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FROM THE GENERAL SECRETARY, Neville Callam
BAPTIST SAGES IN THE EAST: WORTHY OF EMULATION

At long last, I was in Manila! Only five or six hours more by road and I would be in Baguio, the historic
Philippine city, named in 1909 the “Summer Capital of the Philippines.” An area 5,000 feet above sea level,
the city has seen successive foreign occupation by the Spanish, American and Japanese until 1946, the
year of Philippine independence. Baguio is the place which hosts both the Philippine Baptist Theological
Seminary (PBTS) and one campus of the Asia Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary (ABGTS).
It was while attending the celebration of the 50th anniversary of ABGTS and the 41st Annual Lide-
Walker Bible Conference at PBTS that I met two formidable Asian Baptist scholars who have given a total
of more than 100 years in Christian service on the Asian continent and beyond.
Masahiro Kanoy was born in Japan where he taught Old Testament in the Theology Department of the
Kanto-Gakuin University. With the worldwide student riots in the sixties, the school was closed until 1972
when the Japan Baptist Union (JBU) started a Mission Training School in borrowed space on a university
campus in the country. Meanwhile, for 34 years, Kanoy continued serving as pastor of the Kanto-Gakuin
Church which named him Pastor-Emeritus in 2001.
A graduate of Andover-Newton Seminary in Massachusetts in the United States and of the Divinity
School of the University of Chicago, also in the USA, where he studied Semitic Languages, he also studied
at the Swedish Theological Institute in Jerusalem and at the St. Paul’s University in Tokyo where he earned
his doctorate.
Having been a staffer in a religious institution that had been closed forcibly, Kanoy kept a safe distance
from the newly established training school, agreeing to join the staff there only in 1983. He eventually rose
to the position of president in the institution. He was still serving the institution when the JBU renamed it
the Japan Baptist Theological Seminary and relocated it to Totsuka-ku in Yokohama.
Asian Baptists celebrate Kanoy’s contribution as a member of the team that translated the Bible into
the Japanese language. Serving from 1973-1987, Kanoy still remembers the time he spent on the first
translation into Japanese of the book of Leviticus and on the editorial team for the New Common Bible
translation.
Another outstanding Baptist scholar is Lien-Hwa Chow. Born in Shanghai, China, in 1920, Hwa credits
Miss Isabella Coleman, a missionary to China and Taiwan, for introducing him to the Christian faith. A
servant of God who offered himself selflessly in the service of several Christian organizations, he served as
pastor in Taiwan for more than 50 years.
Hwa, who has been a visiting scholar at Princeton Seminary in New Jersey, USA, Union Theological
Seminary in New York, USA, the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey in Switzerland, and Regent’s Park College,
Oxford, UK, was a professor for 31 years at the Taiwan Baptist Theological Seminary. Later, he served as
dean, then president, of ABGTS for 12 years.
Of significant note is Hwa’s contribution in the area of Bible translation. He played a major role as
translator and co-chief editor of the Revised Chinese Union Version, the most widely used version of
the Bible in Chinese. He was translator and co-chief editor of Today’s Chinese Version, and is currently
rendering the same service toward the revision of this version. One of his “current” projects is as translator
and chairman of the Chinese Inter-Confessional Bible, being produced jointly by Roman Catholics and
Protestants.
Impressive is the combined list of publications by Kanoy and Hwa, who are recognized in Asia as sages
to be revered. They are two of the outstanding Baptist scholars, now in their eighties, whom Baptists all
over the world are able to celebrate when we consider God’s gracious gifts given through the Baptist family.
The dedication to providing an example of true Christian discipleship and to nurturing Asian leaders for
contemporary Asian churches and institutions make Kano and Hwa worthy of emulation.
We hail these two Baptist stalwarts as sages in the East.

Photo: Dr. Lien-Hwa Chow
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