Is it all right to burn paper money to the dead?

Is it all right to kneel and burn paper money to the dead in Chinese culture? What is the teaching of not doing it from the Bible? 基督徒在丧礼中是否可以下跪、烧纸?圣经中有没有“不能这样做”的明确教导?

An interesting question. I am glad you asked. Let’s focus first on the basic principle in situations like this. God of the Bible begins his commandments by insisting we must honor him as the only God. Anything other that is said to be God is a figment of human imagination; it is anothing, according to a key Hebrew word (elil) for a false god (Leviticus 19:4, 1 Chronicles 16:26). Of course, because we know how graciously forgiving God is in Jesus, we Christians do not want to do anything that will diminish his good name or take glory from him. 这是一个有趣的问题,我很高兴有人提出来。 我们首先来看一下有关这种情形的基本原则。 神在圣经中向人颁布他的诫命时,第一条就是:我们必须以他为独一的真神来敬拜。除他以外的任何神氏都只是人们头脑中虚构的假象。它什么也不是,正如希伯来语圣经对它的称呼(elil)(利未记19:4;历代志上16:26),意即“虚无”。基督徒因为认识了神在耶稣基督里浩大的赦罪之恩,当然不愿意做任何有损他圣名或荣耀的事情。

But even as we consider the First Commandment, we must also ask how God’s command about honoring parents (Fourth Commandment) fits in this situation. This commandment is given in the Old Testament (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16) and clearly repeated in the New (Ephesians 6:2,3). Blessed is the family and culture where parents are respected as long as they live and where their memory is treasured for the gift of God they were (Proverbs 23:22, Leviticus 19:32). 然而,在思想第一条诫命时,我们也必须问,神在第四条诫命中提到要孝敬父母,怎样才能让这一条诫命符合第一条呢?孝敬父母的诫命是旧约里颁布的(出20:12;申5:16),又在新约里重申(弗6:2,3)。在有生之年孝敬父母,纪念父母身上从神而来的恩赐,这样的家庭和文化要受到祝福。(箴23:22;利19:23)。 Normally, keeping the First Commandment will not conflict with keeping the commandment about respecting parents. But, if there is ever a time when we must make a decision about who comes first in our lives, the God who sent his Son as our Savior receives those top honors. For example, if parents wanttheir believing children to lie for them, those children will choose to tell the truth in spite of reaping their parents’ disapproval and, even, punishment. Jesus warns, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). 一般来讲,遵守第一条诫命和遵守孝敬父母的诫命并不相互冲突。但是,一旦需要在二者之中做出先遵守哪一条的选择时,赐下独生爱子作我们救赎者的神必须受到最高的尊崇。例如:如果父母要他们有基督信仰的孩子为他们撒谎,那些孩子应该选择讲真话,尽管那样做会招致父母的反对,甚至惩罚。耶稣警告说:“爱父母过于爱我的,不配作我的门徒;爱儿女过于爱我的,不配作我的门徒。”(太10:37) Which leads us to the first principle to consider: Christians, grateful for God’s grace in Jesus, want their God to have the top priority in their lives. 让我们回到第一个原则:基督徒因为感恩神在耶稣里的恩典,愿意神在他们的生命中得到最高的优先权。 But is it possible for a Christian to show that God has top priority in his life and still show respect for his parents while attending a money burning ceremony? 然而,基督徒可否让神在他的生命中享有优先权,又能在一个烧纸的葬礼中向父母表达尊敬? In 2 Kings 5, Naaman, who had just been healed of leprosy by Elisha, pledges, “Your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the LORD.” Then he explains that he does have certain duties that go along with his role in the Syrian government. “May the LORD forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple ofRimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD forgive your servant for this.” Under the Fourth Commandment Naaman’s role was to accompany his king to worship their national god, Rimmon. He explained that he would not go to Rimmon’s temple to worship, only to carry out his duties as an aide to the king. Elisha allowed that this would be acceptable by simply telling him, “Go in peace” (verses 17-19). 列王记下5章中记载,大将军乃缦的大麻疯病被以利沙治好后,他起誓说:“从今以后,仆人必不再将燔祭和平安祭献与别神,只献给耶和华。(王下5:17)”然后他又解释说,他在叙利亚政府还有一些职务上的事情。“唯有一件事,愿耶和华饶恕你仆人:我主人进临门庙叩拜的时候,我用手搀他在临门庙,我也屈身。我在临门庙屈身的这事,愿耶和华饶恕我。”在第四条诫命之下,乃缦的任务是陪伴他的主人去叩拜他们的国神-临门。他解释说,他不会去临门庙叩拜,他只是作为国王的助手,在那里履行他的责任。以利沙允许他这样做,所以只对他说:“你可以平平安安地回去。”(王下5:17-19) It could be possible, then, fora Christian to accompany his family to a money burning ceremony as a sign of support and respect for them and their departed parents. But the Christian will want to make it clear that his being there is not to participate in the worship, rather he is attending the ceremony to show respect for family. With that in mind, a Christian could find these situations to be rich opportunities to explain what he believes about the God of grace and why he approaches these ceremonies as he does. 那么,基督徒陪伴家人参加一个烧纸的仪式,以示对家人以及已故亲人的支持和尊敬,也是可以的。但是,他要清楚的是,他在那里不是要参与崇拜,而只是表达对家人的尊敬。认识到这一点后,他会发现那是一个向人传讲神的良机。他正好可以向人讲解他所信靠的恩典之神,并且说明他为什么要参与这些仪式的原因。 However, if a Christian’s family interprets the Christian’s attendance at these ceremonies as a statement of faith in a non-Christian religion, the Christian is forced to decline to attend. That is not the faith in his heart and he would not want his family to think it is. Once again, the Christian would have a wonderful opportunity to talk about his faith in the only God there is. 但是,如果参加这些仪式,会让他的家人以为,他相信那个非基督教的信仰,那他就必须拒绝参加。. 那并不是他心中的信仰,他不愿让家人对他有错误的看法。如此一来,他也有机会向他们说明他对独一真神的信仰。

There are two other considerations. One is the way non-Christians in general will view a Christian’s attending these services. Does the culture assume that whoever goes to these services must believe in that faith? Does the culture assume that a Christian at a money burning ceremony is denying her relationship with Jesus? If that is the case, the Christian will respectfully refuse to join in these ceremonies. 另外,还有两种情况。一是非基督徒通常怎样看待基督徒的参与。这个文化认为,任何参加这些仪式的人,都必须相信那个非基督教的信仰吗?他们认为,一个基督徒只要参与了烧纸的仪式,就是在否认他和耶稣的关系吗?如果是这样,那他就要恭敬地拒绝参加。 The other consideration is the Christian community. Will other Christians be given the impression that attending money burning ceremonies is an act of denying faith in Jesus? Will other Christians be led to believe that having faith in Jesus alongside faith in Buddha, for example, is acceptable? If that is the case, the Christian will respectfully refuse to join in these ceremonies. See Paul’s discussion of how eating meat from sacrifices at the local pagan temple is acceptable for Christians, unless it leads other Christians to false assumptions or to sin against their conscience (1 Corinthians 8). 另一种情况是基督徒团体。 其他基督徒会认为,只要参与烧纸仪式,就是在否认基督信仰吗?会不会让其他基督徒认为,信仰基督的同时,也可以信仰佛教?如果是这样,他就要恭敬地拒绝参与这些仪式。我们看看保罗在讨论基督徒是否可以吃当地异教庙里的祭肉时说的话。他说,如果那样做会导致其他基督徒产生错误的认识,或让他们觉得有违自己的良心,那就不该做,(林前8)

Here is another area of our lives where our Father calls upon us Christians to learn to apply several spiritual principles at once. In certain situations making the right applications will be challenging. But there are blessings here. The gain is inour wrestling with how best to honor– inevery way possible – the God who loved us so much he sacrificed his Son for us. May the Spirit bless you as you grow in spiritual strength through that wrestling with his Word and his grace. 此外,在生活中,我们的天父呼吁基督徒学会把多个属灵原则综合起来应用。有时侯,正确的应用并不容易,但却充满祝福。当我们努力挣扎着想了解,怎样才能—–以一切可能的方式,最好地来荣耀这位深爱我们、以至于为我们舍弃他儿子的神时,我们就已经蒙福了!愿圣灵在你与神的话语和恩典摔跤的过程中,加增你属天的力量,祝福你的灵命更加长大!