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Hill Road Journal

Issue 12 (Nov 2003)

Contents: A Theological Reflection on Pastoral Care
There are 5 theme articles, 2 miscellaneous articles and 9 book reviews
No. of Pages: 195
Price: HK$100
Thematic Articles
Simon Shui-man KWAN Reconstructing the Identity of Pastoral Care amidst Its Identity Crisis—Don S. Browning's Critical Proposale Abstract
Timothy M. FONG Encounter with Donald Capps: A Renewal for Pastoral Care Abstract
Nathan Ng The Pastoral Care of Athanasius to the Desert Monks Abstract
Andres Tang Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Spiritual Care Abstract
King-tak Ip Ethics of Counseling in the Context of Pastoral Care Abstract
Discussion Article(s)
Chi-ho LEE &Yuen-tai SO The Reasons Why Timothy Richard the Missionary Participated in Buddhist-Christian Dialogue Abstract
Poling J. SUN Poles Apart? Reflections Arising from Pastoral Care and Liberation Theology Abstract
  • Reconstructing the Identity of Pastoral Care amidst its Identity Crisis : Don S. Browning's Critical Proposal

    Simon S. KWAN

    As part of the church's ministry, Pastoral Care has as long a history as the church itself. However, it was driven into an identity crisis when the western world entered into the second half of the twentieth century. This crisis was recognized by a group of pastoral/practical theologians. One of the leading figures among these theologians is Don S. Browning. This article attempts to articulate the identity crisis and its possible causes by examining the diagnosis given by Browning along with his discursive group. It also analyzes how Pastoral Care has run into this crisis when it uncritically appropriated secular psychologies in general and, therapeutic psychologies in particular. By looking into Browning's critical proposal on reconstructing Pastoral Care's identity, this article clarifies the traditional ethical-theological foundation of Pastoral Care. However, Pastoral Care has to be a public discourse in the modern world and must, therefore, develop a capacity for dialogue with its others. Browning's practical moral thinking is set forth as a successful attempt in meeting this need.

    The final part of this article is an appraisal of Browning's critical proposal. On the one hand, the author concludes that Browning's proposal is an adequate one. On the other hand, the author suggests that Browning's proposal runs into the weakness of ethical reductionism that, in turn, causes it to respond inadequately to the contemporary pluralistic world. This article contends that this weakness is largely caused by Browning's heavy methodological reliance upon Aristotle's conception of Phronesis.

  • Encounter with Donald Capps: A Renewal for Pastoral Care

    Timothy M. FONG

    This article is on Donald Capps' proposal to renew pastoral care in a congregational context. First, Capps suggested making use of three genres in biblical studies (namely, lament, proverb, and parable) to inform pastoral counseling of the objective, method, and relationship between the counselor and counselor. This suggestion rectifies the current misconception/thought that the Bible no longer serves as the primary resource for pastoral counseling. Capps' insights would facilitate more effective grief, premarital, and marriage counseling. Second, Capps also suggested that Pastoral leaders should reclaim pastoral counseling as a vital part of their pastoral care. To be effective, pastoral counseling must take place in its unique congregational context. A new method, entitled “pastoral care case”, advocates taking important factors such as congregational settings, multifaceted relationships between the pastor and the counselors, as well as other people involved, into consideration for pastoral counseling. According to this new method, pastors would better understand not only their ministries but also themselves in the process of writing and interpreting their pastoral care cases . The above suggestions are helpful for Chinese churches, which are very much influenced by western churches in the area of pastoral care and counseling, to renew their pastoral ministry.

  • The Pastoral Care of Athanasius to the Desert Monks

    Nathan K. N.G.

    In discussions about Athanasius, most scholars, especially those in the Chinese church, concentrate on his engagement in the Arian controversy but would fail to mention his contribution to the ancient monastic movement. Athanasius was a key figure in promoting asceticism and monasticism. His contributions to Monasticism should not be neglected.

    This article seeks to demonstrate how Athanasius' pastoral care to the desert monks was central to his Episcopal career and how his ministry can be relevant to modern churches. Three successful elements may be discerned in his monastic ministries. Firstly, Athanasius valued the monks highly. He not only praised them, but also appointed some of them as bishops. Secondly, he taught them cordially with biblical truth. He corrected their wrong concepts of marriage and their practices of sleep deprivation and nocturnal emission. Besides, he also taught them how to become perfect monks in his Vita Antonii. Finally, Athanasius visited and showed concern for the monks frequently. Such monastic visits did not cease even when he was banished and was persecuted by the Arian party. For the Alexandrian archbishop, monasticism was not something less important than doctrinal controversy.

  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Spiritual Care

    Andres S. TANG

    As a dogmatic theologian D. Bonhoeffer not only studies theology but also gives lectures on homiletic and spiritual care. However, his understanding of spiritual care does not attract much study. Bonhoeffer stands in the Lutheran tradition in his understanding of the nature and content of spiritual care. The purpose of spiritual care is not to help or advise how people live but to proclaim God's Word of law and gospel. Bonhoeffer's conception of spiritual care differs from those who use psychological and psychotherapical method and skill. According to him, the concern of spiritual care is defined by theology and not any human science. Spiritual care as proclamation is a kind of diakonia which demands listening and conversation between people accepting God's Word. For Bonhoeffer, God's Word of law and gospel alone is the help needed by those who disobey God's Word. Law and gospel coexist in such a way that the former leads one to admit sin while the The latter grants the sinner forgiveness. This understanding of spiritual care is highly significant for pastoral care in its endeavor to get out of the identity crisis in which Christian faith and theology have been marginalized for a long time.

  • Ethics of Counseling in the Context of Pastoral Care

    King-tak IP

    Since the mid-twentieth century, the theory and practice of pastoral counseling has become an indispensable part of the training of Christian pastors. This essay attempts to look at those ethical issues related to counseling, not from the perspective of professional counselors, but from that of the pastors. It clarifies first the development, aims and objectives of pastoral counseling. Then the author attempts to explore in details four particular areas in which pastors might confront ethical challenges. The author argues along with Bill Blackburn that since pastoral counseling is only one of the pastoral duties, a responsible pastor needs to set boundary in deciding how much time he or she would like to spend in providing counseling service. Moreover, in counseling clients of the opposite sex, a pastor needs to keep vigilant so as to keep oneself and the clients from falling into temptation. A moral counselor needs to understand his or her limitations and takes referral as an act of pastoral care. The author points out that, apart from particularly acute situations, a pastor should uphold the principle of confidentiality. Finally , the author reminds the readers that both professional Christian counselors and pastors should know that they are working in an ecclesiastical context. They need to rely on God to provide an excellent service to their clients.

  • The Reasons Why Timothy Richard the Missionary Participated in Buddhist-Christian Dialogue

    Chi-ho LEE Yuen-tai SO

    Although research on Timothy Richard is a hot topic in the academic circles of both Christian and Chinese history, most of the efforts concentrate on his influence on political reform in China, especially his relation to Chinese scholars supporting the Wei-xin (restoration) movement. Few papers attempt to deal with his interest in Chinese Buddhism or other religions. However, Timothy Richard translated some significant Chinese Buddhist sutras into English (for example, Treatise on the Awakening of Faith in Mahāyāna [Da Sheng Qi Xin Lun]). He also claimed that Mahāyāna Buddhism was an Asian form of Christianity after his discussion with some famous Chinese Buddhists, in particular the lay Buddhist Yang Wenhui.

    This paper attempts to find out why and how he got the idea to dialogue with Chinese Buddhists from the perspective of a missionary. We will focus on how his contact with Chinese religions caused him to change his style of ministry—from personal preaching of Jesus Christ to attempting to reform Chinese culture through Christianity. We intend to show that after Timothy Richard understood the “truth” of Chinese religions, he changed his mind. He became more open to the possibility that they were valid avenues of leading not just Chinese but all humanity toward the Christian God. As a result the value of Chinese religions, especially Chinese Mahāyāna Buddhism, was affirmed in the mission to China.

  • Poles Apart? Reflections Arising from Pastoral Care and Liberation Theology

    Poling J. SUN

    The article contends that pastoral care must not neglect its broader political and social context. Arising from Stephen Pattison's Pastoral Care and Liberation Theology, the author agrees that liberation theology has much to offer. The author points out along with Pattison that mainstream pastoral care has focused so much on psychology and counseling that it has lost sight of a broader perspective and context. Very often pastoral care is so limited to an individual and privatized dimension that the ministry itself is hardly effective. The author illustrates his observation with Christian responses to social events and issues.