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Stephen Tong
Born 1940
Gulangyu, Xiamen, Fujian, People's Republic of China
Occupation Reformed Evangelist and Theologian
Spouse(s) Alice Tong
Children Elizabeth, David, Eunice, Rebecca
Parents Tong Pai Hu and Tan Tjien Nio (Dorcas Tanjowati)

Stephen Tong (Chinese: 唐崇荣pinyin: Tang Chongrong; born 1940) is an Indonesian Reformed evangelist, Theologian, and Christian philosopher. In his ministry spanning 50 years, he has preached to more than twenty million people since 1957.[1] 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.

Contents

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 years old. The family had seven sons (Tony, John, Peter, Caleb, Solomon, Stephen, Joseph), five of which would became Christian ministers later on,[2] and one daughter (Mary). He was also known as a bright, attentive, passionate, and rush man [3]. At the age of 17, he dedicated his life to Christ after hearing a sermon by Andrew Gih at a youth conference near Surabaya.[4] 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."[5]

Education

Stephen Tong obtained his Bachelor Degree in Theology (B.Th) from Southeast Asia Bible Seminary in Malang, Indonesia, where he later served on the 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 has been 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.[6][7]

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.[8] 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 [9].

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Methodology Approach

His Method is evangelism preaching which bring out mass to the final salvation in Christ, based on the teaching of Reformed theology on the rule of Reformed Tradition. 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. He has his own rhetoric flair, and even his evangelistic concept have been influenced by George Whitefield and Charles Spurgeon [10]. Many of his sermons and seminars have been made transcripts, among which were published into 75 books. He also often give a chance to question and answer the Christian problematics from his audiences in seminars.

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 [11]

Since 2004, STEMI has conducted National Reformed Evangelical Conventions annually. The convention has been taking place at Wisma Kinasih Cemerlang, Sukabumi.

Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Church

Messiah Cathedral captured from Kemayoran Street.

Stephen Tong was the founder of Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Church. The church subscribes to the Reformed confessions generally accepted by Reformed churches, but it has its own confession of faith[12] and confession of faith for evangelism[13].

The church has expanded to include branches in many parts of the world including Europe (Germany), North America, Asia and Australia. A new building for the Reformed Evangelical Church in Jakarta, the Messiah Cathedral (one part of the Reformed Millennium Center of Indonesia buildings) which includes a 4600-capacity auditorium (Messiah Hall)[14], John Calvin Hall, dan Agape Hall. The rest of the Reformed Millennium Center of Indonesia buildings which includes concert hall, seminary, museum, and many other facilities are still under progress. It took 16 years to persuade the central government to issue a permit to build the church[15]. 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 (56,000 m2) of space.

The Indonesian Reformed Evangelical 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.[16]

God's Sovereignty in Evangelization

Stephen Tong teaches that God's sovereignty falls into either or simultaneously take one of these five degrees, namely:
1. determined/decreed by God: at beginning until the end, God permanently set His will and plan unto every man's destiny;
2. guided/led by God: every sanctified men who always waits God's will, will be voluntary doing God's guidance into his life directly;
3. allowed/permitted by God: Praying encounters with synchronous God's holy willing, possibly God will granted man's request;
4. tolerated/ignored by God: immature His sanctified people or even the wicked men can break God's guidance, then God will give them to Satan's hand or evil world wave;
5. punished/reprobated by God: related with point 1, at beginning until the end, God permanently set His will to save His people, and the rest will be perished eternally in the hell.
[17]

Other activities and interests

Tong has composed numerous Mandarin hymns and chorus, popular among many Christians [18]. Other than preaching and teaching, his 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 especially in Baroque era, watches, and antiques.[19]

Personal life

Stephen Tong currently resides in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is married to Alice Tong. They have one son and three daughters. One unique story about his family is his marriage. According to his wife, their romantic love stories was not started from personal dating, but ministries at Church.[20]

Notable achievements

Year Event Description
1979 Founded Stephen Tong Evangelistic Ministry International (STEMI)[21].
1984 Keynote speaker at the International Prayer Assembly in Seoul.
1985 Started SPIK (Seminar Pembinaan Iman Kristen) series in Indonesia. it can be translated 'Christian Faith Edification Seminar'
1986 Founded the Indonesian Evangelical Reformed Foundation (STRI) and Founded STRIS (Sekolah Tinggi Reformed Injili Surabaya) in Surabaya and has been implemented by Rev. Andi Halim at Ngagel Street and Rev. Sutjipto Soebeno at Andhika Plaza until now. STRI can be translated 'Evangelical Reformed Seminary'. This was followed by the establishment of further branches of STRIJ in Jakarta (1987) and STRIM in Malang (1990).
1986 Seminar Presenter in International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists (Amsterdam '86), sponsored by Billy Graham Association.[22]
1988 Founded 'Momentum Publishing'.[23]
1989 Founded Indonesian Evangelical Reformed Church. Also as keynote speaker at the Second International Congress on World Evangelization.[24] He is a member of the International Consultants of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization.
1991 Founded Reformed Institute in Jakarta. It is going to being located inside Messiah Cathedral in mid 2009.
1996 Founded the Reformed Institute for Christianity and 21st Century in Washington, D.C.[1] 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.[25]
2006 Started the Reformed Institute of Christianity Summer Courses.[26]
2006 Keynote speaker at the World Reformed Fellowship Congress in Johannesburg.

Together with Dr. Benyamin Intan, founded The Reformed Center for Religion and Society.

Bibliography

(All Books are edited and summarized in Indonesian Language) Momentum Fine Book Selection

These are adopted from many courses, et. seq.:
1. Seminar Pembinaan Iman Kristen (SPIK) [Yearly Systematic Courses]

  • Iman dan Agama (Faith and Religion)
  • Allah Tritunggal (The Trinity of God)
  • Peta dan Teladan Allah (God's Image and Likeness)
  • Dosa, Keadilan, dan Penghakiman (Sin, Justice, and Judgment)
  • Siapakah Kristus? (Who is Christ?)
  • Dinamika Hidup dalam Pimpinan Roh Kudus (Dynamic Life in the Guidance of the Holy Spirit)
  • Baptisan dan Karunia Roh Kudus (Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Spirit)
  • Roh Kudus, Doa, dan Kebangkitan (Holy Spirit, Prayer, and Revival)
  • Roh Kudus, Hati Nurani, dan Setan (Holy Spirit, Conscience, and Satan)
  • Iman, Rasio, dan Pengetahuan (Faith, Ratio, and Knowledge)
  • Iman, Penderitaan, Hak Asasi Manusia (Faith, Suffering, and Human Rights)
  • Ujian, Percobaan, dan Kemenangan (Trials, Temptations, and Victory)
  • Kerajaan Allah, Gereja, dan Pelayanan (The Kingdom of God, the Church, and Ministry)


2. Various Courses

  • Arsitek Jiwa (Architect of the Soul)
  • Arsitek Jiwa II (Architect of the Soul II)
  • Keluarga yang Diberkati (Blessed Family)
  • Membesarkan Anak Dalam Tuhan (Fostering Child in God)
  • Dosa dan Kebudayaan (Sin and Culture)
  • 7 Perkataan Salib (The Seven Sayings on the Cross)
  • Pemuda dan Krisis Zaman (Youth and the Crisis of the Age)
  • Reformasi dan Teologi Reformed (Reformation and Reformed Theology)
  • Gerakkan Reformed Injili: Apa dan Mengapa? (Evangelical Reformed Movement: What and Why?)
  • Iman, Pengharapan, dan Kasih (Faith, Hope, and Love in Crisis)
  • Waktu Dan Hikmat (Time and Wisdom)
  • Teologi Penginjilan (The Theology of Evangelism)
  • Mengetahui Kehendak Allah (Knowing God's Will)
  • Pengudusan Emosi (The Sanctification of Emotion)


3. Gospel Rally in Various Cities

  • Tuhan Yesus Juruselamat Dunia (Jesus Christ, The Savior of the World)
  • Dari Iman kepada Iman (From Faith to Faith)
  • Kehidupan Kristen Yang Berbuah (Fruitful Christian Life)


4. Devotion in Topical Themes (Sorted Number)

  • Pelayan Yang Beriman (The Faithful Servant)
  • Cara Pandang Seorang Pelayan (A Servant's Worldview)
  • Pelayan Yang Melarikan Diri (The Running away Servant)
  • Pelayan Yang Berdukacita (The Grieving Servant)
  • Pelayan Yang Mengasihani Diri Sendiri (The Servant Who Pitied Himself)
  • Jerih Payah Seorang Pelayan (A Servant's Inheritance)
  • Harta Seorang Pelayan (A Servant's Wealth)
  • Pelayan Yang Berkorban (The Sacrificed Servant)
  • Kebahagiaan Yudas (Judas's Joy)
  • Pelayan Yang Memberitakan Injil (The Servant Who Proclaims The Gospel)
  • Pembentukan Seorang Hamba (Shaping A Servant)
  • Pergumulan Seorang Pelayan (A Servant's Struggle)


5. Seminary with Another Speaker

  • Seni Membentuk Karakter Kristen (The Art of Molding Christian's Character)

Composed Songs

(Most of his songs were created in Indonesian Languages and implemented in his gospel rally)

These are his songs with descriptions of the city where they were performed at the first time:[27]

  • Bila Kupernah Cinta Yesus (Semarang, in Indonesia, 1961)
  • Api Zaman (Malang, in Indonesia, 1969), this song was composed with Mr. C.Yu
  • Tuhan Ampuni Dosaku (Surabaya, in Indonesia, 1975)
  • Kidung Pujian (Manila, in Philippines, 1975)
  • Aku Sedang Berjalan (Serawak, in Malaysia, 1977)
  • Kemana Saja (Serawak, in Malaysia, 1977)
  • Utus Aku Dalam Misimu (Singapura, 1981)
  • Korban Hidup (Malang, in Indonesia, 1985)
  • Bangkit Bagi Kristus (Jakarta, in Indonesia, 1986)
  • Sukacita Tuhan Penuhiku (Hongkong, in China, 1998)
  • Yesus Kristus Juruselamat Dunia (Jakarta, in Indonesia, 2003)
  • Belum Pernah Ku Rendah Hati (Forthhope, in Canada, 1995)
  • Siapakah Juruselamat (Jakarta, in Indonesia, 2003)

References

  1. ^ a b Dr. Stephen Tong, Pendeta, Ketua Sinode GRII | Ensiklopedi Tokoh Indonesia
  2. ^ Kwantes, Anne C.. She Has Done a Beautiful Thing for Me. p. 247.  
  3. ^ Dr. Stephen Tong, In Step with The Holy Spirit, limited edition (Jakarta: STEMI, 2007), pp. 4-6; for further acknowledgment and his masterpiece works can be founded at Reformed Center, Jakarta
  4. ^ Kwantes, Anne C.. She Has Done a Beautiful Thing for Me. pp. 245–246.  
  5. ^ Kwantes, Anne C.. She Has Done a Beautiful Thing for Me. p. 245.  
  6. ^ "Honorary Degree to Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong". wts.edu. http://www.wts.edu/stayinformed/view.html?id=161. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  7. ^ "Stephen Tong Awarded Honorary Doctors Degree at Westminister Theological Seminary". Gospelherald.com. http://www.gospelherald.net/article.htm?id=44241&code=education. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  8. ^ "Sekilas Visi". grii.org. http://www.grii.org/grii-visi.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  9. ^ His passionate can be found in various cassette [1], but please watch the disclaimer before browsing
  10. ^ This idea can be found in various cassettes, for further acknowledgment of his masterpiece works can be founded at Reformed Center for Religion and Society, Jakarta [reformed.crs@gmail.com]
  11. ^ Dr. Stephen Tong, In Step with The Holy Spirit, limited edition (Jakarta: STEMI, 2007), pp. 4-6; His Works clearly depicted in this book, there are also some sites to describe his ministries like, please go to external sites at the end of this article. for further acknowledgment of his masterpiece works can be founded at Reformed Center for Religion and Society, Jakarta
  12. ^ "Pengakuan Iman Reformed Injili". grii.org. http://grii.org/grii-visi.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-02.  
  13. ^ "Pengakuan Iman Penginjilan". grii.org. http://grii.org/grii-visi.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-02.  
  14. ^ "Largest Chinese Church Overseas to Open in Jakarta". The Christian Post. http://sg.christianpost.com/dbase/asia/688//1.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-31.  
  15. ^ "Improbable Houses of Worship". The Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122048949193697463.html?mod=googlenews_wsj. Retrieved 2008-10-31.  
  16. ^ "Gereja Reformed Injili Indonesia". reformiert-online.net. http://www.reformiert-online.net/adressen/detail.php?id=1354&lg=eng. Retrieved 2008-08-27.  
  17. ^ Source: Regional Gospel's Rally Seminary, February 7th, 2009, 10.30 pm - 15.00 am. The Recording can be brought at Reformed Center, Jakarta.
  18. ^ Kidung Pujian Gereja Reformed Injili Indonesia (Surabaya: Momentum, 2000)
  19. ^ Stephen Tong Resource - About Stephen Tong
  20. ^ Reflection Committee Team. Refleksi 50 Tahun Pelayanan Pdt. Dr. Stephen Tong (Surabaya: Momentum, 2007), p. 10.
  21. ^ "Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong". grii.or.id. http://www.grii.or.id/grii-profil.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-02.  
  22. ^ "Records of the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists (Amsterdam '86) - Collection 560". wheaton.edu. http://www.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/GUIDES/560.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  23. ^ "Momentum Profile". momentum.or.id. http://www.momentum.or.id/profil/indexeng.php. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  24. ^ Tong, Stephen. "Sin and Lostness" (PDF). http://www.lausanne.org/documents/lau2docs/165.pdf. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  25. ^ "Evangelist Stephen Tong Pinpoints Da Vinci Code Falsities". Gospelherald.com. http://www.gospelherald.net/article.htm?id=19701&code=education. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  26. ^ "Stephen Tong Reformed Theology Summer Course to Open in N. America". Gospelherald.com. http://www.gospelherald.net/article.htm?id=19700&code=education. Retrieved 2008-08-08.  
  27. ^ Kidung Persekutuan Reformed Injili (Jakarta: Sinode GRII, 2001), no 66,72, 83, 85, 95, 101, 144, 148, 154, 162, 167, 168. This book is not issued for public affair and has been using for the sake of GRII only, but it may be held by your local church around in your country.

External links


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