Issue No. 03 17 - 23 Jan 2011

Chapel Notes

On Wednesday 12th January the Principal, Dr Philip Satterthwaite, began a series of sermons on Isaiah 56–66 which he will be preaching at BGST in the coming weeks, under the title: ‘Between Promise and Fulfilment: the Visions of Isaiah 56–66’. The first sermon in the series was on Isaiah 56–57, and was entit

led ‘God’s Call; Israel’s Failure’.

Isaiah 56–66, addressed to those who returned from exile in Babylon in the late 6th century to start rebuilding in the land of Judah, set before us two realities: on the one hand the reality of God’s promised future, the new heavens and the new earth (cc. 65–66); and on the other the reality of the present life of the people of God, who are challenged to believe in God’s promises in the face of circumstances that may seem call those promises in question. The analogies between Israel in the late 6th century BC and modern Christians, longing for Christ’s second coming, are clear.

Isaiah 56:1–8 begin a new section in the Book of Isaiah with a stirring call: ‘Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed’ (56:1). These verses set out a stirring vision of the people of God as an ‘open community’: a community that welcomes all who acknowledge the God of Israel, irrespective of whether they belong to categories that have previously been excluded from Israel’s worship (foreigners, eunuchs). This is what God’s people is called to be, in fulfilment of the promise originally given to Abraham (Gen. 12).

But what follows in cc. 56–59 mainly describes Israel’s failure to respond to this call. The people may have had high hopes when they returned from exile, but, faced with the hard task of resettling the land, and the opposition of the peoples round about (see Ezra and Nehemiah), they have found their enthusiasm fading, and their commitment to God waning.

Isa. 56:9–12 describes how Israel’s leaders have gone astray: ‘watchmen’ and ‘shepherds’ (prophets and leaders) have become careless, and failed to protect the people from harmful outside influences. Isa. 57:1–13 describe how some, perhaps a significant number, in the returned community have compromised the purity of their worship, falling into idolatry and forbidden religious practices. These people (it is discouraging to note) are behaving just as the generations before the exile did, and are described in the same sort of terms.

What follows in 57:14–21 is, perhaps, unexpected: a restatement of the promise of restoration, healing and forgiveness originally addressed to the people in exile in Babylon (see Isa. 40:1–11). The implication of these verses (in the context of cc. 56–57) is that, in spite of the failings of the people, God remains committed to the work of restoring his people and fulfilling his purposes: ‘Peace, peace, to the far and near, says the LORD, and I will heal them’ (57:19). The last verse of the chapter, however, implies that not all will respond to God’s gracious call (v. 21): ‘There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.’

In conclusion Dr Satterthwaite drew attention to four points from Isaiah 56–57:

  • The striking vision of the people of God in 56:1–8 as a community defined solely by its allegiance to God: surely a model for a theological school such as BGST
  • The warning in 56:9–12 to those who lead God’s people not to drift from God and forget God’s priorities for his people
  • The challenge of 57:1–13: the forms of idolatry may change from generation to generation, but the danger of turning away from God is as real today as it ever was
  • The offer of mercy in 57:14–21: to those who feel that they have not served God as they would have wished, and who mourn their past failures to live for God, God continues to extend mercy and restoration. As it says in James 4:6, God ‘gives all the more grace’.

The sermon series continues on Wednesday 19th, which will focus on Isaiah 56–59.

Dr Philip Satterthwaite will be the chapel speaker on 26 Jan 2011. Chapel begins at 12 pm. You are most welcome to join us.

Faculty News

Dr Lai Pak Wah will be teaching the Adult Bible Class on “The Passion of the Early Church” at Bukit Panjang Gospel Chapel. Date & Time: 23 Jan (Part 2); 1.00-2:15 pm.

Mr Quek Tze-Ming will be preaching at Emmanuel BP service at 3.00 pm on Jan 23. He will also be conducting an Adult Bible Study on the same day at 5.15 pm on "A Brief Introduction to the Book of Revelation."

Kindly note there will be no Chapel on 2 Feb as it is the eve of Chinese New Year. BGST will be closed at 1pm on that day. Library and Office will resume operations on 5 Feb 2011 (Sat) and 7 Feb 2011 (Mon) respectively.
Courses Commencing

The Christian Mind (AT361, 1.5cr); (Group Tutorial)
Jan 11, 18, 25, Feb 1; (Tue 7.30-9.30pm)
Venue: Telok Ayer CMC, 235 Telok Ayer Street
Lecturer: Dr David Wong
Tutor: Dr Lai Pak Wah

Discerning God’s Will: Biblical Principles of Christian Decision-making (AT353, 1.5cr);
Feb 21, 28, Mar 14, 21, 28; (Mon 7.15-9.45pm)
Venue: Zion Bishan BP Church, 4 Bishan St 13
Lecturer: Dr Tan Soo-Inn

New Testament Foundations II (NT102, 3cr);
Jan 14, 21, 28, Feb 11, 18, 25, Mar 18, 25, Apr 1, 8; (Fri 7.15-9.45pm)
Venue: Clarus Centre
Lecturer: Dr Oh Boon Leong

Spirituality for Christian Formation (ECF503, 3cr);
Jan 5, 12, 19, 26, Feb 9, 16, 23, Mar 2, 9, 23, 30, Apr 6; (Wed 7.15-9.30pm)
Venue: Prinsep St Presbyterian Church, 77 Prinsep Street
Lecturer: Mr Chong Ser Choon

*Research Methods & Ministry: Qualitative (ECF520, 3cr);
Jan 11, 18, 25, Feb 1, 8, 15, 22, Mar 1, 8, 15; (Tue 7.15-9.45pm)
Venue: Clarus Centre
Lecturer: Dr Chen Ai Yen

Liberating the Laity: Empowering the Whole People of God for Service in the Church & World (MM251, 3cr); (Group Tutorial)
Jan 20(New Commencement Date), 27, Feb 10, 24, Mar 3; (Thu 7.15-9.45pm)
Venue: Zion Bishan BP Church, 4 Bishan St 13
Lecturer: Prof Paul Stevens
Tutor: Dr Ng Peh Cheng

The Christian Faith (TS101, 3cr);
Jan 10, 17, 24, 31, Feb 7, 14, 21, 28, Mar 14, 21;
(Mon 7.15-9.45pm)
Venue: Zion Bishan BP Church, 4 Bishan St 13
Lecturer: Dr Edwin Tay

*The Counsellor’s Skills: Developing Micro-Skills in Counselling (CO213, 3cr);
Feb 9, 16, 23, Mar 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Apr 6, 13;
(Wed 7.15-9.45pm)
Venue: Prinsep St Presbyterian Church, 77 Prinsep Street
Lecturer: Mr Yam Keng Mun

Globalization & Postmodernity: A Christian Response (MM258, 3cr); Feb 9, 23, Mar 9, 16, 23, 30, Apr 6, 13;
(Wed 7.15-10.15pm)
Venue: Clarus Centre
Lecturer: Mr Ben Pwee

Christianity Comes to Asia (ME325, 1.5cr);
(Group Tutorial)
Feb 8, 15, 22, Mar 1; (Tue 7.30-9.30pm)
Venue: Telok Ayer CMC, 235 Telok Ayer Street
Lecturer: Dr Bobby Sng
Tutor: Dr Lai Pak Wah

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

For more information on our courses please visit our website:   http://bgst.edu.sg/courses-and-events

Church-Based Lay Training Modules
2011 Modules offered at
Yishun Christian Church (Anglican)

Dynamics of Cell Leadership
Wed. Mar 2, 9, 16, 23 (7.30-9.30pm)
Lecturer: Ng Peh Cheng

What Do We Do With Four Gospels?
Wed. April 27, May 4, 11, 18 (7.30-9.30pm)
Lecturer: Mr Quek Tze-Ming

Reformation Theology: Its Significance & Relevance for Christians Today
Wed. Jul 6, 13, 20, 27 (7.30-9.30pm)
Lecturer: Dr Edwin Tay

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

Evangelism In A Cross-Cultural Context
Thu. Feb 24, Mar 3, 10, 17 (7.30-9.30pm)
Lecturer: Dr Lai Pak Wah

Dynamics Of Counselling: People Skills To Connect And Support
Thu. April 28, May 5, 12, 19 (7.30-9.30pm)
Lecturer: Mr Yam Keng Mun

The Message of the Song of Songs
Thu. Jul 7, 14, 21, 28 (7.30-9.30pm)
Lecturer: Dr Philip Satterthwaite

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: 6227 6816
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, Union Industrial Building S(577177).
Tel: 6227-6815 Fax: 6255-3686 Email: bgst@pacific.net.sg
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