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Issue No. 15 11 - 17 Apr 2011

Book Review

by Mr John Chong Ser Choon

Living the ResurrectionThe book is available for sale at BGST

Retail price @ $24.35
Book Club member price @ $23.10
Student Price @ $21.90

Eugene Peterson, Living The Resurrection – The Risen Christ in Everyday Life
(NavPress, 2006)
 
This book is easy to read, a retelling of the resurrection accounts from the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But any book by Eugene Peterson will often directly and subversively provoke us to re-examine our assumptions about how we live the Christian life.
 
One frequent theme of Peterson’s teaching and books is his insistence on the ordinary as the context for the Christ-like life to be formed in us. (Another book on this theme is his earlier book, The Wisdom of Each Other.)
 
In Living the Resurrection, he quoted the late Pope John Paul II as saying to a group of Third Word leaders: “Don’t look at the Western nations for models in your development. They know how to make things, but they don’t know how to live with them. They have acquired a mind-boggling technology, but they’ve forgotten how to raise their children.” (p. 11).
 
This book thus, is addressed primarily to his American context, but his focus on a parallel weakness in the church makes this book compelling reading for us as well. He wrote, “The formation of souls … a major responsibility of the Christian church – lives formed by the Holy Spirit…by and large, is a neglected responsibility.” (p. 11).
 
Peterson takes the resurrection of Christ as a framework to think about our formation to be more Christlike (“formation-by-resurrection”). How do we allow the resurrection of Jesus to “define and energize us as we enter the practice of resurrection lives.”(p.14) The subtitle for this book further clarifies his purpose for writing this book: “The Risen Christ in Everyday Life.”
 
To recover this resurrection centre, he focused on three ordinary, practical aspects of our lives: wonder, meals and friends, the three main chapters in this little book. For each aspect, he combed through each of the four gospel accounts to bring out rich insights and often, provocative challenges. For example, on wonder, he wrote: “It’s the very nature of wonder to catch us off guard, to circumvent expectations and assumptions. Wonder can’t be packaged, and it can’t be worked up. It requires some sense of being there and some sense of engagement. (p. 20) Wonders like the resurrection of Jesus, or the fear of the Lord. (His rumination on the fear of the Lord is gripping. See pp. 27-29.)
 
And what can be more mundane, repetitive and ordinary that having meals and friends. But in a busy world that is getting even busier, meals for fellowship with friends for deep conversations are all squashed few and far in between work and more work. So, he charges, “Christian practice in matters of spiritual formation goes badly astray when it attempts to construct or organize ways of spirituality apart from the ordinariness of life. And there is nothing more ordinary than a meal.” (p. 71) And ruminating on the Emmaus walk, he wrote, “Conversation usually slows us down to something like two miles an hour…if Jesus joined those two within a mile or so of setting out to Emmaus, and the walked and talked together for about six miles, that comes out roughly two or three hours. That’s enough time to go into things in considerable depth” (p. 60).
 
Peterson, often with his crisp cutting critique of Church and Christian presumptuousness, perceptively highlights for us the subtle erosion of aliveness in Christ. Here is where Peterson is subversive. (The title of another of his book is called Subversive Spirituality.)

This book is simple to read. But Peterson has an uncanny way of turning a revered spiritual practice over and exposed its over-spiritual, or pseudo-spiritual underbelly. An amusing anecdote was about a devout grandmother who took her faith so seriously that it took her five years old grand-daughter to name it simply as “godtalk.” The girl believes God is everywhere. And that is enough. She told the grandmother, “Let’s just get on with life.” (p. 49)
 
This is a good book to read in preparation for the season of Easter. It provides needful challenges to us to get on with life, the resurrection life as the basis for daily life.

Chapel Summary by Rev Yap Wai Keong

Our chapel speaker, Rev Yap Wai Keong posed a important question: what kind of relationship should we strive to maintain as we serve alongside fellow-pastors, elders or fellow servants in general? He looked at the example of Epaphroditus’ relationship with Paul in the church at Philippi to examine and answer the question of this tripartite relationship in ministry.
 
Firstly, the tripartite relationship in ministry is a relationship of being fellow brother to one another. (See Phil 2:25) Epaphroditus must have been so close to Paul for Paul to feel such intensity of emotion, “sorrow upon sorrow” regarding his sickness.
 
Rev Yap shared his feelings that emotional bonds and care for fellow colleagues in the same ministry are crucial: “We could treat each other as mere worker whom we must squeeze every ounce of diligence and discipline from rather than the fact that we are bonded by blood, as in the blood of Christ. We may be more concerned about deadlines and effectiveness of projects, rather than if a person is having inner struggles and special needs. Sometimes, leaders may not ask each other, “Hey, how are your children? How can I pray for your family?” You may find that ordinary members care more for your well-being than fellow leaders caring for each other in the church.”
 
Secondly, the tripartite relationship in ministry is a relationship that is based on being a fellow worker. Epaphroditus must have worked very hard, otherwise he would not have fallen sick to the point of near death, as he took physical risks to serve Paul on behalf of the Philippians church. The phrase ‘risking his life’ means literally “to expose one's self.” It was also a gambler's word, to throw down a stake. This is the spirit of working hard for the partnership in the gospel; it is to serve rather than be served and to give our lives as ransom for many.
 
Thirdly, the tripartite relationship in ministry is a relationship that is based on being a fellow soldier in Christ. Soldiering implies at least one key thought: fighting on the same side and against a common enemy, and that is the devil. Fellow soldiers do not shoot each other. Very unfortunately, said Rev Yap, “Christians do shoot each other.” He noted, for example how fellow colleagues in the same office often could be wary of each other, consciously or unconsciously, subtly say things or ask questions that insinuate against each other. Fellow soldiering requires a spirit of gracious understanding and readiness to forgive where wrong is committed too. Fellow soldiering always keep us alert against the enemy, the devil, and keeps us from sowing misinformation to destabilise us as a team in partnership.
 
Rev Yap closed with Paul’s creedal statement about the mind of Christ found in Philippians 2:5-10. The attitude of Christ who was God, was that He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. Instead, he made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant! He emptied himself, was willing to sacrifice himself to the point of death on the cross. This is exactly the spirit of Epaphroditus who was near death, risking his very own self in order to serve the need of Paul and the Philippian church. Only when we are willing to adopt fully the attitudes of Christ, can we then be fellow-soldiers together, forgive each other and hence become complete fellow worker and fellow brother in the Lord.

Chapel News

Pastor Alby Yip, Alumnus MDiv 2008 will be the Chapel Speaker on 13 April.

Dr Andrew Lee will be speaker on 20 April. Chapel begins at 12 pm. You are welcome to join us.

Faculty News

Dr Philip Satterthwaite will be preaching on Joshua 15-19 at Bukit Panjang Gospel Chapel on 17 April 2011 at 10.15am.

Dr Edwin Tay will be preaching at Bethesda Chapel (8am and 10am services) on 17th April 2011 from Mark 11:1-11 on the topic, “Christ’s Triumphal Entry”.

Announcements

BGST will be closed on 22 Apr (Friday) for Good Friday. Library will resume regular opening hours on 23 Apr 2011 (Saturday).

Alumni & Students News

Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies
Jane Gan worships at St Andrew’s Cathedral.  She is a graduate of the University of Northern Virginia (B Sc in Business Admin) and her ministry involvement includes cell group and missions.  Her main aim in pursuing theological studies at BGST is to cultivate a deeper relationship with God.

Course Commencing

MARKETPLACE MINISTRIES

Theology of Work (MM261, 3cr);
Adjunct Lecturers: Prof Paul Stevens & Dr Clive Lim;
May 23, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31, June 1, 2 (7.15-10.15pm).
Venue: Clarus Centre

COUNSELLING & APPLIED THEOLOGY

Counselling & Community (CO240, 1.5cr);
Guest Lecturer: Dr Rod Wilson (President of Regent College)
Jun 11 (Sat 10am-12pm, 12.45pm-3pm),
Jun 21, 22, 23 (7.20pm-10.10pm)
Venue: Clarus Centre

The course schedule for Semester I, year 2011-2012 is now available. For more information, please visit our website: http://bgst.edu.sg/courses-and-events .
TENT
TENT

Tentmakers Equipping 'N' Training

Biblical Basis for Tentmaking Mission
Tues. May 24 & 31; 2011 (7.20-10.00pm)
Facilitator: Mrs Leong King Teng

Theology of Work
Tues. Jun 7, 14 & 21; 2011 (7.20-10.00pm)
Facilitator: Dr Toh See Kiat

Understanding Culture & Country Profile Studies
Tues. Jul 5, 12, 19 & 26; 2011 (7.20-10.00pm)
Facilitators: Dr Ng Peh Cheng & Miss Valerie Lim

Religions of Asia
Tues. Aug 2, 16 & 23; 2011 (7.20-10.00pm)
Facilitator: Dr Jeanette Hui

Personal Ministry Skills: Practical Considerations for a Tentmaker's Ministry
Tues. Sept 6, 13 & 20; 2011 (7.20-10.00pm)
Facilitator: Mr Toh Kai Hua

Tentmakers & Ethical Issues
Sat. Oct 8 & 15; 2011 (9.30-11.30am; 12.00-2.00pm)
Facilitator: A Former Singaporean Tentmaker

Coping with Stress
Tues. Oct 11, 18 & 25; 2011 (7.20-10.00pm)
Facilitator: Mr Yam Keng Mun

All TENT courses will be held at 37 Jalan Pemimpin, #06-05 Blk B Clarus Centre (former Union Industrial Building)

For more information on TENT courses, please visit our website: http://www.bgst.edu.sg/courses-and-events/tent

Church-Based Lay Training Modules
2011 Modules offered at
Yishun Christian Church (Anglican)

What Do We Do With Four Gospels?
Wed. April 27, May 4, 11, 18 (7.30-9.30pm)
Lecturer: Mr Quek Tze-Ming

Reformation Theology: Its Significance & Relevance for Christians Today
Wed. Jul 6, 13, 20, 27 (7.30-9.30pm)
Lecturer: Dr Edwin Tay

The Message of the Song of Songs
Wed. Sep 7, 14, 21, 28 (7.30-9.30pm)
Lecturer: Dr Philip Satterthwaite

2011 Modules offered at
Mt Carmel Bible-Presbyterian Church

Dynamics Of Counselling: People Skills To Connect And Support
Thu. April 28, May 5, 12, 19 (7.30-9.30pm)
Lecturer: Mr Yam Keng Mun

The Message of the Song of Songs
Thu. Jul 7, 14, 21, 28 (7.30-9.30pm)
Lecturer: Dr Philip Satterthwaite

Beginnings: Opening the Gospels
Thu. Sep 1, 8, 15, 22 (7.30-9.30pm)
Lecturer: Mr Quek Tze-Ming

For details about the modules & registrations, please visit:
http://www.bgst.edu.sg/courses-and-events/church-based-lay-training

or contact
 Biblical Graduate School of Theology
Tel: 6227 6815 Fax: 6227 6816

Email: cblt-ycca@bgst.edu.sg (Yishun Christian Church)
cblt-mcbpc@bgst.edu.sg (Mt Carmel BP Church)

37 Jalan Pemimpin, #06-05 Block B, Clarus Centre S(577177).
Tel: 6227-6815 Fax: 6255-3686 Email: bgst@pacific.net.sg
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