WHY STUDY AT BGST?
Local Alumni News by Daniel Lau, MCS, 2012
I remember fondly the days when BGST was situated along Tanjong Pagar Road. Each week after a long day at work, I would have my dinner at Maxwell Road Food Centre before proceeding to BGST for evening classes. I always looked forward to eating food like the famous Hainanese Chicken Rice or Fish Head Bee Hoon.
When BGST moved to Marymount, I was thankful for the extra opportunity to have meals at the Longhouse, where the Prawn noodles simply could not be missed. Even when BGST moved to its current premises in Aljunied, delicious food was never far away in the form of Teochew porridge at Hotel Windsor.
I have to admit that I looked forward to eating delicious food each time I commuted to BGST. However, I also eagerly anticipated the spiritual food I would receive during each lesson there. The spiritual feeding I gained during my time at BGST far outweighs any meal at a hawker centre.
What is good food without good company? The joy of eating at a good restaurant is heightened by the company of good friends. I was glad to be able to share several meals with many BGST classmates, overseas and local. Moreover, during class, the ideas and opinions shared during class by classmates of different cultures and background contributed to my spiritual feeding.
If you had asked me what I ate for dinner one month ago, I would be hard pressed to give a correct answer. Likewise, if you were to ask me if there were any particularly life-changing moments of revelation or insight during my time at BGST, I might not be able to provide one immediately. Food causes our body to grow, albeit slowly. A bulging waistline does not happen overnight, but it is certainly an obvious indicator! We may not able to see the nutritional effects of something we ate within a week or even months, but it is visible over many years. In the same way, I believe that spiritual feeding in the form of theological training is a rewarding but prolonged process.
Having been trained initially as Engineer, I did not know the first thing about inserting footnotes, preparing a bibliography, or arranging my essay in a coherent order when I started attending BGST classes in 2005. However, I do know that BGST has trained me over many years, to think objectively, read the Bible responsibly, and develop a greater appreciation of who God is.
Two modules that have shaped me are Biblical Hermeneutics & Interpretation (HE101) and Christianity, Culture & Society (IC101). The former taught me to interpret Scripture correctly by analyzing the grammatical, historical and cultural background of the text. The latter, also known as cultural hermeneutics, taught me to respond adequately to any cultural or societal trend by interpreting it through biblical lenses. These learning points have particularly been helpful in my current ministry.
My family and I now live in a country of sushi and ramen. The region of Tohoku, where I am currently serving in, is particularly famous for its rei-men (cold rice noodles) and Jaja-men (spicy bean paste noodles). Any conversation with a Japanese person would almost invariably lead to the topic of food. My hope is that each conversation will also lead to the topic of spiritual food, and how the Bread of life will satisfy our hunger and thirst in the most wonderful way.
Overseas Alumni News by Venusa Tinyi, MCS 2014
As one who has experienced tragedy in the family and also witnessed much socio-political violence and conflicts, some hard questions have persistently dogged me for a long time. By God’s grace, none was however too grave and threatening to shake my Christian faith. I am fortunate enough to have been raised by a God-fearing mother. Nonetheless, the questions stayed. It’s not surprising that I went on to study philosophy all through my higher education – B.A., M.A. and PhD.
Going to BGST has helped me to see life anew in many ways. Not that I have found the answers to those questions at BGST but that their significance have changed greatly as I gradually began to understand more about my faith and specifically about my calling. I got Christian perspectives and insights to translate questions into purpose and more importantly to transform them into my calling – that through intellectual pursuit I can share my experience and ideas with others. I decided to return to do philosophy at the University of Hyderabad, an offer I refused before joining BGST.
In the university where I get opportunity to interact with young questioning minds, questions that once troubled me are now being used to help them. I share my testimony: that there is liberation in forgiving, that calling is not only about church and church ministries but that it is about creation itself; one can find Christian calling in any profession if pursued in keeping with the theology of creation and recreation through Christ; life is to be defined more in terms of calling rather than success or happiness, etc. It gives me much delight to equip young Christians in the universities either through my regular Bible studies or through personal interactions to enter the world of “marketplace.” After 4 years in the university, half a dozen from my Bible study group are now well placed either in the universities as a teacher or as a government official in the state service. And I feel that this is just the beginning
In addition, being the Chairman of Naga Christian Fellowship Hyderabad, which grew from about a score in my early university days, some 15 years ago, to now about 250, I have committed myself to Sunday pulpit ministry on regular basis – once a month. Thanks to BGST, all that I do have become more meaningful and fulfilling. Glory be to God!
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REV EDMUND CHAN
Senior Pastor of Covenant Evangelical Free Church
Church leaders need more than inspiring motivation: BGST has shown that a strong foundation in God’s Word is indispensable for Christian living and service. It has done a valuable service to the Church in her faithful commitment to biblical integrity, theological soundness and ministry relevance. I readily recommend it!
REV DR DANIEL CHUA
REV DR DANIEL CHUA
We believe in BGST. That’s why our church has committed at least S $40,000 each year towards its ministry since its inception. Many of our members who have studied at BGST have found it to be a very rewarding investment. A handful of them have even taken their initial studies at BGST further and gone on to pursue Masters level and Doctoral level studies overseas. BGST fulfils a niche in that it gives the laity a solid head start in serious theological studies until such time that they are ready to do it on full-time basis.
DR CLIVE LIM
BGST Council Member
I struggled for nearly a year before enrolling at BGST in 2003. “Can I study again after a lapse of seventeen years?” “Will I have the time, considering my heavy workload and incessant travels?” “Why study theology? Why not just read the Bible?” Becoming a student again was not easy. BGST tried hard to accommodate my travels and work schedule. Frequently I was discouraged when I fell behind on my assignments and readings. But Dr Quek and his team gave generously of their time outside classroom hours to ensure that I stayed on-track. The result was surprising: work and studies combined so well. I was able in the midst of my studies to list our company on the Singapore Stock Exchange and guide its subsequent expansion overseas. Travelling was not a hindrance to my studies: hours spent on the plane were given to reading; nights in hotels found me writing feverishly away. And I had time for dinner and TV. Theological studies expanded the breadth of my faith in a refreshing way. I was willing to weigh and accept diverse views. I appreciate better now the richness of 2000 years of our Christian legacy. This new understanding for my God and for my ‘neighbours’. Thank God for BGST!
RT REV DR NARENDA JOHN
Secretary for Accreditation and Educational Development, Asia Theological Association & Bishop of the Free Methodist Church of India.
I have known BGST in Singapore for a period of time and watched its steady growth both in the number of students it has impacted and the depth of commitment it has brought about their lives. The innovative nature of the programmes as it relates to marketplace theology, has given a new focus and direction to curriculum designing in theological education. Dr. Quek Swee Hwa’s vision to make Christian witness relevant in marketplaces has brought fresh breath in the whole area of innovation with an express purpose of making disciples of nations who have deep commitment to the Lordship of Christ in the present post-modern age. The quality of faculty as they mentor individual students goes a long way in bringing about integration in theological education. There is theological integrity as well as educational soundness. I wish the leadership, faculty and students of BGST God’s richest blessings.