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Issue No. 32 8 - 14 August 2011
“The Message of the Cross Today”: Thoughts On BGST’s Conference Theme

If you are a regular reader of BTW, you would have heard of the BGST Conference 2011 “The Message of the Cross Today” and its follow-up course. To be honest, I have an aversion to Christian conferences. In my personal opinion, the Christian community in Singapore will make far more impact upon society if energies are harnessed and directed to the actual practice of holiness in the various spheres of everyday life instead of the organization and marketing of large-scale events. Not only do such events involve huge wastes of publicity materials, they often act as points of unhealthy comparison for churchgoers who are bored with the regular means of grace in their home churches. For such churchgoers, Christian conferences are all grist to the mill for their apparent discontent.

Large-scale Christian conferences have their peculiar temptations for the organizers too. There is a thin line between self-promotion and the promotion of Christ. Are these mammoth events driven by the genuine desire to exalt Christ, or are they really to boost the reputation of Christian organizations? The two are not necessarily opposed. But where status, reputation, and potential increase in donations are concerned, godly motivations have the tendency to become mixed with self-serving interests, albeit couched in Christian parlance. As I seek to encourage participation in the upcoming conference and follow-up course, my heart’s desire is for these events to promote less of BGST and more of the Christ we hope to exalt.

One thing is certain. The conference topic was not chosen because it is a crowd-puller. The opposite is more likely the case. After all, Paul describes the message of the cross as “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles” (1 Cor 1:23). It is precisely this “stumbling block” and “foolishness” that BGST wants to be identified with. The conference topic “The Message of the Cross Today” was chosen not because of its popularity but because of its centrality to the Gospel and in light of the fact that it is being attacked today as it was in the time of Paul. Indeed, the attack has been consistently felt throughout the long history of the church. One line of investigation in the upcoming conference and follow-up course is the impact of such attacks upon the life of evangelicalism in the English speaking world.

In the last decade, the nature of the atonement as traditionally conceived by evangelicals has been vigorously debated within the evangelical fraternity. Zondervan Press published an important book in 2008 entitled, The Atonement Debate: Papers from the London Symposium on the Theology of the Atonement. This book consists of a collection of papers presented at a theological conference that was organized under the auspices of the Evangelical Alliance (UK) in 2005. The aim of the conference was to facilitate a growing debate over recent attempts by some evangelicals in both the UK and America to call into question the Biblical and theological veracity of the cross as penal substitution (note: more of the book’s content will be discussed in the follow-up course under the lecture, “Contemporary Objections to the Doctrine of Atonement”).

Penal substitution is the teaching that on the cross, Christ bore the punishment of our sins as our substitute. This teaching has generally been held by evangelicals without complaint until about 1800. Since then, there has been a growing chorus of discontent and dissent from this view. The necessity of addressing the issues surrounding this debate is made all the more urgent because penal substitution lies at the very heart of the Gospel for many evangelicals. The conference addresses and follow-up lectures by Dr Douglas Milne will establish the general framework for appreciating the subject of the atonement. Subsequent lectures in the course will address more specific issues on the same subject. Dr Andrew Lee and I, for instance, will be dealing specifically with a range of contemporary objections to penal substitution.

In the light of the contemporary debate on the atonement, BGST Conference 2011 is neither redundant nor superfluous. It is my hope that “The Message of the Cross Today” will be a conference that is unashamedly counter-cultural in its content and therefore prophetic in its impact. BGST would like to extend a warm invitation to the wider Christian community to be a part of it.

Dr Edwin Tay

Coming Event
3rd annual conference
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Announcements

BGST Office and Library will be closed on Tuesday, 9 Aug 2011 being National Day. We will resume normal operating hours on Wednesday, 10 Aug 2011.

Chapel Message

Our chapel Speaker was Mr Yap Kim Meng. He is the Director of the NavAlumni ministry. Mr Kim Meng has been a staff of The Navigators for 25 years. He graduated with a MA (English Bible) from Columbia Bible Seminary (S Carolina, USA).

Mr Kim Meng shared his reflection on “The Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-31). He outlined the sharing with 3 Rs:

- The RECKLESS Younger Son
- The RELENTLESS Older Brother
- The REGARDLESS Father Who Loved Them Both

Chapel News
The Principal, Dr Philip Satterthwaite will be speaking in Chapel on 17 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)

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

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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