Oliver Barclay’s “Developing a Christian Mind - New Revised Version” 
(Edited by Geoffrey Stonier; Scotland: 
Christian Focus, 2006)

Oliver Barclay’s “Developing a Christian Mind” is a real gem. If you have not read this title before, you MUST! If you have already read it when it was first published in 1984, I am sure you will welcome this present version edited by Geoffrey Stonier. Stonier has revised the first edition of this title into simplified English but has been careful to retain the sense of Barclay’s original wording and ‘deculturalised’ the content to make it relevant to the readers in India, Sri Lanka, Asia, and Africa! Furthermore, he includes some brief explanation of the technical words used and has some discussion questions at the end. So whether you are reading this book for personal edification or using it in your church group, the new revised edition of Barlcay’s “Developing a Christian Mind” is for you.

That the New Testament included the word “mind” as a crucial part of our love for God shows the important role of the mind in our Christian devotion and service (Compare Deut 6:4 with Mk 12:30). Yet many Christians (Western and Asian alike) tend to put feeling before thinking. The lack of Christian thinking on issues beyond the fundamentals of the gospel has rendered our Christian experience “inadequate and deeply at fault” (p. 17). It impairs our Christian influence in the world in which the Christian views of marriage, family life, money, truth, and honesty are challenged and even marginalised (p. 23). This state of affairs calls for a change of mind. Barclay warns, “If we do not worship and serve God with a renewed mind, we will fail in worship as well as in daily life, and in other aspects of service” (p. 17). Hence, the need for a Christian mind or a renewed mind cannot be overemphasised.

But what is a Christian mind? Barclay defines a Christian mind as “a whole Christian outlook that controls our life and our thinking.” It is practical, devotional, as well as intellectual and seeks to honour God through right thinking and living without being moulded by the world’s preoccupation (pp. 22-24). At this juncture, Barclay explores in four chapters how the Bible provides us with the framework for a Christian outlook, and how within that framework we are responsible to live out our Christian faith with creative freedom. Essentially, God’s revealed truth is the bedrock for a Christian mind: “What makes a Christian mind distinctly Christian is its dependence on God’s revelation” (p. 37). Barclay’s treatment of this topic is enlightening! But he does not stop here. He believes that an accurate understanding of the role of man is important to our practical living (p. 100). Thus, he devotes one chapter to examine the doctrine of man and discuss its wide practical implications in areas such as Christian and secular views of man, the role of the state, marriage, education, family, life in society, and animals and the environment. In the last two chapters of the book, Barclay shows how the renewed mind can enable us to capture more ground for Christ in our lives and in society by providing us an insightful discussion on issues such as work, job, and unemployment and also on the issue of culture. On this last topic Barclay outlines a constructive Christian view of culture that will help us towards a practical policy (pp. 101-147).

A.W.Tozer once said, “The best book is not one that informs merely, but one that stirs the reader up to inform himself” (“Some Thoughts on Books and Reading”). To this may I add, “… to inform himself through the Bible.” If Tozer is right, then Barclay’s “Developing a Christian mind” is definitely an excellent book to read and re-read because it makes you go back to the Bible to inform yourself! As you embrace the challenge to “gird up the loins of your mind,” let Barclay investigate with you how you should think in depth about your faith through God’s revealed truth. I heartily recommend this book.

We are grateful to Andrew Lee, an alumnus and tutor of BGST, for this review. We wish Andrew and his family well as he prepares to begin postgraduate studies in England later this year.

CHAPEL NOTES

We were happy to have Pak Wah and Rina back with us at chapel on M 24. Pak Wah shared with us his studies  Regent College. 

Chapel speaker on 7 June will be Dr Augustine Pagolu.

NEW COURSES FOR TERM 3, 2006

  • A Framework for Biblical Counselling (CO211, 3 credits), starting Jun 28. Lecturer: Mr Yam Keng Mun.

  • Principles & Practices in Speech & Worship (AT233, 1.5 credits), starting Jun 28. Lecturer: Rev Ng Seng Chuan.

  •  Biblical Hermeneutics & Interpretation (HE101, 3 credits), starting Jun 30. Lecturer: Dr Augustine Pagolu.

  •  New Testament Greek II (BG112, 3 credits, video class), starting Jul 1. Lecturer: Dr Quek Swee Hwa.

  • Greek Exegesis II (BG212, 3 credits, video class), starting Jul 1. Lecturer: Dr Quek Swee Hwa.

  • The Christian Faith (TS101, 3 credits, video class), starting Jul 1. Lecturer: Dr Quek Swee Hwa.

  • Biblical Hebrew II (BH112, 3 credits), starting Jul 4. Lecturer: Dr Augustine Pagolu.

  • The Educational Ministry of the Church (CE101, 3 credits), starting Jul 11 at NUS Extension, #12-01 Parkmall. Lecturer: Dr Ng Peh Cheng.

  • Greek Exegesis I (BG211A, 3 credits), starting Aug 3 (new date). Lecturer: Dr Aquila Lee.

  • New Testament Foundations II (NT102, 3 credits, video class), Orientation on Aug 14, 8pm. Lecturer: Dr Oh Boon Leong. Facilitator: Mr David Leong.

  • Introduction to Church History (CH101, 3 credits, video class). Lecturer: Dr Quek Swee Hwa. Dates to be announced later. This is a required course for MDiv students.

  • Spirituality Retreat Experience (CE264, 3 credits). Lecturer: Mr John Chong Ser Choon. This course will be conducted in November (Fri, Sat & Sun). Dates to be arranged.

Intensive Course by Prof. Victor Shepherd

 ·         Introduction to the Theology of John Wesley (1.5 credits). Dates: 14 to 17 June, 9am -12noon. Venue to be confirmed.

Visit our website for the course description.

NEWS BITS

  1. BGST Lunchtime Talks. Rev Ng Seng Chuan will be speaking on “The Christian In A Multi-Religious Society” this Friday, 2 June, 12.45-1.30pm, at 31 Tanjong Pagar Rd. All are welcome to attend.

  2. Life & Teaching of Jesus (NT211) by Dr Aquila Lee. NT211 which has been scheduled for June 26 will now be replaced by The Sermon on the Mount (NT215, 1.5 credits). NT215 will be held on September 11 (Monday) and covers four double-lecture sessions.

  3. BG112A (NT Greek II) by Dr Aquila Lee. BG112A students, please be reminded of the following dates regarding the final quiz and exams:
    5 June - Last Quiz on lesson 31;
    final revision in class
    12 June - Mock exam
    26 June - Final exam

  4. A revised and expanded version of the talk given by Dr. Satterthwaite at the recent Seminar on The Gospel of Judas (May 13th) will shortly be available via the BGST website.

A Blessed Birthday to ... 

Mdm Tong Mee On  6/6

Rev Francis Khoo  7/6

Mr Peter Yee  7/6

Mr Albert Lim  7/6

Mr Lawrence Por  7/6

Ms Judith Lim  7/6

Mr Lionel Chan  8/6

Ms Tan Li Chuang  9/6

Mr Wong Kam Weng  10/6

Mdm Joceyln Wong  10/6

Ms Cindy Khaw  11/6

Mr Lim Thou Tin  11/6

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