Saturday, February 6, 2016

Rev. Dr. David Gelzer 郭大衛牧師.


Rev. Dr. David Gelzer 


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 Taiwan as missionary.

Shortly after my retirement, I talked with Gelzer over the phone briefly.  His major concern was still the churches and the people in Taiwan as if he was from Taiwan, and was of Taiwan.

Dr. Gelzer was not the first missionary been expelled from Taiwan.  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 elsewhere.

After all, before his passing away on 1-23-2016, Dr. Gelzer must have heard or sensed the major change in Taiwan 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 Taiwan as a PC-USA teaching missionary.  Yet he must have won, known to him or not, million Taiwanese hearts along the way.

Below is the Living history by Rev. Gelzer

                     From left : Mr. Gelzer / Dr. Gelzer / Ms. Brown / Mrs. Gelzer
                                                  In front of Tainan Tung Ning Church

1 comment:

  1. Yes, he(Dr. Gelzer) was such a real gentleman with love of God and passion for people! We had the honor to host him and Mrs. C M Kao(髙李麗珍) when they visited DC in '85.
    - Dr. and Mrs. B Tsai