Saturday, February 6, 2016
The first time I met Dr. Gelzer was at the campus of the Tainan Theological Seminary in 1975 when he was a visiting professor of theology and I was a pastor of the near by Tung-Ning Church where a lot of college and high school students gathered (including the SCM member students from Cheng-Kung University.) Soon afterward, Rev. and Mrs. Gelzer were seen often in the Tung Ning church while Ms. Brown (a long time British missionary/campus minister) helped them understand the church services especially during the sermon.
I remember that during the introduction, Dr. Hsiao, then the president of the Seminary, told us that Gelzer was primary teaching the theology of the African and the theology of Reformation since he was working and teaching in the western part of Africa (Cameroon) as a missionary for more than twenty years. From the casual conversation with the seminary students (I was also a part time lecturer then) I learned that Gelzer was virtually also teaching the [theology of hope] in the biblical sense. After all, without faith, hope and love, what is left there then?
I learned a little news of Dr. Gelzer after I came to the States for further study in 1976 that he was very much involved with the struggle of the Taiwanese political movements in general and the Presbyterian Church clergy/members involvements in particular, especially during the so called Kaohsiung (Formosan) Incident in 1979. Gelzer must have been standing closely with the Taiwanese, the Presbyterian Church ministers and the members who suffered the unnecessary imprisonments – just because they wanted their voices to be heard.
Then the next thing I heard was that Dr. and Mrs. Gelzer were expelled by the KMT in 1984, ten years after their service started in
as missionary. Taiwan
Shortly after my retirement, I talked with Gelzer over the phone briefly. His major concern was still the churches and the people in
as if he was from Taiwan,
and was of . Taiwan
Dr. Gelzer was not the first missionary been expelled from
. There were some British Presbyterian
Missionaries and United States Reformed Church and Presbyterian Church missionaries
left Taiwan that way too. Let us hope
that Gelzer would be among the last incident of the expelled missionary
After all, before his passing away on 1-23-2016, Dr. Gelzer must have heard or sensed the major change in
during the presidential election in 1-16-2016 where the KMT suffered a complete
election defeat in the modern history of . Taiwan
Dr. Gelzer had spent ten years in
as a PC-USA teaching
missionary. Yet he must have won, known
to him or not, million Taiwanese hearts along the way. Taiwan
Below is the Living history by Rev. Gelzer