
* "Faith and Religion"
* "Faith, Reason, and Truth"
* "The Theology of Evangelism"

References

External links

* [http://www.stemi.org Stephen Tong Evangelistic Ministries International] – Official website
* [http://www.stephentong.org Stephen Tong Resource] – A website maintained by Elder Yong Teck Meng, Stephen Tong's translator in Singapore
* [http://grii.org/grii-visi.htm Indonesian Evangelical Reformed Church]
* [http://www.momentum.or.id/ Momentum Christian Literature] – The literature ministry of Evangelical Reformed Movement and Indonesian Evangelical Reformed Church

Persondata
NAME= Stephen Tong
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Reformed evangelist and theologian.
DATE OF BIRTH= 1940
PLACE OF BIRTH= Fujian, China
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=


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