Issue No. 22 4 - 10 June 2012
"Jesus and His Tax Collector" by Lai Pak Wah

The second of three chapels that BGST is holding in the city this year was held last Wednesday at Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church. Taking the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector (Luke 19:1-10) as the key narrative, Dr Lai shared an interesting message that interwove lessons from the Biblical text about the repentance of tax collectors with poignant analogies from the history of the early church.

To whet our appetite, he began with the story of Pelagia, the actress from Antioch, whom a certain Bishop Nonnus encountered in the company of his fellow pastors. Pelagia was then parading through the streets, wearing nothing but gold, pearls, and precious stones, while a great throng of boys and girls followed her with traces of music. This event caused great embarrassment among the pastors, who, upon seeing her shamelessly exposed limbs, quickly hid their faces behind their veils or books as though desiring to avoid seeing a great sin.

Bishop Nonnus, however, gazed intently upon Pelagia for a long time, after which he buried his face on his knees and sobbed uncontrollably. He lamented that if Pelagia had spent hours adorning herself so as to please mortal men who saw her, why was it that Christians should leave their souls so unadorned before the presence of their immortal bridegroom? Instead of reacting with a sense of shame as the pastors did, the bishop responded with a prayer of repentance, for he had seen something of himself in the parade of Pelagia. Indeed, such self-reflection led the bishop not only to repentance, but also to plead the mercy of God which saves.

This story from the early church reminds us that our Lord Jesus loves sinners, takes them seriously, and is willing to save them. This is true of the tax collectors in the Gospels. There was something about Jesus that attracted these notorious sinners to him. Perhaps it was the fact that Jesus did not avoid them but was found among them. Perhaps it was the ease of being in company with them which Jesus displayed. Whichever the case, Zaccheaus was so drawn to Jesus that he climbed a sycamore tree so as to catch a glimpse of him.

His eventual encounter with Jesus was more than he “bargained” for. Expecting only to see Jesus, Zacchaeus not only spoke with him, but had Jesus stay in his home that day amidst slanderous murmurings from the crowds, and all these at the initiative of Jesus himself. Being a recipient of such public display of divine hospitality, Zacchaeus gained new strength and courage that issued in his repentance.

Dr Lai gave three exhortations in the light of this narrative. First, he encouraged us to seek after Jesus as Zacchaeus did. We are to engage in constant recollection of God’s work in our lives so as to remind ourselves anew that God is not done with us yet, that He is still able to transform us after the image of Christ.

Second, he urged us to give our financial resources to the work of God in the light of Zaccheaus’ radical giving as an expression of his true repentance. In a materialistic world such as the one in which we live, it is necessary to take a hard look at our monetary giving if indeed we are serious about being a disciple of Christ.

Third, he challenged us with regard the areas in our lives that we must crucify and give up so that, like Zacchaeus, we may tell the world that we do love Jesus and that we are becoming more like Christ. Be it in the area of our relationships, ambitions, or what we do with our physical bodies, radical discipleship requires constant engagement in a life of self-denial.

Stories of transformed sinners such as that of Zaccheus were wonderful and dear stories to Christians who lived in the early centuries, especially the Christian monks. For them, the aim of reading such stories is not so much to be warned of how low we can sink if ever we give in to sin. Rather, it was read to bring home the truth that just as repentant tax collectors received forgiveness and help, we too as sinners may have access to divine grace from the Lord who loves us and who gave himself for us.

Extension of deadline for “Early Bird” Incentive Scheme

We are pleased to inform our students (new and existing) that the registration deadline for the “Early Bird” Incentive Scheme has been extended to 15 Jun 2012. Do not miss out on this limited offer! Refer to our course schedule and send in your Course Registration From together with your payment before 15 Jun 2012! (Terms and conditions apply)

Courses Commencing on July 2012

The Christian Faith (TS101, 3 cr);
July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Aug 6, 13, 27, Sept 24, Oct 1, 8, 15; (Mon, 7.15–9.50 pm)
Venue: BGST, Clarus Center
Lecturer: Dr Edwin Tay

The Educational Ministry of the Church (ECF500/ CE101, 3 cr);
July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Aug 7, 14, 21, 28,(Tue, 7.15–10.15 pm)
Sep 5 (Wed);
Venue:BGST, Clarus Center
Lecturer: Dr Ng Peh Cheng

History of Christianity I: From Jerusalem to Chang'an
(AD 1-1500) (CH 101, 3 cr; Blended Learning);

by Lecturer, Dr Lai Pak Wah;
Jul 4, 18, Aug 1, 15, 29, Sep 12 (Fortnightly); (Wed, 7.30–9.45 pm)
Venue:BGST, Clarus Center

Spirituality Retreat Experience: Nature, Purpose & Dynamics (EFC 504, 3 cr);
July 4, 11, 18, 25, Aug 1 (Wed, 7.15–10.15 pm)
retreat Aug 3-5 (Fri–Sun) (Additional Cost)
Lecturer: Mr Chong Ser Choon
Venue: Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church

Ecclesiastes: Wisdom for Contemporary Life (OT 353, 1.5 cr; Group Tutorial); by Lecturer & Tutor: Dr Philip Satterthwaite;
(Sat, July 7, 21, Aug 4; 2.00–4.00 pm)
Venue: Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church

*Biblical Hebrew Reading & Exegesis I (BH 211, 3 cr);
July 9, 23, 30, Aug 6, 13, 27, Sep 24, Oct 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; (Mon, 7.30–9.45 pm)
Venue:BGST, Clarus Center
Lecturer: Dr Andrew Lee

*New Testament Greek I (BG 111, 3 cr);
July 9, 16, 23, 30, Aug 6, 13, 27, Sep 24, Oct 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Nov 5, 12, 19; (Mon, 7.30–9.30 pm)
Venue: Thomson Road Baptist Church
Lecturer: Mr Quek Tze Ming

Christian Ethics (TS 252, 3 cr; Group Tutorial); By Dr Douglas J.W. Milne & Tutor: Mr Ben Pwee;
July 13, 27, Aug 10, 24; (Fri, 7.30–9.30 pm)
Venue: BGST, Clarus Center

Wesley Then & Now (TS240, 3 cr; Group Tutorial);
by Dr Victor Shepherd & Tutor: Dr Edwin Tay;

July 19, 26; Aug 2, 16, 23, 30 ; (Thu, 7.30–9.30 pm )
Venue: Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church

The Craft of Teaching (ECF 511, 1.5 cr);
Dr Ng Peh Cheng;
July 19, 26, Aug 2, 16, 23; (Thu, 7.15–10.15 pm)
Venue: BGST, Clarus Center
Lecturer: Dr Ng Peh Cheng

Old Testament Foundations I (OT 101, 3 cr);
Jul 26; Aug 2, 16, 23, 30; Sept 27; Oct 4, 11, 18, 25; Nov 1, 8; (Thu, 7.15–9.45 pm)
Lecturer: Dr Andrew Lee
Venue: Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church

*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

Chapel News
There will be no chapel on month of June 2012 at BGST Clarus Centre.
Faculty News

Mr Quek Tze-Ming will be preaching at both the 8.30 and 10.30 am services of Zion Bishan BP Church on Sunday 10 June 2012. The Topic is "God's Will and Marriage".

Dr Andrew Lee will be preaching at 8.00 am and 10.00 am services at Bethesda Chapel on Sunday 10 June 2012. The Topic is “Hannah: Rejoice in the Lord (1 Samuel 2)”. He will also be preaching at Mount Horeb BP Church on the same day at 5.00pm on Psalm 73.

Upcoming Public Lecture and Incentive Courses

Dr Robert Banks poster

Preliminary Course Schedule for 2012-2013 Semester 1
For more information on the Preliminary Course Schedule, please visit our website: http://www.bgst.edu.sg/media/files/courses/2012-2013-sem1.pdf

2012 Semester 1

37 Jalan Pemimpin, #06-05 Block B, Clarus Centre, S(577177).
Tel: 6227-6815 Fax: 6255-3686 Email: inquiry@bgst.edu.sg
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