TALK given by Jesuit Fr Augustine Chang on the theme
WE BELIEVE AND SO WE SPEAK (2Cor 4: 13)
Today, especially in Asia, it cannot be taken for granted that every Christian believes that Jesus is the God-
What do we believe? Why do we have to speak?
Two questions that can influence our missionary fervour: -
A. Who do we say that Jesus is? Is he unique?
B. How to view other religions? Are all the religions the same?
1. The central tenets of our faith: God so loved the world that he sent his only Son (John 3: 16). Jesus Christ is unique as Son of God, he is divine. The world needs salvation by God.
2. There are elements of truth in other religions but they need purification, and they are preparations to receive the Gospel of Christ.
3. Man cannot save himself, he needs God to come down from heaven and to lift him up. Other religions are “conceived” by human thinking and reflection, with good intention but it is not enough. Man needs faith in Christ to be saved. Faith means not only intellectual consent but also conversion of heart and life.
4. To have full truth we need God’s revelation. This is why we say our Christian religion is revealed by Christ who is God, not conceived by man. The Catholic religion has the full truth from Christ. Baptism into Christ’s Church is necessary for salvation, for those who are privileged to know Christ. Christ is the only Mediator between God and man.
5. It is still valid to claim that “outside the Church there is no salvation.” For those people who know Christ yet refuse to accept and enter his Church, we say they cannot be saved. But Church members have the indispensable duty to pass on the faith to non-
6. Who are “anonymous Christians”? This refers to those people who do not have the privilege to know Christ (not their fault if they are born in a non-
7. Who is the “Cosmic Christ”?The Cosmic Christ is Jesus of Nazareth and no other. Christ of Nazareth is unique (God-
8. To be friends with non-
9. Christians should have the conviction of their faith, to believe that their faith is the most beautiful gift from God. Our fervour to evangelise is directly proportional to our own faith conviction.
10. Christians may not be the best human beings but Christian faith is God’s gift and so is the best thing surpassing all other faiths. Regarding ourselves we should be humble but regarding our faith we should be very proud of it.
11. Religious dialogue cannot and should not replace proclamation and evangelization. Dialogue involves not only two persons but the third who is the Holy Spirit. We choose what God wants me to choose for my religion. We should do God’s will. The dialogue partners are equal in human dignity, but they are not equal in doctrines.
12. Love is the only motivation for evangelization: to share the Good News with those in darkness and despair that they may have life. As St Paul tells us, we will be condemned if we don’t evangelise because Christ commanded us to do so. And it also shows our lack of love for our suffering neighbours. If we have no love for our neighbours we are not united with God who is love.
13. To help others to know Christ is our greatest joy, our best job and our greatest contribution to our world.
14. To evangelise, we need to love Truth, to be persons of prayer, willing to carry the Cross, to have harmonious relationships with those around us because the Church is a community of love.