Liang Fa

Liang Fa

Liang Fa (梁發 pinyin: Liang2 Fa1) (梁發 1789 - 1855) was the first Chinese Protestant minister and evangelist. He was ordained by Robert Morrison, the first Protestant missionary to China.

Liang was born in Zhaoqing in Guangdong Province of China. Coming from a poor family, he quit formal schoolling at the age of 15 and went to work, first as a pen-maker, then in printing in Guangzhou. In 1810, he was employed in a printing house in Guangzhou. Even though it was illegal at the time to print materials related to Christianity, Robert Morrison sought Liang's help to print the Chinese version of the Bible that Morrison translated. It was through these close contacts with Morrison and his associate, William Milne, that Liang began to have some understanding of the Christian faith.

In 1815, as a result of the restrictions against preaching of Christianity in China, Milne moved to Malacca, Malaysia to continue his missionary work among overseas Chinese. Liang was employed by Milne and went with him to Malacca. Gradually, Leung became a devoted Christian in Malacca. He was baptised by Milne on November 3, 1816.

Liang's interest in evangelism continued to grow. In 1821, Liang was ordained by Morrison in Macau to become a minister with the London Missionary Society. Liang was accompanied by another Chinese Christian, Keuh Agong on a 250 mile trek in 1830, distributing Christian tracts across China [Wylie (1867), p. 11-12] . Liang's evangelising eventually went beyond Guangdong to Singapore and Malacca. He also started writing books and pamphlets introducing people to Christianity. One of the books was "Good Words Exhorting Mankind" (1832), which might have prompted Hong Xiuquan to join the society of "Worshippers of Shang-ti". Hong later became the leader of the Taiping Rebellion which tried to establish a theocracy.

In 1834, Liang's missionary work was threatened by the Imperial Chinese Government and he fled to Malaysia. While there at Malacca he worked alongside English missionary Samuel Dyer with his printing and translation efforts. [Davies (1846), 142] He returned to China five years later at the dawn of the Opium War. Leung did not support the war. He argued that if Britain waged war against China, the Chinese would not believe in the Bible and the British missionaries any more. His effort was ultimately in vain.

After the war, Liang continued his missionary work in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. He died in 1855 in Guangzhou. In the process of expanding the campus of Lingnan University (formerly Canton Christian College and now Zhongshan University) it came to light that his original grave was on property purchased for the expansion. He was reinterred in the center of the college campus on the site reserved for the college chapel. The site was dedicated June 7, 1920.

References

*
* McNeur, George Hunter (1934?) China's First Preacher Liang A-Fa. Shanghai: Kwang Hsueh
*

Notes

Publications

In addition to "The Benevolent Words to Advise the World" (勸世良言), Liang also published:

* "The Essentials on Mastering Theology" (《熟學聖理略論》 Shouxue Shengli Luelun)
* "Simple Explanations to the Questions and Answers of the Truth" (《真理問答淺解》 Zhenli Wen Da Qian Jie)
* "Seeking the Source of the True Way" (《真道尋源》 Zhendao Xun Yuan)
* "On Souls" (《靈魂篇》 Linghun Pian)
* "On Heresy" (《異端論》 Yiduan Lun)
* "Convenient Uses of Introductory Bible Sunday Classes" (《聖經日課初學便用》 Shengjing Rike Chuxue Bianyong)
* "Prayers and God-Praising Poems" (《祈禱文贊神詩》 Qidao Wen Zanzhu Shi)

Liang also created "The Monthly Total Record of the Inspection of the Worldly Customs" (《察世俗每月統記傳》 Cha Shisu Meiyue Tongji Zhuan), one of the first Chinese magazines.

See also

*Anglo-Chinese College

External links

* [http://www.keikyo.com/cross_and_lotus.pdf Chapter VII of "The Cross and the Lotus"]


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