Strong Roots in God’s Word for Taiwan

11 August 2022 |
After receiving her PhD in Old Testament with support from Langham, Shirley Ho returned to Taiwan equipped to strengthen and multiply the next generation of biblical leaders through her teaching and writing.

Taiwan is under continual threat. While it is considered one of the most progressive countries in Asia with a relatively stable democracy, the leaders and people live under the pressure of neighboring countries who threaten its sovereignty and independence. Langham Partnership equips biblical leaders like Shirley Ho to bring the hope of Christ to places where the church is under pressure.

With support from Langham, she received her PhD in Old Testament from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and returned to Taiwan where she teaches future pastors and leaders at China Evangelical Seminary in Taipei. She is also a published author whose chapters in books present a biblical view on issues like navigating trauma and applying Christian faith to everyday realities.

Taiwan’s Christians—a small minority of the primarily Buddhist nation—are free to publicly practice their faith, yet often face persecution from their families. Amidst these pressures, God is growing His church using leaders like Shirley who model what it means to be a faithful presence in the midst of instability.

“Mission is close to my heart”

Shirley, who is Filipino-Chinese, was born and raised in the Philippines. Her heart is burdened for Taiwan, where churches are growing and vibrant—yet vulnerable without solid biblical teaching.

Shirley Ho with Langham founder John Stott (1921-2011), who had a vision to train and multiply what he called “scholar-saints” for the global church.

“There is this strong pursuit of pleasure, of happiness, and of blessings. The prosperity gospel is a very strong message, and this can be very attractive to many Taiwanese,” she says. “For Taiwanese Christians, they are used to being in church. . .they have been given the propositions of the Christian faith. But what they need right now is to have it grounded and have deeper roots so they can own their faith and use it to face life’s challenges and serve others.”

Shirley says these deeper roots in God’s Word are especially important for the younger generation, who face complex issues and therefore have complex questions.

She says, “I got this training, a PhD degree with support from Langham, and I think this equipped me to better help these millennials. They ask difficult questions because I think they want to make changes in their lives, in their context. I am equipped to help them.”

Multiplying Mission-Minded Leaders

With the platform of her PhD, Shirley trains pastors and leaders for Taiwan—and beyond. Her seminary sends faculty into the sensitive mainland country we refer to as the Big Country, where they provide intensive training to pastors and leaders who shepherd the underground church there. When possible, pastors from the mainland come to Taiwan to receive training at the seminary.

“It’s very encouraging and inspiring to have them over,” Shirley says. “They bring their own history, their own culture, and their understanding. They interact with the local Taiwanese and see how they can learn together, how they can grow and build each other up in community.”

Shirley’s students often catch her passion to take the gospel across borders. Among them are a pastor who leads a church that ministers to Chinese immigrants in Germany and a young woman preparing to serve in India. These are just two of the thousands of biblical leaders Shirley will train in her lifetime.

(Data from independent evaluation of Langham’s impact by Excellence in Giving, 2015-2022)

Thank you for your prayers and support of Langham that helps equip leaders who multiply disciples of Jesus in their nations. Today, your generosity funds the theological studies for three emerging Taiwanese scholars who, like Shirley, will cultivate strong roots in God’s Word for the church in Taiwan.

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