The first fruits of CGST Our first four MDiv graduates
Interviewed and written by
In the 1970s, college graduates used to have many choices and opportunities before them. So what was it about the newly formed CGST then that attracted young believers with a university degree?
In 1978, four were awarded MDiv at CGST’s very first graduation ceremony: they were Joshua Mak, Dennis Law, Andrew Ng and Ronald Yu. Their choosing CGST was both guided by God and a reflection of their trust in and recognition of the School.
Joshua Mak was the eldest of the group. After graduating from China Bible Seminary, Joshua went on missions in Vietnam, but wanted to further equip himself. At that time CGST was founded and the School provided the further theological studies that Joshua needed, especially in Greek and Hebrew.
At that time all lecturers at the School were young scholars, some were even younger than Joshua. Although not knowing them well, Joshua was moved by their passion and commitment to Chinese theological education, and after some time of fellowship, he saw humility and diligence in them. Now Joshua is certain that his decision was correct and it was prepared by God. He witnessed CGST’s launching of the movement in Chinese theological education, which later received recognition from and joined by other seminaries. CGST has indeed led the movement, with God in ultimate control.
After graduating from Tunghai University, Taiwan, Dennis Law originally applied for CGST’s MCS program, but switched to seek scholarship in the MDiv program because he wanted to alleviate his parents’ financial burden.
The main reason for Dennis choosing CGST was because he knew Rev Philip Teng, the School’s first President, and therefore he believed it would be a good school. Dennis was also confident in the young and visionary lecturers, feeling assured that CGST was an institution raised up by God. Fearing CGST might lean towards the intellectual and neglect the spiritual, Dennis could strongly feel that the School’s lecturers worked hard to strike a balance between the two, and he could still appreciate the all-round care that the School staff had given the students.
Andrew Ng (2nd row 2nd from right), Dennis Law (1st row 2nd from left), Joshua Mak (1st row 1st from left), Ronald Yu (2nd row 3rd from left)
Looking back, Dennis believed that the CGST movement was a success. It was right that the School placed an importance on academic knowledge because we could not respond to the needs of our time just by relying on our spirituality. Therefore Dennis affirms CGST’s pursuit of excellence. Today Dennis is the Principal of Chinese Theological College Australia and he concludes, “CGST has made an impact on my life.”
Graduated from Hong Kong Baptist University, Andrew Ng became our Faculty-in-Preparation candidate after studying at CGST as he obtained a ThM (in theology and pastoral care) at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, USA, and a ThD in Church History awarded by Concordia Theological Seminary. After returning to Hong Kong in 1985, Andrew joined CGST to teach and to act as Director of Practicum.
Andrew came to know about CGST from a foundation course he took. When the School started, he was filled with expectations and especially touched to see young theological scholars working hard towards realizing their dreams. Andrew believes that if the altar is distinctive, then it will attract people to come and offer sacrifices. In those days the lecturers were young, they were like peers discussing, sharing with the students and enjoying fellowship with them. Andrew sees this alternative model of spiritual growth as different and more effective than believers following and learning from spiritual elders.
As the youngest of this group of four, Ronald Yu was already a Christian before attending Northwestern University but made a commitment to serve the Lord at a winter Bible conference. At the time it was common for students from Asia to return to their home countries upon completion of their education. After graduation, Ronald considered studying theology either in Hong Kong or abroad, and CGST was the only institution he applied to in Hong Kong.
Rev Jonathan Chao, one of the founders of CGST, was Ronald’s referee. Rev Chao was his mentor at the winter Bible conference and through Rev Chao, Ronald knew about the School.
Aiming for postgraduates, CGST has a relatively higher demand on the students’ academic excellence, especially in the learning of Greek and Hebrew. Ronald studied German and so he had a better grasp of the subjects, while the others found them more difficult. Nevertheless, Ronald is still certain that CGST is taking the right direction. He also agrees that CGST’s establishment itself is a movement, and the goal is to elevate Chinese Christians’ theological standard to respond to the needs of the age and the society. This movement has already began in the 1970s and it needs to continue for advancement.
June 2015 saw the 38th Graduation of CGST and the School commenced her 41st year. We hope that the affirmation of our first fruits and their faithful ministries will be passed on to fellow CGST alumni of the next generation.