An integral part of our Christian witness today must be to engage with the many challenges and issues of society.
Difficult ethical issues arising from advances in science and technology. Changing norms on relationships, marriage and family. Growing affluence and the pursuit of wealth at all costs. The lure of social ills often camouflaged with glamour. The adverse effects of the borderless and information-rich world we live in.
Called to be the salt and light of the world, and to let our light shine before men (Matthew 5:14, 16), how then can we be effective witnesses in the face of these changing paradigms and standards?
After all, as said by Dr Roland Chia, Chew Hock Hin Professor of Christian Doctrine at Trinity Theological College (TTC), “Our faith is not just a personal faith, but a faith that will impact people for the common good.”
Three distinguished Christian institutions in Singapore which will draw collaboratively from their rich network of resources have come together to form a Christian think tank – the ETHOS Institute for Public Christianity.
Launched recently in mid-August 2014, ETHOS is set up by the National Council of Churches of Singapore, TTC and The Bible Society of Singapore to help the Christian community view and approach issues through the lens of Scripture, combined with the rich theological and scriptural heritage of the Church.
Studies, lectures, seminars and conferences will be held. Resources will be provided to Churches, Christians and the NCCS. In addition, ETHOS will “communicate good biblical principles that the church needs to hold on to and be able to discuss the same in the public square,” says its Chairman, Bishop Dr Wee Boon Hup.
Dr Chia will serve as the Institute’s Theological & Research Advisor, and will spearhead its project initiatives.
ETHOS will be working with theologians as well as scholars in different disciplines – economics, politics, medicine, science, education, media, social sciences and the arts, and across different Christian traditions and denominations. There will also be collaborations with other Christian think tanks across the globe – such as Theos in the UK, and the Centre for Public Christianity in Sydney.
Such collaborations will be absolutely vital if ETHOS is to make significant contributions to public discourse in our globalised world.
Christina Stanley is Editor of the Methodist Message and has been a member of Wesley Methodist Church since 1987