Bishop KH Ting, Anglican bishop in China, leader of the Chinese Church Council and man of some complexity, has died on at age 97. I had the opportunity to meet him once–at Fuller Seminary when I was working in the office of the Dean of Theology.
Bishop Ting’s life might be seen through four chapters: early years (1915-1950), the heavy years (1950-1980), the years of renewal (1980-2000), and the closing years (2000-2012). I am most interested in the heavy years and the years of renewal. In the former, Bishop Ting made some of his most controversial decisions, many of which caused harm to the Church and the spread of the Gospel. It was during this time that the Communist Party sought to bring the Church, all of the churches, under its control for the stated purpose of eliminating the Church. Bishop Ting was part of the leadership that developed and implemented those policies.
Yet, during the years of renewal Bishop Ting reviewed and revised some of his commitments, leading to a season in which he defended the Church and was instrumental in opening doors for the Church to grow and to mature. He indeed reached out to Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California and Trinity College in Singapore, both of which he knew to be evangelical in their commitments. Through both schools and other partnerships, Bishop Ting gave the Chinese Church the gift of international visibility and koinonia, while also helping to articulate a defense of the Church within communist party circles.
I appreciate therefore Dr. Mouw’s comments on his friendship with Bishop Ting and the complexities of the man and his faith. As an Anglican, I also smile at the thought of Dr. Mouw, the good presbyterian that he is, affirming Dr. Ting’s role and ministry as bishop in the Church.