Friday, 30 May 2008

future of biblical studies

in a recent tyndale house newsletter (link above), dr. peter j. williams, the new warden, has this to say about biblical studies and doctoral studies:

I would like to see PhD students we support, research fellows, the Tyndale Bulletin, in the future acknowledged as superior to nonconfessional counterparts. If the standard way is to require people to take a Masters degree and then a PhD, could we be used to channel resources for people to take two Masters degrees (one in each Testament) and then a PhD, so that those we support have a broader and more rigorous education?

2 masters (one in NT and the other in OT) before proceeding to a PhD in either? excellent idea. i can think of Dr William J. Dumbrell, renowned author of Faith of Israel, who was in Trinity Theological College Singapore when the reb was doing his MTheol. Dumbrell had a masters in OT from University of London(?) and a ThD in NT from Harvard (he has more degrees than most people - BA, MA, BD (1st class honours), MTh, ThD!) no wonder, he writes excellently in the field of biblical studies (e.g. Faith of Israel) and biblical theology (e.g. Creation and Covenant: A Theology of the Old Testament Covenants; Search for Order: Biblical Eschatology in Focus; The End of the Beginning: Rev 21-22 and the Old Testament).

Thursday, 29 May 2008

12,000 hits

at 5.11pm thursday 29th may 2008, this blog collected 12,000 hits! thank you all for your support!!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

weekend seminar on psalms at wesley methodist church melaka

this weekend, i and the whole family will be in melaka, not for a holiday (although it is the school holidays now). rather, i will be doing a 3 sessions 7 hours short seminar on the psalms on saturday afternoon to night. the next day will be preaching in the church service at wesley melaka from a psalm (of course!).

so far, i heard from the local pastor that 60 persons have already signed up for the psalms seminar and possibly more may come on the day itself. that is a good number and size to work with.

since it is a rather short seminar, i will be using walter brueggemann's scheme of orientation-disoreintation-reorientation to look at the psalms. this will give the participants a handle to grasp and understand the majority of the psalms and how to use the psalms in a pastoral manner. as for the sunday sermon, i will preach from one of my favourites, psalm 90, entitled 'numbering our days'.

in august, i will be at the presbyterian church of good shepherd j.b. to do a similar weekend seminar on the psalms and of course get to preach during the church service. no guesses for the intended scripture text and sermon title! (but i may decide to change at the last minute! life ought to have some surprises thrown in as a good measure).

Monday, 26 May 2008

what a boo-boo!

yesterday on sunday i was down in usj petaling jaya to preach in ekklesia methodist church on the book of Proverbs (part of a 3 sermon series i had agreed to do with them, the next two sermons coming in june). i had been to the church once some years ago and faintly remembered the directions to get there. the church was in a shoplot in jalan usj 1/33. so, i made my way there from seremban in the morning and as i came round the corner into usj 1/33, my eye glanced the signboard of the church 'ekklesia'. i parked my car near the church, took my stuff and went inside. the ambience seemed different from the last time, the worship team very good (too good for a chinese methodist church) but the people strangely unfamiliar. the pastor who invited me wasn't there. anyway, as i always do, i looked for the person in charge of the lcd projector and computer and gave him my thumbdrive with the instructions that my ppt for the sermon was in there.

the ushers gave me a visitor's form to fill which i did but they asked questions like 'who invited me?' and 'where did i come from?' after a while, things didn't seem 'right'. the ushers and lcd guy came back again and asked if i was with the speaker, a pastor louis manuel! something inside me clicked!!! this is not right, reb! so, i asked for the church bulletin and looked at it. the speaker for the morning was a pastor louis manuel, not the reb! arg-ahhh! so, i asked, 'isn't this the ekklesia church?' 'yes' was the reply. but things still don't looked right. so i asked again, 'is this ekklesia methodist church?' the answer that came back was a surprise. 'no, this is ekklesia sdn. bhd. ekklesia methodist church is a further 10 shops down the road!'

man, how was i to know that there were two churches named ekklesia on the same road? i mean, what are the chances of finding two churches with the same name ekklesia along the same road? (and note, it is both ekklesia, not one called ekklesia and the other ecclesia). this one was brand new, having sprung up about 3 months ago. but the independent church decided to take as its name 'ekklesia' knowing very well there was already one more established church down the road with the same name! i was going to give a piece of the reb's OT prophet's rhetoric but was too embarassed to admit that i had walked into the wrong church that morning. so i took my stuff and sheepishly walked down the shops and could see the people from the right ekklesia church waiting anxiously outside their shoplot for the speaker who was now obviously late. when i arrived and met pastor yu hoo, an alumnus of stm, and told him and the ushers what had happened, they all laughed. they echoed, 'it has happened before to other unsuspecting visitors to their church.' some consolation!

when my turn came to share the sermon, i told the congregation about why i was late and how i ended up worshipping in another church down the road. they all had a good laugh. the ironic thing was i was going to share that morning about wisdom from the wisdom literature, especially from the book of proverbs, and whatever wisdom i had was already long gone!!! well, that was a good conversational piece to get the sermon started. so, it looked like it was not really going to be the reb's day but the day ended very well. in 45 minutes (with interpretation into mandarin), i was able to give a good bird's eyeview of the whole book of proverbs and the response from the members at the end of the church showed it was a task accomplished.

p.s. after that episode, i went to berjaya times square in kl where my son markus was taking part in the malaysian youth scrabble competition held over 2 days. after a gruelling 11 games, he won 9 games out of 11 and got 5th place out of 137 participants. the 5th placing gets him to represent malaysia in the world youth scrabble competition at the end of the year in december 7-9th in penang! now, that is what i call wisdom!!! my son, you made your old man proud indeed, and here was he that morning trying to tell the ekklesia church 'my son, listen to your father's teaching!"