Issue No. 14 5 - 11 Apr 2010

Confessions of a Window Cleaner   By Quek Tze-Ming

BGST logoSome of you may not realize that BGST’s logo depicts a window. Since I started working here, I’ve been asked many times: “So what are you doing in BGST?” One of my answers is “I am a window cleaner.”

Karl Barth once likened the act of Bible reading to a person who, having lived his whole life in a small room, looks through a newly discovered window and finds a wide open strange new world. It is a world that calls us, summons us, pulls us, into a God-reality greater than our own experiences. We are drawn from our little room-world to go outside and participate in the big story of the Bible that has been running since the ages began.

But too often, we fail to recognize the wide open spaces found in the story of the Bible. Instead, we prefer to stay in our little room and take photographs and stare at the photographs all day long. We extract “truths” from the stories we read or we summarize “principles” that we can use, or we distil a “moral” that we exploit. We have been taught to do this from young (sadly, sometimes from our Sunday School). Somehow we suppose that this is the correct or even the only way of reading God’s story. But, as Eugene Peterson says, this way of reading the Bible actually mutilates God’s life-giving word, the story-word that is supposed to shape our lives [Eat This Book (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 48]. Like those photographs of the outside world, we are left with  disembodied pieces of “truth” and “insight” that become, at worst, information to store; or at best, motivation to psyche ourselves up. Information and motivation have their uses, but they do not spiritually form us, invite us, summon us into God’s story, that gathers up our own life-stories, and finds a climactic “happy ever after” at the end of time.

What I do in BGST is to help clean windows. I try to help clean the windows of the many people who look outside from their small rooms to the “strange new world” of the Bible. I teach background, history, interpretation, application of the New Testament, so that students can better see and hear the story of the Bible, and step out to answer the call and summons of God in their lives.

That is the mission of BGST - “Equipping People, Transforming Lives.” So that we can all live our life-stories faithfully in God’s big story.

Weekly Updates

Mr Peter Tang (Grad Dip CS, alumnus) will be our chapel speaker on April 14. Chapel begins at 12pm every Wednesday. You are welcome to join us.   

News Bits

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Church-Based Lay Training: Courses Starting in April

Your attention is drawn to the two following 4-week courses which are being offered as part of BGST’s newly-launched Church-Based Lay Training programme. Both courses are open to any interested Christian.

A Christian Response to Leviticus

Venue: Yishun Christian Church (Anglican),
            10 Yishun Avenue 5
Dates: Tuesday April 6, 13, 20, 27 (7.30 – 9.30 p.m.)
Lecturer: Dr Philip Satterthwaite

To most Christians, Leviticus seems a remote book. Animal sacrifices, food laws, holy places, the laws of ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’: all these are very unfamiliar concepts. What is the message of this book for Christians today? This course consists of expositions of four chapters of Leviticus, along with brief introductory comments and discussion of principles of interpretation. The four chapters expounded will be: Lev. 1 (Sacrifice and Devotion); Lev. 11 (Clean and Unclean); Lev. 19 (A Comprehensive Vision of Holiness); Lev. 26 (God’s Covenant: A Living Reality). The aim of the course is to show that Leviticus does indeed have a message for us today.

If you wish to register for this course or make enquiries, please contact:

Biblical Graduate School of Theology:
Tel. 6227 6815; email: cblt-ycca@bgst.edu.sg
Yishun Christian Church Anglican:
Tel 6759 8244; email: general@ycca.org.sg

Four Gospels? Why Christians need not be afraid of a Synopsis

Venue: Mt Carmel Bible-Presbyterian Church,
            152 West Coast Road
Dates: Friday April 9, 16, 23, 30 (7.30 – 9.30 p.m.)
Lecturer:  Mr Quek Tze-Ming

This is an introductory course that seeks to account for how and why we have four stories of Jesus in our canon, both historically and theologically, and the consequences this has for our Bible reading and theologizing. Students will be introduced to Marcion’s version of Luke and Tatian’s Diatessaron, the various options for solving the Synoptic Problem, the (in)famous Q, and, more practically, how to use a Synopsis. Using the Synopsis we will explore passages such as the Baptism of Jesus, the Temptation, and the Walking on the Sea.

Session 1: Introduction and History – Why four?
Session 2: The Synoptic Problem – Which came first?
Session 3: Practicum – How do you use a Synopsis?
Session 4: Preaching and Teaching from the four Gospels

If you wish to register for this course or make enquiries, please contact:

Biblical Graduate School of Theology:
Tel. 6227 6815; email: cblt-mcbpc@bgst.edu.sg
Mt Carmel Bible-Presbyterian Church:
Tel 6779 5077; email: church@carmel.sg

Walking With Jesus: Biblical Sites in Israel

Country to be visited: Israel
Dates: 1 to 10 June 2010

TG410 SINGAPORE/BANGKOK (1 June) 2050/2210 hrs
LY82 BANGKOK/TEL AVIV (2 June) 0010/0720 hrs

2305 /1440 (10 June)
TG401 BANGKOK/SINGAPORE (10 June) 1940/2255 hrs

Travel Agent (Singapore):
Atrium Eco Travel Pte Ltd
Tour Fee (full-board, twin-sharing basis): $3,800;
footstepsSingle Supplement: $600

A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person should paid to the travel agent to confirm your registration, balance is payable by 15th April 2010. Please contact Ms Christine Chan at bgst@pacific.net.sg for itinerary & registration form.

31 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088454.
Tel: 62276815 Fax: 62276816 Email : bgst@pacific.net.sg
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