Saturday, November 24, 2012

General Conferences and AGMs

I was hurrying to Paya Lebar Methodist Church last Thursday to witness the installation of my friend and colleague as the new President of TRAC (Trinity Annual Conference) and also another friend who was ordained as elder with the title, "Reverend" on the same night. I was filled with a sense of pride for my colleague because he has been a good friend and one of the few who truly has encouraged me in my workplace with his humility, warmth and transparency. I was also joyful to witness a few of my former students announced as pastors of various churches. Finally, I could see fruits of my teaching ministry though I wished I had time to talk with them after the service.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Scholar in the Heartlands

What is a scholar? A scholar is one who has spent a great deal of time in studying something in detail. Or a scholar is one who has special knowledge in one particular area. I always thought that a scholar is one who has published at least two books (by prestigious publishers) and on this count, I don't qualify. Yet, I realize as time passes that I am now in the ministry of scholarship. Not many Christians or even pastors associate scholarship with Christian ministry, perhaps explaining an anti-intellectual strand in the church that refuses to go away despite advancement in education and knowledge in all fields.

But today I travelled by bus and MRT to a number of locations, in the heartlands of Singapore. Singapore is a beautiful city with many trees. Early in the morning it is fresh though by 9am, it is already pretty hot. I had breakfast in a coffee-shop at Bukit Batok heartland. There were crowds of people but I managed to find a seat and waited 20 minutes for my mee soup to arrive. While drinking my kopi-C siu tai (coffee with evaporated milk with one sugar) I read an MTh (Master of Theology) thesis on the Acts of the Apostles. While many people were chatting away and Singaporeans love to talk and some talk a bit too loudly with good cheers, I focused on examining this MTh thesis and wrote comments with my pencil. Only yesterday I completed the examination of another MTh thesis on Paul's mission expectations for his churches. I wrote a 1,400 word report filling up more than 3 pages in small print.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Romans or 1 Corinthians in July 2013?

I am rather pleased with myself that in the past 3 or 4 days after the Semester ended I managed to get some writing done for my course offering on John's Gospel next January 2013. I have been fretting a little that over the 4.5 months' Semester from late June until 9th Nov, I was kept busy lecturing and attending to many administrative matters.

Johannine Christology (John 1)

After writing lectures on "born-again" of John 3, I returned to John 1 and wrote lectures on Johannine Christology this morning. It's holiday here and indeed Jesus Christ is the light that has come into the world and we rejoice now in His light (In your light, Lord we see light, writes the Psalmist). John's Gospel starts off with a prologue and the rest of chapter 1 is superb in introducing who the Word/Jesus Christ was. He is...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

John's Prologue & Persecution of Christ's Followers

I spent the week-end writing lectures for my course on the Fourth Gospel next Semester. I wrote 34 slides for the prologue of John from 1:1-18. While meditating on John's Gospel all week, it was timely to hear a sermon preached from John 15:25-16:4 this morning. "The world hates you because it hated me first". The sermon answered several questions in my mind. Following Christ often invites persecution even when you are as loving and as peaceful as Jesus was.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Resting in the Trinity

Today is Sabbath's day. I am resting in the Trinity. I have had a crazy week after returning from KL. After the Faculty consultation on Monday, I taught my last class on NT 1, finishing with the Acts of the Apostles on Thursday. I spoke about the Holy Spirit in Acts, never an easy topic in a class setting. I spoke about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, especially the five occasions where the Holy Spirit was said to come upon individuals or groups of believers from Acts 2, 8, 9, 10 and 19. Then on Friday, I had a chance meeting with a MTh candidate who was holding a book on the Trinity - Retrieving Nicaea: The Development and Meaning of Trinitarian Doctrine by Khaled Anatolios (Baker Academic, 2011). This must be one book that I truly look forward to reading since I listed my favourite theological book as The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381 (RPC Hanson, 1988). Why do I read historical theology, especially history on the trinitarian doctrine? The simple answer is I rest in the Trinity as I meditate and reflect on God, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit - One God in Three Persons. No doubt the historical controversy of the 4th century is also a controversy of biblical interpretation; how best to understand the texts about God in the OT and God in the NT, especially in God's revelation of Himself as Father, Son and the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. As I read, I know God; as I meditate I am caught up in the divine; as I look up and rejoice, the blessed holy Trinity excites my soul because even as Jesus, the Son says, "My Father and I will make our home in you" and "I will send my Spirit and He will abide in you and will never leave you." The Triune God making his home in us, in me as a living soul whose every breath comes from the Giver of life for only in Him is life and peace and all good things come from Him who alone is good.