Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year Resolution

Before jumping into nonsense about next year resolutions, let me blog about my life for the past week.

Last week, was visited by Yennie (the General Secretary of Christ Seminar) and Steven Sim (a.k.a Jacksaid), a missionary (or missionary pastor to be) who just got back from a mission conference in Africa. Yennie went back before Steven arrived. I know Yennie through Steven. So, it is kinda of a warm pre-Christmas that i was bless with.

Helped out with the CCIS performance at Orchard Road on the 23rd Dec. Nao treated the whole team with her home made 'some-kinda-bread'. Taste excellent! Although it rained during the performance, Wendy (the main actress) and the rest of the performers didn't stop from giving their best to the umbrellas-holding crowd. It's very encouraging.

Went to Pris' place for a Christmas gathering on Monday. Went for a 2 days 1 night retreat oorganised by the Young Adults Ministry on Friday. Tired.. dry coughing.

There were alot of unexpected events took place which were not foresaw in the begining of the year. Alot ALOt ALOt of unexpectancies. To name a few; ate 2 birthday cakes this year, attended a church retreat, move to a nice place at Tiong Bahru, read some good books, been into and out of a relationship, went for a short vacation at Genting with family, argued with some frens, debated some strangers i met, made some new frens, etc etc.

New Year resolution:
Due to so much unexpectancies in the coming year, i don't dare to have too many resolution, but one of the few that i really looking forward to is to live more joyously in every area in life. HAHA... yes, that's my every years' resolution. Yes, it's the same for every year.

That's what i plan begining in a few hours time. God's mercies and grace, i prayed.

Happy New Year everyone!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Pole

Look at the pic. If you look long enough, you can see a world that consists of only you and yourself.

Happy Christmas to all, if it is not too late; Merry New Year to all, if it is not too early. Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 23, 2005

Brief Introduction to Christian Apologetics

This paper was presented at the 20th Dec 2005 Agora meeting.

The word Apologetics derived from the Greek word ‘apologia’ (απολογια), which basically means ‘defense’. This word has been used to describe one’s formal justification in the court of law. Thus, Apologetics have nothing to do with admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret [1]. Apologetics is one giving a statement of justification for his/her belief or state of affairs.

Nature of Apologetics
Christian Apologetics is about defending the truthfulness of Christian faith that was revealed to us by Jesus Christ, and answering honest objections that are hindering people from accepting Him. B.B Warfield defined Apologetic as ‘the systematically organized vindication of Christianity in all its elements and details, against all opposition.’[2]

Christian apologists are required to have an utmost commitment to the Truth; that is our Lord, Jesus Christ. And it is through this commitment Apologetics found its purposes. Simply say, without any commitment to the Truth, there is nothing to be justified and none to be defended of.

The driving force in Apologetics is and should be biblical theology. This highlights the fact that there is always an inclination for apologists to replace their foundation with philosophy rather than biblical truth. Whenever this replacement took place, Apologetics that attempt to defend orthodox Christian theism will only end up defending something else. For example: A non-theological based method of conducting Apologetics may still defend the existence of God, but it will not defend the entire historical Christian’s doctrine of God. This is thus, because theology in Apologetics acts as the essential pillars in Christian faith that set itself as the one and only Truth; excluding it from other worldview or religion. And if any of these essential teachings were not uphold in Christianity, the belief would collapse; it cannot remain as Christianity but turn into some pseudo-Christian belief. Thus, in view of this, Apologetics’ main concern is in upholding the truthfulness of these basic doctrines and defending them from threats from within the Christian community and without. In a defense, both negative (defense) and positive (offend) apologetics are encouraged; the former being demonstrating that belief in Christianity is not irrational or absurd, while the latter build the case for Christianity as the only true belief among the rest in the great marketplace of ideas. In this matter, Apologetics is the mastery of the art of riposte.

Role of ‘Proof’ in Apologetics
‘Proof’ in the classical sense is not very much relevant in today’s society as it was in the pre-postmodern era. In those times, under the influence of Rene Descartes, the degree of proving was measured by absolute certainty. The Cartesian’s epistemology has made certainty impossible to be achieved. Contemporary Apologist Ron Choong [3] pointed out that the term ‘proof’ demands a prior agreement as to what constitutes acceptable satisfaction for proof; such as the scientific notion of repeatable experimentation or logical analysis. As senior fellow of The Agora Malaysia, David Chong, observed that it is impossible to have some kind of bombproof knowledge in Apologetics, given our finiteness, limitation and sinfulness.

Therefore in Apologetics, the term ‘inference to the best explanation’ is more preferable than ‘proof’, as suggested by Paul Feinberg. It is a rational approach of conducting Apologetics by engaging in seeking to understand Christian faith and other religion or worldview as a system of belief. From there, we test the truthfulness of each worldview to see which would provide the best explanation that conforms to reality [4].

Function and the Purpose of Apologetics
Steven B. Cowan, in his book ‘5 views on Apologetics’, listed 2 vital functions of Apologetics in our Christian living: (1) To bolster the faith of Christian believers, and (2) to aid in the task of evangelism [5]. In other words, through Apologetics, Christians can be secured as reasonable and rationally justified in embracing Christian faith, and, in the hope that, non-believers could be shown that Christianity is the Truth that they cannot reject without being irrational. Secondly, Apologetics helps in bridging or building the communicating track that would reach out to the non-believers in evangelism. In one way, it serves as a shield to defend, and in another, building a common ground for the non-believer to see the grace and the truth of Jesus Christ. Thus, Apologetics sometimes are recognized as a part of ‘Pre-evangelism’. Perhaps Ron Choong offered a more comprehendible description of Apologetics, “…Apologetics is not in the business of proving anything. It serves two functions, to comfort the believer that his commitment to convictional confession is reasonable and to explain to the unbeliever why this is so.” [6] For convenient sake, I would regard ‘Personal Faith’ as the first function and ‘Pre-evangelism’ as the second.

Personal Faith
Engaging in Apologetics helps to develop a comprehensive Christian worldview. While it is not entirely the scope of Apologetics in building worldview, but it is an extra that can be gain by training ourselves in Apologetics. Basically Apologetic is countering anti-Christianity ideas or worldviews or philosophies. To counter these, apologists have to seek hard to build their view of seeing things through Christ’s eyes, which would present a view that correspond to reality more, and to provide a better explanation (if possible, solution) than its rivals. In this sense, Apologetics helps in strengthening one’s faith by affirming the reliability of one’s belief.

Secondly, practicing Apologetic is in obedient to the second greatest commandment that is ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself’ (Matthew 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27). Why is this so? As blessed with education and literacy, we are thus obliged to defense our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are still young in their faith. C.S Lewis remarked:

‘To be ignorant and simple now- not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground- would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethrens who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” [7]

In view of that, we should always be willing to protect the younger believers from being toss thro and fro easily by the currents of anti-Christ ideas as to prevent them from being deceived. As Abraham Kuyper stated in his book titled ‘Lecture on Calvinism’, the only way to stand against all these attacks, we have to articulate a true Christian worldview “of equally comprehensive and far-reaching power.”

This function of Apologetics can be understood as “a surgical tool to remove excess ‘intellectual’ fat so that the gospel could reach the mind more precisely with less interference”, noted Ron Choong [8]. Simply say is that; Apologetics removes barriers that keep people from believing by answering their honest questions. In our world today, just as in the past, there are numerous circulations of deceiving, blaspheming, and anti-Christ ideas. And these ideas are prevailing not only in the secular world but had found its way into the local churches. Such barrier is the main one that prevents effective evangelism. As theologian Gresham Machen observed, “False ideas are the greatest obstacles to the reception of the gospel. We may preach with all the fervor of a reformer and yet succeed only in winning a straggler here or there, if we permit the whole collective thought of the nation or of the world to be controlled by ideas which, by the relentless force of logic, prevents Christianity from being regarded as anything more than a harmless delusion”. [9]

Simply say, if we allow Christian faith to be viewed as some illogical fantasy by the world, our evangelism would not bear much fruit even if we preach as zealous as the reformers. This is where Apologetics step in. We have to develop a ‘pre-evangelism’ ground between the non-believers and us. And Apologetics is one of the best grounding work, if not the best, given by God. It builds a common ground acceptable to pre-believers reasonably and convincingly as it can be. This ground is like a ‘bridge’ for the flow of the gospel to the inquirer.

Limit of Apologetics
As good as any system of thoughts can be, there are still limits and temptations within the domain of Apologetic. One of the limits in Apologetic is that it cannot forces belief. As noted of its importance and weakness, author Tan Soo-Inn states,” I don't think apologetics can compel belief. Its task is to show the reasonableness of our faith to believers and unbelievers alike...” [10] For example: Apologetics can demonstrate the historical reliability of the gospels but it cannot forces the unbelievers to accept the fact even though it has been demonstrated of it rationality. Thus, it is in this gap the work of the Holy Spirit fits in. This gap also known as the ‘noetic effects of sin’ by theologians. It is an idea that the Fall had negatively affected the ability and the willingness of unbelievers to accept the presented arguments even though those arguments were good.

Temptation in Apologetics
As mentioned earlier in the Nature of Apologetics, very often Apologetics motive led to doctrinal compromise if the pillars of Apologetics are anything other than orthodox Christian theism. Usually apologists are inclined to demonstrate the case for Christianity with better persuasive rigor. And to do this, apologists are tempted to replace Christian doctrines with popular philosophies [11].

For example: The 2nd century apologists Justin Martyr and the 13th century Thomas Aquinas displayed a similar motivation that they compromised the Christian doctrine of creation, to accommodate Aristotelian idea that God and the universe have existed paralleling one another in an infinite time frame. Another example is the current Open Theism that compromises the foreknowledge of God for the humanitarian notion of free will.

Another temptation to apologists is fame and recognition. When one’s knowledge has been widely recognized, pride will just be at the door front waiting to devour. It is a struggle that anyone from international apologist Ravi Zacharias to local lay apologists will get into. Thus, besides constant prayers, reflection and devotion, apologists should remember the first attitude in practicing Apologetics: Humility before God and His words.

Objection against Apologetics
Apologetics presuppose objective truth exists and knowable, yet in these postmodern times, truth became either unknowable or relative. This serves the main objection towards the practice of Apologetics. Postmodernist holds that, as long as truth is untenable, there is no truth to be defended. This claim strikes the heart of Apologetics. Therefore, scrutinizing postmodernism is a necessary task of Apologetics, which ignorance of it is nothing but a fatality to the vocation. As Nancy Pearcey noted,” As Christians we must make it clear that we are not offering a subjective, private faith that is immune to rational scrutiny. We are making cognitive claims about objective knowledge that can be defended in public arena”[12].

Theology of Apologetics
“Theology is reasoned discourse concerning God”, wrote Christ Seminar’s general secretary, Yen Nie [13]. As mentioned in the Nature of Apologetics above, the driving force behind Apologetics is and should be biblical theology (a biblical reasoned discourse concerning God). This is imperative to every apologist. No Christian apologists obliged to defend something that he is not part of.

Defending the truthfulness of the gospels has been in practice by Christians since the time of the apostles. Paul saw his major activity in ministry as ‘defending and confirming’ the gospel to the gentiles (Philippians 1:7). Given the historical background of the early churches in the Middle East and Europe, Christian faith was no less being threatened by heretics than in our generation. The records that imply the attempts of pagans and pseudo-Christians to corrupt and pervert the gospel can be found in many places in the New Testament such as 1 Cor 3:1-4, 2 Cor 11:1-15, Gal 1:7-9, Col 2:8, 1 Tim 1:3-4, Heb 5:12-14, 2 Pet 2:1-3, and 1 John 4:1-2. Besides these, many writings of the early church fathers were concerned with the prevailing heresies of that time. For example: Justin Martyr (100-165 AD) – Dialogue, Irenaeus (130-200 AD) – Against Heresies, Tertulian (155-225 AD) – Against Marcion, Jerome (347-420 AD) – Against the Pelagians, and Augustine (354-430 AD) – Against Manichaeaus [14].

Therefore, it is not a wonder that there are apostolic commandments in the Bible that urges believers to pick up the task of Apologetics. In Hebrews 5:13-14, mature believers were asked to constantly train themselves to distinguish between the good and evil (this includes discerning truth from falsehood – 1 John 4:6). In his letter, Paul required Timothy to use the inspired Scripture to teach, rebuke, correct, train, and equip believers for their Christian living. In fact, apostles Peter gave the clearest instruction in 1 Peter 3:15 that we should set our hearts apart for Christ and always be prepared to give an answer and reason to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have. All of these were the duty of the apostles and the early church leaders in protecting the gospel and the church of Christ from heretical teachings as well as the anti-Christ heathen philosophies. In line with the importance of this duty to preserve the purity of the gospel, Christians are admonished to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and [to] take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor 10:5).

Apologetics support Jesus Christ’s vision of the kind of worshipper that God seeks- those that worship in spirit and in truth. Many Christians nowadays worship in anything but of truth. Today churches are being filled with worshippers who are there every Sunday to get some kind of ‘good feelings’ without knowing the truthfulness of those feelings. They are blind in interpreting experience and emotion. Without scriptural interpretation, they are seeking mysticism rather than the Truth that edifies (Romans 12:2). This ecclesiastic chaos owed its debt to many uninformed, if not ill, church leaders.

In sum, the call for Apologetics by God through His Scripture, for the service of His Church is found in His own words: “[we] must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that [we] can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” (Titus 1:9)

Apologetics involved in connecting Reason and Faith for one’s belief. Humans are created in God’s image and are required to live rationally and responsibly (Genesis 1:27, Colossians 3:10, Isaiah 1:18, Romans 1:19-20). It is by this given faculty that humans able to plainly infer from nature for the existence of a Creator.

Besides that, God made it a distinction between human and animal in which the former has rational and the ability to reason while the latter has not (Jude 1:10). Thus, our livelihood depends on the use of Reason in exploring and investigating our own lives. Socrates phrased it well, “An unexamined life is not worth living”. As for Faith, my friend, Steven Sim paraphrased, “An unexamined faith is not worth believing.”

Having said that, besides the theoretical-propositional approach, one must not conduct Apologetics without what master apologist William Lane Craig called as the ultimate apologetics, that is: our life [15]. It is our lives that serve as the main witness to the truthfulness that we claimed to defend. And this is also the most difficult Apologetics to be carried out. This Apologetics can only be done through the Holy Spirit working in us, transforming us every day to conform to the likeness of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).

The Holy Spirit is of utmost significant in Apologetics. His work is crucial if Apologetics is to succeed in convincing unbelievers of the truth of Christianity. Gary Habermas wrote,” Human agency is not responsible for regeneration. Apart from God’s influence, conversion will never take place”. This means that, no matter how good our apologetic arguments are, they cannot by themselves bring a person to faith in Christ [16].

Varieties of Apologetics
There are many approaches in Apologetics as well. Just like any other human system, each approach has its own pros and cons. Nevertheless, one common ground among these 5 approaches is that their foundation is and always should be theology. Within these 5 methods; the Classical, Historical, and Cumulative belongs to the evidential camp, while Presuppositionalism and Reformed Epistemology belongs to the non-evidential one. By evidential, are those that rely on and apply evidences in their argument, and non-evidential is the evidence-uninvolved group.

Each case is argued or presented through different degree of reliance on philosophy and empirical facts. It is up to the comfort and expertise of the apologist to belong to any one camp. Though each method is weak at some points and strong at others, nevertheless, every approach is sacred and pleasing to God so long as his or her Apologetics is being practiced for the glory of God alone.

Classical Apologetic
The outstanding point of this method from the rest is that it appeals to Reason as the starting point to defend the faith. By reasoning from nature, classical Apologetic depends heavily on Natural Theology. Types of classical methods are Cosmological, Ontological, Morality, and Teleological. Classical Apologetic involved 2 stages in arguing the case for Christianity. Thus, it is also known as the ‘2-steps’ approach. Basically, step 1 is in the position to build a theistic framework through Natural Theology, while step 2 relies on historical evidences, such as the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the historical reliability of the gospels, in arguing for the truthfulness of Christian theism. Simply said, classical apologists establish God’s existence first, then only moves on to argue that this God is the Christian God. This method is both deductive and inductive laden.

Some of the past classical apologists are Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Anselm, William Paley, B.B Warfield and C.S Lewis (because of its long history in Apologetics, this method also known as the ‘traditional’ approach).

Modern classical apologists are William Lane Craig, J.P Moreland, Peter Kreeft, Norman Geisler, R.C Sproul, and Richard Swinburne. Current Intelligent Design (ID) movement proponents; William Dembski, Stephen Meyer, Jonathan Wells, Michael Behe, Guillermo Gonzalez, Hugh Ross and Jay W. Richard belongs to this camp as well.

Historical Apologetic (known as ‘Evidential Apologetic’ in ‘Five Views on Apologetics’)
This method is almost the same as classical Apologetic in it dependence on evidences in argument. The only difference is that historical Apologetic goes directly to historical evidences to argue for the truthfulness of Christianity, skipping the first step in classical approach. Therefore, it is known as the ‘1 step’ approach. This ‘1 step’ is an inductive case instead of applying both deductive and inductive as the Classical. Gary Habermas and N.T Wright are the few outstanding ones in this category [17].

Cumulative Apologetic
Adherents to the cumulative method practice Apologetic in an informal manner. This method “does not conform to the ordinary pattern of deductive or inductive reasoning" [18]. This approach overlaps the Classical and Historical Apologetics in the utility of Reason and evidence but it makes use of both in a different way.

Steven Cowan wrote,” It is an informal argument that pieces together several lines or types of data into a hypothesis or theory that comprehensively explains that data and does so better than any alternative hypothesis. This type of reasoning is called "adductive" reasoning.” He views this approach more like a “[legal] brief that a lawyer makes in a court of law or that a literary critic makes for a particular interpretation of a book” [19]. Due to it’s informal adductive nature, Norman Geisler referred it as Combinationalism while Gordon Lewis called it Verificationism [20].

Modern Cumulative apologists are C. Stephen Evans, Josh McDowell and Paul D. Feinberg.

Presuppositional Apologetic
Modern Presuppositionalism was discovered by neo-Calvinist Abraham Kuyper; developed by Herman Dooyewerd; popularized by Cornelius Van Til, Greg Bahnsen, John Frame, and Francis Schaeffer. Among the rest of the presuppositionalists, Cornelius Van Til was its most famous proponent, therefore this approach also known as VanTilianism.

This method requires the apologist to defend Christianity on certain presuppositions. Thus, its proponents must simply presuppose the truth of Christianity, that is the Bible, as the proper starting point in Apologetics. Presuppositionalists attempt to argue transcendentally- all meaning, every fact, and thoughts logically presuppose the God of the Scriptures. In this way, Christianity will be demonstrated as the one true belief that is consistent by giving the best description on reality. Although presuppositionalist is not against the use of evidence, but evidences involved in most presuppositionalism is none if not minimal. Instead, presuppositionalists are called to look into those presuppositions in interpreting evidences. However, John Frame (a student of Cornelius Van Til) is more open to the use of evidence in his practice of Presuppositionalism.

According to Norman Geisler, there are 3 types of Presuppositionalism: Revelational Presuppositionalism, Rational Presuppositionalism, and Practical Presuppositionalism [21]. Each of these Presuppositionalism overlaps with one another in their application of a presupposition analysis tool called ‘systematic consistency’. It is a tool to test the consistency in a belief system. The difference is that each camp developed their Apologetic from a different paradigm from this tool.

Revelational Presuppositionalism (Van Til, John Frame and Greg Bahnsen)
Starts from the Scripture (applies)à Transcendental argument to demonstrate that only through the view of the Scripture that every fact in the entire existence is meaningful and true. Other systems of belief cannot give real meaning in view of every fact in life.

Rational Presuppositionalism (Edward John Carnell, Gordon Clark and Carl F. H. Henry)
Starts from the Scripture (applies)à Rationality to demonstrate that only through the view of the Scripture that every event in the entire existence is rational. In other words, only Christianity able to give a rational interpretation of every event in life. Other systems of belief cannot offer rational interpretation in life events.

Practical Presuppositionalism (Francis Schaeffer)
Starts from the Scripture (applies)à Livability to demonstrate that only Christian truths can be live and practice in reality. Other systems of belief are unable to be consistently live or practice in conforming their own truths.

Overall, Presuppositionalism is a circular argument (starts with Christianity to proves the case for Christianity), as observed by John Frame himself [22], and it is favorable among those in the reformed tradition. Personally, I share the same view with Gary Habermas concerning this approach, “this position, if better described, not as a distinct apologetic method, but as a theological outlook on apologetics.”[23] I think the best contribution of this method is that it gives an overview of how Christian Apologetics should be like (see Nature of Apologetics above). John Frame, the student of Van Til acknowledged, “Perhaps presuppostionalism is more of an attitude of the heart, a spiritual condition, than an easily describable, empirical phenomenon.”

Reformed Epistemology Apologetic
This approach revolutionized the entire field of religious epistemology when it was proposed by Alvin Plantinga, Nicholas Wolterstorff and the rest of those involved in the project Reformed Epistemology by Calvin College [24]. The root of this approach can be traced back to the great reformer John Calvin himself, that the belief in God is properly basic and need not any evidence.

This approach is being viewed as a negative apologetic. That means it simply answers objections against the faith and offers no (or a weak and inadequate) form of apologetics for Christian beliefs [25]. Though does not give a positive argument, nevertheless Reformed Epistemology offers a profound view on knowledge that affected not only the Christian circles but the whole epistemology studies in the secular world as well.


Despite various methods of practicing Apologetic, it is up to the comfort and expertise of the apologist to belong to any one camp. As mentioned, each method has weak and strong points; nevertheless, every approach is sacred and pleasing to God so long as his or her Apologetics is being practiced for the glory of God alone.


[1] and

[2] Norman Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker, 1999, articles: B.B Warfield, pg.768

[3] Ron is the founder of ACTS ministry in New York:

[4] Cited in Five Views on Apologetics by Steven Cowan, Zondervan 2000, pg.151. Feinberg listed several ways to test for truthfulness such as Test of Consistency, Test of Correspondence, Test of Comprehensiveness, Test of Simplicity, Test of Livability, Test of Fruitfulness, and Test of Conservation.

[5] Steven Cowan, Five Views on Apologetics, pg.8. (Viewable introduction here:

[6] From my correspondence with Ron

[7] Cited in Philosophical Foundation for Christian Worldview by J.P Moreland and William Lane Craig, pg.17

[8] From my correspondence with Ron

[9] Cited in Philosophical Foundation for Christian Worldview, pg.2

[10] From my correspondence with Tan Soo-Inn

[11] Cited in Reformed Apologetics: An Invitation to the Presuppositionalism of Cornelius Van Til by Samuel Ling

[12] Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth, Crossway Books, 2004, pg.222

[13] Yen Nie, article: Theology- Why bother? The article is here:

[14] Norman Geisler, Chosen but Free (2nd ed), Bethany House, 2001

[15] William L. Craig, Reasonable Faith, Crossway Books, 1994, pg.302

[16] Cited in Five Views on Apologetics, pg. 376

[17] See Gary Habermas’ ‘The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ’ and ‘The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus’; N.T Wright’s ‘The New Testament and the People of God’, ‘Jesus and the Victory of God’, and ‘The Resurrection of the Son of God’.

[18] Basil Mitchell, The Justification of Religious Belief, Oxford University Press, 35


[20] Cited in the footnotes of Five Views on Apologetics, pg. 17

[21] Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, articles: Apologetics, Types of, pg.44

[22] Cited in Five Views on Apologetics, pg.217

[23] Cited in Five Views on Apologetics, pg.241

[24] See Faith and Rationality: Reason and Belief in God, ed. Alvin Plantinga & Nicholas Wolterstorff, University of Notre Dame Press, 1983

[25] The analysis of this method by Dr. Michael Sudduth can be read here:

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Prayer Time

God, almighty Father whose mercy has been with me for so long, i thank you for the strength in carrying out yesterday's task.

Grace me through my struggles everyday. Help me to take delight in your commandments. Supply my soul and spirit with pure joy. Lead me to choose your ways rather than my ways.

Save me from my own wickedness and corruption lest destroyed my soul in your coming wrath. Make me look at your statutes instead of contingents that delight my eyes.

Direct me towards your glory and holiness lest bowed my knees to evil agents for;
You are Lord; neither Hollywood nor Japan is.
You are Lord; neither emotion nor knowledge is.
You are Lord; neither political powers nor peer pressure is.
You are Lord; neither Rx-8 nor Merc SLR is.
You are Lord; neither a seaview condo nor a hill-sight tower is.
You are Lord; neither theologian nor philosopher is.

Take me into your comfort;
Flee me from evil distress;
With your grace alone;
Seek you, my soul, for rest.

As the song sings:

Before the world began, you were on his mind
And every tear you've cried is precious in his eyes
Because of His great love, He gave His only Son
And everything was done so you would come

Nothing you can do can make Him love you more
And nothing that you've done
Can make Him close the door
Because of His great love, He gave His only Son
And everything was done so you would come

Come to the Father though your gift is small
Broken hearts, broken lives He will take them all
The power of the Word, the power of His Love
And everything was done so you would come

The Great Battle!

The great debate between 2 notable scholars in the studies of the historical Jesus. The one representing evangelical circles is Nicholas Thomas Wright (left, standing) who proposes a literal interpretation on the gospels; while John Dominic Crossan (right, standing) prefered a metaphorical approach in understanding the gospel accounts. *thunders*

I don't have the transcript, but i guess the conversation was something like this:

Wright: Besides the physical resurrection of Jesus, there were no other reasons accounted for the origin of the Christian movement in the 1st century Palestine.

Crossan: Nahhh, those accounts in the gospels cannot be treat literally, just as the allegories in the Old Testament and the book of Revelation.

Wright: Hey, watch your mouth! You shouldn't 'nahhh' at me in public!

Crossan: Pardon my language, but that's just my allegory.

Wright: Nope, i think you literally did it.

Crossan: Nahhhhh...

And, if i am not mistaken (and if you looks close enough) you can spot Gary Habermas sitting next to William Lane Craig, while Douglas Geivett is just next to him. All are at the front row! *thunders*thunders* Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 01, 2005

You Promised Me

The clearest memory that i have when i heard of this song was during 2005 Chinese New Year. It was in a cafe. Since then, i was looking for the title of this song but no one around me heard of it.

So, last fateful tuesday, when i walked pass That CD shop in Tiong Bharu plaza, that song's familiar rythm came to my ears. It was a 'shock of recognition'. The CD is in my player now. The chorus goes like this:

You promised me,Tu Es Foutu, tu-tu-tu, tu es foutu, tu-tu-tu.
You promised me, Tu Es Foutu, You promised me, Tu Es Foutu.

The title: You Promised Me
By: In Grid
Genre: Dance musics

U guys should check it out.

Tu Es Foutu, tu-tu-tu, tu es foutu, tu-tu-tu, Tu Es Foutu, tu-tu-tu, tu es foutu, tu-tu-tu, Tu Es Foutu, tu-tu-tu, tu es foutu, tu-tu-tu...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Art: 3 Perspectives

Abstract Art: A product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.
- Albert Camus

Acting is a question of absorbing other people's personalities and adding some of your own experience...[it] is a happy agony.
- Jean-Paul Sartre

Art can teach without at all ceasing to be art.
- Clive Staples Lewis

Any idea what's Christian view on Art?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Mr. C

I gotta blog this.

It is about a person, Mr.C, who came over to our company to give a morning sermon to the staffs. The agony is that his main points in the sermon went along with Tertulian's "the blood of the matyrs is the seed of the church"... but he sounded nothing like Tertulian.

He began his rhetorical sermon with the story of Ezekiel's sufferings. He gave a brief survey of that book before his attempt for today's application. His description of Ezekiel's sufferings was vivid and his passion for today's church was as intense as he sounded it. He even shared some of his so-called past suffering moments with us to encourage us (but that looks more like a desperate attempt than a passionate encouragement).

Before he closed, his passion towards the churches in China was being expressed again in his rhetoric. He looked to us and said that, "with such rapid expansion, China churches need young people like you guys to go there and teach them sound theology." (i was wondering why does this guy who has so much passion towards the church still did nothing). It seems that he knew what i was wondering, he, then, said autonomously that his low level of mandarin literacy prevented him from engaging the Chinese churches.

I do felt for the China churches but i retain my skepticism towards this Mr. C.

Just as soon as he finished, our executive director, Victor, who obviously being encouraged by his sharing, turned to him and told him about an american missionary whom came to our office yesterday,"Mr.C, yesterday we met an american pastor who went to Taiwan to studied Hokkien language for 1 and a 1/2 years when he was 55 years old, and came back here (Singapore) to start a Hokkien ministry. That pastor is 70++ now." I believed Victor did so to encourage Mr. C to work towards his passion for the Chinese churches.

So, with all enthusiasism, i turned to Mr.C to see his response. He grined, "well, i have already suffered enough, it is time for me to retired from all these." (i don think he is more than 60 of age). By the way, just a few minutes ago, he was telling us how much he loves 'bloody Christianity'. By bloody, he meant the suffering churches/ Christians. He told us that he admired a Burmese who was imprisioned during war times. This Burmese translated the english bible into his country's language during his imprisonment. Besides that, Mr. C also told us that he prefer the King James Version rather than the New International Version because the former is 'bloodier' (which i beg to differ). In his rhetoric, Christianity has to be bloody so that churches can expand, Christians can grow. With all that being said, i was surprised to get that kind of respond from him...

"..i have suffered enough, it is time for me to retire..."

In another way, he was saying, "I dont want to get 'bloody'". What does that makes? If he believes that the church would grow better with Christians getting bloody, and when he doesnt want to get bloody, then it really means that he doesn't want the church to grow!!!!

At that moment, my respect for Mr. C gone all the way down to none save in the fact that he is still an Imago Dei (made in the God's image). Compare Mr. C's passion towards the Chinese churches with Ps. Stephen Tong, aged 65, who travels to 4 different countries in Asia every week to preach to the Chinese churches, in spite of occasional heart operations. Whenever Ps. Tong was asked the reason why wouldn't he be a retired pastor who just take up the responsibility of pastoring a local church, he asnwered, "because i view my service as not to the churches but to the kingdom of God. And with all the blessings and talents from God, i will be guilty of not using them for the kingdom if i reserve myself to retiree comforts."

I dont mean that i am righteous than Mr.C; we are all sinners who are going to hell if not by God's mercy, but my point is that the manner Mr. C used in his service to God must not be in the practice of any servants of the kingdom.
Mr. C, u are in my prayers.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

C.S Lewis Just Told Me:

"Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up save in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket--safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable... Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained."

Thanks, Mr. Lewis, your insights are always encouraging and illuminating. No one can do it better than you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Knowledge from Head to Heart

It has always been said that Christian should not maintain their knowledge in the head but not at the heart. Since my pilgrimage as a Christian started 6 years ago, this truth is very much in my wanting because of my desire to experience the wholeness of Christian joy. Whenever I pick up some new insights that advocate the truthfulness of Christianity, this newly found knowledge does established gradually of my own standpoint in view of my faith. The existence of God and the historicity of Jesus Christ become undeniable reasonably to me, it marks a chapter in my life that worth celebrating. To my own unawareness at that moment, the truthfulness of my faith has gone beyond the shadow of doubt. But why am I still having the difficulty to fully and perfectly demonstrate a parallel between this knowledge that is in my head and the conviction that is in my heart? Is not this is what I want: to really know what I am believing and to base my life on this belief system?

After a lot of contemplation, introspection and discussion with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, it has dawn on me that there seems to be a “missing link” between my head and my heart. Even though I have heard of many sermons from different pulpits concerning the issue of linking the head and the heart, but there is never one that could really defines what does it mean to transform the head knowledge to the heart with satisfactory precision. Or even if someone presented it to me, but due to my forgetfulness (or should I say “willingful forgetfulness”) that that part of the message failed to store in my head, needless to say, the heart. All along I have imprisoned myself in the secured room up in the ivory tower. Religion was to me a matter of propositions. Never, it occurs to me that faith is to be live out and live up. I always thought that as long as I got the things in its place up there in the tower, I am safe.

Because of this schism between the head and heart, backslides and depressions are always an unwelcome visitor. Times and times, I tried to live out a life that was contradictory to my belief. There was even once, I felt the overwhelming pain resulted from the amputation of my head from my heart. I remembered that time; it was 2 am in the morning when headache and heartache occurred simultaneously in me. The inner parts of my mind and soul felt that great separation and immediately broke down accordingly. In desperation, I prayed and prayed, seeking for relief more than forgiveness. If there ever was an hour of pure darkness, it was that moment. If ever I could draw a personal experience of a taste of hell, it was that moment.

But despite being overarching by those dark emotional and mental tortures, somewhere at the edge of my mind, there was Christ. Though He was as tiny as though the light of a candle in an enormous darkened room, His radiance of hope drew me over. From prayers for relief, I turned to prayers for forgiveness. Although those pains were still there but they were not as prevailing as before. Grasping the knowledge of the gospel in my head like a drowning man’s grasp to the rescuer’s hand, I submit myself, my body, my heart to that promised Hope. And for the first time after a long time, I experienced the authentic submission of the head, the heart; my whole, to my Lord Jesus Christ. Though I was not sure what it means to transform the head knowledge to the heart yet, somehow, there is an insight of what heart knowledge is about.

Months later, despite a lot of failings and failings, none of those were as horrible as that night’s 2 am. And reading commentary by D.A Carson on 2 Peter gave me obvious hints of the real meaning of transforming knowledge from the head to the heart. After further contemplations and talks with friends (especially Naomi) the clarity of heart knowledge floated up; just like a bubble that floats from the bottom to the surface of the water and pops. When the truth of heart knowledge flows through my life I came to realization that, after all, it is not something that is incredibly profound. Heart knowledge is merely the consistent manifestation of our head knowledge in our lives. A person with a lot of knowledge and convictions on a certain belief (say, Christianity), one still has it as a form of head knowledge until that knowledge is manifest through and through out that person’s life. This manifestation is our Heart knowledge.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:3-11

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Alister McGrath Challenges Darwinist Richard Dawkins

An excerpt from an interview with Alister McGrath on his recent polemical book, Dawkins' God, on Richard Dawkins' Darwinism:

Do you expect or anticipate a book-length response from Dawkins?

No, I don’t. What I do hope for is a public debate in which he and I can dialogue with each other. I don’t necessarily mean a point-scoring debate. Neither one of us is trying to wrestle the other one to the ground. I do think that because the issues are so important, there is a genuine case for a public dialogue with an audience able to listen to us exchange views and then critique both of us. I think that’s extremely important.

Dawkins is Professor of the Public Understanding of Science. And I would argue he’s, therefore, under a professional responsibility to engage in precisely this type of dialogue because after all, what we’re talking about here is an issue of the public interpretation of science. I think here to misrepresent is a very serious thing, and I think it’s fair for him to be able to defend himself in public against that. And I’m very happy to have that debate any time he wants to. But at the moment I fear the initiative is with me, and I’m not getting a favorable response.

What do you mean you’re not getting a favorable response? Do you mean from Dawkins himself or from others who are his followers?

I am ready to have a public discussion with Richard Dawkins at any time and place he chooses. He knows that.

He refused?



If you had a message for Dawkins that I could help you convey, what would that be?

Let’s talk in public.


Looks like the table has been turn around. In the late 19th & 20th century, Darwinists challenged Christianity's claims; and now it's the other way around.

Here is the full interview.


Richard Dawkins, the current Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. He was voted by 'Prospect' magazine as the most important public intellectual in Britain.

Alister McGrath, director of the Oxford Centre for Evangelism and Apologetics and professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University.

Friday, October 28, 2005

A Week

I thank God n praise him for exposing me to Carson and Piper. Blessed spiritually after reading Carson's exposition on 1 Peter 1 and hearing Piper's passionate sermons.

In spite of that, had a tough week. Had a problematic customer.
Besides that, it was my turn to facilitate a biblical discussion on Thursday's Young Adult fellowship. I am not satisfy with the whole session. Main part was because of my own facilitation. Perhaps it was my own standard that i was looking for. And it is kinda depressing. Whenever it stikes me, i have to re-focus my attention to God in knowing that, ultimately, he oversaw the whole session and had it done as he willed it. I think it was a good experience for me to realize my own shortcomings and work on that.

On the other hand, it is comforting psychologically and spiritually that i find rest and pleasure in my attempt to know more about God. Like what i told JAck before that i can't and don't love God (Carson expounds that "we are corrupt by nature and choice..")...but i want to. May be that serves as a beginning plate for me to step on.

Met up with Mejlina (pronounce "Merleena") last sunday. She visited ORPC. She talked most of the time when we were together and it was really a good exposure to a true blood female Vantillian (the other true blood Vantillian that i met is Samuel Ling, a male).

I ordered 2 N.T Wright's Jesus & the Victory of God from a retailer. That will serves as my 2005 Christmas present for myself! HAHAHAHA

Recently i have my budget sorted out. I will try not to spend more than SGD 50 on books each month. It seems that i will only be getting Pearcey, Erikson, Schreiner, Carson, O'Brien and Seifrid, Vanhoozer, and Craig next year. If God is willing, i dont mind waiting.

Friday, October 21, 2005

What i like about Betrand Russell

In his essay "Can Religion Cure Our Troubles?", Russell wrote:

"I can respect the men who argue that religion is true and therefore ought to be believed, but i can only feel profound moral reprobation for those who say that religion ought to be believed because it is useful, and that to ask whether it is true is a waste of time."

At National University of Singapore, as some of us (Christians) gathered after a talk by someone on some topic, there came an student who asked us for our reason why do we think that our belief is true. At first, everyone hesistated to give an answer, then there was this young lady voice out that the reason why she thinks that Christianity is true is because she believes the bible is the word of God, and the word of God helped her whenever she was struggling with decision making. The bible provided her solutions, therefore she believes that Christianity is true.

That's pragmatism. Christianity is no longer true because it is true in itself, but because it's workable. What kind of rubbish is this?

Christianity is true, therefore it works... not it works, therefore it's true!

Alot of time we do not know what are we talking about. Does that lady's answer demonstrates the truthfulness of Christianity? Far no. How would the inquirer have thought? "Well, after all, Christianity is just the same as other religions that are true because they works."

Christians are called to become lights and salts in this world not ONLY in our life style, in our thoughts as well! Life style alone can't demonstrate the truthfulness of a claim without a firm reason for doing it. Mere radical life style that attracts non-believers doesn't show that the attracted ones are interested with Christian truths, it only means they prefer our life style. There is no extrinsic differences between a morally good atheist and a morally good Christian. Sometimes the former can be morally superior than the latter. If this is the case, then the atheists are the lights and salts, not Christians.

Those who tried to look into this matter of truthfulness very often be labelled as non-practicals. Nothing can be worst than this. Whenever these 'non-practicals' tried to raise awareness of the issue, immediately they will be viewed as showing off and proud, and will be shut off with "WOW, so 'chim' (in-depth), we can't understand, so, we should stop talking about it, and by the way, it is not practical, therefore doesn't really matter." Betrand Russell, the famous agnostic, will just shake his head and say,"i can only feel profound moral reprobation...".

Monday, September 26, 2005

Entering the 3rd Quest

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It is now official for me to participate in the 3rd quest of the historical Jesus. Conversations with friends and recent read-ups on the quest has prompted me to apply historical methods in supplementing my (amateur and) shallow understanding of the historical personhood of Jesus the Nazarene.

It all started in June this year when i bought 'Jesus Under Fire' and 'The Jesus Quest' from a local bookshop, not because of any particular interest in the quest but rather because of the discounted 40% off the price. Yes, i am cheap, and through this cheap-skateness, i discovered another approach in my readings which i was reluctant to give in until recently.

Though, at present, the quest is not as hot as in the those years between 1975-1995, it is still worth while to see things in a different (for eg. historical) way, especially things of the antiquity. The major concentration will be on its historical settings rather than the post-easter theological framework of the sypnotics and interpretative gospel of John. I do not undermine the danger of this hermeneutic and i am aware of my present goal is not to separate history and theology of the ancient texts but rather to supplement the latter with the former. In supplementing, focus is still on the historical background; firm in the post-resurrection developement.

After spending 2 days of serious evaluations on Tom Wright's ideas (his essays:'Jesus, Israel, and the cross; 'Jesus'; 'Jesus and the Quest') , it just dawn that, after all, it worths a while of my stay. I do not know how long will i be in the quest but i hope to learn as much valuables during my time in.

Jacksaid compiled some interesting links on the quest here:

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Interesting Conversation

I've decided to set up 'Interesting Conversation' section here to keep each unique conversation i had.

Interesting Conversation 1

Had an insighful conversation with a M.Th student from Trinity Theological College who is currently a pastor at FairField Methodist Church. He shared the history of Reformation, his view on the 3rd quest and New perspective on Paul, and Karl Barth's theology.

He gave a fairly critical view on the 3rd quest and the New perspective on Paul, and a much more critical view on Karl Barth. 3rd quest to him is not as interesting as Wright publicises. The quest has always been with Schweitzer's dianogsis, that is all questers are just remaking the historical person in their own image. He applied Ludwig Wittengstein's hermeneutical theory (conventionalism) in view of the quest. Therefore the results of the quest are always relative. On the New perspective on Paul, he didnt really criticised it but described what's the recent emphasis being made onto this field. As for Karl Barth, he disagreed with me who categorizes Barth as a Neo-orthodoxy. He gave a fair justification on that. I didn't know Barth was a reformed and theologized with presuppositionalism.

Finally Weekend Is Over!

Shall start with tuesday last week.
At 6pm, rushed to the evening class. Learnt basic english such as First Person/Second Person/Third Person Singular/Plural. Then had some good time with Naomi over dinner.

Last week's Wednesday was in my anticipation since 3 weeks ago because there was a discussion at Gone Fishing Cafe at 8pm that i really look forward to. It was my first time there and being surrounded by those people was not really as ideal as i thought. The discussion ended at 10:15pm, reached home at 11:30pm, and i almost slept in the shower.

Thursday was the Young Adult Fellowship and, as usual, bought my dinner from KFC (the same meal that i had for the past 4 weeks)and rushed to the Hide Out. Discussion ended at around 10:10pm.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were busy evenings. Divine strength and joy as well as prayers from nao and dawn hav kept this culprit saved through the busy weekend. Praise God for sending 2 helpers: William and Janice to my rescue on Saturday evening.

My worst disappointment for the past week are:
1) I still couldnt locate time for john 7.
2) Still haven't reply Jonathan's queries.


So many things to do, yet so lil time and energy.

Neway, new week ahead.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


It had been a while since i thought of blogging about this. The situation that i am in now is confusing and difficult to thread because of my up bringing. During secondary school days, i had always been bombarded by materialism especially whenever some friends bought branded stuffs. I was filled with envy and jealousy all the time right up. The most remembered event that pushed these resentments to the optimum was when i saw one of my classmate's new Honda Civic. He was then 18, while i was 17. Me and Sim Chee Keong spent numerous hours planning out big money plans for both of our futures. Though most were day dreams but what lies below them were overflow of coveting desires.

This habit followed me into my college days. In those days, my covetousness was elevated to a higher ground. That was the time when i was exposed to cars magazines, friends of diverse backgrounds, college girls, more exclusive branded stuffs, and "college activities"'. Things which happened around me was all about hedonism and materialism; even the drive to attend church. Atteding church where the speaker preached about promises of good lives on earth was not helping to reduce my covetousness, rather boasted it higher with fake hopes.

The climax was reached when i was involved in a BGR at that time. The frustration of not being able to spend as desired was burning in me 24-7. Thus, me and a few friends builded up our first business. It was tiredsome to attend college in the morning when staying up through the night to work but the motivation was none other than RICHES. But that business wasnt really favored by my parents especially when i failed 2 subjects in my second semester and eventually all of us decided to close it down and wait until when we finish our studies. This did not eliminate the burning flame in me, instead it was flamming more furiously than before. This was the time when i started clubbing. There was once when i club 4 times a week just to enjoy the my own hedonism and pride, while motivated by those fake hopes that were in me.

My dream of being rich was intense in the final semester. Even before the results came out, i was already attended a few job interviews. But i decidedly to join Starcruises in hoping that i will learnt more stuffs and gain a wider view of the world and of life. This was when i explore more on hedonism. After i ended my term with Starcruises, i started to plan for my own business, but the plan was postponed because lack of capital. That was a desperate moment for me. Then i journeyed to Singapore to work and i deliberately chose a sales job which i am not familiar with at all at that time. I was into hospitality management before that but figured out that the foundation of getting rich is Sales and not hospitality management.

But something happened when i was in Singapore. Besides learning about sales, there was another area in my life that had not been taken seriously before, and that is my spiritual-knowing compartment. Sim Chee Keong introduced me to C.S Lewis during my earlier days in Singapore. I remember having both Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Mere Christianity placed next to my bed. And through the guidance of God, i was slowly molded to contradict my own desires. As days went by, my conscience grew and my identity was in ruin. I no longer worship hedonism and materialism as much. The whole process was painful especially when my conscience keeps condemming even till this day. Though filled with head-knowledge, i was like (or less than) an animal. BGR/love was then instinctual. There wasnt any real reason for me to involved in a relationship with anyone except for sexual gratification. Those who know me since teen hood would know what kind of hedonist i was. I was nicknamed "X-pien Ong" (porn king in hokkien) among my peers during my secondary school days. Friends would started off conversation with me by asking me for pornographic materials. Even though i dont really have those stuffs but i was nicknamed because i talked widely and freely on pornography and sex. I was a premarital sex promoter. I sketched nude. I surfed porn. I was exposed to all kind of sick stuffs imaginable. Vulgarities was nouns, verbs and adjectives then. Ask Sim Chee Keong (a.k.a Jacksaid) for further info. He literally saw through my growth. He was the one who helped me to destroyed my dreams and build up new ones. Isn't it funny for me to do theology now? Many times i think that i am unworthy to read even the Bible.

What a wretched man i am!!!!!!
How could i be saved from God's wrath and condemnation?!?!?!?!?

Why did i bring this Confession up is because in the afternoon, today, me, N, R, AB and K were talking about our past BGR/love. All of us are Christians, but all of our past were ugly, distasteful, filthy, and dark. We shared, and in many ways, confessed our sins. N's testimony was most commutative to mine. I could relate to her very personally. When she talked about it, it was like listening to another person who is talking about myself. And she is now a totally new person. She died to her old self and is now new. That's what i saw in her and that is what i want to see in myself.

My life neither holy nor righteous than anyone thinks. Those who can accept people like me (or us) are very few. I didnt really shared with any of the people in the church about my personal stuffs all this while but i blog it on now. Readers, please have mercy on me. Pls pray for me. I dont want to go back to my previous lifestyle. It was sickening when i think about it.

Things that invites God's wrath (Col 3:5):"..sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed.."<------- i had them all.....

I am hopeless in myself... there is no other place i can turn to...
My conscience never stop condemming even as i am typing now...

The only hope that i can cling to is from Colossians 3:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

There are alot of times when i saw some of my peers who acted like i was really shut me off. I didnt know how to react. I couldnt get angry or being glad about it. I just speechless as the conscience keep condemming.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


What for keeping the address when the home is belonging to someone else?
Delete it and get on with life. Get a new home. Find somewhere near my place.


Feel terrible.. somehow, feel like a prisoner who keeps shouting aloud in the cell. Thought that i have reason and it is reasonable for me to do so, but who cares?... No one is listening... No one borthers... Why should anyone listen to a prisoner? Is there anything good from prison?

Doubt it.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Updates II

Just got back from an outreach... tired... and disappointed...
Feel so bad... Should i or should i not?... 2 years older, u know...sophisticated character...baptist dancer somemore...

Anyway, hahaha... finished NT Wright's Who was Jesus two days ago... I'm still not convinced that Jesus see Himself as Israel (or the real Israel), JAckSaid! If U wanna convince me, get me the Resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus and the Victory of God, and The New Testament and the People of God!


Saturday, September 03, 2005


Two weeks ago:
Was at Genting Highlands spending time with family and friends in KL. Talked alot with parents and their friends. Guess what were the topics?
While sitting at the table, surrounded by them with their questions and objections thrown to me as i tried to handled each one as consistent as i could. Felt as though the character of Jet Li in the movie 'Hero' when he was being executed. Anyway, through grace, i survived.

A few days ago:
Attended a seminar by a theologian cum historian, Samuel Ling, on the title "Introduction to Reformed Apologetics". Didnt, i expect much from the talk. He criticized classical apologetics and evidentialism, which i camped at, just as he breathes. So, in return, during the Q&A session, I did my part. And after the session, i approached him to share what i think about his printout on Classical Apologetics. It took a while for us to come to agreement to disagree. He is surely articulate and definitely not a cheap presuppositionalist. It appears that he is a student of both Conerlius VanTil and John Frame. The part that i appreciate most was when he shared on Generation x and Y.

Besides that, i learnt from a mentor that my english standard is very poor, which i do realized and admit without a doubt. I dont know what is adjective, adverd, pronoun and etc. He passed me some papers for me to go through, in hoping that i would make some improvement, which i hope too.

Today afternoon:
Finally, i finished writting my presentation on the upcoming Christ Seminar in KL. It was not what i had in mind when i was first being asked by Steven Sim (the chair of N.T Wright of CDPC, Founder of Christ Seminar, and a senior fellow of AGORA). The end product is rather a different one compared to my earlier envisions. Anyway, hope this essay would serve in no other way than Soli Deo Gloria.

Every night:
Had bad sleep for almost the whole week.

New and exciting stuffs:
Finally, finished Ben Witherington III's book. Was exposed to a lot of new views on the 3rd Quest. Was planning to get his other books next month or so. Almost see myself as his fan until i found out that he is a not a Calvinist.

Am reading Peter Jensen's view on Revelation. Hope that i could finish it by this month so that i could start with New Perspective on Paul by Guy Prentiss Waters.

Am able to understand Ravi Zacharias' Deliver Us from Evil now. When i bought it a year ago, was really blur and confused of his rhetoric in the book.

Listened and read some of N.T Wright's. Really good exposition but controversial.

New and exciting ideas:
Found a new hair-do.

Watched a very artistic show the other day. Was impressed by the director's way of making the movie. Good exemplification of human's inner void and dignity but controversial.

Favourite musics:
JEM- Just a Ride
Bodyrockers- I like the way you move
Rihanna- ....Replay

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Saturday-13 August 2005

Had an average sleep last night. Naturally woke up at 8 am before taking bath and teeth brushing. Checked up Geisler's view on Jacques Derrida from BECA before looking into William Lane Craig's view on apologetics in the Counterpoint series. Was thinking to have coffee with a fren, but she has to attend some birthday dinner. Went for lunch at Tan Boon Liat building and met Ben from SKS. We talked about the some liberals movement and was joined by Simon, another staff from SKS.

Simon made a negative remark on the pursue of Xtian intellectualism which inevitably was criticised by me. Obligated not to disown a brother over intellectual matters, i submited to his frustrated fideism. Without any grudge, we walked to his workplace and headwards to our business.

Curiously, i picked up Alister Mcgrath's Scientific Theology, desired to acquire some insight onto the subject, while exploring a rather different view on theology.

Then to apologetic session to pick up William Lane Craig's Reasonable Faith to satisfy my curiousity on the conclusion chapter titled "The Ultimate Apologetic".

It was surprising that the ultimate apologetic, according to Craig, isnt any academical matter but this:

"...The ultimate apologetics: Your life!"

Striked me deep down all the way to the toe nail. I thought that Craig would have thought of some apologetic methods that is ultimate in academic arena, but i was wrong. It wasnt any academia but life itself is the ultimate method to apologise. *sigh* Supreme Systematic Apologetics still?

I think, if God is willing, i would have another strange conversation later.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Today- 8 August 2005

(Untitled artpiece by Joyce Chia)

Yesterday, Pearlyn told me there is a warehouse sale of books at Expo. Went there but found nothing that i want, therefore bought nothing.

Was at Kinokuniya's philosophy corner yesterday. Saw Popper's Open Society, which Yennie read. Saw also Wittgenstein's Tractatus, saw Betrand Russell's series of works, saw Descartes's works as well. Every books were right there in their places, just like 3 months ago. What was missing is someone; one that bears more significance than all those philosophers.

Passerby's Touch

A time when books were red and white;
Were it not for a passerby;
Who haul for one while ignores content;
But gaze with awe and touch with her hand.

Her touches are light;
Yet motionly wide;
With a mark she left;
On the book's inward breast.

The mark turned sore with tears and bleed;
Rewinding the touch that's preciously deep.

Where is the hand?
Where is its mistress?
It is there, it is there,
Walking away to another fair.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

New Room

Dear all:

I'd moved to Tiong Bharu, not staying at Pasir Ris anymore.

Sorry, no room-warming me from being chop by the owner.

SKS and Golden Village Cineplexes are just 10 minutes walk from my place... caught the 9:45pm show-"Fantastic 4"-last night... so convenient!

Well, the show's not bad, but it condemns the belief in God even in the first few minutes of the show until the end of it- therefore it is not bad, just worst.


Can't Hollywood spare the young people from lies?
Or is it that there wouldn't be anymore thrill and excitement in life without lies?
So much lies getting lose in the streets.
Worst, it extents to every part of the society; lies in work; lies in relationship; everything seems to be stained by lies.

How true can a business be? Corporate transparency?- forget it
How long does a lover's confession stands?- "I love you"- is there anymore meaning left than mere pleasure?

I talked to one of the officer in ITE* centre yesterday. When i asked him what is the worst influence (stimulation) that prevents the young from having passion in technical academics; He said,"first, is the cinema; second, is the internet. Both are powerful distractions to the young."

How can LIES help us? No way in anyway.

We need truth, the society needs truth, corporations need truth, schools need truth, Boy-Girl Relationship needs truth... Without truth, no meaning, no objective, no ultimate purpose can be found on anything at anywhere in anytime. WIthout truth, there is no more substance in life. May may object by saying that lies give us thrill and excitement in life. But hello??!!..WAKE UP!..Even with thrill and excitement, life would not be life anymore without its substance. What thrill and excitement would that be except superficiality? And by the way, who says Life without lies is thrilless and non-excitement? What a deprived objection.

Dearest Truth, Way and Life:
"Be Thou my vision;
Be Thou our vision."

*ITE- Institute of Technical Education is a branch of technical schools which meant to develope the young who have more potential in contribution of technical support to the society. Those who are not keen in papers-academics can be further harvested in this centre as well.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


"So strong is the belief in life, in what is most fragile in life – real life, I mean – that in the end this belief is lost."
- Andre Breton, Manifesto of Surrealism

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I believed there is a reality beyond physics. I don't know why? All this while, it has been a somewhat gut feeling or instinct. Perhaps, due to my existing consciousness that keep prompting me to not give in to the idea that there is no reality beyond. Even there are naturalists (those who believed everything can be explain through natural process) proposing their ideas to suffocate metaphysics, but still the stubborness of my consciousness insist on its own origin. I really do not know why. It is so surreal. I felt it.

Though Sigmund Freud said that it is some Oedipus-made-up instinct from our unconscious mind, but i don't agree with him.
If that is so, why should i have this instinctive feeling in the first place, or how did the first person came to experience Oedipus even when there wasn't any reference for him to recognise which inclination should be encourage and which should not. Does instinct by itself able to teach us the "ought" and "ought not"?

What are feelings? Effects resulted from hormones and impulses in my vein (body)? Perhaps, some of them are, but what about the feeling of liking or even loving? My consciousness keeps being bombarded by feelings. All i know about feelings is that they are effects which serve as an end, which meant to be feel them as a result. Feelings, in their abstract nature, can't neither be good nor bad. We do say,"I feel bad..", but that 'bad' is just the feelings that we dislike, just as when we say,"i feel great!", there is nothing great about that feeling anymore than there is anything great with our favourite musics, except that it is sweet to our ears.

Further, why are we conscious of feelings and why can't we be unconscious of them?
Feelings like love and hatred are more than effects from our hormone maneuver. It should be more than that, it has to be! I am being unnaturalistic. I just cannot allow the reality of naturalism to be swallow in. It could be the stubborn reaction from my consciousness again; as stubborn as a physicist that rejects metaphysics.

Is an existentialist who romanticise feelings romantic? I dont know but i guess, setting up feelings as pillars in life would be devastating. Feelings are the main motivation for suicides, from my observation.

What do you guys and girls think? What do you think, Joyce? Is life a result of natural process or there is some unexplanable origin that we can hardly discover?

And what about our destiny? Is there anything at all after death? (Sigmund Freud said,"NO"; C.S Lewis said,"YES"). If there is, where are we in that realm? If there is an ultimate realm that provoke my curiousity and keep my consciousness unrest, then this reality must surpasses realism; it is Surreal.

Though i am defining surrealism differently from Andre Breton, but there is one significant similiarity that is in the nature of both of our understandings. Both of us believed in a foundational awareness within human fathomable reality. And this foundational awareness is an effect of our mind.

From here, Breton pursuded his idea of surrealim being a "Pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express, either verbally, or in writing, or by any other manner, the real functioning of thought. Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation."

As for me, i head towards a rather different philosophical nature of surrealism; "the belief in the superior reality of certain forms. It tends to ruin once and for all all other psychic mechanisms and to substitute itself for them in solving all the principal problems of life."

And my question is: How do i ask this question?

Rene Descartes gave a fairly good suggestion: I think, therefore I am.

It seems like there isn't any explanation for the existence of my own consciousness. Perhaps, the closest that i could gather from nature is that my consciousness is sustained by another consciousness which is prior to mine. If my temporal consciousness is sustained by another consciousness, then that other consciousness have to be beyond temporal. This transcendental consciousness is Surreal.

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
Paul of Tarsus, Letter to the Colossians

Monday, July 18, 2005

Life Just Can't Be Any Better


Attended the 3-days Project Timothy conference on "God's Sovereignty, Our Assurance" in the weekend. Long hours of lectures, long travelling each day, lots of coffee been consumed, bad sleep, and extremely tired but at the end of it, i felt heaven.

Life just can't be any better!
For once, after a long while, life is so satisfying. There is meaning in life after all. hahahaha...

The love of the Trinity is too overwhelming. Life is full. Though feel a lil dizzy and heaty right now.

2 speakers:
Peter O' Brien- Senior Research Fellow, Moore Theological College
Ray Galea- Rector of St. Alban's Church and MTS Trainer, Australia

The former is a foremost scholar in New Testament (whose guidance meant alot to me), while the latter is a excellent counsellor.

There were loads of questions being asked by participants, all of them are indeed sensitive, utmost important, and desperate questions concerning Christian faith. Well, i, too, took part in the questioning but the answers that i have got dont really seems like answers. Their are more like a reminder or something like an "awakening" suggestion for me to reaccess my approach to theology and philosophy.

Both my questions were handled by Peter O'Brien.

Q1: What is your comment on the new perspective on Paul that adhered by N.T Wright, E.P Sanders, and James Dunn in regards to Justification, Righteousness, and the issue of Faith v.s Works?

Q2: William Lane Craig of Biola University wrote in his article titled "Lest Anyone Should Fall: A Middle Knowledge Approach on Perseverance and Apostolic Warnings", that says "to maintain the warnings of Scripture are the means by which guarantees the perseverance of the elect is in fact to adopt a Molinist perspective. But Molinism does not imply the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. What is your comment on this?

Peter's answers (these answers are those that he gave me when i approached him after the conference, not the one he said on the stage):

A1: There is a book on this by Prentiss Waters G, "Justification & the New Perspectives on Paul". (Basically he doesnt really agree with this new perspective but he acknowledge the contribution of recent findings of the 2nd temple judaism).

A2: I don't know much about Molinism; I am not a philosopher, i am just a Bible believing Christian.

The first answer simply guided me to seek for the thorough answer while the second answer humbled me to rethink and introspect on my methodology in my studies.
A prominent scholar said,"I am just a Bible believing Christian", compared to him, i am Bible illiterate!

When he was leaving to catch his flight to KL, i approached him to thanked him for his insight. He encouraged me to continue to study into that knowledge(philosophy). At that moment, i was into hero-worship.

It was a wonderful experience attending that meeting. BEsides getting new insights, i was convicted over and over again of my own ignorance and sinfulness. Without Christ, who am i? Without Christ, where am i?

Sola Christus.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Boh Liao Updates

SOme updates

Work: Rearrange the store room.

Young Adult Fellowship: Discussed on John 2; Jesus's miracle of turning water into wine, but ended up discussing traditions between the Roman Catholic and the Protestants.

Latest books:
1) Ben Witherington, Jesus Quest.
2) Michael Wilkins & J.P Moreland, Jesus Under Fire.
3) Steven Cowan & Stanley Gundry, 5 Views on Apologetics.

Michael Wilkins & J.P Moreland, Jesus Under Fire.

Not really reading:
1) William Lane Craig & J.P Moreland, Philosophical Foundation of Christian Worldview
2) Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology vol. 1
3) John Piper, Desiring God
4) Betrand Russell, Why i am not a Christian

Planning to buy:
1) John Frame, Apologetics for the glory of God (not really keen)
2) Alvin Plantinga, Warranted Christian Belief (very keen)
3) Alvin Plantinga, The Ontological Argument, from St. Anselm to Contemporary Philosophers (very keen)
4) D.A Carson, Gospel according to John
5) Norman Geisler, I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist (keen)
6) G.E Moore, Principia Ethica (keen)

Not planning to read:
1) Benedict Spinoza, Ethics
2) Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto
3) Gregory Boyd, Letters from a Skeptics
4) Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Life 2 (if there is any)
5) John Piper other books
6) Charles Finney's books
7) A.W Tozer's books
8) Norman Geisler, Introduction to Philosophy
9) Norman Geisler, Christian Apologetics
10) Ravi Zacharias, The Problem of Evil (too deep, can't understand at all!)
11) Cornelius VanTil's books
*** subject to changes.

...get a life...


Thursday, June 30, 2005

People and Ignorance

Was at Kinokuniya philosophy section last Tuesday (28 June 2005). While browsing through some books with Joyce, someone sounded from our back,"That's not a good book". Wondering which philosopher would that be, i turned and saw a yellow skin post middle-aged (50-60) asian standing there looking at us.

So, we talked.

(if you are wondering...Yes... this entry is another weird conversation that i had)

Asano: Plato's written works of Socrates is good. Do you know that Socrates is the father of our civilised XXXXXXX(some words of Mr.Asano that i forgot). Beginners must read Plato's ethics. But i think German philosophy is the best.

Joyce: Yes

me (gave a frenly smile): Socrates yea, "An unexamined life is not worth living."

**At this point, Mr. Asano seems to have no idea what am i talking about. And i actually repeated 4 times of that "An unexamined life is not worth living" before i told him who said it.

Asano: We must look at life from a distance, a far distance, to really know about ourselves and life, just like philosophers. To understand (or study) philosophy, we must be at least above 50. Just like when we look from a hill, we have a better view of things.

me: But when we are on top of the hill, although our view is better, but we will lost clarity of the object that we want to focus on.

Asano: Look, i am talking metaphorically, you can't take it literally.

me: Well, i am talking metaphorically too.

**Mr. Asano looked at me for a while before we continued.

Asano: You cannot interpret literally that of metaphoric(as if he didnt hear me just now). Like i told my students, a good book is a book that we read for the 100th time and yet still dont understand. That's why i told them not to read but 'dig'; dig into the book to get the truth. But nowadays, literature and philosophy have been commercialized. They emphasize more on the cover of the book than its content. That's why the cover of my book is plain.

**He showed me his book; the cover has some typing on a sheet of white A5, nothing else. Titled "American Breakfast" by Hideo Asano.

me: Have you heard of Natsume Soseki?

Asano: I dont know about Japanese writters. I think they are all rubbish. 3 reasons, first, they dont have the Bible, second, they dont talk to strangers, third...(i forgot).

me: The Bible? Why is it?

Asano: Because the Bible is the foundation of all philosophies. No one can write anything without the Bible.

me: Are you a Christian?

Asano: No, but i like the Bible. There is truth in it, different from contemporary books. All books (while he was pointing at the literature and philosophy sections) are rubbish. There isnt any truth in it anymore. And to study this (he pointed to the philosophy section), we must be above 50.

me: In that case, am i too young to study (or read) philosophy?

** He was silent for a while before we continued.

me: What is truth? How can we find truth?

Asano: To find truth, we must close our eyes to feel (or think of) the truth. When our eyes are closed, then only we can find truth.

me: Well, have you heard of Lao Tzu, the ancient chinese philosopher? He said,"If when i sleep, i am a man dreaming that i am a butterfly. How do i know when i am awake, i am not a butterfly dreaming that i am a man?"

** The conversation was carried on for the next few minutes before i told him that i have to leave.


Truth can be found with our eyes closed? I wish so.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Falsify the Falsification

In Science: Conjectures and Refutations, Sir Karl Popper wrote:

These considerations led me in the winter of 1919-20 to conclusions, which I may now reformulate as follows.

(1) It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory-if we look for confirmations.

(2) Confirmations should count only if they are the result of risky predictions; that is to say, if, unenlightened by the theory in question, we should have expected an event which was incompatible with the theory-an event which would have refuted the theory.

(3) Every "good" scientific theory is a prohibition: it forbids certain things to happen. The more a theory forbids, the better it is.

(4) A theory, which is not refutable by any conceivable event, is nonscientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of theory (as people often think) but a vice.

(5) Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it, or to refute it. Testability is falsifiability; but there are degrees of testability; some theories are more testable, more exposed to refutation, than others; they take, as it were, greater risks.

(6) Confirming evidence should not count except when it is the result of a genuine test of the theory; and this means that it can be presented as a serious but unsuccessful attempt to falsify the theory. (I now speak in such cases of “corroborating evidence.")

(7) Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers-for example by introducing ad hoc some auxiliary assumption, or by re-interpreting theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation. Such a procedure is always possible, but it rescues the theory from refutation only at the price of destroying, or at least lowering, its scientific status. (I later described such a rescuing operation as a "conventionalist twist" or a "conventionalist stratagem.")

One can sum up all this by saying that the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability.

SzeZeng comments:

First, Sir Karl Popper recognized the value of metaphysical theory which cannot be refuted or falsify by mere empirical observation. In the same article, he wrote,” I thus felt that if a theory is found to be non-scientific, or "metaphysical" (as we might say), it is not thereby found to be unimportant, or insignificant, or "meaningless," or "nonsensical." it cannot claim to be backed by empirical evidence in the scientific sense-although it may easily be, in some genetic sense, the "result of observation."

According to him, even though metaphysics cannot be tested, it does not weight down its significance. From this point of view, there is no problem between his theory of falsification and theistic claim of the existent of God.

But what troubled me were the attempts by some anti-theists who argue that as long as a theory (be it metaphysics or physics) is not scientific, it cannot be in consideration at all.

To this charge, I may want to remind the incompetence of this principle in its nature cannot be a measurement use on metaphysics.

The principle of falsification can only be applied on theories of operational sciences; due to its limitation of not able to withstand itself of being refuted and falsified by its very own principle, if granted its application in metaphysics.

To its best, this principle can be consider as a meta-statement or meta-theory, which elevates itself beyond its very own nature in order to preserve its advantage of applying itself onto physical science, operational science or origin science.

Philosophically, to the materialists, this theory cannot be refuted or falsified, thus this theory cannot be consider as scientific as well. And if you realized, my previous sentence, which had falsify the principle of falsification, has granted the principle the status of being scientific, according to its own theory.
Yes, it is scientific, but scientifically refuted, if you like. (In another words, this principle is proven wrong by observation and examination, therefore it cannot be hold as true/ applicable, in its metaphysical nature).

Can you see its incompetency now?

This principle might work on drawing a line between science and pseudo-science, but only in physical reality. It must not touch metaphysics or pure philosophy.

This principle failed, if it ventured beyond the realm of physics. It is falsifiable and, in fact, falsified as demonstrated above, with its own principle. Which means, when it works, it kills itself.

This principle can only be more like a reminder to scientist in every field to constantly examine their findings and try to refute them in genuine and honest ways, so that those irrefutable theories might stand as real science.

Metaphysics is a science, as I see it. And its scientific status is definitely not confined by this falsification principle. It cannot categorize metaphysic as non-scientific and physics as scientific as claimed by some anti-theists.

Norman Geisler, BECA

Karl Popper, Science: Conjectures and Refutations (

p/s: I suppose you have a certain depth of understanding in the above entry if u are reading this. Please criticize. Thank you.

p/s 2: Now only i noticed that Sir Karl Popper categorized his Falsification theorem into 7 points/stages.... same like my Supreme Systematic Apologetics.... hahahaha *vain laughter*