Issue No. 2

12 - 18 Jan 2009

Watch this Space Dr Philip Satterthwaite

A happy New Year to all our readers! 2009 has begun with most world economies in recession, and for that reason if no other it will certainly present BGST (and many of you, no doubt) with unusual challenges. Council, Faculty and Staff have had a number of discussions about the way forward, and the emerging consensus is that we should respond to the present situation by trying in various ways to extend the work of BGST in directions that are either entirely new or have been only tentatively explored so far. We expect to be holding more courses in the churches of Singapore this year, including some courses in a new format designed to be particularly attractive to Christians who are new to theological studies. We are considering the possibility of holding some courses in the daytime, and (we hope) opening these courses up to people who find evening lectures inconvenient to attend. Please look out for announcements of these and other developments in the next weeks and months.

Meanwhile, here are two books which I have been reading in recent months. I have enjoyed them and believe you might enjoy them as well:

N.T. Wright, John for Everyone (2 vols.; London: SPCK, 2004). About a year ago I recommended Hebrews for Today in the same series as an engaging, crisp, lucid and theologically rich exposition of Hebrews. I am happy to commend Wright’s exposition of John in the same terms. The text (translated into contemporary English) is divided up into convenient sections (ideal for daily devotions or Bible study groups). The exposition always begins with a helpful (sometimes brilliant) analogy or story which introduces a key aspect of the text. Wright’s style is clear, but he does not oversimplify the text: on the contrary he has a gift for summarising serious theological issues in a way that makes them accessible and relevant even to those who would not consider themselves theologians. A particular strength of this exposition is the way it sets John’s Gospel against two different backgrounds which are both crucial for understanding what the text is saying: the literary background of the Old Testament; and the historical and political background of Palestine in the 1st century AD. The applications are focused and challenging.

K. DeYoung and E. Kluck, Why We’re not Emergent (By Two Guys who should be) (Chicago: Moody, 2008). Another of the books I recommended last year was Don Carson’s Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church, a theological critique of the ‘Emergent’ movement by a respected Christian academic. This book, written by two young (or youngish) men, a Reformed pastor and a journalist, is somewhat different in tone and content: the words ‘hip’ and ‘folksy’ come to mind (which one could not say of any of Carson’s books). Why We’re not Emergent blends theological assessment of the writings of key ‘Emergent’ writers with telling interviews and anecdotes. The book is highly readable and at points very funny, as the writers skewer some of the more ludicrous aspects of the ‘Emergent’ movement; but there is at the same time plenty of serious, practical theology in this book. What does it mean to be faithful to Christ at the beginning of the 21st century? ‘Emergent’ writers are giving one set of answers, but this book sets out an alternative which is equally compelling.

Read both or either of these books. I can’t see how they could fail to edify and instruct you. As an added incentive, the second of them may make you laugh out loud at points.

Weekly Highlights

Next week’s Chapel speaker is Pastor Steven Tan of Changi Bethany Church. Do come to join us.

News Bits

Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies
Mr Herry Effendi works as a Logistic Manager. He is a Graduate of the University of New South Wales (BE, Honours) and the University of Western Australia (MBA).  He worships at Gereja Kristus Yesus and has teaching experience in the Sunday School ministry.

Mr Lok Wen Jie Gilbert is a member of Aldersgate Methodist Church and an active Lay Leader in the Cell Group, Young Adult Ministry and Church Library.  His other ministries include serving as a FES Associate Staffworker attached to the Varsity Christian Fellowship. He is a Civil Servant and has obtained a B Sc (Honours) from the National University of Singapore.

Graduate Diploma in Education for Christian Formation
Mr Archippus Yang worships at Mt Carmel Bible Presbyterian Church and his involvement includes Cell Group teaching, training and the Prayer ministry.  He has served in Christian organizations for several years and completed his studies at the Singapore Polytechnic and Far Eastern Bible College.

Preaching Invitation
Dr Aquila Lee has been invited to preach at Bedok Methodist Church on Sunday 8 Feb 2009 for the services at 8.30am, 10.30am and 5pm.

Coming Courses commencing in January & February 2009

Liberating the Laity: Empowering the Whole People of God for Service in the Church and World
(MM251, 3cr), starting Jan 29, 30, Feb 2, 4 6, (Weekdays 7.15-10.15pm), Jan 31, Feb 7 (Saturdays 9.30am-5pm)(see details)

The Christian Faith (TS101, 3cr, video class), starting Jan 14 (Wed 7.15-10.15pm). Lecturer: Dr Quek Swee Hwa. (see details)

*Greek Exegesis I (BG211, 3cr, ongoing), Jan 17 (Sat 2-4pm). Lecturer: Dr Quek Swee Hwa

*The Art of Critical Analysis (GS114, 1.5cr), starting Jan 20 (Tue 7.30-9.30pm). Lecturer: Dr Philip Satterthwaite (see details)

Old Testament Foundations II (OT102, 3cr), starting Jan 23 (Fri 7.15-10.15pm). Lecturer: Dr Philip Satterthwaite (see details)

Spirituality for Christian Formation (ECF503, 3cr), starting Feb 3 (Tue 7.15-10.15pm). Lecturer: Mr John Chong Ser Choon (see details)

The Use of the Old Testament in the New Testament (MTh515, 2cr; OT/NT202, 1.5cr), starting Feb 4 (Wed 7.30-10.00pm). Lecturer: Mr Quek Tze Ming (see details)

*New Testament Greek I (BG111, 3cr), starting Feb 9 (Mon 7.30-9.30pm). Lecturer: Dr Aquila Lee (see details)

New Testament Foundations II (NT102, 3cr), starting Feb 9 (Mon 7.30-9.30pm). Lecturer: Mr Quek Tze Ming (see details)

*Counsellor’s Skills: Developing Micro-skills in Counselling (CO213, 3cr), starting Feb 11 (Wed 7.15-10.15pm). Lecturer: Mr Yam Keng Mun (see details)

*Research Methods & Ministry: Qualitative (ECF520, 3cr), starting Feb 12 (Thurs 7.15-10.15pm). Lecturer: Drs Chen Ai Yan & Ng Peh Cheng (see details)

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

Registration is open for all courses. Visit for course description and registration (under Course & Events/Course Schedules).

31 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088454. Tel: 62276815 Fax: 62276816 
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