Soundings

Welcoming worship

Welcoming worship

Apr 2017    

One of the simplest but most profound definitions of Christian worship comes from the pen of the influential Russian Orthodox theologian, Georges Vasilievich Florovsky (1893-1979). “Christian worship,” he wrote, “is the response of men to the Divine call, to the mighty deeds of God, culminating in the redemptive act of…

Bonhoeffer and discipleship

Bonhoeffer and discipleship

Mar 2017    

“Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” These words eloquently summarise the central message of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s influential book, The Cost of Discipleship, first published in 1937. This book began life as a series of lectures about the…

Art and obscenity

Art and obscenity

Feb 2017     Two planned performances in the recently-concluded M1 Singapore Fringe Festival ran into difficulties with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) due to “excessive nudity”. In ‘Naked Ladies’, burlesque dancer Thea Fitz-James strips and performs an indecent act, and in ‘Undressing Room’, dancer Ming Poon challenges a participant to undress him...
Post-truth politics?

Post-truth politics?

Jan 2017     Last November, Oxford Dictionaries declared “post-truth” as the international word for the year 2016. So significant is this expression that Oxford Dictionaries’ Casper Grathwohl even said it could become “one of the defining words of our time”. “Post-truth”, whose origins can be traced to the early 1990s, is not a...
The betrayal of medicine

The betrayal of medicine

Dec 2016     One of the reasons that the National Council of Churches of Singapore gave for rejecting physician-assisted suicide (PAS) and euthanasia in its 2008 statement is that these actions are “against the very ethos of medical practice”. The betrayal of medicine’s noblest purpose that the growing acceptance of PAS and euthanasia...
Gender chaos

Gender chaos

Nov 2016     At Brighton College, one of the most prestigious private schools in Britain, gender distinct uniforms have been abolished. This means that the students in the school could choose to wear trousers or a skirt, a blazer or a bolero jacket. Teachers in some preschools in America are not allowed to...
Islamophobia phobia

Islamophobia phobia

Oct 2016     After a closed-door meeting with 60 Madrasah students in March this year, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam spoke to the press about the dangers that Islamophobia poses to the social fabric of Singapore. The origin of the term “Islamophobia” is somewhat obscure. However, it is clear that by the late 1990s, the term had already entered into mainstream...
Designer disability?

Designer disability?

Sep 2016     In 2002, the Washington Post Magazine published a story of an American lesbian couple, Sharon Duchesneau and Candy McCullough – both of whom are deaf – who had deliberately chosen to have a deaf baby. A friend of theirs, with five generations of deafness in his family, donated his sperm....
Is it ethical?

Is it ethical?

Aug 2016     In 2006, in an article published in Methodist Message, I argued that gender dysphoria is a form of mental disorder – a view I still hold today. If this judgement is sound, then far from being a helpful correction to the condition, sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) is in fact collaborating...
The human face

The human face

Jul 2016     In August 2015, injured volunteer firefighter Patrick Hardison received a face transplant in a 26-hour surgery performed by plastic surgeon Dr Eduardo Roderiguez and his team, a procedure which cost US$1 million (S$1.36 million). The donor was David Rodenbaugh, who had died in a cycling accident. The first person to...
Religion, public discourse and the common good

Religion, public discourse and the common good

Jun 2016     Without doubt, one of the most important – if highly contentious – ideas in political and social philosophy today is that of the common good. Although the idea is once again in vogue in recent public and academic discourse, its origins can be traced to Aristotle, who refused to designate...
Secular intolerance

Secular intolerance

May 2016     In November last year, The Straits Times reported that, according to Attorney-General George Brandis, Australia is experiencing an“alarming emergence” of religious intolerance. “Members of the Christians faiths”, Australia’s top law officer reportedly said, “are routinely subject to mockery and insult by prominent writers and commentators” (ST, 4 Nov 2015). To...
Paganising Christianity

Paganising Christianity

Apr 2016     The unprecedented emergence of religious fundamentalism and fervour across the globe in the final decades of the last century has led to the demise of the so-called secularisation theory proposed by philosophers and sociologists in the 1960s. Instead of being made obsolete by the seemingly unstoppable advance of secularism, the religions...
Bloody witness

Bloody witness

Mar 2016     “Soundings” is a series of essays that, like the waves of a sonogram, explore issues in society, culture and the church in light of the Gospel and Christian understanding. In November 2010, Fr. Christian Mbusa Bakulene and a parish worker were walking to St. John the Baptist Church in Kanyabayonga...
Interrogating multiculturalism

Interrogating multiculturalism

Feb 2016     In June 2011, I wrote an article for The Straits Times on multiculturalism in Singapore at the invitation of The United Nations Alliance of Civilisation. In the article, I argued that the Government’s approach has succeeded in fostering social cohesion in multi-racial Singapore. I suggested that the Singapore model could...
As Good As Dead

As Good As Dead

Jan 2016     One of the most disturbing moral fictions in the field of medicine in our time is the so-called neurological criteria for determining death that equate brain death with the death of a human being. This new approach was proposed in 1968 by an Ad Hoc Harvard Medical School Committee as...
Catholic Bishops on Same-Sex Marriage

Catholic Bishops on Same-Sex Marriage

Dec 2015     The recently-concluded Synod on the Family (4 – 25 October), a historic meeting of 270 bishops from around the world at the Vatican, published a report on some of the most controversial issues surrounding marriage, divorce and sexuality after three weeks of “rich and lively dialogue”. Pope Francis convened this...
Sordid ‘science’

Sordid ‘science’

Nov 2015     “Soundings” is a series of essays that, like the waves of a sonogram, explore issues in society, culture and the church in light of the Gospel and Christian understanding. In its ‘FAQs on Sexuality’, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) of Singapore seems to base its understanding of human sexuality substantially,...
The fictionalised self

The fictionalised self

Oct 2015     Since its inception about 40 years ago, the Internet has revolutionised our lives in innumerable ways. It has made possible access to a huge amount of information on almost everything under the sun, from the latest news about a celebrity to instructions on how to make a bomb. The Internet has...
Not just about love

Not just about love

Sep 2015     In June this year, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all US states. This means that the 14 states that ban same-sex marriage must now not only recognise same sex marriages that have taken place in other states; they must also grant...
Our common home

Our common home

Aug 2015     In June this year, the much-anticipated encyclical by Pope Francis finally appeared. Unlike papal encyclicals in the past, which were addressed to the Church, Pope Francis’ circular epistle is directed at the whole human family. The reason for this departure is clear: the fundamental concern of this new encyclical has to...
Three adults and a baby

Three adults and a baby

Apr 2015     On 3 Feb 2015, the British Parliament voted 382 to 128 in favour of legalising a technique in assisted reproductive technology known as mitochondrial replacement, after much heated debate. The UK is the first country in the world to legalise this treatment that would result in children with three genetic...
Secularism and its discontents

Secularism and its discontents

Mar 2015     The American sociologist Peter Berger is perhaps one of the most interesting scholars of secularism and religion. In his book The Sacred Canopy published in 1967, Berger presented the famous secularisation thesis which postulates that as modernity advances, the influence of religion will diminish and eventually disappear altogether. Thirty years...
Fabricating life

Fabricating life

Nov 2014     According to an article in the May issue of The Scientist, an international team of researchers has successfully synthesised from scratch one of the sixteen chromosomes in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Despite altering one-sixth of its base pairs, the scientists found that the yeast cells from artificial chromosome SynIII were...
Beauty eclipsed

Beauty eclipsed

Oct 2014     Christian mystic and philosopher Simone Weil wrote in her famous work Waiting for God, published posthumously more than 60 years ago: “Today one might think that the white races had almost lost all feeling for the beauty of the world, and that they had taken upon themselves the task of...
Ending the scourge

Ending the scourge

Sep 2014     Like so many around the world, I too was hoodwinked into believing Somaly Mam’s story. The world-renowned crusader against sex trafficking and slavery almost achieved iconic status with the story of her own sexual abuse when she was a 13-year-old girl in Thloc Chhroy, a typical rural Cambodian Village along...
E.T.

E.T.

Aug 2014     While searching for planets in the constellation Draco, researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics found a giant Earth-like planet with a diameter of nearly 28,900 km – more than twice the size of planet Earth. Using NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, these scientists spotted this “Godzilla of Earths” – which they...
Science and wonders

Science and wonders

Jul 2014     At Johns Hopkins University, neurosurgeons and biomedical engineers collaborated to create tiny, biodegradable “nanoparticles” that can transport DNA to brain cancer cells in mice. These scientists hope that one day, they will be able to load these particles with “death genes” and insert them in brain cancer patients by neurosurgery...
Sacred space

Sacred space

Jun 2014     Almost sixty years ago, the Romanian philosopher Mircea Elaide perceptively noted that certain physical spaces in many traditional religions are regarded as sacred. However, modernity with its corrosive secularism has robbed us of this sacramental view of reality. The toxic influence of modernity has rendered material reality opaque, and has...
TECHNO SAPIENS?

TECHNO SAPIENS?

May 2014     José Padiha’s recent stylish “reboot” of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 B-Grade movie Robocop is perhaps one of the more successful remakes in this genre. To be sure, Padiha and his screenwriter Joshua Zetumer have much more material to work with than Verhoeven did back in the late 80s. The movie throws...
Religious KITSCH

Religious KITSCH

Apr 2014     In his insightful book entitled Contending for the Faith, Ralph Wood, Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor University, describes a sweatshirt on sale at an annual Christian Book Fair designed by a Christian T-Shirt company called Living Epistle. Labelled “The Lord’s Gym”, it depicts Jesus Christ as a muscle-bound...

APOLLINARIANISM

Mar 2014     Apart from the doctrine of the Trinity, the tenet of the faith that has also attracted much controversy and debate is Christology (the doctrine or study of Christ). In this series, we have briefly examined Ebionitism (p13 MM May 2013) and Arianism (p11 MM Dec 2013), two Christological heresies that...
PELAGIANISM

PELAGIANISM

Feb 2014     ... Pelagianism was a heresy in the “classical” sense because it was a curious and ultimately harmful amalgam of truth and error. In A.D. 400, Pelagius, a native of Ireland, arrived in Rome and began to promote his philosophy of self-determination that gave rise to one of the most enduring...
NESTORIANISM

NESTORIANISM

Jan 2014     ...“None of the great ‘heretics’ of the history of dogma have borne this name so unjustly as Nestorius.” Nestorius, the Bishop of Constantinople, is arguably one of the most controversial figures in the history of Christian theology. A student of the revered Antiochene theologian Theodore of Mopsuestia, Nestorius strongly affirmed...
Arianism

Arianism

Dec 2013     Among the many heresies related to the person of Christ, arguably the most threatening was Arianism, named after its founder Arius (d. 336), a dynamic and popular presbyter in the Church of Alexandria. Adhering to a strict monotheism, Arius and his followers felt compelled to reject the orthodox doctrine of...
Modalistic  monarchianism

Modalistic monarchianism

Nov 2013     ...while orthodoxy teaches that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three persons in the one God, the modalists maintain that these are merely tags attached to the successive and varied manifestations of the one God. While the influence of dynamic monarchianism (p13 MM Oct 2013) was somewhat limited and short-lived,...
Dynamic monarchianism

Dynamic monarchianism

Oct 2013     One of the most important tenets of the Christian faith (perhaps the most important) is the Trinity. Since its inception, the Church has taught that there is only one God. Like Judaism, Christianity is a monotheistic religion. But Christians have a very unique understanding of the oneness of God. For although...
Manichaeism

Manichaeism

Sep 2013     Manichaeism grouped its followers into two distinct categories: the Elect were those who have attained knowledge by renouncing all sexual and physical pleasures, while the Hearers were second-class devotees who were not required to refrain from sexual activities as long as they did not regard them in a positive light....
Montanism

Montanism

Aug 2013     ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL heterodox movements that exploded onto the scene in Asia Minor in the second century is Montanism. Named after its founder Montanus, a former pagan priest and recent convert to Christianity, this heresy is also known to its adherents as the New Revelation and the New...
Marcionism

Marcionism

Jul 2013     AMIDST THE CONFUSION and chaos of the early Church’s battle against Gnosticism, there emerged the enigmatic figure of Marcion of Sinope, whose father was the Bishop of Pontus. As a young man, Marcion left Pontus and travelled extensively in Asia, before finally settling in Rome. But in AD 144, he...
Gnosticism

Gnosticism

Jun 2013     ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL heresies that plagued the early Church is Gnosticism. As a religious sect, Gnosticism is best described as a syncretistic blend of Judaism, pagan mystery religions, Hellenistic philosophy and Christianity. In it, we also find the influences of Persian dualism and Babylonian astrology. The origin(s) of...
Founder of Methodism, insightful theologian

Founder of Methodism, insightful theologian

Apr 2013    
FAITH OF OUR FATHERS

FAITH OF OUR FATHERS

Feb 2013     PHILIP MELANCHTHON (1497-1560)   A ‘humanist and Reformer’ PHILIP MELANCHTHON was an influential theologian who worked closely with Martin Luther and whose books were more popular in Europe than even those of Luther and Calvin. Born on February 16, 1497, in Bretten in the Electoral Palatinate, Melanchthon is often described...
John Calvin: An erudite and astute theologian

John Calvin: An erudite and astute theologian

Dec 2012     JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564) AMONG THE GREAT second-generation theologians of the 16th century Protestant Reformation, John Calvin is arguably the greatest. Like the other reformers, he had a traditional upbringing and was steeped in the humanist tradition of his time. Although many scholars described his “conversion” to Protestant faith as “sudden”...
An act that gave birth to Protestant Christianity

An act that gave birth to Protestant Christianity

Nov 2012     Martin Luther (1483-1546) Martin Luthur ON OCT 31, 1517, an Augustinian monk nailed his protests against a practice of the Roman Catholic Church on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This act sparked one of the most significant and enduring movements in Western Christianity. The monk in...
One of the most provocative thinkers of the 14th century

One of the most provocative thinkers of the 14th century

Oct 2012     WITHOUT A DOUBT, the 14th century is one of the most tumultuous in the history of Europe. It was the century in which ancient and established institutions were crumbling even as new centres of learning, especially universities, were beginning to proliferate. This century also saw some of the greatest political...
He left a legacy that would continue to shape Roman Catholic theology

He left a legacy that would continue to shape Roman Catholic theology

Sep 2012     Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) THOMAS AQUINAS is perhaps the most influential theologian in the Western Christian tradition, next to Augustine. Born in 1225 at Roccasecca, which stood midway between Rome and Naples, he entered the great Benedictine abbey of Montecassino at the age of five to begin his studies. When his...
A theologian of grace par excellence

A theologian of grace par excellence

Aug 2012     Bonaventure (1221 – 1274) BONAVENTURE IS ONE of the most important theologians and spiritual writers in the 13th century. Born Giovanni di Fidanza in 1221, he entered the prestigious University of Paris in 1235 and came into contact with a group of mendicants known as the Franciscans. Impressed by their...
A model scholar and theologian

A model scholar and theologian

Jul 2012     Peter Lombard (1096-1161) “Peter Lombard serves as an example of a theologian who is faithful to both Scripture and the Tradition of the Church.” PETER LOMBARD is without doubt one of the most influential theologians in the Middle Ages. Born in Novara, Italy, he first studied theology at Bologna and...
The self-appointed watchdog of orthodoxy

The self-appointed watchdog of orthodoxy

Jun 2012     Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) A consummate preacher and teacher, Bernard also authored numerous theological treatises on topics as diverse as the doctrine of God, grace and free will. IN BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX we encounter a decidedly different sort of thinker from the theologians we discussed in the previous two articles....
He tried to recast the theory of atonement

He tried to recast the theory of atonement

May 2012     Peter Abelard (1079-1142) THE FIRST HALF OF THE 12TH CENTURY produced many outstanding theologians and writers, whose works continue to influence Christian theology in one way or another: Anselm, Peter Lombard and Bernard of Clairvaux (to name just a few). e most colourful figure in this period is surely Peter...
The ‘founder of scholasticism’

The ‘founder of scholasticism’

Apr 2012     ANSELM OF CANTERBURY is one of the most important theologians in the medieval period. Hailed by scholars as the founder of scholasticism, a critical and rational approach to theology, he is the author of significant treatises on the Incarnation and on grace and free will. Anselm was born in the...
The ‘ultimate representative of ancient Rome’

The ‘ultimate representative of ancient Rome’

Mar 2012     Gregory the Great (540 – 604) ONE OF THE MOST PROMINENT FIGURES in the history of the Western Church at the dawn of the Middle Ages is Pope Gregory the Great. Born of wealthy parents belonging to the senatorial nobility, he received the best of the classical education of his...
He taught that happiness is found in God

He taught that happiness is found in God

Feb 2012     BOETHIUS WAS A CHRISTIAN SCHOLAR and philosopher who lived at the time when the classical world of late antiquity was receding and what scholars call the early Middle Ages was about to dawn. His full name, Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, indicates that he belonged not just to the aristocracy of...
Three who stoutly defended the Nicene Creed

Three who stoutly defended the Nicene Creed

Dec 2011     The Cappadocians THE COUNCIL OF NICAEA convened by Emperor Constantine in 325 culminated with the composition of the Nicene Creed that clearly affirmed the full deity of the Son. However, as we saw in the previous article (Methodist Message, November 2011), the Nicene Creed did not resolve the theological conflict...
‘Greatest theologian of 4th century’

‘Greatest theologian of 4th century’

Nov 2011     Athanasius (296-373 AD) WITHOUT A DOUBT, Athanasius, Bishop and Patriarch of Alexandria, is one of the most important figures in the Church in the Patristic era. Often described as the most remarkable bishop and the greatest theologian in the 4th century, he was a staunch defender of Nicene orthodoxy. His...
A brilliant but enigmatic Bible teacher and writer

A brilliant but enigmatic Bible teacher and writer

Oct 2011     Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD) ONE OF THE MOST BRILLIANT and yet also the most enigmatic figures in the early history of the Church is Origen of Alexandria. A theologian with great powers of speculation and a prolific writer, he has authored about 800 treatises on exegesis, philosophy, apologetics, ascetical theology,...
The ‘golden-mouthed’ preacher

The ‘golden-mouthed’ preacher

Sep 2011     John Chrysostom (AD 349-407) IMPORTANCE OF PREACHING “John reminds us of the importance of the preaching and teaching ministries of the Church, and that pastors, elders and theologians must take this awesome and sacred duty of instructing God’s people seriously.” THE ANTIOCH IN WHICH John was born was a city...
He helped develop Christian theology

He helped develop Christian theology

Aug 2011     IDOLATRY A CHIEF SIN “Idolatry is “the principal charge against the human race, the world’s deepest guilt, the all-inclusive cause of judgement”. All other sins – murder, fornication and fraud – are included in this chief sin.” TERTULLIAN WAS BORN AT CARTHAGE in the middle of the second century into...
‘The father of Catholic theology’

‘The father of Catholic theology’

Jul 2011     Irenaeus of Lyons (d. 202 AD) ONE OF THE GREATEST THREATS to the Church in the second century is Gnosticism, a multifaceted and polymorphous sect whose origins can be traced to ancient Iran and Babylon. A mixture of Hellenistic philosophy, Iranian mysticism, heterodox Judaism and Christianity, Gnosticism exerted a powerful and...
A robust defender of Christianity

A robust defender of Christianity

Jun 2011     UNLIKE THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS whose works addressed pastoral issues and concerns in the various churches, the Apologists were early Christian writers who wrote treatises in response to pagan criticisms. Steeped in the philosophical thinking of their day, the Apologists were robust defenders of Christianity. Their works offer invaluable insight into...
Polycarp ‘knew the apostle John and others who had seen the Lord’

Polycarp ‘knew the apostle John and others who had seen the Lord’

May 2011     Polycarp (65-155) POLYCARP IS MORE INTERESTING as a man and a martyr than a writer. The great early Church historian Eusebius (260-341) believed that Polycarp was acquainted with the apostle John, and “others who had seen the Lord”. In fact, the most prominent theologian of early Latin Christianity, Tertullian, cites...
He contributed greatly to the doctrine of the Church

He contributed greatly to the doctrine of the Church

Apr 2011     We begin this month with a new series entitled “Faith of our Fathers”. This series explores the rich theological and spiritual heritage of the Church by reflecting on the writings of the saints. These servants of God hailed from diverse backgrounds and lived in different historical and cultural contexts. They...
The Salvation Army has strong emphasis on social outreach

The Salvation Army has strong emphasis on social outreach

Mar 2011     THE SALVATION ARMY was established in 1865 when William Booth, a minister from London, brought the Gospel to the homeless, the poor and the hungry in the streets of London. Booth’s original aim was to direct these converts to the established churches of his day. But when he found that...
Christians cannot accept atheism of communism

Christians cannot accept atheism of communism

Feb 2011     Are there any bases for Christians to support communism as a political ideology? COMMUNISM MAY BE DESCRIBED AS AN IDEOLOGY that seeks to promote a classless society. It envisions a society where the full equality of its members is recognised and respected, and where the public owns the means of...
Schism led to formation of Bible-Presbyterian Church

Schism led to formation of Bible-Presbyterian Church

Jan 2011     THE BIBLE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (BPC) began in the United States in 1937 as the result of a schism caused by the Modernist-Fundamentalist Dispute. The origins of this dispute can be traced to the inaugural address delivered in 1891 by Charles Briggs, a minister of the Presbyterian Church of the United...
Neither flawless nor infallible

Neither flawless nor infallible

Dec 2010     Is democracy the best system of government, according to the Christian view? IT IS IMPORTANT to state at the outset that the Christian faith neither provides an ethos for, nor does it have a stake in any form of political ideology or order, including democracy. Christianity is fundamentally concerned with...
Church and State support one another with their distinctive roles

Church and State support one another with their distinctive roles

Oct 2010     What is the proper relationship between the Church and the State? IN ORDER TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION we have to inquire what the Bible and the teaching of the Church have to say about the role and purpose of both these institutions. Let us begin with the State. In my...
Pentecostalism: Healing ministry an important feature

Pentecostalism: Healing ministry an important feature

Sep 2010     THE ORIGIN OF PENTECOSTALISM is usually traced to Topeka, Kansas, where under the leadership of Charles Parham, a former Methodist preacher, a group of Christians experienced an outbreak of tongue-speaking in 1901. In 1906, William J. Seymour, a black Holiness preacher and student of Parham, led a revival in an...
Methodism: ‘Religion of the heart’

Methodism: ‘Religion of the heart’

Aug 2010     SOCIAL HOLINESS “For Wesley, the true Christian “knows of no religion but social; no holiness but social holiness”.” METHODISM IS ASSOCIATED WITH JOHN AND CHARLES WESLEY, sons of an Anglican rector and his wife, Susannah. Together at Oxford, the Wesley brothers formed the Holy Club (ca 1725), and gathered around...
Patriotism in perspective

Patriotism in perspective

Jul 2010     In what ways can nationalism or patriotism become idolatrous? MANY PHILOSOPHERS AND SOCIOLOGISTS have observed that the rise of modern secularism has not erased man’s need for religion. Although it is perfectly true to say that modern man has by and large lost faith in the traditional religions, his need...
Preserving religious peace in multi-religious Singapore

Preserving religious peace in multi-religious Singapore

Jun 2010     What is your assessment of the position of the Singapore Government concerning the relationship between religion and politics? THE SINGAPORE GOVERNMENT’S position on the relationship between religion and politics is delineated in the Maintenance of Religious Harmony White Paper (MRHWP) published on Dec 26, 1989. is document is the precursor...
The Lutheran Tradition

The Lutheran Tradition

May 2010     The term ‘Lutheran’ refers to the teachings and practices associated with Martin Luther and the reforms he initiated MOST HISTORIANS OF WESTERN CHRISTIANITY would mark Oct 31, 1517 as the beginning of the great intellectual and religious movement called the Protestant Reformation. On that fateful day, Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk...
How Christians can contribute to society

How Christians can contribute to society

Apr 2010     Can politics be separated from religion, according to the Christian perspective? Can politics be separated from religion, according to the Christian perspective? THE SEPARATION OF RELIGION FROM POLITICS, resulting in the notion of “private religion”, is the outcome of the secularism associated with the 18th century European Enlightenment. Before that...
Evangelical Free Church began in Scandinavia

Evangelical Free Church began in Scandinavia

Mar 2010     THE EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH is a Christian denomination that traces its roots to the 16th century Protestant Reformation in Europe. In its concrete historical form this denomination began in the Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Norway and Denmark and later spread to America and Canada. The Evangelical Free Church therefore is broadly...
Every Christian must submit himself to the governing authorities

Every Christian must submit himself to the governing authorities

Feb 2010     How should Christians understand the meaning and responsibilities of citizenship? THE WEBSTER DICTIONARY defines a citizen as “an inhabitant of a city or a town, a member of a country, native or naturalised, having rights and owing allegiance”. Broadly speaking, therefore, citizenship has to do with the relationship between an...
The Church of the Brethren

The Church of the Brethren

Jan 2010     The Church of the Brethren THE ORIGINS OF THE BRETHREN MOVEMENT can be traced to 18th century Germany. The draconian control that the government of the day exercised over the established church and the little tolerance for religious diversity had driven some dissenters to take refuge in the German town...
Secularism asserting its superiority to the religious traditions

Secularism asserting its superiority to the religious traditions

Dec 2009     How should Christians respond to the growing influence of secularism? THE WORD “SECULAR” comes from the Latin saecularis which means of an age or of a generation. This term points to concern for this world and for the affairs of our time as opposed to other-worldly concerns. Traditionally, the term...
The Baptist Tradition

The Baptist Tradition

Nov 2009     THE ORIGIN OF THE BAPTIST TRADITION is a subject of considerable debate among historians and even among Baptist theologians and leaders. Historians like David Benedict and Walter Rauschenbusch (both of whom are Baptist) trace the Baptist heritage to the Anabaptist sects of the 16th century that rejected paedobaptism and reinstituted...
‘Yes’ to patriotism which accords proper honour to one’s nation

‘Yes’ to patriotism which accords proper honour to one’s nation

Oct 2009     Should Christians be patriotic? Can patriotism be Christian? WEBSTER DEFINES PATRIOTISM as the “zealous love of one’s country”. It follows that a patriot is a “person who loves his native country and will do all he can for it”, and that a patriotic act is one that is “inspired by...
The genesis of Anglicanism

The genesis of Anglicanism

Sep 2009     16TH CENTURY REFORMS “From its genesis, the Anglican Communion has embraced the reforms introduced by the 16th century Reformers like Martin Luther.” THE ENGLISH REFORMATION had an unlikely beginning when England’s King Henry VIII declared unilaterally the Church in England to be under his control, and not that of Pope...
Christians engaged in the public square must be humble and civil

Christians engaged in the public square must be humble and civil

Aug 2009     How should Christians engage in the public square? AS SOCIETY BECOMES increasingly secular, religion is slowly edged towards the periphery of public life and reduced to a private experience without any social implications. The Christian faith is intrinsically opposed to the privatisation of religion because of its claim that the...
The origin of Christian denominations

The origin of Christian denominations

Jul 2009     We begin a new series on Christian denominations entitled, “So What’s the Difference?” This series, which alternates with “Now That’s A Good Question!”, will discuss the history, theology and practices of the main Protestant denominations. In the first instalment, we look briefly at the origin of Christian denominations CHRISTIANITY today...

Of human freedom and the sovereignty of God

Jun 2009     How would you evaluate the basic tenets of Open Theism? THEOLOGIANS throughout the centuries have wrestled with the question concerning the sovereignty of God and the free will of human beings. Profound theological tomes have been written on the subject in conversation with Scripture and the doctrinal tradition of the...

Surrogacy violates the Christian understanding of marriage and family

May 2009     How should Christians respond to surrogate motherhood? AMONG the various forms of artificial reproductive technologies surrogate motherhood is arguably the most controversial. A surrogate mother is a woman who carries a child for an infertile couple. There are basically two forms of surrogacy. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is inseminated by...

Human Rights Declaration ideals resonate with Christian tenets

Apr 2009     How should Christians think about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? DECEMBER 10, 2008 marked the 60th anniversary of the adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is debatably the most important document in the moral, cultural and political history...

Christians must reflect on meaning, purpose of the arts in human life

Mar 2009     How should Christians understand and view the arts? SINCE the Reformation in the 16th century, when leaders of the church destroyed statues and other works of art to stem out and prevent idolatry, Protestant Christianity has always been suspicious of the arts. It must be clarified that the iconoclasm of...
What is the relationship between the Church and Israel?

What is the relationship between the Church and Israel?

Feb 2009     A general view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. – Methodist Message picture by PETER TEO. What is the relationship between the Church and Israel? VERY few theological issues have been so contentious and hotly debated as the relationship between the Church and Israel. Wishing to preserve the integrity...

Torture blasphemes God who created human beings in His own image

Jan 2009     Should Christians ever condone torture? ACCORDING to the standard dictionary definition, torture is simply the act of deliberately inflicting pain by one person on another person. There are many ways in which this can be done: beatings, electric shocks, waterboarding, etc. But this simple dictionary definition of torture must be...

Be involved in affairs of the economic life

Nov 2008     What is the Christian understanding of the economic order? THE tumultuous events on Wall Street in recent times and their rippling events throughout the world has led some to lose confidence in the American economy and its financial system, others to debate the extent of government interventions, and still others...

Christian Faith opposes sale of organs but supports voluntary donation

Oct 2008     Should Christians support the legalisation of the human organ market? THE shortage of transplantable organs and the growing demand for them has made the legalisation of the organ market an attractive option. Proponents have argued that by legalising organ sales and by subjecting the market to strict regulations and protocols,...

Civil obedience part of Christian discipleship

Sep 2008     ‘Christians are commanded to submit themselves to the authority of the state that seeks to do the will of God by promoting justice and peace.’ What should be the Christian perspective on the secular State? PERHAPS the best place to begin one’s reflection on what might be called a Christian...

Christians generally maintain that human rights are universal

Aug 2008     ‘The universality of human rights is established on Christological and not anthropological grounds. Because Christ died for all human beings, all persons can claim these rights.’ What is the Christian perspective on human rights? THE modern concept of human rights is historically rooted in deism whose concept of God and...

Kingdom of God is ‘dearer than families’

Jul 2008     ‘In exhorting His disciples to “hate” their families, Jesus is simply urging them to love God more than anyone and anything.’ What did Jesus mean that those who do not hate their parents, wife, children and siblings cannot be his disciples? (Luke 14:26). THERE are at least two reasons why many...

Doctrine of limited atonement has no scriptural basis

Jun 2008     ‘Numerous passages of the Bible support the doctrine of universal atonement. In John 1:29, John the Baptist introduced Jesus as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”’ Did Christ die only for the elect? THE view that the sacrifi cial death of Christ on the...

Doctrine of purgatory ‘not based on Scripture’

May 2008     Is there scriptural basis for the doctrine of purgatory? ACCORDING to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary...

Christians insist that the Bible is inspired, guided by God Himself

Apr 2008     What do Christians mean when they say that the Bible is the Word of God? CHRISTIANS from all the traditions of the Church – Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant – believe that the Bible is the Word of God. That is why in most traditional churches, the declaration, “This is...

Very little biblical justification for practice of praying for the dead

Mar 2008     Should Christians pray for the dead? IT MAY surprise some readers of this newsletter to learn that the practice of praying for the dead has a very long history in the Christian tradition that can be traced as far back as the 3rd century AD. The great father of the early...

Dialogue key to understanding science-theology relationship

Jan 2008     What should be the proper way of understanding the relationship between science and the Christian faith? ALTHOUGH significant progress is being made in the interaction between science and Christianity in this century, there remains a residual hostility between them that can be traced to the 19th century. When modern science as...

There are some similarities between the Christian and Islamic concepts of God, but … We can’t conclude that Christians and Muslims worship the same God

Dec 2007     Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? THIS question has become pressing in some circles, especially after 9/11 and in the wake of strenuous attempts in the West not to demonise Islam. An affirmative answer to this question is well supported by some of the most powerful political and religious...

Atheism will never succeed in undermining the Christian Faith

Nov 2007     Who are the “New Atheists”? Do their proposals threaten to undermine the Christian Faith? IN RECENT years there has been a rash of books challenging Christianity in particular and religion in general. The authors of these books are sometimes referred to as the “New Atheists” and they are a motley crew...

Most scientists reject the one-gene-one-trait theory as naïve

Sep 2007     Have scientists discovered the gay gene? PERHAPS the most frequently cited study that maintains the connection between genetics and homosexuality is that conducted by molecular biologists at the National Institutes of Health under the direction of Dean Hamer in 1993. By examining DNA samples from self-identified gay men and other...

Sabbath and the Lord’s Day stress Lordship of God over all creation

Aug 2007     What is the relationship between the Jewish Sabbath and the Lord’s Day (Sunday)? THERE is considerable consensus among scholars of Ancient Near East civilisation that the division of the week into seven days was not the invention of the people of Israel. The origins can be traced to Babylonian religion...

Demon possession a reality to be reckoned with

Jul 2007     What is demon possession? Can a Christian be demon possessed? DEMON POSSESSION is a phenomenon that is increasingly dismissed not only by secular psychiatrists and psychologists but also by some Christian counsellors. The reasons for this are the influence of the scientific worldview, and the anti-supernaturalism that has subtly clouded...

Christians can conclude that … Bible ‘does not prohibit organ donation and transplantation’

Jun 2007     Should Christians support organ donations and transplantation? SINCE medical doctors Joseph Murray and David Hume performed the first successful living-related kidney transplant from identical twins in 1954, the science of organ transplantation has advanced by leaps and bounds. About 50 years later, there have been successful heart, pancreas, pancreas islet...

Church does not prohibit abortion under all circumstances

May 2007     It is clear that the Christian Tradition opposes abortion because it is the wilful killing of another human being. But are there no exceptions? What about pregnancies that result from rape? Should abortion be allowed in order to save the life of the pregnant woman? WHILE the Christian faith opposes...

Christians do not hold that all religions are the same

Jan 2007     Are all religions fundamentally the same? Do they all lead to God and offer salvation? THE Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw has famously said that “There is only one religion though there are a hundred versions of it.” This interpretation has become very appealing in our modern pluralistic context because it seems to address several concerns peculiar to...

Dealing with the subject of evolution

Dec 2006     Should Christians subscribe to the theory of evolution? MUCH depends on what one means by evolution. In his Origin of Species (1859), Charles Darwin hypothesised that all organisms are related to a “common ancestry” and arose through a process of mutation and “natural selection”. The latter refers to the process by which organisms arose and persist by the...

Can anyone justify war from a Christian perspective?

Nov 2006     Should Christians ever go to war? THE Christian response to war has been a broad spectrum, ranging from absolute rejection of war to full participation, with the proclamation of divine blessings and authority. The spectrum includes the following: pacifism, non-resistance, just war, preventive war, and crusade. Each view has several permutations...

The Bible also speaks of God’s holy wrath

Sep 2006     Is conditional immortality (CI) a credible alternative to the traditional doctrine of hell? THE traditional doctrine of hell has recently come under fire even from evangelical theologians. In the past 20 years or so, an increasing number of evangelical theologians have rejected the traditional understanding of hell and eternal punishment...

Transsexuals should seek therapy, but much depends on what sort

Aug 2006     Should Christians endorse Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS) as an option for transsexuals? I THINK it is best if we begin with a working definition of transsexuality. A transsexual person is someone who is uncomfortable with the behaviour required for his or her chromosomal gender. In other words, a transsexual is someone who rejects his or...

Gnosticism and how ChristianGnosticism and how Christianityity

Jul 2006     What is Gnosticism? How did the early Christian leaders respond to its teachings? THE phenomenal success of Dan Brown’s controversial novel, The Da Vinci Code, and the recent hype surrounding the discovery of the Gospel of Judas have generated public and media interest in Christian Gnosticism. Scholars have not achieved a consensus on the origin...

How do we know if this is prophecy?

Jun 2006     What is prophecy? And how can we discern if it’s from God? MUCH of the confusion with the practice of prophecy in the contemporary church has to do with a misunderstanding of what the New Testament means by the term. It is not possible to provide a full discussion on...

Christian faith does not condone euthanasia

May 2006     Should Christians condone euthanasia? IN THE modern world dying has become a problem! The extraordinary advances in science and technology have not only made it possible for doctors to alleviate pain but also to extend life. The possibility of being maintained on life support for months and sometimes years has resulted in much anxiety in both elderly...

Significance of making the sign of the cross

Apr 2006     Why do some Christians (Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans and Anglicans) make the sign of the cross before and after they pray? What is the origin and significance of this act? THE phrase “sign of the cross” refers to various liturgical or devotional acts which trace the two lines intersecting at right angles, indicating symbolically...

‘End times’ have arrived, but the end itself remains elusive

Mar 2006     Is the recent spate of natural disasters “the signs of the end” about which Jesus spoke in Matthew 24? THE recent spate of natural disasters and the serious threat of the avian flu pandemic have led some Christians to think that perhaps we are living in the period when the...

Should Christians support the death penalty?

Feb 2006     Methodist Message is launching a new column, “Now That’s A Good Question” with this month’s issue. Readers are invited to send in their questions on any topic, and we will answer them where possible. Write in to The Editor at this email address: newmm@methodist.org.sg CAPITAL punishment is a divisive issue today,...

The end of the matter

May 2005     CONCLUDING THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON ‘WISDOM TO LIVE BY: REFLECTIONS ON AN ANCIENT TEXT’ Ecclesiastes 12:9-14 EVERY preacher would know that conclusions to sermons are just as important as introductions, if not even more so. The Preacher has in this book traversed a difficult and treacherous path which demands unconditional...

Remember your Creator

Apr 2005      PART 19 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON ‘WISDOM TO LIVE BY: REFLECTIONS ON AN ANCIENT TEXT’ Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:8 AFTER a sustained and at times torturous reflection on the meaning of life, the Preacher finally goes to the heart of the matter, to the One in whom all believers must...

BREAD ON WATER

Mar 2005     PART 18 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON ‘WISDOM TO LIVE BY: REFLECTIONS ON AN ANCIENT TEXT’ Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 WHEN I was in my early teens, the book of Ecclesiastes was for me one of the most baffling books in the Bible (second only to Revelation). Many of the difficulties I...

Wisdom and folly in national life

Feb 2005     PART 17 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON ‘WISDOM TO LIVE BY: REFLECTIONS ON AN ANCIENT TEXT’ Ecclesiastes 10:16-20 IN THE final verses of chapter 10, the Preacher turns his attention to politics and national life while still reflecting on the theme of wisdom and folly. He has something to say...

WISDOM AND FOLLY

Jan 2005     PART 16 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON ‘WISDOM TO LIVE BY: REFLECTIONS ON AN ANCIENT TEXT’ Ecclesiastes 10:1-15 THE theme of wisdom (and folly) seems to recur rather frequently in the meditations of the Preacher, and here, in chapter 10, it appears yet again. Indeed in 10:1 to 11:6,...

THE MYSTERY OF LIFE

Dec 2004     PART 15 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON ‘WISDOM TO LIVE BY: REFLECTIONS ON AN ANCIENT TEXT’ Ecclesiastes 9:1-18 IN A broadcast talk on Oct 1, 1939, Lord Randolph Churchill described Russia memorably as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. The writer of Ecclesiastes could have very well...

Dealing with life’s enigmas

Nov 2004     PART 14 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON ‘WISDOM TO LIVE BY: REFLECTIONS ON AN ANCIENT TEXT’ Ecclesiastes 8:2-17 IN THIS chapter, the Preacher continues with what he does best – pointing out starkly the various seemingly insoluble enigmas in this existence under the sun. He begins his discourse by...

HOLLOW WORSHIP

Jul 2004     PART 10 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON ‘WISDOM TO LIVE BY: MODERN REFLECTIONS ON AN ANCIENT TEXT’ Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God.” (5:1). IN RECENT years, a number of Christian writers have commented on the erosion of the worship of the...

EMPTY LIVES

Jun 2004     PART 9 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON 'WISDOM TO LIVE BY: MODERN REFLECTIONS ON AN ANCIENT TEXT' Ecclesiastes 4:7-16 ONE of the most poignant songs by the country-rock group Eagles is the 1973 hit "Desperado". It portrays a lonely, desperate man who spent his entire life chasing after fame...

DIVINE JUDGEMENT

Apr 2004     PART 7 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON 'WISDOM TO LIVE BY: MODERN REFLECTIONS ON AN ANCIENT TEXT' Ecclesiastes 3:16-22 IT IS often said that bad experiences are sometimes blessings in disguise. If this were true, then blessings can sometimes be very well disguised! Verse 16 addresses a particular form...

DIVINE PROVIDENCE

Mar 2004     PART 6 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON 'WISDOM TO LIVE BY: MODERN REFLECTIONS ON AN ANCIENT TEXT' Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 IN THIS chapter, the Preacher reflects on the mystery of time in light of a profounder mystery, eternity. There is not a period in the history of thought that philosophers...

All that glitters is not gold

Mar 2004     OF GOLD TEETH-FILLINGS AND GOLD DUST RECENTLY much excitement was generated in some churches in different parts of the world by two phenomena that have to do with gold - gold teeth-fillings and gold dust. The first phenomenon was recently reported to have occurred at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship,...

Answers to pessimism

Feb 2004     PART 5 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON 'WISDOM TO LIVE BY: MODERN REFLECTIONS ON AN ANCIENT TEXT' Ecclesiastes 2:12-26 THE Preacher continues his relentless quest for the meaning of life by once again turning to wisdom and comparing it with folly. Some commentators say that in this instance, the...
Memory and personhood

Memory and personhood

Jan 2004     RECENTLY, while doing research on biomedicine, I stumbled across the transcript of an interesting discussion on current research in memory formation conducted by the United States President's Council on Bioethics. Two memory research experts, Dr James McGaugh and Dr Daniel Schachter, gave their reports at the dialogue chaired by Dr...

A chasing after the wind

Dec 2003     PART 3 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON 'WISDOM TO LIVE BY: MODERN REFLECTIONS ON AN ANCIENT TEXT' Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 "KNOWLEDGE is Power!" Ever since Michel Foucault, the French post-modern philosopher, formulated it, this slogan has been repeated, mantra-like, by politicians, scientists, policy makers and intellectuals of every stripe. Of...

Vanities of vanities

Nov 2003     PART 2 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON 'WISDOM TO LIVE BY: MODERN REFLECTIONS ON AN ANCIENT TEXT' Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 "SOMETHING of no real worth". That is how my old Webster Dictionary defines the word vanity. The New International Version of the Bible translates it as "meaningless". Old Testament scholar...

Introduction to Ecclesiastes

Oct 2003    

We begin this month with a series of reflections on the Book of Ecclesiastes entitled ‘Wisdom to Live By: Modern Reflections on an Ancient Text’.   SINCE time immemorial human beings have been pondering over the meaning of life. “Why is there something, and not nothing?”, enquired the ancient Greek…

LIFE EVERLASTING

Sep 2003    

CONCLUDING THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON ‘FAITH TO LIVE BY’ BEWARE OF 2 MISTAKES IDENTIFYING the biblical teaching of everlasting life with the idea of the “afterlife” that is found in most religions, THINKING of everlasting life in terms of the immortality of the soul. AS WE turn to the…

Resurrection of the dead

Aug 2003     PART 16 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON 'FAITH TO LIVE BY' Resurrection of Christ is the very foundation of apostolic preaching and Christian faith BELIEF in the resurrection can be traced to the Old Testament. Daniel 12:2 unequivocally declares that "[m]ultitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth...
‘I believe in the Church’

‘I believe in the Church’

Jun 2003     ILLUSTRATION: CATW Church is a reality that can only be seen by eyes of faith SOME who recite the Creed may wonder what it means to declare that "we believe in the Church". The statements so far refer to faith in the Triune God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit....

Holy Spirit is ‘giver of life’

May 2003     'I believe in the Holy Spirit' THE third article is too briefly enunciated in the Apostles' Creed to be of significant help. This exposition will therefore be based on the expanded and more descriptive statement that is found in the Nicene Creed of AD 325. There we are told that...

Ascension: A real event, not a myth

Mar 2003     PART 11 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON 'FAITH TO LIVE BY' But it cannot be fully described within our framework ofspace and time WHILE much has been written on the resurrection of Christ, the literature on His ascension is very slight. Yet, the New Testament unequivocally testifies to the...

‘Reproductive’ and ‘therapeutic’ cloning: What’s the difference?

Mar 2003     ON CLONING EMBRYOS FOR RESEARCH A RECENT article in The Straits Times announced the intention of a group of researchers at the National University of Singapore to clone a human embryo for research (Straits Times, Wednesday, Dec 25, 2002, H8). This announcement was made in the wake of a similar...
Time and the Christian

Time and the Christian

Jan 2003     Time in itself, as part of God's good creation, is not evil IN 1985 I was invited by the Basle church in Labuan to speak at a series of revival services. I arrived at the idyllic island after a fairly hectic week in Singapore, hoping to enjoy its slower, more...

‘ … He descended to Hell’ Need to emphasise that Christ really died on the Cross

Jan 2003     PART 9 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON 'FAITH TO LIVE BY' THIS statement is one of the most perplexing in the Creed and is omitted in some versions although it is found in the oldest versions. Christ's descent to hell must not only be understood together with His suffering...

Significance of Christ’s sacrificial death

Dec 2002     PART 8 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON 'FAITH TO LIVE BY' 'Crucified, dead and buried' AS WE turn now to the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross, we ask what is the significance of this death, and why is it necessary to reconcile man to God. The Christian...

Jesus had to face death to save us from sin

Nov 2002     PART 7 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON 'FAITH TO LIVE BY'  ' … Suffered under Pontius Pilate' THE Creed appears to leapfrog from the account of Jesus' virginal birth to the final phase of His earthly life when in the next statement it refers to Jesus' suffering under Pontius...

Jesus Christ: Born of the Virgin Mary

Oct 2002     PART 6 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATION ON 'FAITH TO LIVE BY' Miraculous event fulfilment of Isaianic prophesy that 'a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel' WE CONTINUE our reflection on the Creed by examining its statement regarding the virginal conception of...

Christology ‘touchstone of all knowledge of God’

Sep 2002     PART 5 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATION ON 'FAITH TO LIVE BY' How we understand Jesus has implications in ways we conceive of God WITHOUT doubt, both the Nicene Creed and the Apostles' Creed gave careful attention to the second article that deals with the second Person of the Trinity....

God: Maker of Heaven and Earth

Aug 2002     PART 4 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATION ON 'FAITH TO LIVE BY' THE Creed declares that God is the Creator of the universe and the originator of all that there is. It is of paramount importance at the very outset to maintain that this too is the knowledge of faith,...

God is primarily Father of His eternal Son

Jul 2002     PART 3 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATION ON 'FAITH TO LIVE BY' 3. 'Father Almighty' THE Creed describes God as "Father" and as the "Almighty one", and it is important that we do not separate these two distinct descriptions. As we consider the first description, we must alert ourselves to...

Miracles and the Christian faith

Jul 2002     Difficult to authenticate numerous accounts of dead being revived to life RECENTLY a pastor from a Methodist church asked me to comment on a documentary that has caused some sensation and generated much interest. The documentary, produced by Christ for All Nations whose founder is the evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, tells...

The term ‘God’ must never be abandoned by Christians

Jun 2002     PART 2 OF THE SERIES OF MEDITATION ON 'FAITH TO LIVE BY' 2. ' … in God' THE meaning of the word "God" has become more than a little ambiguous in the modern world. Ours is a religiously pluralistic world in which some religions claim to have exclusive rights to...

A tale of two builders

Apr 2002     CONCLUDING THE SERIES OF REFLECTIONS ON THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT Building on sand and building on rock: These metaphors may also refer to calamities experienced in life that would test authenticity of one's faith Matthew 7:24-29 WE COME to the final passage in the Sermon on the Mount. Here...

A tree and its fruit

Mar 2002     PART 27 OF THE SERIES OF REFLECTIONS ON THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT 'Good tree' = disciples of Christ, 'Bad tree' = false prophets Special discernment needed to identify false prophets in 'sheep's clothing' Matthew 7:15-23 IN THIS passage Jesus used the metaphors of trees and fruits to help His...

The narrow gate of salvation

Feb 2002     PART 26 OF THE SERIES OF REFLECTIONS ON THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT 'The way to the Kingdom is difficult and unattractive, but those who take it will receive eternal life' Matthew 7:13-14 THE Sermon on the Mount ends with four warnings, each presented by a pair of contrasts. Jesus'...

Ask, seek and knock

Jan 2002     God assures us that He will answer our prayers according to His will Matthew 7: 7-12 IN THIS passage in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus assures His disciples that their prayers will be heard and answered according to God's love and faithfulness. Some scholars have tried to demonstrate the...

Will Harry Potter bewitch young minds?

Jan 2002     MOST readers are aware of the success of J. K. Rowling's creation, Harry Potter. Walk into any respectable bookshop, and you will soon be greeted with giant stacks of the Harry Potter books, especially the recently published "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", the fourth of seven volumes projected...
 
 

REACH OUT

Fuzzy therapy that works

Fuzzy therapy that works

Apr 2017    

Every second Saturday of the month, the residents of the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Bethany Methodist Nursing Home (BMNH) eagerly await the arrival of visitors of the furry kind. They are the friendly canines from Therapy Dogs Singapore (TDS), a non¬-profit voluntary welfare group which has been making monthly visits…

The rainbow connection – nurturing Laotian children

The rainbow connection – nurturing Laotian children

Apr 2017    

  Twelve years ago, it was a glorious rainbow that sealed God’s call to Lesley and Kok Liang Yeow to live and serve in Vientiane, Laos. In faith, they started a centre for teaching the English language to adults. Twelve years ago, it was a glorious rainbow that sealed God’s…