More Information
ISBN: 9781783687732
Imprint: Langham Global Library
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 7
Publication Date: 31/01/2020
Pages: 132
Language: English

Authentic Forgiveness

A Biblical Approach


No one can avoid conflict, sin, and evil, or the hurt and brokenness they cause. The best way to transform conflict and hurt from being life-destructive to being life-constructive is to forgive and to be forgiven.

Authentic, biblically based forgiveness is a gift that God offers to humanity so that hurt can be healed, the cycle of retaliation broken, a painful past soothed, and estranged relationships reconciled and restored. Dr John Tran explains how forgiveness in both Western and Chinese cultures differs from the practice outlined in God’s word. Authentic Forgiveness calls us to examine our own cultural traditions and points us towards the search for true reconciliation, where people risk to communicate, extend trust, and work through anger and pain. Combining biblical and theological understanding with practical strategies for local church ministry, Tran offers an inspiring paradigm of action for Christians in urban Asian contexts and beyond.

Author Bios

John C. W. Tran

JOHN CHUEN WAH TRAN gained his DMin from Fuller Theological Seminary, California, USA. He worked in accounting and finance for thirteen years before undertaking theological studies and then serving as a pastor. He is the Senior Pastor of the Evangelical Free Church of China – Jachin Church, which grew to over 1100 people in the first five years after he planted it. Over the course of his pastoral ministry he has focused on discipleship training, authentic forgiveness and serving the deprived.


Many can’t forgive. Some won’t forgive. Others think they’ve forgiven. In reality, too few Christians know how to practice authentic forgiveness. In this regard, Authentic Forgiveness is indeed a vital contribution. I’m glad that Pastor John has written this book. It is written with the mind of a scholar, the heart of a pastor, and the insightfulness of a competent cultural exegete. It is a highly commendable read!

Rev Edmund Chan
Leadership Mentor, Covenant Evangelical Free Church, Singapore
Founder, Global Alliance of Intentional Disciple Making Churches

Forgiveness is easy – until you meet real people! John Tran has given us the gift of a theologically articulate and practical resource for helping people in a local congregation to forgive each other and engage more deeply in community ... Whenever people gather together, hurt, offense, and violence are often realities that must be dealt with. As Christ followers, we cannot avoid these realities but must work through these challenges and practice authentic forgiveness in our faith communities. Tran guides us on that path – biblically and practically.

Kurt Fredrickson, PhD
Associate Dean, Doctor of Ministry Program,
Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministry,
Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, USA

Authentic forgiveness requires not only a thoroughly biblical and theological understanding as its foundation but also a practical strategy addressing the milieu of local church ministries with realistic cultural constraint. This book combines the best of both worlds, offering an inspiring paradigm for action among pastoral colleagues in urban Asian contexts and beyond.

Rev Stephen Lee, PhD
President and Lam Ko Kit Tak Professor of Biblical Studies,
China Graduate School of Theology, Hong Kong

Authentic Forgiveness is a life-transforming book ... Tran invites readers to step out of their comfort zones to deal with past hurts so as to experience the wonderful joy of mended relationships when forgiveness is practiced in an authentic and biblical way. This is a must-read for pastors and Christians who truly want to follow Christ in this world of broken relationships.

Maureen Yeung Marshall, PhD
Professor Emerita of Biblical Studies,
Former President, Evangel Seminary, Hong Kong

In proposing a strategy to implement the biblical vision of forgiveness in a local context, this book situates itself at the intersection of theological, cultural, and ecclesial concerns and practices. Through the lens of a wider redemptive historical framework embedded in the biblical text, it provides a strong and effective critique of both the “eastern” prioritization of social harmony and the “western” preoccupation with self-healing. The particularity of its context allows for a wider application in a time when Christian communities are increasingly finding themselves blessed by culturally diverse groups of believers. As such, this book deserves a place on the shelves of conscientious pastors and Christian leaders.

David W. Pao, PhD
Professor of New Testament,
Chair, New Testament Department,
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois, USA

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. Abstract
    1. Location, Location, Location: Forgiving in a Chinese Context
    2. Influences That Shape and Distort Perceptions and the Practice of Forgiveness
    3. Broken Relationships: Seven Voices Speak about Forgiveness
    4. Foundations of Authentic Forgiveness
    5. Practice: A Plan of Action for Your Church
    6. Practice: Implementing the Plan in Your Church
    7. Final Words: As We Have Been Forgiven, so Forgive
  4. Appendix A: Sermon Series Topics and Scriptures
  5. Appendix B: Authentic Forgiveness Questionnaire: Sample Questions
  6. Bibliography