This photo of John Stott's 1978 visit to Trinity Theological College (TTC) is taken from the college's fiftieth anniversary book Lux Mundi: Our Heritage, Our Future (Singapore: Armour Publishing, 1999), 52. Since then, Stott had been visiting the college and developed high regard for its ministry. Here's what he wrote 21 years later, after the first visit:
"I have greatly enjoyed my visits to Trinity Theological College over the years, and have appreciated the warm welcome I have invariably received. I have watched with great thankfulness the college's gifted faculty's growing influence throughout Southeast Asia, and its developing links with the churches of mainland China. I specially admire Trinity's vision to develop a theology which is at one and the same time biblical (rooted in Christ and in Scripture), historical (respectful of tradition and of the development of doctrine), contextual (incarnated in Asian cultures), spiritual (producing godly alumni), practical (training pastors in expositor preaching), missiological (promoting the integrated witness of the church) and doxological (concerned above all else for the greater glory of God)." (Ibid, 134.)
I didn't know that the "pope" of the evangelicals had such a close relationship with the college. This is in stark contrast with some complaints from certain quarter that TTC is a theologically risky place. Well, that's probably because thinking and talking about God are themselves risky. To do theology is to risk because theologizing is to love God. And the thing about love is that it makes us vulnerable. As C. S. Lewis writes,
"To love at all is to be vulnerable. 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 safe 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. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell." (The Four Loves [USA, New York: Harcourt, 1960], 169.)
Next Saturday will be TTC's 64th Graduation Service, where students will be conferred their well-deserved diploma. May the new phase of their life and ministry bring them into a deeper loving communion with God. If God so will, let there be among them "John Stott" who will lead our churches to brace the future.
As for the college, I pray that it will continue to grow in its depth in theological research and width in missiological endeavor. Lux Mundi.