Sunday, September 28, 2008

Morning Gathering Against Internal Security Act (ISA) @ Penang

Today is Sunday. Just about 4 hours after I slept, Steven called me up at 7.45am this morning to fetch me to the gathering. We went for breakfast at a nearby dim sum kopitiam.


The gathering was held near the wet market of Taman Sri Rambai. This 'taman' (Malay: park) is where I spent my childhood. The banner is to collect signatories from locals to signify our desire to have ISA repealled. Many aunties and uncles who were passing by dropped by to grace the banner with their names!




The 3 gentlemen in the middle of the picture volunteered to have their head shaved as a symbol of their commitment to abolish ISA.

The gathering started at 9am and ended at about 10.30am. After that, we went to quench our thirst at Auto City. While on the way we keep talking about stuffs. And suddenly in the middle of the conversation, I blurted, "Shit!..."

Steven and Joreen were held back. They waited for a while before breaking the silent, "Why? What's up?"

I explained, "We didn't attend Church service today!"

Night Vigil Against Internal Security Act (ISA) @ Penang


On Friday evening, there was a candlelight vigil at the front of Dewan Sri Pinang. There were about 200-300 participants came to express the same unsatisfactory concern over Malaysian’s government’s use of the Internal Security Act.


(The monument outside of Dewan Sri Pinang)


The police didn’t allow us to walk a circle around the monument outside of the building. Every one of us know that the policemen are just doing their job and they don’t have any reason to forbid citizens from walking around that platform. Nonetheless we gave in. We were there for a peaceful vigil so we didn’t want any riot or bad things to happen.

Steven Sim has posted his piece on this with many more pictures.

Why should we take care of our weight...

Saw this funny advertisement of a sliming product.
The writing on the right reads, “I lost my dog!!!



What did Steven do when he was on-leave last Friday?

We were in Steven's car, heading for our lunch. The driver, the red one on the right, is Steven. The left one is Yoon. Those pair of legs is mine. And it is Friday.



After lunch we thought that it is a good idea to get some coffee in that humid afternoon. So we found ourselves at the coffeeshop which is 2 mins walk from where we had our lunch.



He is actually on-leave today but he is on the stand-by all the time. That’s what it likes to be a civil servant. It's due to the new government since March. And this is when they work... 24-7.



Yoon was doing a bit of free advertising while enjoying his first caramel machiato.



After the coffee and cheesecake, we headed down to a village in Berapit to look the village’s chief. Steven was investigating the poor families. The rest of us followed.



The village’s chief is the one on the right. He is not married and works as a plumber. Already not wealthy himself, he still manages to fork out from his own pocket every month to share the little that he earned with a few other less-fortunate villagers.



We got lost in the village, so Steven chanted to the rosary, which was hanging on his car’s read mirror, asking for guidance. He just bought it the day before from St. Anne Cathedral.



He asked for direction.



He asked for confirmation of identity.



He found the poor widow who has a daughter who is mentally challenged.



He was updating the data of the family.





After that, we went to look for another family. In front of us is the hill to which this town is named after: Bukit Mertajam.While Steven and the village chief were busy locating poverties below the hill, I sensed that the hill is looking at them and felt relief as her people are finally being looked after.



Found the other family.

All of them were informed that their State Assembly Woman will be distributing dry foods to them tomorrow. They were asked to be ready to be fetched to the service center to get their food. This is what the DAP government is doing at the grass root level. And I was embarrassingly struggling to wake up to help out at the center that next day.

Why I haven't eat Ba Kut Teh in Singapore so far...



This is the Ba Kut Teh that I had with Steven, Yoon, and Joreen the other day at one of the regular stall in Bukit Mertajam






This is the Ba Kut Teh which can be found at any regular stall in Singapore


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Waclaw Hryniewicz on Catholic's 'Dechurchism' Attitude

About 10 days ago, Waclaw Hryniewicz, a prominent Catholic theologian who was the head of Ecumenical Institute of the Catholic University of Lublin, has been demanded by Archbishop Angelo Amato to retract and rewrite an article which he publicly criticizes the Roman Catholic's certain aspects of the Doctrine on the Church like:
FIFTH QUESTION:

Why do the texts of the Council and those of the Magisterium since the Council not use the title of “Church” with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?

RESPONSE:

According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called “Churches” in the proper sense.

In the article, Waclaw deems that the Vatican document had "disappointed many theologians engaged in ecumenical dialogue" and had been a "serious regression".

In response, some Catholics like Jimmy Akin thinks that Waclaw fell into the heresy of indifferentism. For me, whether is Waclaw right or wrong, I have no say, but I think that he is being outright and consistently ecumenical.



Ecumenical movement has to fundamentally affirm other non-Catholic Christian communities as "Churches". I don't see any reason not to affirm other denominations as "Churches" in ecumenical efforts, just as I don't see any reason not to affirm other races as "Humans" in the fight against racism.

"Churches" just as "Humans" have rights and wrongs. While there are still many things that we can right one another, nonetheless, we must affirm the differing churches as nothing lesser a church, just as another human is nothing lesser a human.

If taking another person as lesser human is an act of "dehumanism", then we can safely say that taking another Christian community as lesser church is an act of "dechurchism".


About Waclaw Hryniewicz

During his years as a professor at the University in Lublin, Fr. Hryniewicz published 822 books and articles (of which 164 are in languages other than Polish). Some of his best known books are: The Paschal Trilogy: Vol. 1 – Christ, Our Passover: An Outline of Christian Paschal Theology (1982); Vol. 2 – Our Passover in Christ, An Outline of Christian Paschal Theology (1987); Vol. 3 – The Passover of Christ in the History of Man and the Cosmos, An Outline of Christian Paschal Theology (1991). Others include books on Christianity and the Hope of Universal Salvation: Hope of Salvation for All: From an Eschatology of Fear to an Eschatology of Hope (1989); Drama of the Hope of Salvation (1996), and many others in the fields of early Russian studies, Catholic–Orthodox dialogue, and ecumenical studies.

Born on July 23, 1936 in Lomazy (Eastern Poland), he was ordained a priest in 1960. He achieved a doctorate degree in dogmatic theology at the Catholic University of Lublin (KUL) in 1966, with the dissertation: The Soteriological Significance of the Resurrection of Christ in the Teaching of Contemporary Catholic Theologians.

His curriculum vitae is impressive. He is one of the founders of the Ecumenical Institute at KUL, and since 1983, he has been the head of the Department of Orthodox Theology at this Institute. From 1980-2005, he was a member of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. Since 1988, he has been a member of the European Society for Ecumenical Research "Societas Oecumenica;" from 1997-2005, director of the Ecumenical Institute at KUL; a member of the advisory board of "Eastern Churches Journal" (Fairfax, Virginia, USA). He was, from 1998-2000, a member of the drafting committee preparing the text of the Charta Oecumenica: Guidelines for the Growing Cooperation among the Churches in Europe, officially signed by the Presidents of the Conference of European Churches and of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences in Strasbourg on April 22, 2001.

He has lectured abroad, in Switzerland, Germany, France, Austria, the United States and Belgium. He participated in and organized many international symposiums and ecumenical conferences. His main re­search has been dedicated to Christian paschal theology, the theology of hope, the universality of salvation, Old-Russian theology and ecumenical issues. Inspired by the tradition of Eastern Christianity, he has been developing an ecumenical theology open to other Christian denominations and other religions – a theology looking for ways of reconciliation for Churches, nations and cultures.

Wake Up Struggles

30 minutes ago, I have no reason not to wake up. Slept about 2/3am last night. Now it's 8.17am.

When my face was hit by the light of the morning sun, my consciousness has been scheming for excuses to bury myself in the bed. Yes, my stomach is not well, but it does feel fine at the moment.

The poor needs help. A friend needs help. My sinful nature has came out with all the nonsense excuses not to wake up. Excuses upon excuses have been flashing across my mind (Romans 8.7-8). I can just let Steven know that I need to sleep so that he doesn't need to fetch me to help out in his 'relief to the poor' activity later. But...

The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want... (Mark 14.7)

The phrase 'any time you want' is conscience pricking. Add to that, giving encouragement is good but pursuing an ideal side by side is stunning. So, if this is a cause that need to be done, may my stomach be kept well until then.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Variegated Christians: Difference & Desperation


In our current times, only ignorance denies the various and fragmented facets of Christian expressions and identities within the larger mysterious and majestic corporeal of Jesus Christ. This fact is most obvious when one looks at the latest local church directory.

Listed in the directory, we have Presbyterian, Methodist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Anglican, Bible-Presbyterian, Reformed, Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Evangelical Free Church, and etc. And we still have not include the hundreds of independent churches, the Eastern Orthodox church, and the Roman Catholic church. Besides, not to mention the existence of innumerable piecemeal and divergent groups within each of these traditions.

Let's take the Roman Catholic Church as an instance. It has been popularly presumed that the Roman Catholic Church is the one church that is still harmonious and united without much variances within its body. But that is far from the case.

Within the Roman Catholic Church, there are groups such as the Sedevacantists, the Conclavists, and the Palmarians that disagree with current Roman See. Some believe that the seat of St. Peter is still empty even though Pope Benedict XVI is already occupying it. These Roman Catholic groups have been, since the Vatican II (some even earlier), condemning the institution and it apostolic succession. Some have even declared their own popes. Some individuals from these groups were deemed heretical and excommunicated by Vatican. But many still identify themselves belonging to the Roman Catholic Church.

Hence, one visible united, harmonious, consistent, non-inner-conflicting global and universal church is still unrealized in this part of heaven. Therefore we cannot deny such diversities within the body of Christ. We can see this as a tragedy but we should not stop learning to accept this 'Difference' as a gift.

On the other hand, pluralizing the Christian faith is never an option. No matter how variegated the body is within, we cannot declare that each individual or group has no similarity or shared traditions and truth-claims, particularly the central truth of God's good news through Jesus Christ. Such liberty is not given to us.

In view of this tension, crisis, tragic or however one denounces it, we desperately need to recognize our grotesque ambition to shape Christ's body into our own body. Such realization hold us from declaring that we have seen and so delude ourselves with the thought that we own the fullness of this sacrament. Again, such liberty is not given to us.

In simpler terms, we are in a 'Desperation'. Knowing that each part of the body belongs to the same body, and each body cannot claim to own the entire body, then it is best to learn what's more to see from the other parts. Out of the deep difference, we need to desperate for a communion of learning from each other; appreciating each others not less than ourselves. This is a also a gift. This is ecumenism. This is the body of Christ. And this is us.

Faith, is most fully itself and most fully life-giving when it stops you ignoring things, when it opens your eyes and uncovers for you a world larger than you thought–and of course therefore a bit more alarming than you ever thought.
(Rowan Williams, 'What Difference Does it Make?' - The Gospel in Contemporary Culture)

Sherman Kuek's recent reflection of Prostestants' gleaning from the spiritual wealth of the Roman Catholics, and the fact that Cardinal Walter Kasper admonishing Catholics to read Martin Luther are evidents of each body parts acknowledging, accepting, and learning from one another. While Kuek was commending his own tradition's spiritual wealth, Cardinal Kasper was acknowledging Luther as "full of the power of faith... from whom even Catholics can learn". The Cardinal even proclaims that Luther's hymns are "full of spiritual power".

Although Kuek tried to emphasize the seemingly non-corporative and loneliness of some esoteric individual Protestants who cultivate some similar practices as the Catholics, the actual fact is that the Protestant part of the body of Christ is not as non-corporative, lonely, or esoteric as he observed.

My Presbyterian church's liturgy has the congregation to stand, sit, and recite accordingly. Genuflect is up to individuals' perspective. Probably Scottish tradition does not see this particular practice as more reverential than, say, standing.

Take the Russian Orthodox Church at Bukit Timah. They stand throughout their 2-hour mass as their expression of reverence and worship, while the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Singapore, have their congregation sit, kneel, and stand as their expressions. And we do have members in the Presbyterian church that I'm attending that genuflect. I'm one. Once in a while I even make the 'half-kneel' at the side of the pew before taking my seat. And I don't see or sense anyone treating us like some "fishes out of water" or attracted disdain attention. Again, it's probably a matter of our effort to open our eyes to uncover to us the larger world.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

William L. Craig, N.T. Wright, and John D. Crossan

(Bukit Mertajam hill, Malaysia. The photo is from HL Wang.)


I'm blogging from Bukit Mertajam, my hometown. Took a 10 hours ride all the way from the south through the Causeway, and to the north. Barely slept, of course.

I listened to 2 debates while on the journey: 1) 1995's William Lane Craig VS John Crossan, and 2) 2005's N.T Wright VS John Crossan. I've read both books which are transcription of the debates. And it was exciting to listen to their voices with all the affective tones.

Both debates belong to different level of engagement. The listener get the sense that Craig was all out to apologize, hence his presentation against Crossan is very polemical.

On the other hand, Wright was more like having a dialog Crossan rather than contentious. I don't mean that Wright wasn't forceful in delivering his points or aggressive in pinning Crossan's arguments down, he sounded rather less confrontational as compared to Craig.

I think that's what you'll get given the different orientation of both debates. 'Craig vs Crossan' was an outright anticipated fiery firing-line kind of style, while 'Wright vs Crossan' was a "point-counterpoint" forum, like an exhibition of 2 contradictory ideas.

Overall both Craig and Wright did responded to almost every objections raised by Crossan as much as the time afforded them. Crossan, on the other hand, was very consistent in both debates, which is about 10 years in between; he didn't respond to most of the raised objections. There are times he felt that the points raised by Craig and Wright are not a problem to him hence he felt there is no need to give any explanation. He often, twice to Wright, emphasize that it is his 'pre-critical' (pre-Enlightenment) reading of the gospels that led him to his conclusion.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Iain Torrance In Singapore

Trinity and Creation: Ethical Implications
11.30 am - 12.30 pm
30 September 2008 (Tuesday)
Venue: Trinity Theological College


The Ethics of Forgiveness and Inclusion in the Early Church
9 am - 10.30 am
1 October 2008 (Wednesday)
Venue: True Way Presbyterian Church ( Opposite Queenstown MRT station )


The Ethics of Fragmentation in the Postmodern West
11 am - 1 pm
1 October 2008 (Wednesday)
Venue: True Way Presbyterian Church ( Opposite Queenstown MRT station )


Calvin's Understanding of the Church and Sacraments
7 pm - 9 pm
1 October 2008 (Wednesday)
Venue: True Way Presbyterian Church ( Opposite Queenstown MRT station )


Ordination and Ministry in the Reformed Tradition Today
11 am - 1 pm
2 October 2008 (Thursday)
Venue: True Way Presbyterian Church ( Opposite Queenstown MRT station )


These talks are jointly organized by Trinity Theological College for her 60th Anniversary and The Presbyterian Church In Singapore. For more detail, please phone Ms Tieu Ing Ing at 6761 3608 or email : inging@ttc.edu.sg

Professor Iain R. Torrance is currently the President of Princeton Theological Seminary and Professor in Patristics.

He studied at the University of Edinburgh, where he earned an M.A. in mental philosophy, at St. Andrews University, where he earned a B.D. in New Testament languages and literature, and at Oxford University (Oriel College), where he earned a D.Phil in Syriac patristics.

He served as moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 2003, and was elected as Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s National Academy of Science in 2007.

He has been co-editor of the Scottish Journal of Theology since 1982, and his wide-ranging interest includes early Christian Thought, the ethics of war and bioethics.

He has been granted the degree of Doctor of Divinity honoris causa by the Universities of Aberdeen and St. Andrews, the degree of Doctor of Theology honoris causa by Debrecen Reformed Theological University, and the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa by King College, Bristol, Tennessee. In 2007 he was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s National Academy of Science and Letters.


Iain Torrance's major authored and edited publications includes Christology after Chalcedon, Human Genetics: A Christian Perspective, To Glorify God: Essays on Modern Reformed Liturgy, and the recent The Oxford Handbook of Systematic Theology.

Persecution to Ethical Dilemma to Anticlimax

Yesterday Bible Study with the youth was on the theme 'Persecution'. We focused especially on Acts 7, where Stephen being stoned to death.

After narrating why the early followers of Christ, who had experienced the reality of Christ's enigmatic reappearance after his death, did what they did with their lives, we highlighted on the recent case of 23 Koreans who were being kidnapped by the Taliban.

Someone in the group posed a question on whether can we advance the Gospel at the expense of others' lives? He gave a very tight hypothetical situation where a guy who is being forced to renounce his faith. If he doesn't, a town will be exploded. If he committed suicide, the town will still be blown up.

Later only did I found out that he was actually thinking that if Jesus was the person who is being forced to choose, he will definitely choose to have the town blown up rather than to renounce his faith. That's because he prioritize the greatest commandment than the second greatest. (Matt 22.37-40)

That's of course very very wrong.

First the inquirer is confused over the function of the commandments. He thought that the commandments are mere law to be blindly followed. Second, he is too enthusiastic to put actions to Jesus (as others often put word in Jesus' mouth). He reminds me of Albert Schweitzer's parable of the 'self-reflecting well'. Schweitzer pointed out that many people think that they can find Jesus by looking into the well. Yet when they look into it what they found is the reflection of the person himself. And that is their own "Jesuses".

And I told the person frankly that the Bible is not something as easy as he thinks it is. Hence our understanding of it is not as easy as we thought. If it is that easy, we dont have to have 'Bible Studies' session week after week!

And guess how did the person respond? Very anticlimatic and causes some disappointement. He said that, "Perhaps the Bible is easy and simple to understand and it is us that make it so difficult." A fu@#$*% big 'perhaps'!

If the person is right, Tony Siew, Kar Yong, Kim Huat, and all the contemporary biblical scholars/theologians, and amateurs like myself are wasting our time! All the past great biblical scholars/theologians must be turning in their grave! All the seminaries and theological colleges and publishers and ecumenical councils past and present are nothing but just rubbish! All the Apostles, the apostolic fathers, the church fathers, and Jesus himself were fooling themselves with the Scriptures.

If the person is right, I should tell Amos, our Youth Pastor, to stop having Bible Studies every month, since it is so easy to read.

Good gracious Lord, have mercy.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What is the Gospel?

I am not asking about the 4 canonical narratives of Jesus which are familiarly known as the ‘Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John’ respectively. The ‘Gospel’, which literally means ‘good news’, is a technical term that bears a very specific connotation to the Christian community. And it is this particular denotation that I am concern with.

Although the Gospel is a jargon, the community that is supposedly to safeguard its meaning has truncate and distort it according to the tragic fragmentation developed within the community itself over time. Hence nowadays this jargon found within itself sub-jargons that belong to different sub-groups. The once unique and very specific connotation of the Gospel has become vague and could almost mean anything to anyone.

This dreadful phenomenon can be seen through the proliferation of various different and simulated gospels emerged either through individuals or movements. Instances like the ‘Third Wave Movement’, or the ‘prosperity gospel’ held by local churches like the City Harvest Church, or the so-called ‘hyper-grace gospel’ held by the New Creation Church are widely accepted and influential among Christians. This has caused confusion to both non-Christians and Christians alike over the meaning of the Gospel.

Despite this communal tragic we can still rediscover the specific meaning of the Gospel. And that’s the purpose of this post.

Historically the Christianity’s Gospel traces back to the royal edict announced by Jesus of Nazareth, and his disciples. And this edict can be retrieved through the four canonical texts and other letters written by the early followers of Jesus.

Some scholars think that such recovery is impossible. They perceived that the uncontrolled and self-serving bias of the authors of the four canonical texts prevent them from presenting the message truthfully or objectively. They hold that these texts that were written with agendas are unable to portray any significant resemblance of the real Jesus or of what he really had said.

But it is demonstrable that these written texts are not as flimsy as these scholars presumed. Richard Bauckham has recently credibly argued that the written texts are based on eyewitnesses’ testimony and hence trustworthy. On the other hand, Richard Burridge’s study on the genre of the Gospels has concluded that the genre of these written texts is similar with that of the ancient biographies.

In terms of the transmission of the tradition of Jesus up to our present day, there have been numerous contributions made by acclaimed experts to this study. James Dunn, for one, has expounded very convincingly the continuity and the reliability of the memory of Jesus within the early Christian community. The works by Bruce Metzger and Daniel Wallace display the high proximity that our current texts share with the original ones.

These scholars have demonstrated that although the written texts might not contain the exact word-for-word sayings of Jesus, yet it is not true that the authors of the canonical texts were free to put words into Jesus’ mouth. Instead the devout community, which consisting eyewitnesses, exercise significant control over these early memories about Jesus from being tampered or distorted. Hence recovering the original meaning of the Gospel as proclaimed by Jesus is achievable.


So, what is the Gospel of Jesus?

In Jesus’ time the Israelites were suffering from traumatic socio-political oppression for centuries ever since the Babylonian exile. Being politically conquered and social and religiously suppressed, the Israelites anticipate for the mighty act of God that has been promised to liberate them from their oppressors.



They believed that when God acts, he will establish an ever lasting kingdom which will crush all other rulers and establishment, and hence putting Israel back to its rightful state. Some believed that God’s kingdom will come through his special agent known as the Messiah, or ‘the Christ’ in Greek. Hence there were many self-claimed Messiahs, prophets, zealots, and reformers appeared during that time. All these liberators tried to bring in God’s kingdom, the promised peace to Israel.

On one hand, there were liberators who sought violent ways, as exemplified in their tradition, to free Israel. They were convinced that God’s kingdom could only arrived through blood and swords. On the other hand, there were Israelites such as the Qumran community who thought that they must separate themselves from the messy society in order for them to be in God’s kingdom.

And in the midst of that chaotic and tensed condition, Jesus’ announcement of the enthronement of God took place. Jesus’ good news is the coming of God’s promised kingdom (Mark 1.15). The word “Gospel” in New Testament Greek (‘euanggelion’) carries the tone of the royal decree of a divine birth and enthronement. Romans used this particular language for the enthronement of their emperors. Hence we must recognize the same political overtone surrounding Jesus’ Gospel, as it was understood in those days. To say something to today’s effect, the Gospel sounds something like, “God has become the Prime Minister”.

Jesus did not see violence and seclusion as belonging to God’s kingdom. Instead he saw the effect of the kingdom of God in the empowerment of the socially and religiously marginalized on one hand, and the condemnation of the political, social and religious oppressors on the other. Therefore the Gospel turned out to be a direct socio-political confrontation with the corrupted and self-serving authorities. Its message subverts the Romans authority on one side and the other Israelite liberators on the other.

Hence ‘repentance’, to turn oneself away from corruption and self-serving agenda, is central in the proclamation of the Gospel. Jesus invites both the oppressors and the oppressed to realign themselves away from the prevalent oppressiveness, socio-political indifference, and communal-isolation, and learn to live according to the new order, according to the new policies of the new Prime Minister, so to speak.

Underlying this vision, Jesus deem himself as the central agent of God’s action in the world. He believes that God was working through him to establish the new order in this troubled world. Jesus believes the God who has appointed him the place in the midst of the social turmoil has also assigned him to reconstitute the nation not merely through introducing new policies but to personify these new way of living through his own life. A task which he and his contemporary knew very well that it can only be achieved by God alone.

Therefore all that had happened in and through Jesus was being seen as the act of God in the world. And eventually the early Christians came to understand this revelation, and hence attribute the same worship to Jesus as to God. They came to understand that this Messiah was someone through whom God has unveiled, exposed, and incarnated himself into our reality. And this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that was being passed down from Jesus to his apostles and then to subsequent generations of followers. (Romans 1.1-17, Galatians 2.1-10)


So… what?

So now we know that the character of the Gospel, as we have seen, is not some vague divine messages. Neither is it some ‘prosperity’, ‘health and wealth’, or ‘hyper-grace’ news that guarantees emotional, psychological, monetary, or materialistic fulfilment in the first place.

The Gospel is first and foremost the reckoning of the presidential sovereign of Jesus. In St. Peter and St. Paul’s word, the Gospel is, “Jesus is Lord” (Acts 10.36, Romans 10.9, 2 Corinthians 4.5). In today’s term, it is, “Jesus is Prime Minister/President”.

The new order of God, which is personified in Jesus, is directed to liberate the socially and religiously marginalized people in the society, and among each individual within it. It concerns social justice and the whole community at large.

We do not have evident that shows Jesus to concern over individual financial aspiration or constraints. Neither do we have contextually-interpreted texts recording his promises of good health and abundant wealth to his disciples. His healings are not merely for the well being of individuals but the signs of his authority as the delegate who launched God’s agenda into the world.

The disarming love that underlies God’s agenda uncovers the significance and power for society to advance hope, peace, and love. Yet this love never stops critiquing and challenging individuals by its object of a crucified and resurrected Messiah of how such advancement can and should be done.

Therefore any ancient or present-day Gospel that is emptied of the message as exemplified through Jesus’ life and ministry, that Gospel is not the jargon of the Christian community as understood historically and through the church tradition. (Galatians 1.6-9)


References and For Further Reading:

Barclay, William. 2002. New Testament Words. Westminster John Knox Press

Bauckham, Richard. 1998. God Crucified. Paternoster Press.

Bauckham, Richard. 2006. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Eerdmans.

Bockmuehl, Markus. 2001. The Cambridge Companion To Jesus. Cambridge University Press.

Bockmuehl, Markus, and Don Hagner. 2005. The Written Gospel. Cambridge University Press.

Burridge, Richard. 2004. What Are The Gospels? 2nd edn. Eerdmans.

Dunn, James. 2003. Jesus Remembered. Eerdmans.

Dunn, James. 2003. The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul. Cambridge University Press.

Green, Joel B., and Scot McKnight, and I. Howard Marshall. 1992. Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. IVP.

Higton, Mike. 2005. Difficult Gospel. Church Publishing.

Metzger, Bruce. 1987. The Canon of the New Testament. Oxford University Press.

Strobel, Lee. 1998. The Case for Christ. Zondervan.

Strobel, Lee. 2007. The Case for the Real Jesus. Zondervan.

Witherington III, Ben. 1997. The Jesus Quest, 2nd edn. Paternoster Press.

Wright, N.T. 1992. Who Was Jesus? SPCK.

Wright, N.T. 1992. The New Testament and the People of God. SPCK.

Wright, N.T. 1996. Jesus and the Victory of God. SPCK.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Romans In 2 Days

Last Saturday evening, Kenneth, Edward, Huai Tze, Vitali, Dave Chong, and myself gathered at Edward's place for a gathering. Rather than a mere dinner fellowship, somehow I get the feeling that it was a cultic gathering as religious issues were the only languages that our lips sang.

Among many other things, we chated about St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans. I didn't have much to say as I have always been hesitate to involve in the so-called "Romans Debate".

That conversation inspired me to find out more about it. So, I decided to learn the epistle but I didn't know where or how to start. I can't start by reading the epistle itself as I've done so many years ago to no real grasp of it except piecemeal understanding on homosexuality, heavily Lutheran-tinted version of "justification by faith alone", submission to governing authorities, and etc. Not very satisfying. Somehow I felt that there are so much more in the letter than these fragmented understanding.

So strangely (probably guided by the Holy Spirit) I got this idea, "Why not listen to N.T Wright's 2003 lectures titled 'Romans in a day'?" So I uploaded these 3 lectures into my phone and listened to them yesterday. And I managed to finished the last one at about 11pm during my journey back home. Didn't refer to the epistle itself at all, just spent the whole day contemplating the lectures.

Then this morning, during my journey to TTC for my Greek class, I re-listened the last lecture, which is on Romans 9-16. After seated in the class, I realized that Tony Siew was giving a test!

Anyway, my mind just can't get over Romans. So after the class, I flipped open my NRSV-Greek Interlinear NT and read it. It was my first time going through Romans at one seating. Completely poured myself into it. The sky opened. Cherubims sang. I was undone.

I fail to grasp most of Wright's lecture, but one thing that I managed to learn from him is the stubborness to insist on the continuity between Romans 1-8 with 9-16. And that alone has helped me tremendously to understand the letter.

Bearing in mind that St Paul was addressing the issue of the relation between the salvation of Israel and Gentiles is not only a fresh but also a deeper understanding of the epistle. And Romans 9-11 is not first and foremost the similar concern as that of typical Protestantism's understanding.

Finally I see and appreciate the problem described in chapter 1-4, the invocation of the OT narratives in 5-8, the election issue in 9-11, the purpose of all the exhortations in chapter 12-15, the 'law-grace-faith relation'. And surprisingly I discovered an inclusio at Romans 1 and 16 ("the obedience of faith").

Surprising not because Tony Siew or Richard Bauckham hadn't show me about it before but because it's my first time finding this in the text without expecting it. Last time it was like I've been alerted to this inclusio, and I just flipped to Romans 1 and then straight to Romans 16 just to see them. Just now, I was reading the whole epistle without expecting it and, in this sense, discovered it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Surficial Admiration

Journeying life as she tread;
An angel she resembles with glimpses in tone;
Myriad radiance she outshines the sun;
In glory her sensuality displayed;
Endless in time she has substitute of none.

Anthem of beauty my soul praises;
Never will one comprehend this mystery,
Which garners admiration while being adored in her entirety.

Who still are you, o Aphrodite?

O Aphrodite, once you were known
as beauty, as romance, as sweetness;
names of rudiment that one engraves to one’s bone.
Remembering even your breeze that stifles the darkness of solidity
and everlastingly warming spheres yet never worn.

O Aphrodite, since when did the moon forget to bloom?
Was that also when you lost your smile?
Just as the lost moon brought hope into the darkest room,
Your vanished smile dreads cheerful love to foul.

Nay the breeze still stifles;
Solidity creeps onto dominion,
As ever again loneliness persistently baffles,
As ever again I recognize your fading complexion.

Who still are you, o Aphrodite?
Beg you to reveal yourself that my soul ever delight,
Begging and begging by day-to-day and night-to-night
Only silence was heard and darkness in sight,
A limping question as ever this soul recites:
Who still are you, o Aphrodite?
Who still are you?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Review of Joseph Prince's Destined to Reign

Updates (29 Oct 2008): Go here for a deeper look into Joseph Prince's 'Destined to Reign'

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Warning: Those who worship Joseph Prince may not want to read this post as they have other better things to do.




Kenny (a.k.a Blogpastor) has posted TTC's OT Lecturer Gordon Wong's generous, thoughtful, and gracious review of Joseph Prince's book 'Destined to Reign: The Secret to Effortless Success, Wholeness, and Victorious Living'.

Gracious review? Yes, very gracious indeed.

I love to see caliber scholars giving public review of such fuzzy books. These efforts, at least, help to uncover the fact that God's Word is not up for confused authors/preachers to domesticate according to their whims.

Terms such as 'grace', 'ten commandments', 'St. Paul', 'Jesus', and 'destiny' being applied in the book. To draw a wider theologians' review, I've speculated what these theologians have to say concerning how each of these big words being used in Joseph's book.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, reading the expounded grace in the book, shakes his head and says, "Cheap 'grace'."

Robert Jenson and Stanley Hauerwas, reading the expounded nature of the ten commandment in the book, shake their heads and say, "Cheap 'god'."

John Piper, reading the title, shakes his head and says, "Cheap 'destiny'."

James Dunn, reading the portrayed St. Paul's view on issues about grace and law in the book, shakes his head and says, "Cheap 'St. Paul'."

James Charlesworth, reading the portrayed Jesus, shakes his head and says, "Cheap 'Jesus'."

St. Francis of Asisi, reading the subtitle of the book, shakes his head and says, "Cheap living."

OK, perhaps it's too harsh to place these renowned heavyweight scholars on Joseph's book. So, I've decided to seek the opinion of a non-theologically-trained lay person about the book:

Bill Gates: "Cheap book."


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Large Hadron Collider's (LHC) 1st Day

Adam Yurkewicz, reported from ATLAS control room, the smooth sailing for the initiation of LHC. It went better than the scientists expected.

Now we'll have to wait until 21 October 2008 for the first collision between the 2 proton beams to take place. That day will be a historical day for whole humanity if the results are positive.


LHC webcast

Live Updates on Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

David Harris and Adam Yurkewicz are providing live updates on Large Hadron Collider as it took off a few minutes ago at Symmetry Breaking website. Seems like so far so good.

Symmetry Breaking live updates

US/LHC Blogs live updates

Eschatology Spells LHC?

(The 21st century tree of knowledge of good and evil?)

After decades of planning and construction, which costs over SGD10 billions or RM24 billions, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is set to operate as scheduled today at about 3pm (Singapore/Malaysia time), that is about 3 hours from now.

The "worst case scenario" predicted by scientists, though extremely improbable, is the creation of a blackhole that would sucks the whole earth into it. Imagine a super powerful vacuum cleaner that once being switched on, everything in your house being suck into it in just a few seconds.

This research-experiment aims to find answers for these questions:

  • Is the popular Higgs mechanism for generating elementary particle masses in the Standard Model realised in nature? If so, how many Higgs bosons are there, and what are their masses?
  • Will the more precise measurements of the masses of the quarks continue to be mutually consistent within the Standard Model?
  • Do particles have supersymmetric ("SUSY") partners?
  • Why are there apparent violations of the symmetry between matter and antimatter?
  • Are there extra dimensions indicated by theoretical gravitons, as predicted by various models inspired by string theory, and can we "see" them?
  • What is the nature of dark matter and dark energy?
  • Why is gravity so many orders of magnitude weaker than the other three fundamental forces?
  • Is time travel (utilising either General theory of relativity or wormholes or black holes) possible?

Let's say if the worst scenario happened (typing with one hand; the other one is touching my wooden desk), then would this be a replay of Genesis 2.16-3.6:

And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Is this "desirable for gaining wisdom" a parallel with the passion of the scientists who are working on the LHC? Even if yes, I hope LHC is not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Addition, God didn't command us not to build LHC like he'd warned Adam and Eve against the fateful tree. Oh, unless you interpret God's forbidding the consumption from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil allegorically.

N.T. Wright's Riposte Against John Piper

Michael Bird wrote:

...I heard from a reliable source that [N.T. Wright] has a book coming out in January which is a response to John Piper's book The Future of Justification so watch out for that one.

What next?? N.T. Wright VS John Piper at Greer-Heard Counterpoint Forum?? Perhaps Trinity Theological College or Seminari Theoloji Malaysia can organize one.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

CSCA Annual Lectures 2008


Wednesday, 10 September 2008
The Cross and the Principalities and Powers: The Church's Prophetic Engagement with Society
Dr Vishal Mangalwadi, International Lecturer, Columnist and Writer
 

Thursday, 11 September 2008
The Cross, Nation Building and the Kingdom of God: Christian Social Involvement and the Redemptive Priorities of the Kingdom
Dr Carver Yu, President and Professor in Dogmatic Theology, China Graduate School of Theology; Hong Kong
 

Friday, 12 September 2008
The Cross and the Quest for Shalom in Asia: Reconciliation in a Context of Communal Unrest and Fragmentation
Dr Takamitsu Muraoka, Professor Emeritus, Leiden University, Netherlands


"The Alternative Is The Only Way"

Steven Sim envisions 3 innovative ways to create a wholesome and fuller identity for every Malaysians, for the future of Malaysia's politics. With current turmoil within the political scene, such suggestion and leadership are much needed and welcome:

...There is no place for the spurious call for communal unity such as that called by UMNO over and against the total well-being of our race as One Nation, Bangsa Malaysia. We must come to realize by now that even as our history and cultures are intertwined, the destiny of Malay Malaysians are inseparable from the destiny of Chinese Malaysians and the destiny of Indian Malaysians cannot be divorce from the destiny of Iban or Kadazan Malaysians...

...If we can find in our religious traditions strands of the golden rule, and we know we can as has been demonstrated by Professor Hans Kung’s Global Ethics, we should be able to find the spiritual strength to commit ourselves to racial reconciliation...

Read the rest there.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Drama Practice

I'm waiting for my drama practice to start...

I realized how difficult it is to dwell into a character which is not yourself. The character that I'm playing this time is a career-driven son who has forgotten his humble beginning. He is so career-focused that he situated all the "got head, got face" (famous and influential) people near his wedding table, while his poor relatives were being placed at the back of the banquet.

This scene is also the climax of the narrative. And the climactic scene within this climax is when my character being slapped by his loving father, who had never lay his hand on him before. And the director told us that on the actual play, she wants a real slap to take place!

To play this character as real as possible, I've to think, feel, and be like him. This is difficult especially when the character doesn't go well with my life-long struggle to be the opposite. But Thank God that the director thinks my acting is still acceptable despite the inner inconsistency that I feel.

And I was told to expect a bit dizziness after the blow! (So, those who are thrilled to see me being slapped may not want to miss this play)

The great challenge in this role is not only the personification of the ambitious, ungrateful, and prodigal son, but to memorize the Mandarin dialog. Thank God for the director's husband who is kind enough to translate all my dialog into Han Yi Pin Yin, to aide my memorization.

Cornelius Van Til Confuses over 'Mystery'

“…our knowledge is rational because God is ultimately rational. At the same time, God is incomprehensible to us because he is ultimately rational. It is not because God is irrational, and in the nature of the case, ultimately rational, that we cannot comprehend him.” (p.33)

“It is exceedingly dangerous to confuse the orthodox concept of the incomprehensibility of God with the ultimate mysteriousness of the universe as held by modern thought… modern thought believes in an ultimate irrationalism [a.k.a mystery], while Christianity believes in an ultimate rationality. It is difficult to think of two types of thought that are more radically opposed to one another. It is the most fundamental antithesis conceivable in the field of knowledge.” (p.35)

(Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology, 2nd Ed. Italics original.)

The idea of using ‘Mystery’ is not to say it is ‘irrational’ but to say that it is something so much more than our notion of rationality to the extend of risking itself to being the unknown.

The ultimate reality is being regarded as mysterious because we recognize our limited and finite rational ability comprehend it in the first place. In Van Til’s own language, this is the absolute rationality that finite creatures cannot comprehend yet have their rationality derived from it.

Van Til is forcing ‘irrationalism’ into the term ‘mystery’. If it is irrational, then ‘Mystery’ wouldn’t has been used. Hence the so-called ‘radical opposition’ between mystery and ultimate rationality is just a corollary of Van Til’s own confusion and eisegesis on the term ‘mystery’.

Caricatures of Theological Paraphrases of John 1.1

My weekend random rumbling:

Cornelius Van Til: In the beginning, was the Presupposition. And the Presupposition was with the System. And the Presupposition was the System.

Rowan Williams: In the beginning was the Love. And the Love was with the Disruption. And the Love was the Disruption.

Karl Barth: In the beginning was the Christ. And the Christ was with Jesus. And the Christ was Jesus.

N.T Wright: In the beginning was the Third Quest. And the Third Quest was with 2nd temple Judaism. And the Third quest was the 2nd temple Judaism.

Alister McGrath: In the beginning was Dawkins. And Dawkins was with the Delusion. And Dawkins was the Delusion.

Robert Jenson: In the beginning was the Sacrament. And the Sacrament was with Christ. And the Sacrament was the Christ.

Norman Geisler and Gordon Clark: In the beginning was Logic. And the Logic was with God. And the Logic was God.

Jurgen Moltmann: In the beginning was the End. And the End was with the Beginning. And the End was the Beginning.

Ted Peter: In the beginning was the Future. And the Future was with God. And the Future was God.

Martin Luther: In the beginning was the Justification. And the Justification was with Faith. And the Justification was Faith.

John Calvin: In the beginning was the Election. And the Election was with Grace. And the Election was Grace.

Richard Bauckham: In the beginning were the Eyewitnesses. And the Eyewitnesses were with the Testimony. And the Eyewitnesses were the Testimony.

John Frame: In the beginning was Cornelius Van Til. And Cornelius Van Til was with God. And Cornelius Van Til was God.

Stephen Tong and his followers, the Tongians: In the beginning were Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin. And Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin were with the Reformed Tradition. And Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin were the Reformed Tradition.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Small Corner

This is where songs and movies are played, blogs and articles are written; where entertainment and contemplation meets.

er... pardon the icon... unhealthy influenced by Dominic Foo, the Inquisitor.






Saturday, September 06, 2008

I'm Barthian??



Wesley Wong alerted me that Jonah Tang has recently post something that link to my other not-so-active blog.

When I went to Jonah's blog, I was surprised to find that I'm known as a '
Barthian'. You surprised too?!

It's amusing.
Thank you, Wesley and Jonah!
You guys make my day :)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Christian Post Is Not Bad After All

I sent my previous post to Edmond Chua at the Christian Post, and he graciously responded promptly. The Christian Post has taken down two of their previous unjustifiable editorials on Rowan Williams, and has changed the title of their recent article from 'Anglican Conservatives Split to Preserve Biblical Orthodoxy' to 'Anglican Conservatives Form New Fellowship' with some editions done on the article.

But to think about it, 'Anglican Conservatives...'??? Does that mean those who do not join the new fellowship are non-conservatives?

Christian Post... Disappointing

It's becoming obvious that Christian Post does not "partakes in delivering only the veracity of the words of Jesus Christ" which it affirms in its mission statement.

I've read 3 of its posts on Rowan Williams and the current condition of the Anglican Communion (post 1, 2, and 3). And I find that these reports are theologically deficient, reality distorting, and inadequately apprehended. Hence its reporting and pronouncement of the issue is immature and far away from delivering only the veracity of the words of Jesus Christ.

Its recent post entitled 'Anglican Conservatives Split to Preserve Biblical Orthodoxy' is an example of grotesque reporting. When I read those posts, I can't help but to see the resemblances between The Christian Post and Malaysia's government-owned The Star newspaper. Both betray the register of journalism. Even the title of the article is scheming.

The post starts with,

The Biblically-faithful section of the Anglican Communion has for all practical purposes departed from the spiritual community and formed their own, a deliberation Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) primates...(Italics mine)

This is an explicit denouncement that those who do not agree with GAFCON are Biblically-unfaithful. And this is utterly absurd!

Then the article went on,

Archbishop John Chew has been prodded by conservatives in Singapore to make clear his stand on the issue to avoid public misperception and take action regarding the Archbishop of Canterbury’s open betrayal of Scripture and Communion. (Italics mine)

'Open betrayal of Scripture and Communion'? I suspect Edmond Chua, the journalist who wrote that, might has missed reading Rowan Williams' 2007 Larkin-Stuart Lecture titled 'The Bible Today: Reading and Hearing'. Hence came such ludicrous allegation.

In the lecture, Williams maneuvers the difficulty of understanding passages such as Romans 1 and 2 with clear recognition of the matrix and subversive nature of the Biblical author's argument,

...there is a paradox in reading Romans 1 as a foundation for identifying in others a level of sin that is not found in the chosen community.

Now this gives little comfort to either party in the current culture wars in the Church. It is not helpful for a 'liberal' or revisionist case, since the whole point of Paul's rhetorical gambit is that everyone in his imagined readership agrees in thinking the same-sex relations of the culture around them to be as obviously immoral as idol-worship or disobedience to parents. It is not very helpful to the conservative either, though, because Paul insists on shifting the focus away from the objects of moral disapprobation in chapter 1 to the reading /hearing subject who has been up to this point happily identifying with Paul's castigation of someone else.

I'm not against politically motivated media. I'm just disappointed over the hypocrisy of media that sways beyond its mission but still masquerade itself as if it has not. And so far, on this issue, the Christian Post has not fail to promote itself to be exactly that.

Not sure whether if this has anything to do with that one abstruse word found in the first clause of their Statement of Faith.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Charting on Systematic Theology

Over at The Agora googlegroup, we are discoursing on systematic theology textbooks. And I think one of my replies is interesting and should be posted here (with minor edition). Why interesting? Because as I was writing the reply, it dawn to me that that's what I wanted to do but couldn't find time to put it down. It charts briefly my current course in the theological endeavor.

Personally there are two figures that help me to think theologically. And thinking theologically to me has to be constructive, as you already know (!).

That means such thinking should not merely drive us back to church history but to open up discourses where theologies are being construed afresh and relevantly explored.

These two figures are N.T Wright and Rowan Williams. Nowadays, I suspect that sooner Mike Higton, Oliver O'Donovan and John Webster will be the third, fourth, and fifth ones. (Don't know why Anglican theologians are so attractive).


Though Alister McGrath's Scientific Theology is exciting, nuanced, and very helpful in theological thinking but his works lack immediate relevance to society as compared to Wright and Williams.

I tried Robert Jenson, but he seems to be somewhere on the clouds. As for Norman Geisler, you can forget about him. I got 3 out of his 4 volumes of Systematic Theology texts, and thank God I didn't get the complete set. I would opt for Grudem and Erickson rather than Geisler. I've J. Calvin's Institutes and Cornelius Van Til's Intro to Systematic Theology but still couldn't find time for them. On the other hand, I appreciate John Frame's perspectivalism which he developed through his Theology of Lordship series.

But when it comes to Systematic Theology textbooks, I wouldn't recommend works by the two greats, simply because they might appear to be too 'constructive', hence controversial and easily misunderstood. And I don't think 'controversial' is healthy for those who are interested and just starting to pursue understanding.

And I benefit not only through books but through various people who thread on this same passion.

Growing Old

I'm not insensitive. I just wanna lament that, like all other creatures, I'm getting old day by day. Collagen probably has been reduced from my skin. And I'm getting skinnier. Previously already like a monkey. Now even monkeyer. !@#!@&$^&#%^*#@!

It just takes a blink that I start reading books like 'Half Time', taking care of my diet, seeing my friends in hospital, then attending more funerals. Everyone wants to grow. But growing by itself is kind of depressing.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Can Ex-BF/GF/Spouse be Good-Friend?

Yes, of course. Just don't let your current bf/gf/spouse knows. It will takes nothing short of Jesus' openess for your current bf/gf/spouse to embrace this sort of 'good friend' of yours.

The thing is that me and one of my ex have become good friends. There is seldom someone who you are so familiar with and feel affected towards than those who share our life at a certain point in our life, especially when such point is a strange and exciting point to both.

I feel this overwhelming affinity when I talked to her the other day. We talked for about an hour after not meeting for about half a decade. She still remember you as who you were, and you still remember her as who she was. Both of you have changed and there are significant resemblances that both of you are familiar with.

Some sort of 'good friend'. Or should there be a new term for such relationship?

My First GCF Council

On Monday I had my first sit-in experience in the council meeting of GCF Singapore. Met all the decision makers in GCF and realized that I'm the 'greenest'. Many of these leaders are running their own sectional group under GCF, servicing the local and overseas community through their profession.

One of such group is Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship (CMDF). This group actively provides medical consultation to migrant workers and sex workers at local red light district on top of sending medical missionaries overseas.

The other group, Marketplace Christian Network, operates to inculcate Christian principles/worldview to those who are working in the marketplace. This ministry also publishes their own literatures as one of the channel to achieve their goals.

Then there is this GCF Kairos group that aims to alleviate poverty from poor communities through business enterprises.

What about my group? I'm not affiliated with any of these ministries. I'm part of Issachar Forum. And guess what my group is doing actively at the moment? We discuss about movies (!).

True that I'm one of those who initiated this group and keeping it running. But am I being a bit out of place here, as compared to the other groups? Is GCF the place for me?

This is the question that I drive home with after my first council meeting.

Yesterday Steven called me for a chat. He reveals something to me which got me totally blown away. Anyway that's besides the point. I told him about my question. And he put a helpful perspective to my situation.

Some people are tasked to provide a continuing learning environment/experience for others. And what I'm doing all along, even before I joined GCF, is something like that.

I think that's comforting and affirming. Sometimes when I'm surrounded by people who are drive towards different calling, my sphere begins to be blurry.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Singapore's Christian Post on Rowan Williams

Christian Post Singapore edition latest editorial's response:

If Williams is tolerated by the rest of the bishops and members in the worldwide Anglican Communion in spite of his personal beliefs, the Communion where he is leader is where any body, from Archbishop of Canterbury to each and every Primate and each and every bishop and each and every leader and each and every layperson can openly declare himself a privately practicing homosexual, so long as he claims to hold the official Bible and Church view on the sin.

Williams’ position is the virus that has entered the bloodstream of the Anglican Communion and it is only a matter of time before disease and death hits.

There is no doubt that the Church is facing a global crisis and must respond with all urgency and quickness, on pain of destruction.

The editorial is mistaken to make an analogy of Rowan Williams' differentiation between his personal belief (they have to learn to do away with the "private" rhetoric since the whole world knows about Williams' opinion) and ecclesiastical proclamation. Williams is not a "practicing homosexual" as implicitly alleged by the editorial.

His personal opinion is always to remain open to the possibility that homosexual relationship "might... reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage". Not that homosexual relationship is another form of marriage which the editorial mistakenly assumed.

There are times when St. Paul recognizes that he should preach according to the tradition and times when he make known his personal belief in the liberty of separation in a marriage involving a believer and a non-believer (1 Cor 7.10-16). Does the editorial dare to accuse St. Paul as a "virus"? Their logic demands them to do so.