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Issue No. 31 1 - 7 August 2011
BGST’s 3rd Annual Conference: ‘The Message of the Cross Today'

How would you feel if you were to see someone wearing a piece of jewellery representing a noose, or an electric chair, or a man being executed by a firing squad? Suppose you saw a T-shirt on sale depicting the face of a notorious rapist or serial killer, or the mushroom cloud that hung over Hiroshima when the first atomic bomb was dropped: would you rush to buy one for yourself?

‘May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…’ (Gal. 6:14). Time has blunted the force of Paul’s words, so that we no longer feel how shocking, paradoxical, maybe even revolting they would have been to many of Paul’s first readers. How could Paul worship as Lord someone who had died on a cross? We have forgotten what the cross stood for in Paul’s day: a humiliating and painful execution inflicted on criminals, slaves and rebels; a symbol of cruel and overbearing authority; a crude and insulting reminder to Jews living in Palestine that their land was now under Roman rule, and that Rome would not hesitate to use violence to uphold that rule. Do the many Christians who wear a cross on a necklace or (perhaps) have a tie-pin or cuff-links depicting the cross regularly remind themselves of the true significance of ‘the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’? And yet Paul says that he will make the cross of Christ his boast, that he will boast of nothing else. For Paul, the thing that most clearly displays Jesus’ glory and validates his lordship is the cross on which he was crucified.

Though Christians have always recognised the centrality of the cross for faith and life, the message of the cross remains controversial today. If God allows an innocent person to die in order to deliver the guilty from the punishment they deserve, does that make him an unjust judge? Is there not a danger that a gospel whose central focus is the violent death of the Saviour will itself generate acts of violence done ‘in Jesus’ name’? How does the death of Christ relate to the problem of suffering and evil in society? And in a multi-religious society can it be appropriate to claim that salvation is to be found only in the death and resurrection of Christ?

These and other issues will be addressed in BGST’s 3rd Annual Conference, ‘The Message of the Cross Today’. The Conference will begin on the evening of 23rd September with a public lecture, and will continue on 24th September (morning and afternoon). The Conference will be followed by two weeks of lectures which will further explore aspects of the central theme. It is possible to attend the Conference alone or the Conference and the follow-up lectures. It is also possible to take Conference and follow-up lectures for credit (3 credits).

Professor Douglas Milne, of the Presbyterian Theological College, Melbourne, who has been a frequent visitor to BGST in previous years, will be the main speaker and lecturer. But there will also be contributions from specialists in Biblical Studies, Church History, Systematic Theology, Spirituality and Homiletics. The teaching will include studies of particular biblical books and key biblical themes, discussion of key thinkers in the development the Christian doctrine of the atonement, and sessions which focus particularly on contemporary issues raised by the cross (the cross and public theology, contemporary objections to the message of the cross, the cross and Christian worship).

We have never done anything like this at BGST before, combining a conference with a lecture course, and bringing together nine different lecturers to teach it. We hope that you will want to attend either the Conference or the Conference and lectures combined.

Please consider attending yourself (details on the BGST web-site: http://bgst.edu.sg/courses-and-events/229-coming-events) and please mention it to others who you think will be interested. After all, if you are a Christian, the topic we are addressing this year is surely one that is worthy of your attention.

Philip Satterthwaite, Principal, BGST.

Coming Event
3rd annual conference
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Chapel Message by Dr Ng Peh Cheng

The message focused on Matthew 20: 20-28, 23:1-12 and the topic was “Jesus’ Teaching on Servanthood Leadership.”

Outline of the Message
Introduction
Jesus chose a small group of disciples and He was their Leadership Programme Instructor for about three years. His training style was unique. He did not set up a leadership training institute and had no formal classroom facilities. Yet, for the three years of training, Jesus demonstrated and lived out how leaders should be “made.” He set up stringent standards for his student leaders to attain and to evaluate their performance.

Jesus Emphasized What Christian Leadership Should Not Be

  1. Context of the message (Mt 20: 20-25)
  2. Unacceptable characteristics of leadership behaviour - the non-biblical perspective
  3. Acceptable characteristics of leadership behavior – the biblical way, “Not so with with you, instead, . . . ” (Mt 20: 26)

Jesus Reiterated: Examples of Unacceptable Behaviour of Leaders Who Adopted a Non-Biblical Approach to Christian Leadership (Mt. 23: 1-12)

  1. They do not walk the talk.
  2. They prescribe tasks for others to do but are unwilling to soil their hands.
  3. They distant themselves from common or “insignificant” people to feel superior.
  4. They covet prestigious titles and positions to command respect from others.
  5. They boast about their achievements to receive praises.

Our Response
In response to Jesus’ teaching on servanthood leadership, Dr Ng shared, from her observations and experiences, some of her thoughts on what a Servant leader should strive to be.

  • A Servant leader leads by example.
  • A Servant leader leads by being a co-learner and co-mentor with fellow pilgrims.
  • A Servant leader adopts a sound Theology of Work. For example, a theology of work that embraces
    • Gender equality (male & female leadership) in the workplace
    • Anti-ageism in the workplace
    • Love and justice in the workplace
  • A Servant leader’s primary intent is to serve to glorify God and not oneself.

Dr Ng also observed that Jesus’ teaching on servanthood leadership focuses on the leader’s character qualities and responsibilities and not on positions (see I Timothy 3:1-12, Titus 1: 5-16). Noticeably, how a leader performs or executes the given tasks will be determined by the person’s character qualities – the character of a servant leader.

Conclusion
The pharisaic-authoritarian style of leadership will not be an elective module in Jesus’ Leadership style Training Manual. Our Lord’s motto will be, “we are leaders not by might, but by our servanthood leadership style.”

Chapel Message by Mr Macoy Ritchemar

Macoy is a Master of Divinity student from the Philippines. He shared about his student life and learning experience at BGST. He appreciated the opportunity to pursue a higher degree and learning the skills of doing research and writing academic papers. On a personal note, he has also developed much in the area of community living and resolving interpersonal relationship issues.

Upon completion of his studies, Macoy will be returning to the Philippines to pastor a church and to teach in a theological school.

Chapel News
Mr Wong Choon Yew (MA ECF, 2011) will be speaking in our chapel on 10 August 2011.
Chapel begins at 12 pm. You are welcome to join us.
Courses Commencing in Term 1 & 2, 2011-2012

APPLIED THEOLOGY
Christian Biography (AT151, 1.5cr);
Dates & Time: Oct 7, 14, 21, 28, Nov 4; 7.15-10.15pm
Venue: Clarus Centre
Lecturer: Dr David Wong

Marketplace Theology (MM255, 1.5cr);
(Group Tutorial) by Prof Paul Stevens / Tutor: Mr Ben Pwee;
Dates & Time: Oct 20, 27; 7.15-9.45pm;
Venue: Clarus Centre

BIBLICAL STUDIES
New Testament Foundations I (NT101, 3cr);
Dates & Time: Aug 16, 23, Sep 6, 13, 20, Oct 11, 18, 25, Nov 1, 8, 15, 22; 7.15-9.50pm;
Venue: Thomson Rd Baptist Church
Lecturer: Mr Quek Tze-Ming (PhD candidate, Uni of Cambridge)

Understanding Galatians (NT312, 1.5cr);
Dates & Time: Aug 5, 12, 19, 26, Sep 2; 7.15-10.15pm
Venue: Clarus Centre
Lecturer: Dr Oh Boon Leong

Old Testament Foundations I (OT101, 3cr);
Dates & Time: Aug 5, 12, 19, 26, Sep 2, 9, 16, Oct 7, 14, 21, 28, Nov 4; 7.15-9.50pm
Venue: Prinsep St Presbyterian Church
Lecturer: Dr Andrew Lee

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION & SPIRITUAL FORMATION
Children’s Spirituality & Ministry Formation (ECF502, 3cr);
Dates & Time: Aug 16, 23, Sep 6, 13, 20, Oct 11, 18, 25, Nov 8, 15; 7.15-10.15pm
Venue: Clarus Centre
Lecturer: Dr Ng Peh Cheng

*Scripture Recitation & Story Telling (ECF514, 1.5cr);
Dates & Time: Oct 7, 14, 21, 28, Nov 4; 7.15-10.15pm
Venue: Clarus Centre
Lecturer: Rev Ng Seng Chuan

Spiritual Retreat Experience: Nature, Purpose, Dynamics
(ECF504, 3cr);
Dates & Time: Oct 18, 25, Nov 1, 8, 15, 7.15-9.45pm;
Venue: Telok Ayer CMC
Lecturer: Mr John Chong Ser Choon;
Residential Retreat Nov 17-20 (Additional Cost)

THEOLOGICAL STUDIES
Theological Foundations I (TS211, 3cr);
Venue & Dates:

Time: 7.15-9.50pm;
Lecturer: Dr Edwin Tay

The Roots of Christianity: The Wisdom of the Church Fathers for the 21st Century (CH260/TS281, 3cr);
Venue & Dates:

Time: 7.15- 9.50pm;
Lecturer: Dr Lai Pak Wah


* Courses marked with an asterisk are not offered on audit basis.

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 2011 Modules
TENT
Tentmakers Equipping 'N' Training

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)

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

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: 6255 3686

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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