Happenings

Book Review: What Pastors Want Christians to Understand: The Singapore Jubilee Edition

Jul 2015    

What Pastors Want Christians to Understand: The Singapore Jubilee Edition
Advisor: The Rev Dr Wee Boon Hup, Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore
Published by Genesis Books, an imprint of Armour Publishing, 216 pages

Get a special 15% discount when you order from Armour Publishing’s online store at www.armourpublishing.com

Also available at Armour Publishing’s showroom (1003 Bukit Merah Central #02-07 S159836, opening hours from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.), and at major Christian bookstores such as Wesley Methodist Church’s BookNook, SKS Books Warehouse and The Bible Society of Singapore’s Bible Resource Centres. Retails at $24 before GST.

What Pastors Want Christians to Understand features 21 sermonettes written by pastors from different churches all over Singapore, with two questions posed: “What would you preach if given only one opportunity to do so? What is your most important message to fellow Singaporeans?”

Drawing reference to Singapore’s Jubilee year and the anticipation of moving into the future with the Lord’s favour, the book is a collection of what’s in the hearts of pastors in Singapore – presented in ways that are biblical, relatable and heartfelt.

One of the rare treats this book offers is the opportunity to hear from speakers and writers that you might never have had the chance to before. The 21 contributions are by pastors hailing from Anglican, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Bible-Presbyterian, Brethren, Evangelical Free, Methodist, Presbyterian, and independent churches. Yet one message rings loud and clear – the importance of living and loving well for our Lord, being responsible Christians, aware of our God-given roles and purposeful identity in Him.

Here are my three takeaways from the book:
★ In the article ‘War and Peace’, the Rev Christopher Chia shares: “As Christians, we have to be vigilant not just against the God-forsaking self-sufficiency of our nation and world, but of our churches. We face four enemies within Christian Circles: Traditionalism, Emotionalism, Activism and Biblicism. ”
This came as a timely reminder not to get caught up with the “how-to” of being a Christian, but to focus firstly on the “why” – Jesus Christ, on whom our foundation of faith must be built.

★ In ‘Run the Race Marked for You’, the Rev Daniel Foo shares: “Jesus tells us to take up our own cross… It represents crucifixion and death – that is, the crucifixion and death of the sinful nature and self-life… if we deny our self-life, we will grow in spiritual maturity, and move towards a state of being unoffendable. That is what God calls us to be… we will be overcomers, victorious over the sinful nature. There is nothing to prove; there is nothing to lose… We’ll be calm, cool, collected, composed and centred in Christ.”

The point is to focus less on oneself but to turn our focus fully upon Jesus. In the words of the song, ‘When I look into Your holiness’, indeed things of the earth grow strangely dim when we fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

★ The Rev Dr Gordon Wong noted in ‘The Most Important Thing’: “The most important thing is to make the most important thing the most important thing.” Jesus, too, was asked what the most important thing is, in Matthew 22:35-40.

“One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

So the answer is simple – “Jesus says that to love God by loving your neighbour is the most important thing.” This excerpt reminded me that the call to love is a daily mission, not just during a nation’s Jubilee year but one that should be lived out and fulfilled year after year. It’s not seasonal, it’s timeless, and is the mark of being a true Christian.

What Pastors Want Christians to Understand includes a foreword by the Rev Dr Wee Boon Hup, Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore, as Advisor of the project.

The articles in this collection of intimate sharing provide good fodder for reflection and self-examination as we consider our role as a Christ-follower in modern-day Singapore, or for overseas readers, the role of a citizen in their place of dwelling.

“Jesus says that to love God by loving your neighbour is the most important thing.”

Book cover graphic courtesy of Armour Publishing

Andrea Low works in communications and loves writing, watercolour painting and road trips.

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