A Newfound Friend Or A Good Old Companion

A Newfound Friend Or A Good Old Companion

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PNEUMA 40 (2018) 306–325

A Newfound Friend or a Good Old Companion? Charismatic Sensitivities in Protestant Churches in Taiwan

Judith C.P. Lin

Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California judithlin@fuller.edu


Recent studies suggest that a significant number of Taiwanese Protestant churches have been heavily influenced by the charismatic movement since the 1980s. A strong case can be made, however, that the “charismatic” character has been inherent in Taiwanese Protestantism since long before 1980, not least because the charismatic character has much in common with the spiritual instincts of people in Taiwan. By studying the works of two prominent preachers (Kou Shih-yuan and Wu Yung) and certain issues of theTaiwan Church News(Presbyterian Church in Taiwan), I will show that a sizeable number of Protestants in Taiwan before 1980 embraced the realm of spiritual and demonic beings, although they showed different degrees of friendliness towards charisms. I will conclude that, rather than speaking of the “charismaticization” of churches in Taiwan, perhaps we ought to speak of the rediscovery of the charismatic character that is inherent in churches in Taiwan.


Taiwanese Protestantism – charismatic sensitivities – Taiwan – Kou Shih-yuan – Wu Yung –Taiwan Church News– charismatic movement

1 Introduction

Recent studies suggest that a significant number of Taiwanese nonpentecostal Protestant churches have been heavily influenced by the charismatic move- ment in South Korea, the United States, and Singapore since the 1980s and “charismaticized” as a result.1 A strong case can be made, however, that the

1 Cheng Yang-en 鄭仰恩, “Taiwan lingen yundong fazhan chutan” 台灣靈恩運動發展初探

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2018 | doi:10.1163/15700747-04003001


a newfound friend or a good old companion?


“charismatic” character has been inherent inTaiwanese nonpentecostal Protes- tantism (hereafter Taiwanese Protestantism/Protestants) since long before 1980, not least because the charismatic character has much in common with the spiritual instincts of the inhabitants of Taiwan.2 The charismatic charac- ter of Taiwanese Protestants is manifested in the use of dreams and visions in personal worship, intuitive and experiential practices that facilitate Spirit- centered devotion, narrative theology and testimonies, and a holistic under- standing of the relationship between the mind and body in humans—for example, the ministry of healing by prayer.3I contend that it is primarily due to certain characteristics shared between Taiwanese culture and the pentecostal- charismatic spirituality and worldview that charismatic elements existed in Taiwanese nonpentecostal Protestantism before 1980.

In contrast to the Evangelicalism that was often anti-pentecostal or that marginalized pentecostal theology and worship in the United States before the 1980s,4 a large number of Protestants in Taiwan—with strong evangelical overtones—affirmed before 1980 the realm of spiritual and demonic beings.5

[A Short Study on the Charismatic Movement in Taiwan], in Jiduzongjiao yu lingen yun-

dong lunwenji: yi Taiwan chujing wei zhuzhou 基督宗教與靈恩運動論文集: 以台灣處境

為主軸[Christian Religion and Charismatic Movement in Taiwan], ed. Shih Su-Ying石素英

(Taipei: Yong Wang, 2012), 68; Tsai Lee-chen, “Taiwan dangdai jiaohui wenti zhi fenxi yan-

jiu” 台灣當代教會問題之分析研究 [The Analytical Studies on the Contemporary Issues

of Churches in Taiwan], in Cong xianxue dao xianxue 從險學到顯學 [From Danger to Pop-

ularity], ed. Lin Chih-ping林治平(Taipei: Cosmic Light, 2002), 160.

2 In this article, Taiwanese Protestantism is used as an umbrella term that includes a vari-

ety of denominations such as mainline Protestant churches, evangelical, and independent

churches; but it excludes pentecostal churches. Since the distinction between pentecostal

and charismatic is insignificant in this paper, the terms will be used interchangeably. 3 Cf. Michael Bergunder, “The Cultural Turn,” in Studying Global Pentecostalism: Theories and

Methods, Allan Anderson et al., ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010), 55. Wal-

ter J. Hollenweger, “After Twenty Years’ Research on Pentecostalism,”International Review of

Missions75 (January 1986): 6.

4 For the reception of the “Third Wave” of the Evangelicals in the U.S. in the 1980s, see Allen

Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity (Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press, 2004), 158–159.

5 Some liberal elements notwithstanding, Taiwanese Protestantism until this day, not unlike

Asian Christianity as analyzed by Simon Chan, can be considered as “largely evangelical” in

nature. Simon Chan, “Evangelical Theology in Asian Contexts,” in The Cambridge Compan-

ion to Evangelical Theology, ed. Timothy Larsen and Daniel J. Treier (Cambridge/New York:

Cambridge University Press, 2007), 226. For the conservative bent of Protestant theology in

Taiwan before 1995, see Huang Po-ho 黃伯和, “Hewei fuyinpai?” 何謂「福音派」? [What

Is Evangelicalism?], New Messenger 新使者, no. 30 (October, 1995): 42–45. The lesser-known

evangelicalrootof thePresbyterianChurchinTaiwan(PCT)canbetracedbacktotheevangel-

ical wing of Scottish Presbyterianism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. While the

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While some of these Protestants emphasized the Word of God in such a way as to outweigh the Spirit’s working in the pentecostal-charismatic sense, some others found many aspects of their faith and practice to have been influenced by charismatic sensitivities.Though these Protestants showed differing degrees of friendliness and cordiality towards charisms, from keeping a safe distance to giving them a warm reception, most of them never denied the existence of invisible beings in this world. Some even witnessed supernatural events, engaged the spiritual realm including encountering spiritual beings, and spoke or wrote about their experiences.

With the exception of the aboriginal churches, the aftermath of war in China divided Protestant churches in Taiwan into two primary groups: those estab- lished before and those established after 1945. Protestant churches founded before 1945 use Taiwanese (also known as Taiwanese Hokkien) as their primary language, with the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan as the towering represen- tative.6 Those established after 1945 consist primarily of Mandarin-speaking churches that relocated to Taiwan from China after the communist regime came to power.7 To demonstrate that the charismatic character can be found in Taiwanese Protestantism before 1980, I will examine evidence from both Mandarin- and Taiwanese-speaking churches between 1900 and 1980. First I will analyze the works of two Evangelicals, Kou Shih-yuan (1920–1993) and Wu

PCT’s evangelical root can be described as “enlightened evangelicalism”—a blend of evan-

gelical theology with enlightened thinking—and thus as somewhat different from Ameri-

can Evangelicalism in the early twentieth century, the former’s emphasis on the Christian

doctrines of sin, grace, and redemption, as well as their attempt to awaken a personal reli-

gious experience in their hearers, closely mirror the latter’s theology. Cheng Yang-en 鄭仰

恩, “Sugelan qimengyundong dui zaoqi Taiwan jidujiao de yingxiang: cong Majie de xiandai-

hua jiaoyulinian tanqi” 蘇格蘭啟蒙運動對早期台灣基督教的影響—從馬偕的現代化

教育理念談起 [The Influence of the Scottish Enlightenment on Early Taiwan Christianity:

Tracing the Roots of the Modern Educational Ideas of George Leslie Mackay],Taiwan Histor-

ica (台灣文獻) 63, no. 4 (December 2012): 137–164; John H.S. Burleigh, A Church History of

Scotland (London: Oxford University Press, 1960), 328.

6 The people of Taiwan up until 1980 can be divided into four main ethnocultural groups: 2

percent were aborigines who had lived in Taiwan for at least two thousand years and use dif-

ferent tribal languages; the 10 percent Hakkas and 75 percent Taiwanese Hokkiens who had

migrated to Taiwan in the last three hundred years; and the 13 percent “Mainlanders” who

came from mainland China after 1945 and especially between 1948 to 1949. Each people group

used their own languages, with Taiwanese Hokkien being the most widely spoken native lan-

guage in Taiwan. Allen J. Swanson, The Church in Taiwan: Profile 1980: A Review of the Past, a

Projection of the Future(Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1981), 5–7.

7 Allen J. Swanson, Mending the Nets: Taiwan Church Growth and Loss in the 1980s (Pasadena:

William Carey Library, 1986), 38–39.

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Yung(1920–2005),fromthe1960stothe1970s,8beforeturningtoseveralarticles in the Taiwan Church News, a seminal publication of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, from the 1920s to the 1970s. Then I will briefly discuss the spiritual dimension in Taiwanese culture and compare the charismatic character found within Taiwanese Protestantism to the spiritual instincts of the inhabitants of Taiwan.

A variety of positions exists in both churches. Thus, instead of suggest- ing that Kou, Wu, and the Taiwan Church News represent the views of the Mandarin- and Taiwanese-speaking churches in their entirety, I suggest that their voices are more significant than many other figures or publications in their respective eras.9 The spiritual instincts of the inhabitants of Taiwan will be the focus of my analysis, so that my readings will demonstrate how each of these major voices in the Protestant churches in Taiwan before 1980 utilized charismatic sensitivities. My tentative conclusion will be that the charismatic character of the Protestant churches in Taiwan is not an imported enterprise but stems from charismatic sensitivities inherent in Taiwanese Protestantism.

2 Bishop Kou Shih-yuan寇世遠監督(1920–1993)

Kou Shih-yuan was born in 1920 in China and moved to Taiwan in 1946.10 Kou was baptized at Little Flock in 1952, and, although he questioned some aspects of their theology, he generally favored the thoughts and books of its founder,




To comply with the Turabian writing style, all Chinese names will be given in their usual order (surname first), unless the person him- or herself uses the Western order. In this article, I have chosen to respect the common spelling of names and place names in Tai- wan, which is traditionally in Wade-Giles, except when individuals have adopted another form of spelling, such as the Pe̍h-ōe-jī orthography (an orthography that is used to write Taiwanese Hokkien). The transliteration of book titles in footnotes will be rendered in Pinyin for ease of reference.

As prominent preachers, Kou andWu were well known withinTaiwan and among Chinese Christians worldwide. Both were involved extensively in interdenominational ministry, such as teaching in seminaries and Bible colleges, conducting evangelistic conferences, and engaging in home and overseas missions. As core leaders in their churches, both Kou’s and Wu’s independent churches in and outside Taiwan grew substantially under their leadership, which attracted a considerable number of college students who later became influential pastors and church leaders. The two’s effective ministry as first-generation preachers within Mandarin-speaking churches in Taiwan accounts for their considerable influence.

Kou Shih-yuan 寇世遠, Beiendai yu beilianminde: Kou Shih-yuan jiandu huiyilu 被恩待 與被憐憫的:寇世遠監督回憶錄[The One Who Is Shown Mercy and Compassion: The Memoir of Bishop Kou Shih-yuan] (Taipei: Cosmic Light, 2006), 59.

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Watchman Nee.11Not long after his baptism, Kou studied under Wang Lien-Jun (王連俊) at a Bible study for three years.12

Kou had a high opinion of John Sung (Sung Shang-chieh宋尚節, 1901–1944), the renowned evangelist and revivalist in China in the 1930s. While he some- times criticized Sung for his allegorical and unsound interpretation of Scrip- ture, Kou recognized the power of the Holy Spirit working through Sung.13 What is less commonly known is Kou’s association with Pearl G. Young (1904– 1986), a Canadian pentecostal missionary. Young had been a missionary with the China Inland Mission since 1929, before she “converted” to Pentecostalism after her visit to the Ridgewood Pentecostal Church in Brooklyn, New York, in 1946.14She began ministry in Taiwan in 1954 and started the (Pentecostal) Zion Church (錫安堂) in Taipei, one of the very few churches that openly taught the work of the Holy Spirit in Taiwan before 1980.15Kou prayed with Young at Zion Church once a week when he first started full-time ministry, and he professes that his spiritual life was greatly advanced with Young’s help.16 According to Kou, Young did not emphasize speaking in tongues so much as the presence of God.17 We cannot determine from Kou’s writings how much Young’s view on charisms influenced him, although it is safe to say that he understood Young’s pentecostal experience in a positive light.

11 12






Kou,The Memoir, 92.

Wang Lien-Jun was one of many who were called to full-time ministry during the Fuchou Revival in Fujian Province, China, in 1923. Watchman Nee was also among those called. Kou,TheMemoir, 94–96; Kou Shih-yuan, “Yehehua baohu ‘yuren’”耶和華保護「愚人」 [God Looks After the “foolish”], inKou Shih-yuan yanjingji zhishi:Shengjing shiwu寇世遠 研經集之十—聖經事物 [Works of Kou Shih-yuan, vol. 10, Things in the Bible] (Taipei: Heavenly Voice, 1987), 68–69.

Pearl G. Young 榮耀秀, Wozaizheli qingchaiqianwo: RongYaoxiu jiaoshi zizhuan 我在這 裡請差遣我: 榮耀秀教士自傳 [“Here Am I, Send Me!”: The Autobiography of Pearl G. Young, Missionary in Taiwan], trans. Fanny L. Tsao 劉秀慧 (Taichung: Zion Church, 2007), 34, 48–53.

Unlike Classical Pentecostalism, the theology of Ridgewood, and thus of the Zion Church, is a blend of Classical Pentecostalism and Pietism. Cf. Iap Sian-Chin and Maurie Sween, “Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in Protestant Taiwan,” inGlobal Renewal Chris- tianity: Spirit-Empowered Movements Past, Present, and Future, vol. 1, Asia and Oceania, ed. Vinson Synan and Amos Yong (Lake Mary: Charisma House, 2016), 130.

Kou’swife,Ho Li-hsuan何荔璇(1920–2017),statesin herautobiographythatanother mis- sionary from the Zion Church, Elizabeth Lindau (1911–2003), also participated in those prayers for a number of years. Ho also reveals that when Kou was praying with Young and Lindau, he desired the gift of tongues but never received it. Ho Li-hsuan, Xinshengpi- anpian心聲片片[The Voice of the Heart] (Taipei: Cosmic Light, 1991), 320–321. Kou,The Memoir, 97–98.

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Through Wang’s recommendation, Kou began his preaching career first at a local Lutheran congregation.18 Kou would then go on to serve as a full-time minister at Bread of Life in Taipei (台北靈糧堂) in 1957 before starting another church, the Home of Christ (基督之家), in 1969. Kou never studied at a semi- nary and was never officially ordained.19

Kou’s understanding of the Holy Spirit is fairly easy to trace, thanks toKnow- ing the Spirit—a collection of Kou’s sermons on the topic of the Holy Spirit.20 For Kou, the Holy Spirit cannot be equated to one’s conscience or merely iden- tified as some sort of power or energy. Instead, the Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons of the Godhead to whom people pray.21

Unlike the traditional evangelical view that sees the baptism of the Spirit as a finished reality accomplished at conversion,22 Kou uses his readings of John 20:22 and Acts 1:5 to argue that conversion and Spirit baptism are distinct expe- riences. Like most Pentecostals, Kou equates receiving the Holy Spirit in John 20:22 with conversion, and Spirit baptism in Acts 1:5 with living a life of victory with heavenly power.23 While the most distinctive feature of Pentecostalism is the close identification of baptism in the Spirit with speaking in tongues,24 Kou disagrees that speaking in tongues should be the sole evidence of Spirit baptism.25 He looks to lifestyle, rather than speaking in tongues, for the con- firmation of being filled with the Spirit. While the lists vary from sermon to sermon, Kou identifies that the primary fruit of being filled with the Spirit is the boldness to proclaim the gospel.26In at least two sermons, Kou regards healing and deliverance from evil spirits as results of being filled with the Spirit.27

18 19 20






26 27

Kou,The Memoir, 85.

Kou,The Memoir, 86, 107.

Kou Shih-yuan, Renshi shengling 認識聖靈 [Knowing the Holy Spirit] (Taipei: Heavenly Voice, 1987). Many of these sermons were preached on Pentecost Sunday.

Kou, “Shengling: nenglizhiyuan” 聖靈—能力之源 [Holy Spirit: The Source of Power] in Knowing the Holy Spirit, 3, and “Shengling jiaoguan shendeai” 聖靈澆灌神的愛 [The Holy Spirit Pouring Out the Love of God], in Knowing the Holy Spirit, 91.

Stanley J. Grenz, Theology for the Community of God (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1994), 422.

Kou, “Shengling fangfu gezi” 聖靈彷彿鴿子 [The Holy Spirit is Like a Dove] in Knowing the Holy Spirit, 14–15.

Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Pneumatology: the Holy Spirit in Ecumenical, International, and Contextual Perspective(Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002), 96.

Kou, “Shengling chongman de shiji” 聖靈充滿的實際 [The Reality of Being Filled with the Holy Spirit], inKnowingtheHolySpirit, 64, and “Zhengshi fangyan wenti”正視方言問 題[A Serious Discussion About Speaking in Tongues], in Knowing the Holy Spirit, 171–172. Kou, “The Reality of Being Filled with the Holy Spirit,” 66–68.

Kou, “The Reality of Being Filled with the Holy Spirit,” 69–71, and “Shengling chongman de

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Kou believed in supernatural healing and deliverance, not least because of his own experiences, even though they were rare.28 He reveals that his wife received complete healing from asthma that she had struggled for years, after Oral Roberts, an American pentecostal Holiness evangelist, prayed for her in Taiwan.29 Kou also had the experience of casting out demons from a woman in Chicago.30Further, Kou discloses that whenever he had to preach, he would ask God to give him some evidence that God was with him. Often, he would feel a slight but noticeable sensation, like a mild current of electricity, traveling from head to toe.31

Kou advises people not to give too much attention to tongues, nor to over- look or forbid it.32 While Kou never received the gift of tongues, he neverthe- less affirmed its existence, and his writings demonstrate a deep respect for charisms.33 Kou believes that to pursue spiritual experiences will do believ- ers good, and that every believer must experience Spirit baptism to experience the fullness of God’s victory and power. But he also suggests that people must not seek tongues in the wrong way, or evil spirits might have their way in peo- ple.34

3 Elder Wu Yung吳勇長老(1920–2005)

Wu Yung was also born in 1920 in China. In 1946, not long after he moved to Taiwan, he converted to Christianity the day when a hymn caught his ear as he walked past and then into a church.35 Due to the shortage of seasoned



30 31 32 33



guangjing”聖靈充滿的光景[The Results of Being Filled with the Holy Spirit], in Know- ing the Holy Spirit, 86–87. At one point, Kou suggests that as long as believers strive to combat their sins, the Lord will heal their sickness.

The materials in this paragraph are sourced from the short article in Kou, The Memoir, 166–167, with the title “Rare Experiences of Supernatural Healing and Deliverance” (神醫 趕鬼偶亦為之).

Kou,The Memoir, 167. Ho Li-hsuan, Kou’s wife, also accounts for her healing in The Voice of the Heart, 336–338.

Kou,The Memoir, 167.

Kou,The Memoir, 166–167.

Kou, “A Serious Discussion about Speaking in Tongues,” 163.

Kou, “A Serious Discussion about Speaking in Tongues,” 170. Kou, “The Reality of Being Filled with the Holy Spirit,” 64. Kou,The Memoir, 288.

Kou, “A Serious Discussion about Speaking in Tongues,” 168. Kou, “Shengling jiaoguan de nengli” 聖靈澆灌的能力 [The Power of the Pouring Out of the Holy Spirit], in Knowing the Holy Spirit, 115.

Chin Ming-wei金明瑋,Bumie de denghuo:WuYung zhanglao chuanqi de yisheng不滅的

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Bible teachers, Wu started teaching adult Sunday school at Hsu Chang Street Young Adult Christian Fellowship, which first started meeting in 1945, only a few weeks after he came to Christ, without having read through the entire Bible once. Even though he felt underqualified for the task, Wu persisted with his wife’s encouragement, and began diligently studying the Scriptures each day.36He also filled the pulpit whenever there were no preachers.37As the one who handled God’s Word, Wu naturally became one of the core leaders of Hsu Chang Street Young Adult Christian Fellowship, which was the predecessor of the Chinese Christian Local Church 中華基督徒地方教會 in Taiwan.38 Unlike Kou, who identified Wang Lien-jun and Pearl Young as two considerable for- mative influences during his early Christian life, Wu’s formative experiences of Christian life were primarily shaped by his literal reading of Scripture and his utter dependence on God through prayers.39

In the church’s first few years, members at Hsu Chang Street Fellowship witnessed the works of the Holy Spirit in spectacular ways. Witness accounts describe phenomena typical of pentecostal revivals, such as Spirit-filled, public confession of sins and miraculous healing.40 Interestingly, these were indige- nous phenomena, free from the influence of any leaders from pentecostal churches.

In his twenties, while he was still rather inexperienced, Wu had a dramatic experience while praying to cast out demons from a man. Wu firmly believed in the power of Christians to cast out demons, based on his readings of Luke

36 37 38

39 40

燈火:吳勇長老傳奇的一生[An Undying SmolderingWick:The Legendary Life of Elder Wu Yung] (Taipei: Cosmic Light, 2006), 47–48.

Chin,The Legendary Life of Elder Wu Yung, 50–53.

Chin,The Legendary Life of Elder Wu Yung, 67–68.

For history, see Claudia Chang 張樂宣, “Wushinianlai de ‘jidutu difangjiaohui’” 五十年 來的「基督徒地方教會」[FiftyYears of Development of “the Christian Local Church”] China and the Gospel Quarterly 中國與福音季刊 2, no. 1 (January–June, 2002): 125–151; Cheng Chia-chang 鄭家常, “Zhonghuajidutu difangjiaohui jianjie” 中華基督徒地方教 會簡介[Introduction to the Chinese Christian Local Church]China and the Gospel Quar- terly中國與福音季刊1, no. 4 (October–December, 2001): 135–148.The Chinese Christian Local Church that started inTaipei is not to be confused with the Assembly Hall召會(also known as the Little Flock小群or Local Churches), which traces its origin to Witness Nee in China in the 1920s.

Chin,The Legendary Life of Elder Wu Yung, 68.

Chin,The Legendary Life of Elder Wu Yung, 59–62. See also Wu Yung, “Jiaoshiren ziji zebei ziji”叫世人自己責備自己[So That the World May Be Convicted], in Wu Yung,Wu Yung quan ji 23: shenglingjuan II 吳勇全集 23: 聖靈卷 II [Works of Wu Yung 23: The Holy Spirit II] (Taipei: Rong Shen, 2000), 27–28 and Wu, “Shou shengling de xi” 受聖靈的洗 [Baptism of the Holy Spirit], inWu Yung: the Holy SpiritII, 261–262.

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10:19 and Mark 16:17. As he prayed for deliverance over Brother Shen for the first time,Wu witnessed some improvement in Shen’s condition.Yet, Shen’s ailment persisted. Coming across the Scripture passage that says that there is a kind of demon that could not be cast out without fasting (Mark 9:29), Wu started to fast and pray for Shen. After some time, Wu gathered together with a group of others to pray for Shen to be delivered from the evil spirits. During the prayer, Shen started to bark like a dog—his face was distorted, and he ground his teeth in anger. Wu persisted in prayer. After a while, Shen fell onto the floor—with spasms fluttering in his limbs, foam seeping from his mouth, and his body heav- ily drenched in sweat. Wu then led the small group in a song of praise to God for their victory. When Shen came back to his senses, he recovered.41

In contrast to Kou, Wu was no stranger to speaking in tongues. Wu first started speaking in tongues in either 1956 or 1957, when he was invited to preach in Hsinchu.42 Additionally, Wu had also been miraculously healed from the final stage of stomach cancer in 1951 before he became a full-time minister.43

Wu would frequently recount a rather radical experience that he had while he was working at a retreat inTaichung in 1965.There were around two hundred participants, and it was the first time that Wu spoke on the topic of the Holy Spirit. In a session, people heard a crack of thunder that brought rain upon them—even though they were gathering indoors. Wu also witnessed a brother being thrown down on the floor when he was trying to confess his sins. Near the end of the retreat, another brother who was unhappy with the fact that every- one was crying during the testimonies was “shot up into the air.” When he came down, he began to speak in tongues and praise God.44 After the retreat, many



43 44

Chin,The Legendary Life of ElderWuYung, 70–74. Other accounts of encountering demon- ic powers can be found in Wu, “So That the World May Be Convicted,” 36–37, and “Sheng- ling chongman de xianxiang” 聖靈充滿的現象 [The Outcome of Being Filled with the Holy Spirit], inWu Yung: the Holy SpiritII, 173–174.

Chin,The Legendary Life of Elder Wu Yung, 179–180; Wu, “Nengli yu shengling” 能力與聖 靈[Power and the Holy Spirit], 135–136, “Shengling de yixiang”聖靈的異象[The visions of the Holy Spirit], 171–172, “Shengling de qige wenti”聖靈的七個問題[The Seven Ques- tions of the Holy Spirit], 226, and “Renshi shengling”認識聖靈[Knowing the Holy Spirit], 239, in Wu Yung,WuYung quanji 22: shenglingjuanI吳勇全集22:聖靈卷I[Works of Wu Yung: the Holy Spirit I] (Taipei: Rong shen, 2000). It is likely that Pearl G. Young and Eliz- abeth Lindau interpreted Wu’s speaking in tongues as Spirit baptism. Cf. Pearl G. Young and Elizabeth Lindau, “Real Victories in Formosa,”Bread of Life(October 1957): 8. Chin,The Legendary Life of Elder Wu Yung, 93–108.

Wu Yung, Yao Tung-yueh 姚同樾, “Shengling de yixiang” 聖靈的異象 [The Visions of the Holy Spirit], in Haiwai xuandao zazhi 海外宣道雜誌 [Overseas Missions Magazine] 9, no. 1 (January 1977): 3–4. See also Wu, “Knowing the Holy Spirit,” 237–239, and “Zhuiqiu shengling” 追求聖靈 [Seeking the Holy Spirit], 284–285, in Works of Wu Yung: the Holy

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felt as if “there were fires shut up in their bones”; however, the fervor quickly subsided due to harsh criticism.45

Like Kou, Wu affirms the personhood of the Holy Spirit and distinguishes between the experience of being born again and that of being baptized with the Spirit.46 Moreover, both Kou and Wu warn against an excessive pursuit of the Spirit and an indifferent attitude toward the Spirit.47Unlike Kou, however, Wu specifically addresses the issue of fear of the Spirit, and advises that if one desires to be filled with the Spirit, one of the preconditions is to get rid of his or her fear.48 A prevalent belief among Christians in Taiwan then, even today, is that evil spirits might take advantage of people when they ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit.49 Based on the belief and some stories that have circu- lated, Kou seems to be more apprehensive and guarded when it comes to the subject of seeking to be filled with the Spirit. Wu, on the other hand, is more open and affirmative in appraisal. Pointing to Luke 11:11–13, Wu suggests that as long as we follow the path of God when we ask for the Holy Spirit, it is not possible for us to receive evil spirits.50 For Wu, what is at stake is not the evil spirits, but our evil heart (Acts 8:9–21, 19:11–16). It is not unreasonable to opine that Wu’s more affirmative attitude is the result of his own robust charismatic experience. Over and over, Wu warns people not to criticize the works of the Spirit recklessly. He sees it as a grave error to judge others only because they do not share the same experience. While some Christians did not believe that tongues existed in the present era and suggested that speaking in tongues was







Spirit I. Wu, “Zhuiqiu shengling” 追求聖靈 [Seeking the Holy Spirit], 97–98, in Works of Wu Yung: the Holy SpiritII.

Wu does not specify the nature of the fervor, or the sources of criticism in Wu Yung, “Guangchuan yu chachuan” 廣傳與差傳 [Evangelism and Missions], in Wu Yung, Wu Yung quanji 30: jiaohuijuan III 吳勇全集 30: 教會卷 III [Works of Wu Yung: the ChurchIII] (Taipei: Rong shen, 2000), 42.

Wu, “Knowing the Holy Spirit,” 241. Wu, “Shenglingdexi” 聖靈的洗 [Spirit Baptism], 73, “Power and the Holy Spirit,” 130–131, and “The Seven Questions of the Holy Spirit,” 218, in Works of Wu Yung: the Holy SpiritI. Wu, “Renshi shengling”認識聖靈[Knowing the Holy Spirit], 59–60, inWu Yung: the Holy SpiritII.

Chin,The Legendary Life of Elder Wu Yung, 180; Wu, “Fulu”附錄[Appendix], inWu Yung: the Holy SpiritI, 210.

Wu Yung, “Nimen xinde shihou, shoule shengling meiyou”你們信的時候, 受了聖靈沒 有 [Did You Receive the Holy Spirit When You Believed], in Wu Yung: The Holy Spirit I, 16–18.

The “fear of Pentecost” is also documented by Pearl G. Young in “Christ Exalted in Taiwan,” Bread of Life(January 1965): 7.

Wu, “Did you Receive the Holy Spirit when you Believed,” 17–18, and “The Seven Questions of the Holy Spirit,” 221–222.

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not from God, Wu cautions that it is better not to pass judgment lest people blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.51

3.1 Summary

Despite identifying as Evangelicals, both Kou and Wu affirmed supernatural expressions of faith that are typically associated with the distinctive pentecos- tal-charismatic identity. In fact, both of their conversion experiences involved their unconditional belief in the supernatural aspect of faith as recorded in Scripture.52Both believed that the supernatural is part of the normal Christian life so that they talked about it as if it is a given without much qualification; and both witnessed supernatural events and engaged the realm of spiritual and demonic beings—Wu more frequently than Kou. As a result, Wu’s and Kou’s sensitivities toward the supernatural reflect a more holistic and less critical approach to faith and Scripture that is commonly found in the majority world.

Kou and Wu still had their differences, however. If Kou’s emphasis was pre- dominantly on the Word of God rather than on the outworking of the Spirit in the pentecostal-charismatic sense, the charismatic color of Wu’s orthodoxy, orthopraxy, and orthopathy sprang to the fore. If Kou preferred to keep a safe distance from charismatic experiences, Wu gave them a warm reception.


Taiwan Church News

The charismatic sensitivities in pre-1980 Taiwanese Protestants can also be found in the writings of Taiwan Church News, a publication of the Presbyte- rian Church in Taiwan. First published in 1885, the Taiwan Church News was Taiwan’s first printed newspaper. Due to limited space, I will focus on the peri- ods between 1969 and 1979, and between the 1920s and the 1930s.53




Wu Yung, “Jinri jiaohui xuyao nengli” 今日教會需要能力 [Churches Today Are in Need of Power], 96, “Power and the Holy Spirit,”137, and “Renshi shengling yu fangyan”認識聖 靈與方言[Knowing the Spirit and Tongues], 312, inWorks of Wu Yung: The Holy SpiritI. Contemporary theologians challenge the supernatural-natural distinction, as it is a prod- uct of modernity unknown to premodernity. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Spirit and Salvation (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016), 371–375; Amos Yong, The Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh: Pentecostalism and the Possibility of Global Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005),294.GiventhatitwastheWestratherthanthemajorityworldthatwas“baptized”by the Enlightenment, it appears that the supernatural-natural distinction is less of a concern for the majority world, including Taiwan, as their worldview and cosmology has always been more holistic and all-embracing than those in the West. Cf. Kärkkäinen, Spirit and Salvation, 104.

I will focus on these two periods for two reasons. First, until 1968, theTaiwan Church News

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4.1 Taiwan Church News: 1969–1979

While a few articles in the Taiwan Church News between 1969 and 1979 dis- cussed the supernatural, supernatural phenomena, whether seen in healing or in exorcism, were never the publication’s focus in those eleven years. Though two contributors attempted to rationalize and demythologize supernatural healing in the day of Jesus,54other contributors generally believed in the super- natural aspect of faith but with different levels of fervor.55 I will first discuss Yang Tso-chou’s article before I turn to the two more dramatic “charismatic” testimonies and the position of Kao Chun-ming, the General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church.



was printed in romanizedTaiwanese using thePe̍h-ōe-jīorthography (an orthography that is used to write variants of Southern Min Chinese).The printing inPe̍h-ōe-jīwas banned by the Kuomintang government in 1969, which was taking actions to restrict the use of local languages (which restrictions were lifted with the ending of martial law inTaiwan in 1987). Since my ability to read Pe̍h-ōe-jī is limited at this time, I focus on issues from 1969 to 1979 printed in Chinese characters, which I can read with ease. Second, the reason for focusing on issues from the 1920s to the 1930s is because the emergence of the (pentecostal) True Jesus Church with Chinese origin in 1926 brought severe competition to thePCT. The con- flicts drove thePCTto document their understanding of God’s power and miracles in the 1920s and 1930s, which shed significant light on the charismatic sensitivities inherent in thePCT.

Cf. Yang Tso-chou 楊作舟, “Erlongshejie de zhengtai” 耳聾舌結的正態 [The Normalcy of Deafness and Muteness], Taiwan Church News (January 1969): 30–31, and “Shengjing yixue changshi: Luode qizi de siyin” 聖經醫學常識—羅德妻子的死因 [Basic Medical Knowledge:The Cause of the Death of Lot’sWife],Taiwan Church News(May 1969): 29–30. Dai Chi-hsiung 戴吉雄, “Gelasen” 格拉森 [Garesene] Taiwan Church News (October 21, 1973): 3.

For example, while Rev.Yang Shih-yang楊士養and Rev. Kao Chun-ming高俊明discour- aged an excessive pursuit of supernatural phenomena, other articles were highly “charis- matic,” as they involved dreams, visions, supernatural healing, and exorcism. See Rev.Yang Shih-yang,“Chuanfuyinde jiaozong”傳福音的腳蹤[TheFootstepsof anEvangelist],Tai- wan Church News (August, 1969): 21–24; Rev. Kao Chun-ming, “Beishengling chongman” 被聖靈充滿 [Being Filled with the Holy Spirit], Taiwan Church News (May 1972): 5–6. Examples of “charismatic” testimonies are Kao Hou Ching-lien高侯青蓮, “Wangshi nan- wang”往事難忘[The Unforgettable Past],TaiwanChurchNews(May 1969): 19–22;YenTe- hui顏德輝, “Shangdi wanneng de yisheng”上帝萬能的醫生[God the Greatest Doctor], Taiwan Church News (April 1970): 16–19; Yen Te-hui 顏德輝, “Wunian bipo Shangdi shi- fang” 五年逼迫上帝釋放 [Five Years of Persecution Delivered by God], Taiwan Church News(June 1970): 39–44; andYin Chiu-ying尹秋影, “Qimiao de shifang: Huang Shang dix- iong quanjia mengen guizhuji” 奇妙的釋放: 黃賞弟兄全家蒙恩歸主記 [An Amazing Deliverance: The Conversion Story of Brother Huang Shang’s Household],Taiwan Church News(May 16, 1976): 6.

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4.2 Yang Tso-chou: an Attempt to Demythologize the Supernatural Yang Tso-chou is a medical doctor who contributed one article to the Taiwan Church News each month in 1969, introducing different kinds of diseases and how to prevent or cure them. While he began with the diseases mentioned in the Bible, his discussion was mostly educational rather than theological. In “The Normalcy of Deafness and Muteness,” Yang attempts to explain deafness and muteness from a medical point of view and do away with the mystical aspect of supernatural healing. He suggests that if, after diagnosis, Jesus was able to heal the deaf and mute man on the spot in Mark 7:31–37, the man could not have suffered from inner ear deafness that is caused by neurotic system and impeded blood flow, because the ailment takes time to heal. The reason for his deafness, therefore, seemed to have been caused by the accumulation of secretions in the middle ear or cerumen impaction, which was why Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears to remove the ear wax from the middle ear. Yang states, “For Jesus, the man was making a fuss over trifles … If the man had taken better care of himself, he would have found out the causes of his illness and sought help already. But he had not. Jesus let out a deep sigh out of com- passion towards his ignorance and healed him.”56Yang’s attempt to use science to explain away the mystical element of supernatural healing was unconven- tional, and the tactic was hardly shared by any other contributors in theTaiwan Church Newsbetween 1969 and 1979.

4.3 Kao Hou Ching-lien and Yen Te-hui: Two Charismatic Testimonies The charismatic character of Taiwanese Protestantism before 1980 is more readily apparent in two dramatic testimonies printed in the Taiwan Church News. The first was published in 1969 by Kao Hou Ching-lien, who had been diagnosed with uterine fibroids.57 One day after prayer, she opened her Bible and Psalm 121:7 jumped out at her: “The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.” She felt that it was a message specifically for her, so she rejoiced and offered thanksgiving to God. One week later, around four in the morning, she dreamed that she saw a holy hand hover over her stomach, before hearing a voice say, “Child, you are healed.” When she woke up, she wondered whether Jesus might have healed her. Kao touched her stomach and felt that it had become normal. She went to the hospital for examination the next day, and the doctor verified that Kao was healed and there was nothing unusual about her uterus and the surrounding area.58

56 57 58

Yang, “The Normalcy of Deafness and Muteness,” 31.

Kao Hou Ching-lien is the mother of Kao Chun-ming.

Kao Hou Ching-lien高侯青蓮, “Wangshi nanwang”往事難忘[The Unforgettable Past], Taiwan Church News(May 1969): 19–20.

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Another“charismatic”testimonyintheJuneissueof theTaiwanChurchNews in 1970 involves a woman who claimed to have seen a ghost and had several visions.59 One of the visions was the result of her praying for more courage, since her family, including her husband, vehemently opposed her Christian faith. In the vision, she saw a man, six or seven feet tall and wearing a grey suit, walking toward her, holding something “pure” and “white” in his hands that she could not quite identify. Her heart opened up, and hands stretched out from it to receive this pure, white thing from the man. She then put it into her heart, and her hands from the heart disappeared. At the same time, the man also dis- appeared.60 The woman understood the message of the vision to be that the Gospel was given to us freely, so that we are to share it freely with others.61

4.4 The Position of the General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church While there were different opinions regarding the supernatural within the Presbyterian Church between 1969 and 1979, the position of Rev. Kao Chun- ming, the General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan from 1970 to 1989, may best represent the position of the denomination’s top ecclesias- tical officers before 1980. Even though he does not, in an article written in 1972, deny the recent outpouring of the Holy Spirit that had taken place in a church, Kao maintains that rather than looking to the supernatural works of the Holy Spirit, living a godly life as Scripture teaches is an even better indi- cation that one is filled with the Spirit.62 For him, what is important is not whether one speaks in tongues, but whether one obeys the lead of the Holy Spirit. While Kao did not deny the supernatural aspect of faith, nor did he emphasize it.

4.5 Taiwan Church News, 1920s–1930s

Taiwanese historian Wu Hsueh-ming reports that the earlier editions of the Taiwan Church News often documented accounts of miracles. These appeared


60 61


The woman’s name is not specified in the article. Yen Te-hui 顏德輝, “Wunian bipo Shangdi shifang” 五年逼迫上帝釋放 [Five Years of Persecution Delivered by God],Tai- wan Church News (June 1970): 39–44. April to June of 1970 was probably the most charis- matic quarter of theTaiwan Church Newsbetween 1969 and 1979. Never did a quarter from these eleven years share a more intense charismatic message than this quarter, as each month includes one testimony of how God miraculously heals or saves.

Yen, “Five Years of Persecution Delivered by God,”Taiwan Church News, 42.

In Chinese, the character used for the phrase freely (白白) is identical to that used for “white” (白).

Kao Chun-ming 高俊明, “Beishengling chongman” 被聖靈充滿 [Being Filled with the Holy Spirit],Taiwan Church News(May 1972): 5–6.

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more frequently after 1926 and for a good reason.63 While the Presbyterian Church was the first Protestant church to have set foot in Taiwan in the nine- teenth century and remained so for the next sixty years, the emergence of the True Jesus Church in 1926 brought severe competition to the Presbyte- rian Church. Many of the first True Jesus Churches were in fact established by Presbyterians who had left the Presbyterian Church because of interper- sonal conflicts or other reasons.64 In response, the Presbyterian Church crit- icized not only the strategies employed by the True Jesus Church, but also Barnaba Chang’s theology. Chang was one of the early leaders of the True Jesus Church who claimed that he was the only one who had received special power to heal the sick, to cast out demons, and to perform miracles.65The Pres- byterian Church encountered unprecedented challenges as a result. In order to strengthen the faith of believers, the church began to publish miraculous stories in the Taiwan Church News with higher frequency—accounts that the church had not seen the need to broadcast forcefully before.66

One of the means used by the Taiwan Church News to discuss miracles was by publishing accounts of answered prayers. A piece of news from March 1938 read, “Several members from An-Shun Church offered their thanksgiving to God after they had gone through some difficulties. They are good role mod- els to others.”67 Then it listed fourteen people who gave an offering of a cer- tain amount of money out of gratitude for answered prayer. For example, one offered one dollar because God had helped him raise pigs successfully; another offered eight dollars because his sick cow had gotten better and was up for sale; another offered two dollars because he had been healed after one month of sickness; a couple offered eight dollars because someone had been healed




66 67

Wu Hsueh-ming 吳學明, Congyilai daozili: zhongzhanqian Taiwan nanbu Jiduzhanglao- jiaohui yanjiu 從依賴到自立: 終戰前台灣南部基督長老教會研究 [From Depen- dence to Independence: The Study of the Presbyterian Church in Southern Taiwan before the Second World War] (Tainen: Renguang, 2003), 181, 188. Since my ability to readPe̍h-ōe- jī is limited at this time, I rely on Wu’s work for theTaiwan Church Newspublished before 1969. See note 53.

Wu, From Dependence to Independence, 112–117. For the competition between the two churches, see also Murray A. Rubinstein, “Evangelical Spring: The Origin of the True Jesus Church on Taiwan, 1925–1926.” Society for Pentecostal Theology Sixteenth Annual Meeting, November 13–15, 1986, Costa Mesa,CA.

Wu, From Dependence to Independence, 117–118. Tan Su-chhong 陳士藏, “Zhang banaba mihuoren” 張巴拿巴迷惑人 [Barnaba Chang Deceives People], Taiwan Church News, no. 513 (December 1927): 12–13. I am indebted to Wu for these references.

Wu, From Dependence to Independence, 190.

“An Shun jiaohui” 安順教會 [An-Shun Church], Taiwan Church News no. 636 (March 1938): 13–14. Wu, From Dependence to Independence, 188.

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after a severe sickness; still another offered six dollars because the son had been healed from a devastating disease.68 Wu observes that such a mindset of pur- suing happiness, wealth, and long life was nothing different from traditional folk religion in Taiwan. Hence, the Taiwan Church News’s publication of these accounts of answered prayers indicates that the church did not reject the tradi- tional mindset. At the same time, those who published these accounts believed that by doing so the accounts would bear witness to God’s power, strengthen the believers’ faith, and also win over unbelievers.69

4.6 Summary

Yang Tso-chou’s attempt to use science to explain away the mystical element of supernatural healing was rarely imitated by other contributors. While Kao Chun-ming, the General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church, exalted the Word of God over the Spirit’s work in the pentecostal-charismatic sense, the charismatic color nevertheless characterized the orthodoxy, orthopraxy, and orthopathy of some others in the church, as the charismatic testimonies above demonstrate. The position of the General Secretary notwithstanding, quite a few Christians in the Presbyterian Church witnessed supernatural events and engaged the spiritual realm before 1980. Some kept a safe distance from charis- matic experiences, whereas others gave them a warm reception—not least because supernatural encounters were familiar to those who practiced folk reli- gions in Taiwan. It is to those folk religions that I now turn.

5 The Spiritual Instincts of the Inhabitants in Taiwan

In Taiwanese folk religion, or in the broader Chinese worldview, people believe in an “unseen but completely real dimension to the world: that of the spiritual beings,” due to prevailing influences of the “many-spirits” cosmology.70Related to this belief is a conviction that various gods bring blessings or misfortunes to humanity as a way of exercising their influence over human affairs.71It is, there- fore, not a surprise that a majority of the people in Taiwan today believe in the

68 69 70 71

“An-Shun Church,”Taiwan Church News, 13–14.

Wu, From Dependence to Independence, 188.

Laurence G. Thompson,Chinese Religion: An Introduction(Encino: Dickenson, 1975), 7. Arthur P. Wolf, “God, Ghosts, and Ancestors,” in Religion and Ritual in Chinese Society, ed. Arthur P. Wolf (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1974), 144. The view is shared by other Asian countries. Wonsuk Ma, “Toward an Asian Pentecostal Theology,” Pentecostal- Charismatic Theological Inquiry International. http://pctii.org/cyberj/cyberj1/ wonsuk.html (accessed May 8, 2017).

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reality of ghosts,72 and that people in Taiwan today continue to ask their gods for guidance as they encounter various problems in life.73 Not only do people tell gods their problems, theyanticipatean answer from them—often a super- natural one—whether it is healing from sickness, deliverance from ghosts, a good harvest, long life, good health, wealth, and so on.74

Against such a cosmological backdrop, it is not difficult to understand how the charismatic spiritual instincts of Christians in Taiwan came about. Before 1968, when the typical educational level was not very high and when such Christian doctrines as justification could hardly be grasped, the best way for people to come to believe in God and understand salvation was through per- sonal experiences that were visible or tangible.75 Hence, it was fairly normal for Christians to present their daily struggles to God while anticipating God’s direct intervention in their situation. In addition, the reality of demons was readily acceptable to many believers. To a great number of Christians in Tai- wan, miracles found in Scripture are not passages that need to be questioned, demythologized, or interpreted scientifically. Instead, they are passages to be believed and even relived—as in the case of WuYung, and the testimonies read intheTaiwanChurchNews—sincethe biblical presentationof the supernatural shares many commonalities with thought patterns and cultures that are found in Taiwan.76 The cosmological background of Taiwan helps explain why the


73 74



Tong Fang-wan (董芳苑), “Taiwan zongjiao lunji” 台灣宗教論集The Religious Writings about Taiwan(Taipei: Chienwei Publisher, 2008), 93.

Wolf, “God, Ghosts, and Ancestors,” 160–163.

For a more thorough treatment of Taiwanese folk religion, see David K. Jordan, Gods, Ghosts, and Ancestors:The Folk Religion of aTaiwaneseVillage(Berkeley: University of Cal- ifornia Press, 1972). See also Campbell N. Moody, The Heathen Heart: An Account of the Reception of the Gospel among the Chinese of Formosa (Edinburgh: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1907), 88, 100. Campbell Moody (1865–1940) was a Scottish missionary to Taiwan from 1895 to 1924.

Moody,The Heathen Heart, 125–126, 139. Although people’s account of God and salvation may be far from sophisticated, looking for tangible proofs for the soul’s eternal welfare is not wholly without biblical basis, as the Old Testament term shalom entails well-being in all aspects, including physical and relational health, and prosperity. Kärkkäinen, Spirit and Salvation, 377. Taiwan implemented nine-year compulsory education in 1968, which significantly raised the general educational level of the people.

“The congruence between this form of Christian ritual practice and the practices of Chi- nese popular religious culture is striking.” Jean DeBernardi, “Spiritual Warfare and Territo- rial Spirit: The Globalization and Localisation of a ‘Practical Theology,’”Religious Studies and Theology 18, no. 2 (1999): 85. See also Murray A. Rubinstein, “Holy Spirit Taiwan: Pen- tecostal and Charismatic Christianity in the Republic of China,” in Christianity in China: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present, ed. Daniel H. Bays (Stanford: Stanford Univer- sity Press, 1996), 353–366. While Rubinstein’s assessment is largely correct, I wonder if he

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charismatic character in Taiwanese Protestantism has much in common with the spiritual instincts of the inhabitants of Taiwan. It also sheds light on why a large number of Protestants in Taiwan before 1980—even those who would rather focus on the Word of God than on the Spirit’s work in the pentecostal- charismatic sense—did not deny the supernatural expressions of faith that closely resemble the distinctive pentecostal-charismatic identity.

One thus finds similarity, or evencontinuity, between the pursuit of the spirit world among Christians in Taiwan before and after the purported arrival of the charismatic movement in the 1980s. While Christianity in Taiwan before the arrival of the charismatic movement seldom addressed having any relation- ship with God—a parallel also found in Taiwanese folk religion, in which no “feeling of affection” for superior beings is formed77—it is understandable why a great proportion of Christians in Taiwan were later attracted to the charis- matic message that encourages people to form a personal or even an “intimate” relationship with God.78

6 The Significance of the Contemporary Charismatic Movement

While the pursuit of the spirit world among Christians in Taiwan is as old as the history of Christianity in Taiwan, the contemporary charismatic movement is nevertheless significant for three primary reasons. First, the charismatic movement brings with it a more developed and structured teaching—on inner healing, spiritual warfare (including territorial spirits, prayer walks), and prophecy, to name a few.79 The extent to which such charismatic beliefs find striking similarities in the cosmology of the spirit world already present in Tai- wanmakesit nosurprise that theseteachingsfound readyears in theTaiwanese context.80 Second, charismatic teaching supplies Taiwanese Christians with a

77 78



has gone too far in suggesting that the True Jesus members who undergo the baptism of the Spirit “appear to be possessed” and “become a collectivity oftong khi” (a spirit medium who serves to communicate with the gods on behalf of clients in Taiwanese folk religion). Moody,The Heathen Heart, 100.

Clark H. Pinnock,Flame of Love: aTheology of the Holy Spirit(Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 19, 144, 157.

Cf. Iap Sian-chin, “Xuxin jiangou ‘lingen shenxue’: huaren lingenjiaohui wufa taobi delu” 虛心建構「靈恩神學」:華人靈恩教會無法逃避的路[Constructing a “Charismatic Theology” with Humble Heart: An Inevitable Path for Chinese Charismatic Churches], Central Taiwan Theological Seminary Newsletter (中台神學院院訊), no. 195 (2010): 9. The flipside, however, is that churches in Taiwan have sometimes received pentecostal- charismatic teachings without sufficient critical reflection.

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freshawarenessof the phenomena already present in churches, as well astermi- nologyto explain them. In the past, people narrated how they were healed, for example, without giving much thought to the language they employed. Today, terms such as “the gifts of healing,” “the prayer of deliverance,” or “the Word of knowledge” are consciously chosen and widely heard in testimonies. These practices have helped churches form and reinforce their collective charismatic identity from the bottom up. Third, the charismatic movement warrants and validateschurch leaders as theyteach and pursuethe works of the Spiritopenly and corporately from the pulpit in an ecclesial context otherwise marked by emotional and spiritual restraint. Though many Protestant churches in Taiwan never denied the supernatural aspect of faith in the past—as in the case of Kou Shih-yuan, Wu Yung, and the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan—Christians most often experienced the supernatural in private. While before the charis- matic movement there were occasionally teachings on the Holy Spirit from the pulpit in Protestant churches, often concentrated around Pentecost Sun- day, pastors never taught about charisms or the development of spiritual gifts. Today, pastors inTaiwan do so unabashedly with confidence and solid justifica- tion. The message from the pulpit affirms the charismatic identity of a church from top down.

7 Conclusion

In conclusion, I suggest that the reason why most Protestant communities in Taiwan before the 1980s appeared to be orderly, quiet, and unexpressive is not because it was how people in Taiwan would normally engage in religion, but because they were simply following the liturgy, polity, and practice that had been bequeathed to them by their Western missionary forebears.81

Taiwanese historian Cheng Yang-en argues that since the charismatic move- ment in Taiwan is an “imported” enterprise and all of its contents have been “implanted,” the faith expressed in charismatic gatherings is not rooted in the


Moody suggests that the silent respect of a modern congregation is something almost new. As a missionary in Taiwan, he noted that the worship among local Christians was always “natural or spontaneous.” The solemnity that is so natural and necessary to Western mis- sionaries did not seem to fit well in the Taiwanese context. Further, Moody was suggested to use a drum or a gong—instruments commonly used in Taiwanese folk religion—to assemble people. Campbell N. Moody, The Saints of Formosa: Life and Worship in a Chi- neseChurch(Edinburgh: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1912), 44–48, 105–106. Nonetheless, Western missionaries played a significant role in introducing the charismatic message into Taiwan in later decades.

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Taiwanese soil. As a result, Cheng suggests that the charismatic movement is an imposition on Taiwanese society, culture, and historical context.82While there is truth to Cheng’s argument, I argue instead that thecharismatic character (as opposed to the charismatic movement) is in fact not an imported enterprise, but a sensitivity inherent inTaiwanese culture. As is demonstrated above in the writings of Kou Shih-yuan, Wu Yung, and Taiwan Church News, Protestants in Taiwan before 1980 affirmed, and some even engaged, the realm of spiritual and demonic beings. Since the charismatic character has much in common with the spiritual instincts of the inhabitants of Taiwan, I would further sug- gest that the charismatic message, in fact, strikes a chord with the hearts of people in Taiwan. Moreover, the charismatic movement provides a space for believers to express themselves more freely, not only with their minds but with their whole being—as people in Taiwan had long been engaging in religious practices. I agree with Cheng that it is urgent to explore an indigenized form of pentecostal-charismatic theology rooted in the Taiwanese soil. But as we the- ologize, I would suggest that we ought not to overlook the spiritual instincts of people in Taiwan. I am not suggesting that Pentecostalism-Charismaticism will be the default outcome, although I do not deny such a possibility. Instead, I am suggesting that a Taiwanese theology that is devoid of the spiritual instincts of the Taiwanese people cannot be faithful to the Taiwanese context.

Undeniably, a significant number of Taiwanese churches have been “charis- maticized” through the contemporary charismatic movement. Yet, the reason why charismatic teachings found ready ears in Protestants in Taiwan is not so much because they appeal to the contemporary needs of the hearers as because they appeal to the spiritual sensitivities that are inherent in the Taiwanese peo- ple. Hence, rather than speaking of the charismaticization of the Taiwanese churches, perhaps we ought to speak of the rediscovery of the charismatic char- acter that is inherent in the churches in Taiwan. And, rather than being a new- found friend, charismaticism could in fact be a good old companion already present in churches in Taiwan.


I wish to thank Dr. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Dr. Cecil M. Robeck, Jr., and Dr. Amos Yong for reading and providing constructive feedback of earlier versions of the paper.


Cheng, “A Short Study on the Charismatic Movement in Taiwan,” 80.

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