The following interview with Stephen Chen appeared in the Washington Post on-line...
Stephen Chen is head pastor of the English-language ministry at Redeemer Bible Fellowship in Mountain View, Calif. Among the longtime members of his 300-person, largely Chinese American immigrant church is basketball’s latter-day wunderkind, the Knicks’ Jeremy Lin.
On Faith: What is Jeremy like as a person and as a Christian?
Stephen Chen:...When people ask him, ‘How are you going to stay grounded? he says, ‘I understand that I’m a sinner.’ And when he says that, he’s saying that he understands that he’s a sinner saved by grace. He knows that [because] he came to salvation. He [knows] that what he has is not his and that does keep him grounded. That is part of Christian character that he continues to work on. I think we’d all agree that we need to be working on humility. That’s one of those things that he’s able to keep in check because he remembers where he came from and the work that God has already done in his life.”
On Faith: What can other Christians learn from Lin?
Stephen Chen: His trust in the promises of God. There is no doubt in his mind that God is a sovereign God and that God controls all things. And yet he knows that in times in his life he’s had a lot of ups and downs in terms of hopes dashed. And he wouldn’t say it’s because God was angry at him but rather he would understand that this — even this — is good because God is good and God is love. Romans 8:28 is just his verse. And he knows that everything is working out for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose. He knows he is a child of God and so in that sense he struggles, yes. He’s not perfect, he struggles to consistently hold onto and grip onto what God has said in his word rather than just letting his emotions take control of him. So I think that’s an example to other people.
On Faith: Do you, or does Lin, see his basketball career as a spiritual mission?
Stephen Chen: It would depend on what we mean by spiritual mission. . . I think he does understand that whatever he does he wants to do heartily unto the Lord. He understands even in his basketball playing that God did create him a certain way.
This is quoted by Christians all the time but Eric Liddell, this wonderful track athlete, talked about how when he runs, ‘he feels God’s pleasure.’ And I think, for Jeremy, when he plays basketball he feels God’s pleasure because he understands how he has been made. How he has been put together by God. And so in that sense, yes, there’s definitely a spiritual, Christian dynamic to his playing. And yet, in another sense . . . does he feel like he wants to take these gifts that God has given him and use it to proclaim Christ? Yes. I think he would say yes. I think any Christian would probably say yes.