Biblical Graduate School of Theology
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WEEK NO. 6                                                                                                                             12 - 19 February 2001
It's good to know that BTW is being read because there is an occasional response. The recent reference to Dr J.W. Maris’ convocation address elicited this contribution from CKM:
    "Saw your note on Dr Maris’ talk on Sanctification. I think it is a good idea to share experiences on this subject as it has troubled me often. For me, sanctification is really a process of "trying" and "longing". Without "trying", we do not know where we stand. When we get a clearer picture of where we stand, there is only "longing" for it is not us who can make it but He who sanctifies us. Martha did much but it was Mary who found that which not be taken away". 
      These words of Fenelon (1651 - 1715) may cast another light on the issue: "Christian perfection is not that rigorous, tedious, cramping thing that many imagine. It demands only an entire surrender of everything to God from the depths of the soul, and the moment this takes place, whatever is done for Him becomes easy. They who are God’s without reserve, are in every state content; for they will only what He wills, and desire to do for Him whatever he desires them to do; they strip themselves of everything, and in this nakedness find all things restored an hundred fold. Peace of conscience, liberty of spirit, the sweet abandonment of themselves and theirs into the hand of God, the joy of perceiving the light always increasing in their hearts, and finally the freedom of their souls from the bondage of the fears and desires of this world, these things constitute that return of happiness which the true children of God receive an hundred fold in the midst of their crosses, while they remain faithful." (From Instructions in the Divine Life of the Soul, Ch 23)
      The call is still out for more interaction on this issue if you so feel led to contribute. Drop me a line at pkoe@architda.com.sg or just write to BGST. (PK)

 
Good Books

My Good Book for this week is not a book at all, but a series of booklets, the Grove Biblical Series, published by Grove Books, Cambridge, and available in BGST Library. 
        The series is written by biblical scholars, mainly English, who are specialists in their discipline but have been invited to present some of the fruits of their scholarship in a brief and readable form. 
        It started appearing in 1996 at the rate of four a year, and there are now 18 titles, all of them in BGST Library, most of them 24 pages long. Topics covered include: Homosexuality and Bible; Translating the Bible; Preaching Old Testament Narrative; Paul and the Historical Jesus; Can Balaam’s Ass Speak Today? (on the modern use of the OT); New Heavens, New Earth – the Biblical Picture of Christian Hope; Jesus at AD 2000 (a survey of recent scholarship on the historical Jesus); Reading Jonah; Decoding Daniel – Reclaiming the Visions of Daniel 7-11. 
       As you can see from this, the issues covered are serious ones, all of them relating to how we interpret the Bible today. The general level of treatment is, I would say, not light-weight, but not excessively heavy either; and the writers do generally communicate well.
       If you want a brief, informative, up-to-date and thought-provoking read on important topics relating to our understanding of the Bible, try one or two of these booklets. (And perhaps some of you could consider writing something similar for the Singapore context. Why not?) (PS)

 

News Bits

Please note the change in date for the course, Acts (NT251A). The class scheduled for 19th Feb at 7.30 p.m is now brought forward to 18th Feb (Sunday), same time.

Dr Danny Goh will be our chapel speaker this week, Wednesday, 15thFebruary at 12 p.m. 

Library notes: 
1. For AV users - Please remember to switch off the TV and VCR or VCD player after use. This will help to extend the life of these items.

2. General - We are hoping to increase the viewing stations from 4 to 5. We need to have a TV between 14 -21 inches with an audio-out capability (for head-phone) and a multi-system VCR with a clock counter. Please contact the library at 3538073 or lib@bgst.edu.sg if you are able to donate either/both of these items with the necessary requirements. Thank you very much.


 
Chapel

We were pleased to welcome our Council Chairman, Mr. Paul Yap, as our speaker at Chapel last week, 7th February. 
Taking as his text Acts 10:9-16 Mr. Yap spoke to us on the topic of change. We are often resistant to change, and for a variety of reasons: change may be personally inconvenient to us, forcing us out of routines with which we have grown comfortable; it may be uncomfortable to us, forcing us to think in new ways. The writer Thomas Kuhn noted in the field of scientific research how, in order for a new scientific theory to be accepted, a ‘paradigm shift’ may be necessary. For that reason the new theory may be resisted until the evidence in its favour becomes overwhelming. 
Nor is this a new phenomenon: Peter in Acts 10 had to undergo a similar ‘paradigm shift’ when told by the Lord to eat animals he, as a good Jew, had previously thought of as unclean. As the following narrative makes plain, this command given in a vision symbolised the new thing the Lord was doing in his day, bringing Gentiles, previously thought of as ‘unclean’ into the fold of God’s people. Peter had to change his thinking in the light of what God was doing; and like many of us, he was resistant at first. 
BGST, Mr. Yap went on to suggest, also needs to be open to change; more than that, we need to be willing to embrace change and, if possible, to take the lead in developing means of theological education that will be appropriate for the laity. Any institution, even a young one like BGST, can become too set in its ways and suffer from blind spots. All the time we need to be assessing our educational philosophy and teaching methods. There are developments in the secular world which we should at least be examining, for example the extensive use of the Internet. Not that we should simply adopt certain methods because others have done so; but we need to be open to change, and be constantly willing to submit our ways of thinking to God, in order to use BGST’s resources to minister as effectively as we can to God’s people.
We thank Mr. Yap for his very timely message. If you want the full text, the tape is available in BGST.


Birthday Greetings

We wish all these qwho celebrate their birthdays this week God's richest blessings.

Loy Teck Tong, Jason 12/2
Lim Shyan, Bryan 13/2
Sankaran Kyrie 13/2
Kim Sung Yup, Moses 14/2
Chua Boon Chye, Andrew 15/2
Quah Swee Liang, Edith 16/2
Ahn Tae Yoon 17/2
Khoo Li Min, Sharon 18/2
Letter from Cambodia
(Alumnus, Rebecca Lee, graduated in 1994, went on the Regent College to obtain her M.Div and now works in Phnom Penh Bible School. In her latest letter to her church, she describes her various encounters with poverty, pot-holes, platform shoes, and local television. She writes with an open heart and relates her insights into things Cambodian with such candour that one is drawn very personally into her experiences. 
So if you know Rebecca and would like to receive her prayer letters, you may write to her at this address: Phnom Penh Bible School, PO Box 1154, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to hear from you.)
Here are some more personal notes from her letter:

          In my last visit home, many of you asked me what life is like here, how I spend my day, how I can be sure of my calling to Cambodia. I do apprecite those questions, for it shows you care and you want ot know how to pray for me. I will give details of these as I go along, along with things that I invite you to see through my perspective. They can be things that weigh heavily on my heart, so please pray for me (that I may learn to entrust these burdens to God more and more) and with me (that God will act mightily in response to the cries of his people). Where things are funny (and that includes me), laugh! This is your partnership in the gospel and may it never be said again to me or other missionaries, "Wah! You are so brave to go and live in such difficult circumstances." Or "I don’t do much except to visit the sick/teach Sunday School/be a home-maker."
         Please believe that when you pray, God hears and He will answer. I cannot stand where I am today without your prayers. However, I would also like to challenge each of you to listen closer to God’s voice too. For some of you who have been struggling with whether God’s calling is to missions, the only way forward is to submit and obey. For every dollar you give and every prayer you offer, precious as they are, neither can substitute your presence among the people so that they can see and feel the love of God. There are so few of us and so many of them. And they and we have only a life each to respond to God. The cost can be very great and the pain is indescribale and there are many moments when I wonder how different things would be if I had not chosen to walk this path - there were such moments when I went home this time. However, many doubts do not add up to a regret. God is faithful and only He can keep me faithful. May you add your faithful prayers to what I ask from the Lord too. 

 


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