Khang Kiat Tien (Pinyin Kang Kedian) 康克典
by Chin-Lee Chan, 2012
Basic Biographical Data
KT Khang was born on October 28, 1895 in Singapore; died on 1987 in Toronto, Canada. His wife was born on October 25, 1894.
Spouse: Liao, Teck Sing (廖德新)
Children: Khang Kiat Tien had 11 children, of which 8 grew to adulthood: Siau Tien Kang, Minna Kang Rice, Rhoda Kang Wu, Siau Wee Kang Chan, William Kang, Betty Kang Chan, Grace Kang Sinn, George Kang.
Summary of Service: Pastoring local churches, teaching Bible courses in schools and colleges, serving as a chaplain in a hospital, serve as a President of the Swatow (潮頭) and Hakar (客家) Missions in China, writing three books – Has Christianity Been Hoodwinked?, A Peculiar People, and Genesis And The Chinese, co-authoring (with Ethel Nelson, MD) the book, The Discovery of Genesis.
According to Mrs. Ida Wu (康佳麗), Pastor Khang Kiat Tien (康克典, pinyin Kang Kedian), alias Kang Chong Heng (康中興), was born in 1896 in Singapore (Figure 1). KT Khang or KT Khng, as he sometimes was affectionately known, was a Catholic by birth and completed his Senior Cambridge Certificate in St. Joseph Institute, a well-known Catholic School. He served as an accountant and financial officer in the Singapore Government till he learned about the Bible Sabbath through an evangelistic meeting and was converted into the Seventh-day Adventist faith. Unable to keep the Sabbath and the job at the same time, the young officer left his position and enrolled into the Theological Training Institute in Chiaotoutseng (桥头镇), China. It was here that he met his wife, Lia Teck Sing (廖德新), a teacher and Dean of Women, whom he married and started a life-time of earnest labor in God’s vineyard together (Figure 2). They had 11 children of which 3 they lost and 8 grew to be adults (Figure 3).
Began Denominational Work
Mrs. Ida Wu, Pastor Khang’s paternal granddaughter further wrote in the “ABOUT THE AUTHOR” section of one of his books. During his ministerial career, Pastor Khang served in several positions. Among them were: pastoring churches, instructor of Bible in schools and colleges, served as chaplain in a hospital, and as President of the Swatow (潮頭) and Hakar (客家) Missions in China.1
The writer of this article considers that Pastor Khang’s most significant contribution was published his book, “Genesis And The Chinese”, in 1950, about the correlation of the Traditional Chinese characters and the first 11 chapters of Genesis that has edified and equipped Christians in the area of apologetics and evangelism (Figure 4).
According to Mrs. Ida Wu, “This book was the result of 40 years of prayerful and thoughtful research; comparing the book of Genesis and the Chinese Traditional Characters of the Chinese Language. (The Simplified Characters of the Chinese Language was a modern invention not based on the Bible.) The book was the direct response to the challenge of an educated evolutionist who thought the book of Genesis was “a very fine Fairy tale for children but hardly worth an adult’s time!”
The author sincerely hoped that as his readers saw the beauty of the Chinese Traditional Characters, the truth found hidden there would inspire them and brought them closer to the Creator, our Lord, and our God.1
This writer believes that God has used Pastor Khang and his book to inspired Dr. Ethel Nelson (Figure 5), a SDA missionary pathologist to Thailand, to further Pastor Khang’s apologetic idea. The following is Dr. Nelson’s recount in an interview by Christina Hogan around year 2004:
Figure 1: Pastor Khang Kiat Tien (Pinyin Kang Kedian)
Figure 2: Pastor and Mrs. Khang Kiat Tien, ca. 1925
Figure 3: Family picture of Pastor Khang (Front row from the left: Ida Kang Wu, Siau Tien Kang, Pastor Khang, Minna Kang Rice, Mrs. Khang, Mrs. Siau Tien Kang, Jimmy Kang, George Kang. Back row from the left: Rhoda Kang Wu, Siau Wee Kang Chan, William Kang, Betty Kang Chan, Grace Kang Sinn.)
Hogan's Question: “Moving into area, how did you become interested in researching the Chinese characters?
Nelson's answer: "About 25 years ago I came across a book entitled Genesis and the Chinese by Pastor Kang. (This writer knows that Mrs. Ida Wu’s youngest brother Philip Khng connected Dr. Nelson with Pastor Khang.) The title brought an instant response within me: There can be no connection! Out of curiosity, I opened and read the book. I discovered that the Chinese characters are pictograms that tell the story of Creation. I began using these to give Bible studies to students in Bangkok. When we came back to the United States, I put it away for three or four years. Then I wrote to Pastor Kang in Singapore, and asked him, “Would you be interested in updating your book and working on another one?” He was very excited, and we worked one year by correspondence. Then I went to visit him in Singapore. The result was Discovery of Genesis (Concordia, 1979).
Figure 4: Cover of Pastor Khang’s book, Genesis & the Chinese, designed by his paternal granddaughter, Ida Wu.
Hogan's question: "What did you discover?"
Nelson's Answer: "We researched ancient Chinese characters and discovered many more in addition to the ones Kang had originally found. I found more ancient character forms from the Shang dynasty, dating to 1700 B.C. For example, the character of Shang Di: Many recitations have come down through the centuries relating how Shang Di was creator god who spoke things into existence. The ancient Chinese characters show the Creation story with Adam, Eve, the Garden of Eden, and the two trees. One character, for example, has a sheep, representing the lamb of God, drawn over the symbol for “me” or “I.” A hand in the “me” symbol is holding a weapon. This character means righteousness. It’s written differently now, but the meanings are still the same."
"With the passage of time, the Chinese forgot these roots and began ancestor worship. Buddhism was introduced from India, and an indigenous religion, Taoism, developed. Many people don’t realize it, but Confucius was a believer in Shang Di. His followers, however, began to worship him instead. They’ve forgotten their original beliefs, and they haven’t had it pointed out to them, either. The Chinese consider Christianity a foreigners’ religion, but within their characters is the story of who God is. These Chinese characters can be used as a bridge to understand the Bible and Christianity. "
"I recently learned that a Chinese man in Colorado Springs was going to Taiwan with a group of professional people for disaster relief training, and he thought of Discovery of Genesis as a way to introduce Christianity to Taiwan. As a result, 25 of the 153 Chinese professionals, including medical doctors and engineers, gave their lives to Jesus. They recognized that Christianity had been there all along. Evangelists in Japan and Korea are also interested in this. They can now relate Christianity to the Chinese characters which they also use and show their people that Christianity is not a foreign religion.”2
Since then Dr. Nelson with other researchers wrote more books on Chinese characters and even carried the research to a higher level by relating the most ancient Chinese characters with Genesis:
Mysteries Confucius Couldn’t Solve (Read Books, 1986) ) – Translated in Chinese (孔子未解開的謎) 3
Genesis and the Mystery Confucius Couldn’t Solve (Concordia, 1994) --Translated in Chinese( 儒家難解的謎)
God’s Promise to the Chinese (Read Books, 1997) – this book has been translated into Chinese (骨頭里的故事) The Story of Bone4 and Chinese/English bilingual version (甲骨揭秘)5
The Beginning of Chinese Characters (Read Books, 2001)6
Pastor Khang spent his retirement years with his oldest son Khang Siau Tien (康紹典) in the beautiful city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada.
Figure 5: Khang's Co-author, Ethel Nelson, M.D., who continued the research into Christian concepts in Chinese writings.
Figure 6: The family picture of Pastor Khang’s oldest son. Back row from left are James Khang, Ida Wu, Milton Wu (husband of Ida), and Philip Khng. Front row from the left are Mrs. and Mr. Khang Siau Tien.
Figure 7: Genesis and The Mysteries Confucius Couldn’t Solve
Figure 8: God’s Promise to the Chinese
Figure 9: Pastor and Mrs. Khang (seated at cemter), with three generations of family members in Sha Tin, Hong Kong ca1955.
Figure 10: Pastor Khang K.T. with Pastor Wu W.W .in Canada during retirement years.
By the way, I am using the APA Citation Machine: http://citationmachine.net/index2.php
Khang, K. T. (1950). Genesis and the Chinese. (1994 ed., p. About The Author). Payson, Arizona, USA: Leaves-Of-Autumn Books, Inc.