Monday, December 17, 2012

It's The End of the World As We Know It

Good morning Mr. Chairman, distinguished panelists, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for this honor to speak before you today. Interfaith dialogues are critical to promote mutual understanding, knowledge sharing and respect in a multi-religious society like ours.

Let me begin with a question: How would you react if someone came up to you on the sidewalk, waving a huge card board saying, “Repent, Repent, Doomsday is near”? I guess you might decide to run away or keep a safe distance, thinking: “How gullible are these people to believe in all these Doomsday predictions? Hmph! Another nutcase religious cult…”

I’d probably do the same thing. But then again, the end of the world doesn’t sound so crazy now that we have the technology (the know how) to destroy the earth and wipe out the entire human race many times over. We have atom bombs, hydrogen bombs and nuclear bombs. See how smart we are! If you consider the very real possibility of a nuclear holocaust, of global climate change, of earthquakes and tsunami, of disease outbreak, pollution or a giant asteroid crashing into our planet, then perhaps we are kidding ourselves to believe that our little world is immune to destruction. Contemporary movies such as Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow, The Matrix, Resident Evil and Terminator show that we are still fascinated with various plausible end-time scenarios.

DoomsdayNow what do Christians believe about Doomsday (Hari Kiamat)? Well, in order to understand that, we need to first go back to the beginning of the world. Christians believe that this planet and everything in it (the sunsets, the oceans and mountains, the diverse ecosystem of animals and plants, and human beings with the ability to think, love and worship)… all of that is created by God, and therefore they are originally good. But the human race rebelled against the Creator. We wanted to be the boss of our lives apart from God’s way. By doing so, we have distorted the harmony in creation. Relationship with God and relationship with each other were broken. Sin is the root of suffering in the world – the injustice, corruption, discrimination and wars. So God cannot forgive our sins just like that because He is holy and righteous. Sin must not go unpunished.

So what’s the solution? Well, in spite of all that sin and darkness, God did not leave us to rot. He did not just send us prophets and messengers to teach us what is right. He came personally into the world as a human being to rescue us from sin – His name is Jesus the Messiah (or Isa Al-Masih to Arab speaking Christians). He loved us so much that He willingly died on the cross to pay for our sins. That settles the question of God’s justice so that God can now freely show mercy and forgive us. When we turn away from sin and follow Jesus as Lord, relationship with God is restored. Three days after He was dead and buried, Jesus was raised to life again and conquered the power of death. We call it: Resurrection. One day, the Bible calls it the Day of the Lord, Jesus will return to earth to judge both the living and the dead. He will destroy all that is corrupt and evil, and ushers in His kingdom, reign and rule of justice, peace and healing.

So that, in a nutshell, is God’s rescue plan. Christians call it the good news. Instead of an endless cycle of destruction and rebirth, this grand story has a beginning, a climax and an ending. History is linear: it is progressing and moving towards a purpose, an ultimate meaning and final destiny.

The Bible tells us what we need to know about the day of the Lord: “Do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you… He is giving us time, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter chapter 3)

Let us unpack the practical things that we can learn from this Bible passage

1) Christians are skeptical of any attempt to set dates or countdown to the end of the world. Because the Bible clearly said that the day of the Lord would come unexpectedly like a thief in the night. You won’t know when to expect it. Nobody knows the date and time. Come 21 December 2012, you can sleep better.

2) When many people think of heaven, what do they have in mind? Well, from Hollywood movies and cartoon strips, a lot of people have the mistaken notion that heaven is a place where people float around in fluffy clouds, wearing white gowns with a harp in their hand and a halo on their head. The idea is to escape from this material world into that ghost-like, abstract, spiritual existence somewhere else. It creates a mentality where we withdraw from this present life and passively wait for the afterlife. “Why bother making this world into a better place to live in when we will end up in some other place?”

So we need to be careful with how we use terms like Doomsday and end of the world. What exactly do we mean by that? When the Bible says the present earth and heaven will ‘pass away,’ it does not mean that they disappear or go out of existence. It does not mean that the old car is destroyed so we need to replace it with another one. What we mean is: the same car that was destroyed is now fixed, restored, transformed, upgraded and given a complete makeover into a brand new car.

We might say, ‘The caterpillar passes away, and the butterfly emerges.’ It means that there will be such a radical change that the present condition will pass away but there is also a real continuity, a real connection to the new heaven and new earth.

Through fire, the present earth will be dissolved, refined, and purified to give rise to a future world that will be more substantial, more tangible and more solid than one we know. God did not create this material world only to abandon it. Rather, He will renew and rescue it. So Christians have every reason to care for the material world, to protect the ecosystem and to heal the sick and work for social equality and relieve the suffering of the poor and marginalized. Because our hope of eternal life is not to escape from the world. But to renew and transform it… In the meantime, while we wait for that day, we pray and work so that God’s will is done and His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

3) We see lots of suffering, violence and corruption today. Much of it is caused by people’s greed: consuming and accumulating things as if they will last forever. Often we see the bad guys win and the good guys lose. And we struggle with the question of whether evil that appears so powerful can ever be defeated. Christians do not believe that good and evil are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other. Rather the day of the Lord is a promise that Jesus will return as a righteous Judge to put right all that is wrong in the world and restore all that is lost. Evil will not have the last word. It also reminds us not to build our security and significance on wealth and power because they will soon pass away. These things are temporal and provisional. The idea that there will be a final judgment is a comfort, encouragement and strength to those struggling with evil and suffering. For God promised a new world where there will be no more sorrow, pain or violence. He will wipe away every tear and restore all that is beautiful, noble and true.

4) Some people may wonder, “Now, that all sounds very good but it’s been 2000 years and Jesus hasn’t come back yet. Why so slow, wan? How can we be sure that it will ever happen?” Well, the Bible says that God is not being slow. He has his own time table. A day is like a thousand years from the perspective of eternity. He is actually being patient with us. He is giving us time to turn away from our selfishness and be reconciled to him before Judgment Day. He does not desire for anyone to perish in their sin because it would mean eternal separation from God’s presence. Forever.

And how do we know that God’s kingdom will indeed come? Well, the evidence is found in what happened to Jesus after his death on the cross. If He stays dead, there will be no Christian movement starting in Jerusalem. But on the third day, His tomb was found empty and many eyewitnesses testified to have seen Him alive. It changes everything. His resurrection (coming back to life in a glorious, incorruptible, physical body) is a sign, an evidence and guarantee that the future kingdom has already broken into the present. It is like a seed that will grow until it covers the whole earth. It means that death will not be final. It is a foundation of hope when you are faced with the shadow of death or cancer. It is the sign that Jesus has won the decisive battle over evil, the evidence that He is indeed the Lord of the universe and has now received authority and power to judge the nations.

For Christians, the physical body is not evil in itself. It is not a prison from which our souls need to be set free. The ultimate hope of Christians is the resurrection of the body. On that great Day, those who follow Jesus as Lord and Savior will also be raised to life in an incorruptible, glorified and physical body just like Jesus. These are the ones who say: “God, I am a sinner. I cannot save myself with my religious performance, my moral achievements. When I do achieve these moral standards, I feel proud and superior to others. When I fail to do them, I feel condemned and despair. So I will not trust on my own strength, my own merits and performance. I will put my trust in what You have done on the cross for me. You accepted me freely therefore I obey. I will give my life over to You as Lord and Savior to transform me and renew me and forgive me from inside out”.

This is what Christians believe about the destiny of the world, and the destiny of our own personal stories. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book Review: The Other Six Days

Review: The Other Six Days (Paul Stevens)

For most of church history, the people of God have been divided into two categories – those who “do ministry” (the clergy) and the objects of ministry (the laity). This clergy-laity division perpetuates a caste system of “spiritual” work with missionaries and pastors at the top of value chain, followed by people-helping professionals (like doctors, teachers, nurses) and “barely-religious, secular” jobs (such as lawyers, politicians and jazz musicians) close to the bottom! In The Other Six Days, Stevens challenged that dualism with provocative biblical, theological and practical reasons.

In Part I of the book, the author sounded a clarion call for reframing a theology “of the whole people of God” (where every member of the church is gifted, chosen and called by God for service in the world), “for the whole people of God” (which intentionally empowers the ordinary believer for practical, applied living) and “by the people of whole people of God” (where academic theologians work together with ordinary believers in the furnace of marketplace realities). By doing so, we recover an ecclesiology where each member is “ordained” to do the Lord’s work from Mondays to Saturdays and equipped to apply biblically Kingdom values to his daily concerns.

He argued that even in the Old Testament, the entire nation of Israel was called to belong to God and serve His purposes (Exodus 19:6). But within that people, were not some given a special call to be priests, prophets and kings? According to Stevens, the new covenant envisaged by the Old Testament promised a day in which all people will have God’s law written in their hearts (Jeremiah 31:34). The once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus the great High Priest has fulfilled the function of the Old Testament priesthood so that now the entire church is a royal priesthood. But he cautioned against ‘anti-clericalism’, stressing the need for gifted leadership of dedicated pastors as God’s will for the church (page 53). Drawing from the doctrine of Trinity, he outlined how the church needs to mirror that perichoretic life of God by rejecting individualism and embracing every member to contribute to the unity/ministry of the whole community of faith.

In Part II of the book, Stevens explores the thorny subject of calling and vocation in a culture where we no longer find meaning at work in relation to God. It is common to hear believers in ‘full time’ ministry speak of a special call from God but it seems not to apply to other believers. Stevens proposed that we do not separate God’s calling for humanity into two, disconnected mandates – The Creation Mandate (Genesis 1:27 – 30) and The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). It has tragic consequences to emphasize one and downplay the other. Rather, we ought to see our human calling in terms of a “covenant encompassing creation, redemption and final consummation. Salvation is both a rescue operation (recovering our lost vocation in Eden) and a completion project (preparing for the final renewal of creation at the second coming of Jesus)” . In that sense, all believers are called to communion with God, community-building (relationships, family and holy sexuality) and stewards in caring for the creation. “Every legitimate human occupation (paid or unpaid) is some dimension of God’s own work: making, designing, doing chores, beautifying, organizing, helping, bringing dignity and leading.”

In Part III of the book, Stevens explores how the biblical ministries of prophet, priest and king relate to the whole people of God in the wider world. As priests, the church intercedes for others in God’s presence and offers up everyday life as ‘spiritual worship’ (Romans 12:1). As regents, they bring in Kingdom values to bear on all of life. They embody the rule of God on earth as it is in heaven. As prophets, they bear witness to the gospel and challenge dehumanizing powers and idolatrous systems. People can be encouraged to see the marketplace as a natural place for evangelism by “using workplace terminology to share our faith; by connecting Sunday and Monday through interviewing people about their work, and praying for them; by extending pastoral care to the workplace, especially when there is injustice or unemployment; and dealing with workplace sins and temptations as part of church discipline” .  I am encouraged to put into practice some of these recommendations on a weekly basis during worship service to facilitate this paradigm shift.

The Other Six Days is a most worthy and inspiring read for Christians who seek deeper connections of faith to their work in the office, factory, school, field or at home as well as pastors who seek to send out the congregation to minister in the world. When we recover a biblical theology of work, ministry will be transformed as pastors are liberated from the crushing burden to minister to every need in the church. Rather, they exercise leadership gifts to empower and equip the people to spiritual maturity and service with God’s word. Similarly, mission is transformed when a church of one hundred members serve throughout the week in all the contexts in which God has placed them. They do not need to go into the world because they are already there.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Reason for God: The Clues for God

It is one thing to say that there are no good reasons against believing the Christian faith. It is another to argue that there are sufficient reasons FOR believing it.

But what counts as ‘sufficient’ reason? Must it be proven rationally by logic? Must we experience God with our five senses? Or only what can be scientifically proven by experiments is true? Must the evidence for God be so bomb-proof irrefutable that almost everyone will see it?

Tim Keller questions strong rationalism: “How could you empirically prove that no one should believe something without empirical proof?” That’s ultimately a belief. AlvinPlantinga: The argument is like the drunk who insisted on looking for his lost car keys only under the streetlight because the light was better there. Or even worse: Because the keys would be hard to find in the dark, they must be under the light.

No one can be totally neutral when it comes to the question of God’s existence. All of us have a deep desire for Him to exist or not to exist. We all have vested interest in this.

But that does not mean we cannot discern whether a belief is better than another. Some beliefs are more reasonable than others, but all arguments are rationally avoidable in the end. Even scientific theories that are tested and accepted are open to revision or abandoned in light of a better model. They are not ‘proved’ in the strong rationalist sense.

Richard Swinburne: If God exists, we would expect the things we see today – that there is a universe at all, that scientific laws operate in it and that humans have consciousness and moral sense. If there is no God, you won’t expect any of these things. Belief in God offers a better explanation for what we experience daily than the alternatives. Bahnsen goes further: It’s the only view that does not make nonsense of the human experience.

Gargarin thinks there is no God because he couldn’t find Him in outer space. But that is like Hamlet (story character) searching the attic in his castle in hope of finding Shakespeare (author). We shouldn’t expect to prove God as if he were an object within our universe.

C.S. Lewis: I believe in God as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else”. Look at what the sun shows us. Which belief has more ‘explanatory power’ to make sense of what we see in the world and in ourselves? These are the clues for God.

If God is the Author of everything, then we would find clues to His reality that He has written into the universe (including us). If we are made in God’s image as rational and personal beings, then we would expect some correspondence between His mind and ours.

But reason alone won’t be enough. The Author has written himself into the story as the main character in history when Jesus was born, crucified and rose from the dead. The ultimate evidence for God is Jesus Himself. He is the one we have to deal with.

So, what clues are there for God?

Alvin Plantinga argues that belief in God is properly basic so Christians do not have the burden to prove God. We don’t have to, but that doesn’t mean there are no good reasons for believing in God (if we want to). 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Models of the Atonement

What Did The Cross Accomplish?


Every religion or ideology has its representative symbol. The lotus flower depicts the emergence of purity from murky waters in Buddhist thought. The Star of David is a symbol for modern Judaism while the crescent moon became internationally associated with Islam. Even secular Marxism is signified by a hammer and sickle to represent industry and agriculture of the proletariat. At least since the 2nd century A.D., the cross has been used as the visual emblem for Christianity. For believers, it signifies that the death of Jesus is central to their faith even though crucifixion was a much-feared form of capital punishment.

Throughout the centuries, Christians have cherished and grappled with this mystery of how His death brought about reconciliation with God. The canonical Gospels devoted such disproportionate attention on events surrounding the final week of Jesus’ life on earth that they were sometimes described as “passion narrative with an extended introduction”. It is as if the action shifts into high-definition, bullet-time motion when the story reaches its climax in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. But what exactly did Christ accomplish on the cross of
Calvary? Several frameworks for explaining the atonement have consequently gained wide acceptance in various historical contexts.

Models of the Atonement

Surrounded by pagan occults, many early Greek Fathers interpreted Christ’s death as a ransom paid to Satan to redeem captive humanity from his clutches. In Mark 10:45, Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Origen has a popular analogy that likened Satan to a ferocious fish that swallowed the bait of Christ’s human form and got caught by the hook of His deity. The forces of hell bit off more than they could chew when Christ rose victoriously from the grave. 

Drawing from these patristic sources, Gustav Aulen, a Swedish theologian, viewed the cross as Christ’s public triumph over evil powers in a cosmic battle to unshackle humanity from bondage. The Christus Victor motif found biblical support in passages like Hebrews 2:14: “Since the children have flesh and blood, (Christ) too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

Influenced by Roman legal codes, early Latin Fathers such as Ambrose construed the cross as Christ satisfying the requirements of God’s law. They drew support from Galatians 3:13, which read, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us”. During the medieval period, the satisfaction theory of the cross was developed further by Anselm as satisfying God’s honor. In feudal societies, an overlord whose dignity was offended could either punish the guilty peasants or forgive them when his honor is satisfied by another. Although God was dishonored by our rebellion, Anselm believed that we are forgiven because Christ’s obedient, meritorious death compensated for His honor. 

Peter Abelard, a younger contemporary of Anselm, reacted strongly against the prevailing theories and insisted that Christ’s suffering is primarily a display of how great God’s love is for us. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). His sacrificial death melts away our enmity, awakens moral change and moves us to seek forgiveness. Some proponents of the moral influence theory also reject any objective requirement to appease God’s anger. Rather, the sole obstacle to salvation lies in the subjective resistance of sinners. Consequently, the cross as an expression of God’s love is required to inspire us to imitate Christ’s self-giving ethics.

Last but not least, some influential Church Fathers such as Athanasius in the East and Augustine in the West (to name just a few) also held that Christ took upon Himself the deserved penalty of fallen humanity as a sinless substitute in their place. The penal substitutionary view was further developed by the Reformers. 1 John 4:8-10 declares, “God is love. . . . This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” In explaining this biblical passage, Calvin wrote that God, at the same time when he loved us, was also hostile to us because of our transgressions. [1] Reconciliation was made possible because Christ appeased His holy wrath and opened the way for our pardon. By doing so, God can be both just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:21-26).

Pierced For Our Transgressions

Although penal substitutionary atonement has been the predominant theme in evangelical preaching, some theologians today seem to favor a plurality of atonement theories. In differing degrees, the various models stress crucial facets of Christ’s work on the cross that should be recovered. They need not be mutually exclusive. Indeed, it appears that when we understand the centrality of the cross as something accomplished primarily in relation to God Himself that its implications for the cosmos, demonic powers and ethics come into more balanced perspective.

Let us attempt a synthesis of these themes: The heart of the cross is, first and foremost, Christ’s vicarious sin-bearing to take upon Himself the just wrath of God (Isaiah 53). He absorbed the punishment that we deserved as a substitute so that sinners may be forgiven while satisfying the righteous demands of God’s law. However, the moral law ought not to be seen as a higher abstract entity independent of the Law-giver, but a reflection of God’s own holy character.

Unless the cross objectively rescues us, it would be an empty show of sentimentality just like a silly lovesick boy who declares, "Darling, I will prove my love for you by jumping off Niagara Falls". It is only a meaningful act of love if the beloved is in real danger so that diving into the waters would be an attempt to rescue her. And would it not be inappropriate to conceive of the cross as Jesus paying the devil a “pound of flesh”? God owed the devil nothing but retribution. Rather, the ransom was paid to God on behalf of sinners so that we now could belong to Christ.

And yes, by looking at the cross, we can learn much about Christ’s obedience even unto death and denying one's will to do the Father's. 2 Peter 2:21 says,Because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” Yet, it is because Christ has rescued us from moral condemnation that we have the most powerful, liberating motivation for obedience in life. Otherwise, our moral performance degenerates into yet another self-salvation project.

Furthermore, a painful death by crucifixion is not apparently victorious if we conceive it exclusively as cosmic warfare. The demonic powers were stripped of their condemnatory weapons and made a public spectacle precisely because Christ forgave our trespasses by nailing our legal debts on the cross (Colossians 2:13-15).

The first Passover serves as an illuminating paradigm for connecting the deliverance of God’s people from spiritual bondage with penal substitutionary atonement. Nine plagues had fallen upon their Egyptian oppressors while the Israelites were spared in a protracted “power encounter”. But Pharoah stubbornly refused to let His people go. The stage was set for the climactic “judgment on all the gods of Egypt” (Exodus 12:12). If the tenth plague followed the same pattern as the preceding ones, it would be a coherent narrative of how divine judgment liberated humanity from evil powers. But unlike the other plagues, the firstborn of the Israelites were not automatically spared when God struck down the firstborn of Egypt. Instead, they were instructed to slaughter a spotless lamb and apply its blood to the door so that the wrath of God would “pass over” them. The Passover lamb was a sacrificial substitute for the Israelite firstborn so they may be spared from divine judgment (Exodus 13:11-16). What a sobering caution against triumphalism to realize that God’s people are not merely victims but guilty sinners in need of atoning grace! Similarly, our own liberation from Satan’s accusing condemnations is secured on the grounds of Christ’s once-for-all atonement as the Lamb of God (Hebrews 9).

The Divine Conspiracy

In summary, we can make much sense of various biblical themes of atonement through the lens of Christ's vicarious sacrifice. But in and of themselves, these motifs are emptied of their power. Unfortunately, this doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement has recently been described by critics as 'cosmic child abuse', portraying a fierce Father who needs to punish the innocent Son before He could forgive the guilty. But the objection fails to see that Jesus is not just a third-party bystander.

He is the Judge Himself receiving the punishment. He is the incarnate God, eternally one with the Father. The cross is biblically portrayed as a Trinitarian conspiracy of love where the Father ‘so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son’ (John 3:16) and the Son voluntarily accepts the cross as the supreme expression of His own love: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends.” (John 15:13) That’s the kind of love that continue to inspire countless choruses of worship devoted to the Sinless One who became sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him:

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.[2]

[1] Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book II. xvii. Section 2.   
[2] “In Christ Alone”, Words and Music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend, Copyright @ 2011 Kingway Thankyou Music

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Reason For God (Reloaded)

Reason for God II

CDPC Puchong will organize a series of 8 sessions exploring a positive case for faith in God as revealed in Jesus the Messiah.

1. The Clues of God
2. The Knowledge of God
3. The Problem of Sin
4. Religion and the Gospel
5. The (True) Story of the Cross
6. The Reality of the Resurrection
7. The Dance of God
8. Where Do We Go From Here?

Proposed Time and Venue
Day: Sunday
Time: 12.30 pm
Venue: City Discipleship Presbyterian Church Puchong
Frequency: Twice a month
Recommended Reading: The Reason For God by Tim Keller

If you are keen to join the discussion group, please contact David Chong at "hedonese at yahoo dot com". The point is not about getting armed with generic arguments and answers, rather to be equipped to become conversant with ways to sensitively, humbly and gently think and talk about these big questions in the safe context of community.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Gospel in the City

Dear colleagues in the ministry,

Redeemer Presbyterian Church New York, City to City Asia and our church City Discipleship Presbyterian Church are organizing a 2 days seminar on "Transforming our cities by planting Gospel Centered church" on April 17 & 18. I am one of the coaches for church planting working alongside Redeemer New York and City to City Asia and have been tasked to help churches to understand Gospel as the motivating force that shapes all of life, from the heart to a church and to cities. Our goal is to start a movement of planting gospel centered churches through networks of churches, church leaders and cultural leaders with the aim to transform cities in Malaysia and Asia. The two days seminar will take us through 8 plenary sessions and expose us to Gospel DNA that will bring about deeper commitment to gospel renewal in the family, church and in the city.

Let me know what you think and how you feel. I look forward to hearing from you.

Registration fees cover the cost of lunches, refreshment and printing materials (you will have solid reading materials from Dr. Tim Keller). Please register early

Date: April 17-18 (Tues - Wed) 2012
Time: 9 am to 6 pm
Speakers: Rev Abraham Cho and Rev Wong Fong Yang
Video Plenary by Rev Timothy Keller
Registration Fee: RM 60

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Christian And Interfaith Relations

The Christian and Interfaith Dialogues

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Life and Legacy of John Calvin

The Life and Legacy of John Calvin

When pro-reform supporters regained power in the city councils, Calvin was urged to return and continue his work in Geneva. Martin Bucer, the reformer at Strasbourg, was reported to have employed Farel’s earlier strategy: If Calvin refused to resume his ministry he will be acting like Jonah who tried to run away from God! In September 1541, Calvin reluctantly accepted the request and picked up preaching from the Bible passage where he had left off three years ago. Timothy George commented, “In this way Calvin signaled that he intended his life and his theology to be, not a device of his own making, but a responsible witness to the Word of God”.

Click here to read the life and legacy of John Calvin

Monday, January 09, 2012

Love God With All Your Mind

Love God With All Our Mind

I found out that for many Christians an intellectual understanding of what we believe and why you believe is not important as long as you have an experiential feeling in your heart! The heart is what you used in a relationship with God but the brain is what you used while studying science, computers, economics and history in school. There is a separation of the heart for spiritual stuffs and the mind for secular stuffs like dinosaurs. When that happens, no wonder our faith has so little impact on how we do our work or studies in the world. And no wonder our ‘daily activities’ outside the church has very little to do with God or the gospel.

But the Bible seems to say: “Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewal of your minds”. It doesn’t say “Be transformed by the removal of your minds”! So we don’t need to remove our brains in order to be a Christian. In fact, renewing our mind with God’s truth and kingdom values is crucial to our spiritual growth.

The following is sermon transcript for today's sermon at Klang Presbyterian Church

Love God With All Your Mind