Soundings

Educating the next generation

Educating the next generation

Jul 2021     Anglo-Chinese School when it was at Coleman Street. Christian education has always been an important part of The Methodist Church in Singapore One of the most important duties that the present generation must discharge for the sake of the next is to enable them to contribute positively to society. In...
Bishop Dr Gordon Wong: The Lord’s gentle leading

Bishop Dr Gordon Wong: The Lord’s gentle leading

Jun 2021     Then-TRAC President Rev Dr Wong enjoyed a warm working relationship with the TRAC staff Some are placed in positions of spiritual authority within the Church because of dramatic, extraordinary encounters with God that transformed them irrevocably. Others have been quite the opposite—where God walked with them from young, moulding and...
The Fatherhood of God

The Fatherhood of God

Jun 2021     The great ecumenical creeds of the Christian Church—the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed—begin with the declaration that the Church believes in God, the Father. The fatherhood of God is the fundamental tenet of Christianity that not only distinguishes it from other religions, but also from other versions of theism....
Missions then, missions now:

Missions then, missions now:

Jun 2021     ETAC Board on Missions Thanksgiving Service 2021 The Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) Board on Missions held a thanksgiving service on 10 April 2021: “Missions Then, Missions Now”. It was a hybrid service with some participants on-site and others on Zoom. It was a time to praise God for His...
Real faith

Real faith

May 2021     John Wesley’s “Aldersgate experience” of 1738 is a constant reminder of just how important it is for those who call themselves Christians to have a vital faith in Jesus Christ. On the flip side, it also alerts us to the fact that there are people in our churches today who...
Unselfing

Unselfing

Apr 2021     “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. For many, the prominent biblical theme and practice of sacrifice first appeared in the Bible in Genesis 4, which records the...
A Lenten prayer

A Lenten prayer

Mar 2021     One of the most beloved fathers of the early Church is St Ephrem the Syrian. Born in the city of Nisibis (Turkey) in approximately AD 306, Ephrem was a deacon and a hermit who made enduring contributions to the theology and spirituality of the Christian East. His voluminous writings include...
Convicted Civility

Convicted Civility

Feb 2021     A refrain often heard in our world plagued with unceasing conflict is “let’s agree to disagree”. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to agree to disagree is to decide “not to argue anymore about the difference in opinion”. It is a declaration of a truce of sorts—a resolution by the parties...
The challenge of Agape

The challenge of Agape

Jan 2021     In the first epistle of John, we find one of the most profound statements about God in the whole of Scripture: “God is love” (4:8). Love is the very essence of God. Love sums up His whole being. Love is what God immutably is. This assertion is radical because no...
God with us

God with us

Dec 2020     One of the most common Gospel passages that is read in churches across the globe during the season of Advent is Matthew 1. This chapter, located at the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew, describes the circumstances surrounding the conception and birth of the Messiah. In this passage we also...
The Voice of Tradition

The Voice of Tradition

Nov 2020     “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 The Future of Evangelical Christianity, Donald Bloesch expressed his anxiety over the perceptible theological immaturity of the evangelical Church. “Modern...
The youth and LGBT

The youth and LGBT

Oct 2020     Last year, the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) published the findings of its survey on perceptions of and attitudes towards social and moral issues among Singaporeans. According to the report, there is greater acceptance of gay sex and gay marriage now than five years ago, especially among those between the...
Redeeming Work

Redeeming Work

Sep 2020     In an article published on the Gallup website, Amy Adkins writes rather unflatteringly about Millennials’ attitude towards work.1 “Millennials have a reputation for job-hopping,” she declares. “Unattached to organisations and institutions, people from this generation—born between 1980 and 1996—are said to move freely from company to company. More so than...
On being salt and light

On being salt and light

Aug 2020     In Matthew 5, Jesus told his disciples that they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Although these metaphors have been subjected to different interpretations, most scholars agree that “salt” has to do with purification and preservation, while “light” points to illumination and guidance. In...
The Digital Church?

The Digital Church?

Jul 2020     The coronavirus pandemic has brought about unprecedented disruptions to the life and ministry of churches across the globe. This has led churches with access to digital technology to exploit their various offerings in innovative ways, such as conducting Sunday services online. Given the sudden onset of COVID-19, many churches have...
For the common good

For the common good

Jun 2020     One of the most striking features of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS), in my view, is the set of social principles by which it is governed. These principles are firmly rooted in the teachings of Scripture and are in harmony with the social teachings of the Church that can...
Religion of the heart

Religion of the heart

May 2020     In his letter to Titus his protégé, the Apostle Paul exhorts the young pastor to “Teach what befits sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). Orthodoxy (right belief) is important for the Christian faith because Christians believe that God has revealed something about Himself and His purposes for the world in Scripture. However,...
Christus Victor

Christus Victor

Apr 2020     Last September, my wife and I visited for the first time the famous Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany, where the greatest Baroque composer, Johann Sabastian Bach (1685–1750), served as Thomaskantor. The Russian Orthodox theologian, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, himself an accomplished composer, describes Bach as a “universal phenomenon” whose music “transcends confessional...
Silence and Watchfulness in Prayer

Silence and Watchfulness in Prayer

Mar 2020     “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. Christians of every stripe and from all traditions—Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant —have maintained that prayer is absolutely central to the spiritual...
Lenten Fast

Lenten Fast

Feb 2020     “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. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that has a very long and venerable tradition in Christianity, stretching back not only to the...
Methodists and the poor

Methodists and the poor

Jan 2020     In “Social Action is Integral to Methodism”, Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung emphasised that it is not enough for the Methodist to be committed to spiritual disciplines such as Bible study and corporate worship. The Methodist must also obey the command of the Lord Jesus to love their neighbour (Mark...
Be Thankful

Be Thankful

Dec 2019     In 2 Timothy 3:1–5, the Apostle Paul provides a lengthy litany of sins that characterise the lives of people who live during “the last days”. There is one particular transgression, however, which the church seldom talks about and which some Christians may not even think of as a proper sin:...
#CACTOGETHER: Collaborate, Activate, Connect

#CACTOGETHER: Collaborate, Activate, Connect

Dec 2019     West-East Malaysian Fellowship (WEMF) gathering Executive Board Retreat Seventy-five leaders and pastors gathered for the first-ever Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) Executive Board retreat on 13 and 14 Sep 2019. Not only was this retreat a follow-up on the status and struggles of various ministries, it also enabled the Conference, as...
Be as little children

Be as little children

Nov 2019     Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. (Mark 10:15) One of the most endearing portrayals of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels is found in Mark 10, which describes His warm reception of the children who were brought...
The Call to Companionship

The Call to Companionship

Oct 2019     One of Paul’s injunctions concerning the responsibility of Christians towards one another—familiar to many Christians, I am sure—is found in Galatians 6:2, where he writes: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” However, familiarity with this command is one thing; applying it effectually to our common...
The Call to Companionship

The Call to Companionship

Oct 2019     One of Paul’s injunctions concerning the responsibility of Christians towards one another—familiar to many Christians, I am sure—is found in Galatians 6:2, where he writes: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” However, familiarity with this command is one thing; applying it effectually to our common...
Truly #Blessed

Truly #Blessed

Sep 2019     For some time now I have been receiving emails in which the senders use the word “Blessings” as the valediction. These emails are mostly from Christians, although some of my Muslim friends also sign off their messages in this way. Indeed, words like “blessing”, “bless” or “blessed” are constantly found...
It takes a Church

It takes a Church

Aug 2019     “It takes a village to raise a child.” This African proverb, the origin of which remains a mystery, has become widely known and loved. Its broad appeal is no doubt due to the fact that it rings true, that is, it conveys an earthy wisdom that contemporary society finds uncommonly...
Christian courage

Christian courage

Jul 2019     “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:33)   February 2019 marks the fourth anniversary of the brutal murder of 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians by Daesh or ISIS in Libya. It is difficult to forget the video of ISIS fighters marching these...
Teach your children well

Teach your children well

Jun 2019     In arguably one of their most iconic songs, the folk rock group of the 1970s, Crosby, Stills and Nash, offers this perennially sound advice: “Teach your children well, / Their father’s hell did slowly go by.” From an infinitely more authoritative source, we find these words: “Train up a child...
“Incarnational” Evangelism

“Incarnational” Evangelism

May 2019     For some Christians, evangelism has to do with distributing gospel tracts at an MRT station or some other public place. For others, Christians evangelise by collaboratively organising huge gospel rallies—such as the Billy Graham Crusade of 1978 or the upcoming Celebration of Hope—at public venues like sports stadiums. While such...
Forced exit

Forced exit

Apr 2019     In 2008, Khaw Boon Wan, who was then Minister for Health, made a number of cryptic statements to the local press about the possible legalisation of euthanasia in Singapore.1 Responding to the minister’s veiled suggestion with enthusiasm, the Straits Times editorial ludicrously equated the legalisation of euthanasia with “social progress”....
Faith working through love

Faith working through love

Mar 2019     One of the predilections of moderns like us—our habit of mind, if you will—is to put asunder the things that belong together and should be conjoined. A striking example is the modern tendency to drive a wedge between faith and good works, and between evangelism and social action. This divorce...
Faith and Culture

Faith and Culture

Feb 2019     Many years ago, I met a group of Chinese Christians who do not believe in celebrating the Lunar New Year. The festival, in their view, has its roots in a pagan (Chinese) culture and is inextricably bound to the superstitions associated with it. But does being a Christian mean that...

An Anatomy of Hope

Jan 2019     The dawn of a brand new year does different things to different people. To some, it may bring a sense of excitement and anticipation. To others, it may infuse a sense of foreboding, dread and trepidation. But many, I dare say, step into the new year with the hope that...
On Welcoming the Other

On Welcoming the Other

Dec 2018     In her book, Making Room, Christine Pohl said something that is immutably true about the relationship between Christianity and the practice of hospitality. “Hospitality,” she wrote nearly 20 years ago, “is a way of life fundamental to Christian identity. Its mysteries, riches and difficulties are revealed most fully as it...
Unity, diversity … and exclusion

Unity, diversity … and exclusion

Nov 2018     In the third volume of his Systematic Theology, Methodist theologian Thomas Oden maintains that despite the diversity of its members, the Church remains united in Christ: “in its own forms in specific times and places, living in particular cultures, the [C]hurch always appears sociologically diverse, yet remains in its essential...
Liturgy and Life

Liturgy and Life

Oct 2018     For many evangelical Christians today, the liturgy smacks of mindless rituals that stifle the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit and suffocate the Christian life. They argue that if the Spirit of God is indeed present in the church, then Christians should not resort to wooden props of repetitive words and...
Imitatio Christi

Imitatio Christi

Sep 2018     In their book, As Iron Sharpens Iron,1 Howard and William Hendricks emphasise the importance of spiritual mentoring before the idea became fashionable in evangelicalism. Stressing the cruciality of this work of spiritual direction in the Church, they state emphatically that mentoring is not an option “but an essential”. They write,...
Beatitudinal leadership

Beatitudinal leadership

Aug 2018     For many years now, “leadership” has been the buzzword both in the Church and in secular society. But this ubiquitous “L” word has, of late, become reduced to superficial “jump on the bandwagon” jargon-worn and overused. Christian books and articles on the subject sometimes present rather secular ideas of leadership,...
Defending the faith

Defending the faith

Jul 2018     In the second century, pagans in the Greco-Roman world accused Christians of atheism, cannibalism, and incest. Christians were accused of atheism partly because they refused to worship the Roman gods, and partly because they had no shrines or temples, and no altars or images. Christians were accused of cannibalism because...
Discipling the city

Discipling the city

Jun 2018     In a recent report on urbanisation trends, the World Health Organization predicted that by 2030, six out of every 10 people in the world would be city dwellers. This means that virtually every global growth over the next 30 to 40 years will take place in urban areas. Sociologists have...
The strange unity of the Church

The strange unity of the Church

May 2018     The Bible underscores the need for unity among believers. We are exhorted to live in harmony with one another (Rom 12:16, NIV). We are many parts that form one “body of Christ” (1 Cor 12:27). In his book on the Orthodox Church, the Russian theologian Sergius Bulgakov used the Slavonic...
The politics of Easter

The politics of Easter

Apr 2018     During the Easter service of the Orthodox Church, the ‘Troparion’ is sung after the celebrant announces the resurrection of Christ at the door of the church and intones the blessing to the Holy Trinity. Incorporating Psalm 68, the Church declares: Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered; let those...
Via dolorosa (the way of sorrow)

Via dolorosa (the way of sorrow)

Mar 2018     In February 2015, Gay Byrne, host of the Irish religious television programme The Meaning of Life, asked militant atheist Stephen Fry what he would say to God if he found himself standing before Him at the Pearly Gates. Fry replied with his characteristic sting: “Bone cancer in children: what’s that...
Difficult love

Difficult love

Feb 2018     In 2017, ISIS detonated bombs at two Coptic churches in Egypt during their Palm Sunday services that killed at least 45 worshippers. The first explosion, which killed 27 people and injured 78, took place in the Mar Girgis church located in the city of Tanta, about 90 km from Cairo....
Non-optional option

Non-optional option

Jan 2018     In his book Dispatches From the Front, the Christian ethicist Stanley Hauerwas describes a commercial produced by the National Association for Retarded Citizens. The film begins with a couple standing in a dark room and looking into a crib, the contents of which are kept from sight. Then the young...
Loving obedience

Loving obedience

Jan 2018     At the beginning of the 19th century, the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley declared that obedience is the “bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth, “for it makes slaves of men, and of the human frame a mechanised automation.” A child of the European Enlightenment, Shelley waxed eloquent in echoing...
Body Dynamics

Body Dynamics

Nov 2017     One of the most interesting concepts peculiar to Methodism is ‘connectionalism’, a neologism coined to describe how the Methodist Church is ordered and organised. At the practical level, connectionalism refers to the ways in which Methodist churches support each other by sharing their resources – pastors, leaders, and financial support...
Back to the basics

Back to the basics

Oct 2017     The last three decades have seen a slew of books on basic Christianity. A simple search on Amazon.com would yield titles like Christianity 101 (1993), Basic Discipleship (1992), and Christianity: The Basics (2014). These books receive their inspiration from their celebrated predecessors, namely, C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity (1952) and...
Evolving marriage?

Evolving marriage?

Sep 2017     In her article entitled ‘The Trouble With Modern Marriage’, published in Psychology Today, Erica B. Slotter echoed the questions asked by many marital researchers: “‘What gives?’ What has changed about the nature of marriage since the 1970s that makes it less appealing to some, less satisfying to others, and generally...
Migration and justice

Migration and justice

Aug 2017     Our world is currently facing a displacement crisis at an unprecedented scale. In 2015 alone, more than 65 million people have been forced from their homes by conflict and persecution, over half of whom are under the age of 18. This tally is greater than the combined population of Canada,...
Worship and witness

Worship and witness

Jul 2017     In his first epistle to the Christians of the disapora scattered throughout Asia Minor, the apostle Peter used vivid and powerful imagery drawn from the Old Testament to describe the Church. “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” (1 Peter...
Hospitable classrooms, inclusive society

Hospitable classrooms, inclusive society

Jun 2017     The Straits Times reported on 4 Nov 2016 that the government would be extending the Compulsory Education Act, which was passed in Parliament in 2000, to special needs children. This will take effect in 2019. Minister for Education (Schools) Mr Ng Chee Meng said that this is “an important milestone...
Wesley among the Fathers

Wesley among the Fathers

May 2017     John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, is arguably one of the most theologically complex and creative figures in 18th-century England. Scholars almost unanimously agree that it would be a misnomer to describe Wesley as a “systematic theologian” because of the disparate and somewhat diffused character of his corpus. But to...
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...
 
 

REACH OUT

Reaching Out to People in their Time of Need

Reaching Out to People in their Time of Need

Jul 2021     Eunice Chew realised that despite living in a developed country, poverty still exists but is often invisible in our community When Singapore entered Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) in May 2021, many were reminded of the struggles they faced during last year’s circuit breaker. It is easy for anyone to slip...
MWS at 40

MWS at 40

Jul 2021     An MWS staff shares his former struggles and journey towards empowering others Benny Thiam, Social Worker at MWS Family Service Centre - Yishun This year, Methodist Welfare Services celebrates 40 years of empowering life to the full. This is one of a series of stories from people who felt empowered...
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