Companjen, Johan (2000). Please Pray for Us: Praying for Persecuted Christians in 52 Nations. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers.

    "I have heard the statistics so often: 175,000 die for their faith every year; more martyrs in the twentieth century than throughout the rest of Church history combined.  But what does that really look like?  And what difference can one person make when confronted with such suffering?
    Please Pray for Us puts a face on these numbers.  It provides compelling evidence that our prayers are the greatest single impact we can have for persecuted Christians.  The supernatural interventions of our Savior (who still says to Christians' persecutors, 'Why do you do it to me?') is their single greatest hope.
    This book helps us get beyond just one Sunday every November (the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church) into fifty-two weeks of sustained intercession - one country per week.  I found some countries I failed to take seriously before: Mexico, Kuwait, Turkey, Peru, Jordan.  Others are infamous: Saudi Arabia, Sudan, North Korea, China. 
    The chapter for each country includes helpful features.  'Church life' gives a short history of the church and explores what it's like to be a Christian in the nation today.  'Persecution' details the form and intensity of violence against believers.  'The Future' looks ahead to the most probable scenario (often not most desirable) unless and until the Father answers the cries of Christians around the world.  The current rate of persecution actually represents a decline due in no small part to the fall of the Soviet Union.  Prayers are being answered!
    As we read the pages of this book, we can almost hear the agonizing voices of our fellow Christians appealing, 'Please pray for us!'  Let's become informed and pray for them." 
(Book Review by David Bryant)

Chapel last Wednesday (5 Dec) was taken by Dr. Satterthwaite. This was the last Chapel at which he will be speaking before he departs for his sabbatical with his wife Eileen (NB: his last day at work is 14th December); and so, after a brief treatment of Ps. 67, he devoted his talk to some reflections on his first 3½ years at BGST.
          He began by giving his impressions of the church scene in Singapore, based on his limited experience. The churches in Singapore are very diverse: they differ in the level of Bible knowledge and theological understanding, in their theological positions (e.g., on the question of how literal one must be in interpreting Scripture) and in their worship styles. Nonetheless some common features can be noted. There are many encouraging aspects: the churches in general seem to be growing; they are active in evangelism and committed in their support of missionary endeavours. Theological liberalism seems to have very little influence, the majority of Christians in Singapore being conservative in belief and practice. Dr. Satterthwaite also noted some points for concern. (1) Singapore is a very 'pragmatic' country, but pragmatism (a concern with what 'works' rather than with underlying principles) can take unhealthy forms of church life: an excessive emphasis on activities and attendance figures; a 'market-led' approach, in which congregations are only offered the kinds of worship and teaching which it is felt they will like. (2) In some circles there is a danger of over-emphasising personal spiritual experience so that it becomes the main focus of our Christian life, the main theme of our testimony, and the main criterion of what we will accept as true. This is an unbiblical distortion. (3) Singapore is a prosperous land, and also one in which it doesn't always cost a person a great deal to become a Christian. In these circumstances 'easy-believism' (a superficial conversion which produces no real transformation of heart) is a danger. Do the churches always make the cost of discipleship plain in their preaching? Are there perhaps some in our churches who are in reality unconverted? (Christians in general need to develop a more adequate theology of conversion: what it involves and what its fruits should be.)
         Certainly a place like BGST has an important role to play in Singapore. This led Dr. Satterthwaite to reflect on his experiences at BGST. He had found BGST a congenial place of work, one whose vision he wholeheartedly shared. He had enjoyed learning from colleagues and students, and had found BGST's emphasis on practical application entirely healthy. He felt that his first 3½ years at BGST had been no more than a 'sighting shot': his courses needed to be improved and refined, without diluting academic standards, and he hoped to teach more widely in Singapore and in the region generally on his return.
         Dr. Satterthwaite reflected upon his hopes for the future, and particularly for his sabbatical. A phrase which had lived with him for the past 3 years (he first heard it from Paul Stevens) is: 'the danger of frequently handling the outside of holy things'. It is easy for theological lecturers to 'deal with' a large number of biblical texts and 'work through' many theological principles without adequately reflecting on everything they've talked about; still less living out what has been 'worked through'. Dr. Satterthwaite felt that his teaching at BGST had given him an agenda of things to meditate on and pray over more deeply.
         He spoke briefly about the book he will be writing while on sabbatical. It will be an introduction to the OT Historical Books (jointly written with Gordon McConville, another British scholar), which will aim to present a clear guide to contemporary scholarship on these books. It will involve a lot of work, and it will have to be planned with the utmost care. If successful, it could be a real help to students embarking upon biblical studies. His wife Eileen will be revising her thesis (on the social world of 1 Peter) for publication.
         Dr. Satterthwaite concluded by saying how much he looked forward to spending time with friends and family in UK; and how much he looked forward to further fruitful involvement in the work of BGST from July onwards.

Chapel speaker for this week (12 Dec) will be our Council Chairman, Mr Paul Yap.  Do join us at 12 noon in room 302.

1. Dr Ng Peh Cheng is visiting Asia Theological Centre for Evangelism and Missions with 2 members of the Evaluation Team from Asia Theological Association on 11th and 12th December.

2. Register NOW for next Semester's Courses.  Besides courses taught by Resident Lecturers, the following will be courses offered by our Guest and Adjunct Lecturers:

  • Building Strong Families in the Local Church by Rev Dr Danny Goh
  • 2 courses, Christian Ethics & Bioethics by Dr Douglas Milne
  • Video class on Skills for Lay Counselling (Part I: Biblical Basis of Counselling) tutored by Mr Yam Keng Mun.
Please call Dr Ng Peh Cheng at 3538071 or email: pehcheng@pacific.net.sg for more details.

3. Twenty professionals coming from different walks of life spent Thursday evening to Saturday night together in the beautiful premises of DTC.  This wasmodule 1 of TENT 2002.  There were sessions on Emotional Wholeness, Biblical Basis of Missions and How to work on a People Profile.  Other topics of a more practical nature were covered too.  The feedback was very positive and many said that they look forward to the other modules in the year ahead.  Praise God for this ministry of BGST.
Note:  Interested persons may still register for module 2 on Understanding Culture.  Session 1 is on January 8th at 7.30 p.m.  All TENT modules are held on Tuesday evenings at BGST.

4.
Christmas Chapel on 19 Dec, Wednesday. We look forward to having you with us for a time of celebration & fellowship. Rev Peter Eng will be our Chapel Speaker and lunch will be prepared by the staff.  Call Serene at 3538071 if you are coming so that we can make the necessary preparations.

5. Prayers needed. Please pray for Dr Quek and the 20 participants who are on Bible Lands Study Tour in Israel & Turkey. The group will be returning on the afternoon of 14 Dec. May God grant them journey mercy and a spiritually enriching trip.

6. Apologies. We were infected by others with the W32.BadTrans.B@MM Virus and had in turn infected some of you. Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused. You may wish to visit http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/w32.badtrans.b@mm.removal.tool.html for the virus removal tool.

7. Leong Kok Weng will be on leave from 10 - 13 Dec. If you need any assistance regarding Library matters, please refer to Daisy or Lee Pin.

Wishing you God's blessings
on your Birthday!
Mr Choi Suk  12/11
Ms Jenny Low Wai Sum  12/12
Mrs Catherine Cheng  12/15
Mr Peter Manimuthu  12/15
Ms Lily Chen Chun-Li  12/16
Mdm Joyce Tan Soo Yuen  12/16
Mr Edwin Chua  12/17
Ms Patsy Lim Theng  12/17

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Biblical Graduate School of Theology
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Singapore 579792
This page is updated on 10 Dec 2001
Oct 2000