Ask anyone about the Church in China and soon it is clear that there is much confusion concerning the exact nature of the Christianity in China today. China's Christian Millions: The Costly Revival, by Tony Lambert (London: OMF,1999)  

is a reliable and important guide for those who wish to understand the Church in China today. 
 
  Tony Lambert lived for many years in China before moving to Hong Kong. He is fluent in Mandarin and is in touch with the various "branches" of the Church in China.  He has written three books on China from an evangelical perspective. The following is excerpted from a book review by Kim-Kwong Chan. 
    "What has actually happened among the Christian community in China, one of the largest and fastest growing churches in modern history?  And what caused such growth?  Was it mainly due to the religious policy of the Chinese, as advocated by the leaders of the China Christian Council?  Or the zealous evangelistic desires of the itinerant preachers of the non-registered Christian community, as claimed by some overseas China ministry organizations?
    Tony Lambert's book ... tries to document this phenomenon and suggests some clues behind its development.  One of the most controversial issues is the relationship between the government-sanctioned Christian groups and those who have not registered with the government.  If is a very complex and dynamic situation, and Lambert provides a fair and balanced portrait.  His description of the church's growth, illustrated with various cases and testimonies, is the bulk of this book.  Quite a number of those cases have been collected by the author himself, and many are related with China Inland Mission's former work in China.  It is a fascinating collection of stories.  It also examines the challenges that come with rapid growth - extreme sects, cults, lack of pastoral staff, and so on.  At the end of the book, Lambert gives a useful, province-by-province account of the Christian situation. 
    If one is looking for the reason behind the revival, this book does not really answer the question from an academic perspective. The author emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the work of the Holy Spirit, the church's faithfulness to scriptural teaching, suffering, the dedication of the Christians. The author examines this matter devotionally and challenges the reader's soul to admire God's wonder in China via the Chinese Christians.  Revivals, by themselves, may well be a mystery beyond human comprehension and rational explanation.
    This is definitely a book that should not be missed by any serious students of Christianity in contemporary China."
                                                                                                (Extracted from "East Asia's Millions")

Chapel last Wednesday (12 Dec was led by Mr Paul Yap. Here is what he shared ...
We live in a world that is incredibly complex and, now, more chaotic.  September 11 has thrown the world into a turmoil and changed it irrevocably.  Although the situation in Afghanistan seems to be nearly resolved, it is not over as yet and we can expect that there will be more problems to come.
    In its wake the world economy has worsened and Singapore is now in the throes of its worst recession since the British pullout. Almost every organization has been affected and BGST is no exception.  BGST also has a few other problems unique to itself.
    Every individual is also affected and for some the turmoil is the most significant they have ever experienced.  What do we make of this?  What can we see in this?
    Some may be prompted to ask, as many did immediately after September 11, "where was God?".  And what will the future be like?  Actually, all this is not new.  We are in chaos and we have always been, although many may not have realised it, or having felt it may have denied it.
    The natural world has always been chaotic, and yet orderly within the chaos. A new word has been coined for this paradox - "CHAORD" - chaotic orderliness. If we care to examine any ecosystem, that is a natural state.  Our own bodies are a reflection of this state.  The societies we live in are also in such a state. (In fact, we often try to impose control and stability and sometimes overdo it to our detriment.)  Chaos and order, complexity and simplicity exist side by side or within each other. Sometime matters alternate between the two states in a situation which scientists call intermittency.
    What can we learn from this? In the midst of chaos there will be order and God is there and everywhere. Out of the rubble of the World Trade Centre has come the liberation of Afghanistan. It seems that BGST has emerged better after the messiness of the recent change and will get better as things begin to settle down and we resolve the problems that will become apparent to us.  It is God's work and He will see it through.
    What about ourselves individually - the chaos in our lives, the chaos that has always been us, the chaos that we may not realize or have sought to deny?
    We can learn some things as we meditate on the lessons of Psalms 139:

vv.1-6  God knows us intimately in a way we do not comprehend. We may seem complex and chaotic to ourselves but God knows us
vv.7-12  God is with us wherever we may be and leads us in every circumstance.
vv.13-18  God made us and is in control. There is a purpose in our life.
vv.19-22  God vindicates us and makes us right.
vv.23-24  Nevertheless, paradoxically, we should maintain the spirit of humility and want to keep right with God and be led by Him

In the midst of our chaos and the chaos around us God will let order emerge.

Chapel speaker for this week (19 Dec) will be Rev Peter Eng.  Do join us at 12 noon in the main sanctuary on the ground floor, not in Room 302! This is our Christmas celebration. Do stay behind for a Christmas Lunch. All are welcome!

1. 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.

2. Library & Office will be closed from 1pm on Christmas Eve and will resume operation on Tuesday,              26 Dec 2001.

3.
Video Class on Skills in Lay Counselling (I).
This course taught by Dr Tan Siang Yang will be tutored by Mr Yam Keng Mun. 
                                          Note the dates for the following sessions:
           Jan   10   Orientation
                   30   Tutorial 1
           Feb   20    Practicum 1
           Mar   6    Tutorial 2
                  20    Practicum 2
           April  3    Tutorial 3
                  17    Practicum 3
           May  8    Review
                  22    Exam

Tutor's Profile: Mr Yam is a Clinical Psychologist in private practice and co-ordinator of a lay counselling ministry at Woodlands Evangelical Free Church.  After completing a B.A. from Moody Bible Institute, he served as a pastor before obtaining a M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Midwestern State University, Texas, U.S.A.  He is married with two children, ages 9 and 6.

4. Praise God for the safe return of the
Bible Lands Study Tour participants after an enjoyable trip! Here are some snippets from the feedback forms:

  • "Dr Quek showed passion and commitment in his lectures which helped me understand and gain much insight .... It's wonderful to have daily devotions, worship, prayer and Bible lessons."
  • "I like the log cabin at Yad Hashmona and the kibbutz at the Dead Sea. It's better than staying at hotels because we get a glimpse of Israeli community living."
  •  
  • "At the kibbutz the food was excellent, especially on shabbat [the sabbath]"
  • "I wish to return to Israel for another visit together with my family."
  • "I am impressed by Dr Quek's experience in coordinating and organizing the whole trip. I thank God for the success of this trip."

Wishing you God's blessings
on your Birthday!
Ms Elaine Ng Gek Choo  12/18
Mr Chua Mun Kiong  12/19
Ms April Sim  12/19
Ms Jessie Teo Pei Cher  12/21
Ms Kelly Kong  12/22
Mr Richard Song  12/23
Mr Tan Keok Hai  12/23

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