An update from our alumnus Edwin Tay, currently studying for his Ph.D at Edinburgh University:
Greetings in the name of Christ! Itís amazing how time flies. Come June, itíll be two years and nine months since my family and I left for the UK. It seems like only yesterday that I was buried in a pile of books in BGST library at Zion Bishan, hoping to complete my MCS thesis in good time for the flight to London. We left as a family of three. Our clan has now increased to four. So much has happened that makes it difficult to put our experiences into just a paragraph or two, but Iíll try.
The most significant lesson that weíve learnt in our spiritual journey since we left is the lesson of faith. Weíve come to appreciate more deeply what faith entails. Exercising faith is not having faith in faith or faith in self. Neither is it believing in God in such a general way as to be hard pressed for words when asked about the object or content of our faith. Weíve come to appreciate more deeply, that faith is grasping, laying hold of, and resting in the person of Christ and in his promises. This lesson has been brought home through our experiences. Alongside periods of stability and joy, especially in the birth of our second daughter, Chloe, weíve also experienced times of testing with respect to the uncertainties of travel arrangements and finance, prolonged duration of illness, life-threatening situations, and more recently, grief in the death of a close relative. In all these situations, we have witnessed the amazing ways God has provided for us financially, kept us physically, and from hindsight, how He has faithfully led us in His providence. His word has been our source of strength in times of weaknesses; His presence, our calm. That we do not live by sight but by faith, being fully convinced that the promises of God in Christ to his people are trustworthy because the triune God is trustworthy, has been the most stabilizing and comforting truth for us. More than once, Godís deepening of our faith has enabled us to place lifeís vicissitudes in their proper eternal perspective. Thus far, our experience abroad has been both humbling and liberating.
What exactly am I studying? Seven years ago, some colleagues of mine who knew of my interest in the Puritans bought me sixteen volumes of the works of John Owen as my wedding gift. They had absolutely no idea then, nor did I, that six years later, I would be embarking on a period of intensive research in Owenís theology. I have no doubt that God had a hand in the choice of their gift! Since Owen is hardly known in the UK, let alone in Singapore, Iíll say a word or two about his life and work.
John Owen (1616-1683) was the weightiest and most prominent theologian in seventeenth-century England. In the estimate of James Packer, he is "one of the greatest of the English theologians." Owen was appointed as Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, in 1651, and as Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University in 1652, both of which posts he held and discharged with distinction for nearly a decade. He was also a pastor of several congregations, an advisor and chaplain of Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell, and the foremost leader of the Independents after the ascendancy of Charles II in 1660. His extant writings, in English and Latin, amount to seventeen volumes of polemical, devotional, catechetical, theological, and sermonic material, with an additional seven volumes of commentary on the epistle to the Hebrews.
My research is on Owenís doctrine of atonement. Iím hoping to demonstrate his distinctive contribution to this doctrine in the context of seventeenth-century Protestant orthodoxy in general and its Reformed trajectory in particular. Owenís epochal work on the atonement, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ (1647), provides the necessary framework to much of what Iíve written thus far and will be writing over the next two years. Iím delighted that BGST library owns twenty-three volumes out of his entire corpus of twenty-four. If youíre intimidated by the sheer size of his works, BGST also owns abridged versions of his writings on the Holy Spirit, sin and temptation, communion with God, the book of Hebrews, and on being spiritually minded. It is my wish and prayer that my research will count towards the discovery of Puritan literature and of its immense spiritual value by evangelicals in our part of the world.
A warm welcome to Mr & Mrs Daniel & MeLissa Tay who shared with us their work at A Rocha. A Rocha is an international conservation organisation working to show Godís love for all creation. Visit their website at www.arocha.org
Chapel speaker on May 31 will be Dr Philip Satterthwaite.
Dr Aquila Lee was discharged from SGH on May 18. He will be on medical leave till May 25.
Anonymous Gift. We thank God for a gift of $2000 received last week.
TENT. The first module "Biblical Basis for Tentmaking Mission" will commence in June. It will be conducted over four sessions at 31 Tanjong Pagar Rd. Dates: June 6, 13, 20 & 27; time: 7.30-10.00pm.
Erratum. In last week BTW Library News, the on-line purchase site for the academic discount of the new Logos 3 Libraries should be https://www.logos.com/Academic/bgst/spring2006. We are sorry for the error.
This course covers four sessions on 14 to 17 June,
at 31 Tanjong Pagar Rd, 4th floor.
BGST Lunchtime Talks
Venue: 31 Tanjong Pagar Road.
Day/Time: Friday, 2nd June, 12.45-1.30pm.
All are welcome to attend.
( Brief Introduction )
Ms Celeste Yee 29/5
Mrs Joyce Moh 29/5
Mr Yoong Yuen Soo 29/5
Mr Kan Siew Ning 29/5
Mr Richard Chia 31/5
Ms Soh Ling Ling 1/6
A/P Benny Tabalujan 2/6
Ms Judy Ong 2/6
Mr Leo Mun Wai 2/6
Mr Joshua Maruta 3/6