We continue this week with the review and comparison of Global Missiology for the 21st Century. The Iguassu Dialogue, edited by William D. Taylor (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2000) and Let the Earth Hear His Voice, edited by J. D. Douglas (Minneapolis: World Wide Publications, 1975.

During the week we heard that Iguassu in Brazil is also the location of an important Al-Qaeda cell belonging to Osama bin Laden's group. Well,  let's hope that the decisions taken there in 1999 will have greater earth-shaking impact than the intentions of terrorism.

The Iguassu Affirmation was "a working document, forged in the warmth, collegiality, and discussion of a very intense week of doing missiology in Brazil" (op. cit., p.2). The famous Iguassu Falls, which appears in many stunning films, provided the perfect backdrop to the overarching, programmatic models for mission that were presented, discussed and debated there as the participants, from the vantage point of hindsight, considered the challenges of the present and future against the historic models of mission, some clearly successful and others were disastrous failures. The papers presented reflect the principles that have guided evangelical Christianity through the past twenty five years. They showed sensitivity to the issues that have dogged the efforts to win the world for Christ and covered adequately the macro context of the complex cross-cultural situation of mission. There was a keen sense of the urgency of tackling issues that through the years have engaged the minds and hearts of not only 'think-tankers' but especially practitioners who are out there on the front line of mission. The views of leading missiologists in the various countries were highlighted. The resultant Affirmation states succinctly nine "Declarations" which provide the theoretical basis for fourteen "Commitments" which cover broadly areas like, "The Gospel and Culture", "Pluralism", "Christian Responsibility and the World Economic Order", "The Ecological Crisis", "Partnership", and "Member Care". Their brevity belies the large amount of thinking and writing that undergirds each area.

By comparison the Lausanne Covenant, with its much larger group of participants (150 countries were represented at Lausanne as against 53 countries at Iguassu), dealt with both the biblical as well as the missiological issues. The Covenant proper spelt out fifteen aspects touching on the entire spectrum of mission. The evangelistic strategy papers and reports proved helpful to mission practitioners who have used Let the Earth Hear His Voice (thanks to the painstaking efforts of its editor, Dr J. D. Douglas) as a useful reference tool. Also helpful were the "Theology of Evangelization Papers and Reports" which covered a wide range of theological issues that interface with mission. The "Geographical Reports" also gave useful snapshots of the mission situation in each country.

My observations must be limited broadly to a few matters. First, both these documents should serve as a valuable reference to thinking about mission and they deserve careful reading and study. Second, whether or not one agrees or disagrees with the views presented, there is more than enough in them that commands agreement by evangelical Christians that we cannot just sit back and await further agreement and study. It is axiomatic that the Christian world by and large has engaged in too much talking and too little action. Third, my personal disappointment with the Iguassu Affirmation is its failure to build specifically on the earlier findings of the Lausanne Covenant. Certain issues, I feel, need to be re-examined, particularly the strange and oft-quoted view that missions must be built on an incarnational model with reference to our Lord Jesus Christ. Theologians have difficulty expanding to uniqueness of Christ's Incarnation to embrace the mission of the Church. Fourth, I see the need to re-examine the ecclesiological thinking of evangelical Christianity. I realize the danger of categorizations and generalizations: a name in itself cannot describe accurately what a person or a group believes or stands for. But why, I ask, is there is a summary dismissal of the mission work of fundamentalistic Christianity while careful attempts are made to learn from the Jesuit, Coptic, Nestorian, and other communities? True, we can always learn from the work of others. But surely at the heart of mission are important principles that cannot and should not be compromised. (QSH)

We have received four more orders for the "Good Books CD".

There was no chapel last Wednesday because of the public holiday. Chapel this Wednesday, Nov 21, will be taken by Mrs S. M. Peck.

Important Announcement
The Lord is leading Mrs Peck on to another ministry after having being with BGST since 1990. But students who have appreciated her Hebrew courses will be happy to know that Mrs Peck will continue teaching on tape and we hope soon to announce the appointment of one new lecturer and four new tutors whom the Lord has sent to us to strengthen the teaching faculty team at BGST. We wish Mrs Peck all God's richest blessings as she follows the Lord's leading and we are happy to note that she is willing to continue serving at BGST, though in a somewhat different way.

Our heartiest congratulations to Suat and her husband, Dr Peck Hock Cheng (and of course also to their daughter Joanna and her husband Alvin)  on the birth of their first grandchild, a baby boy who has been named Chong Khai. Both mother and baby, and their grandparents are well and thrilled with the arrival of the new addition to the family.

We are calling all members of the BGST family - council members, tutors, students, alumni, and friends -  to come and join in a Christmas celebration on Wednesday, Dec 19, 12.00-1.30 pm. A Christmas Lunch will be provided. There is no need to bring food, but a freewill offering for BGST will be collected. We hope those who are able to take a long lunch break can come and join us. To enable us to know how much food to cater for, please call Serene or Kok Wee and inform them that you are coming.

1. End-of-the-Year Appeal Update. Thank God for gifts totalling $2,620 which came in last week. Continue to pray for the gifts that are needed to meet the expected shortfall this year.

Dip CS (Biblical Studies). We continue to give students a clearer idea of our Diploma in Christian Studies. It is not only the first year in a three-year M Div or a two-year MCS, but it is also a programme in its own right. Students prepared to make a commitment of two evenings a week for two to three years should be able to complete comfortably our Diploma in Christian Studies. So far we have announced the Speech Communications and Christian Education concentrations, with its curriculum of interesting and relevant required courses and electives. In the Biblical Studies centration, students will take 15 credits or five required courses, each 3 credits. The remaining 15 credits will be in elective courses. The curriculum:

Required Courses
OT 101 Old Testament Foundations I
NT 101 or 102 New Testament Foundations I or II
HE101 Hermeneutics and Biblical Interpretation
CE 101 The Education Ministry of the Church
TS 101 The Christian Faith
Elective Courses
(Courses asterisked are highly recommended)
*OT 102 Old Testament Foundations II
*NT 101 or 102 New Testament Foundations I or II
OT 354 Ruth & Esther
(1.5 credits, offered in 2002, Term 3)
OT 360 Themes from Proverbs (1.5 credits, in 2003, Term 4)
NT 311 Romans (1.5 credits,  in  2002, Terms 1 &  2 (repeated)
NT 312 Galatians (1.5 credits, offered in 2002, Term 3)

Other stimulating courses in NT Greek, Biblical Hebrew, and other subjects. Contact Dr Satterthwaite or Dr Quek. REGISTER NOW!

3. We welcome some important visitors this week.
Dr Douglas and Joan Milne, paid a brief visit. Dr Douglas will return to teach Christian Ethics and Bioethics in January, 2002, from around 4th to 23rd. Details to be given soon. Dr Tan Siang Yang was in Singapore to speak at some conferences. Rev David Wong is in Singapore teaching at the Haggai Institute and promoting his new book, The Koi Pond.

The Stork Has Visited the Tay Family. We rejoice with Edwin & Angela Tay on the arrival of their first-born, Phoebe, on 13 November. It is easy to see that the first-time daddy is obviously charmed by her when he describes her as fair, round-faced, cute, with two dimples. Happy parenting!

Paint Work at Zion Bishan, 19-26 November. Please refrain from parking at the lots in front of the large Fellowship Hall.

Happy Birthday & God's Blessings!

Mr Donald Ng Boon Huat 11/19
Ms Chua Chiew Lian 11/22
Ms Amy Fong Foong Leng 11/23
Ms Nellie Har 11/23
Mr Lim Teck Sin 11/25
Mr Paul Kendagor 11/25

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Biblical Graduate School of Theology
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This page is updated on 20 Nov 2001
Oct 2000