6 — 12 Aug 2007

Issue No. 29

Biblical GRADUATE school of theology

BGST This Week

IF any one wishes to know what he can do to help on the work of God in the world let him make a City, or a street, or a house of a City. Men complain of the indefiniteness of religion. There are thousands ready in their humble measure to offer some personal service for the good of men,but they do not know where to begin.

 

Let me tell you where to begin—where Christ told His disciples to begin, at the nearest City. I promise you that before one week’s work is over you will never again be haunted by the problem of the indefiniteness of Christianity. You will see so much to do, so many actual things to be set right, so many merely material conditions to alter, so much  striving with employers of labour, and City councils, and trade agitators, and Boards, and Vestries, and Committees; so much pure unrelieved uninspiring hard work, that you will begin to wonder whether in all this naked realism you are on holy ground at all.

 

Do not be afraid of missing Heaven in seeking a better earth. The distinction between secular and sacred is a confusion and not a contrast; and it is only because the secular is so intensely sacred that so many eyes are blind before it. The really secular thing in life is the spirit which despises under that name that is but part of the everywhere present work and will of God. Be sure that, down to the last and pettiest detail, all that concerns a better world is the direct concern of Christ.

 

I make this, then, in all seriousness as a definite practical proposal. You wish, you say, to be a religious man. Well, be one. There is your City; begin. But what are you to believe?

 

Believe in your City. What else? In Jesus Christ. What about Him? That He wants to make your City better; that that is what He would be doing if He lived there. What else? Believe in yourself—that you, even you, can do some of the work which He would like done, and that unless you do it, it will remain undone. How are you to begin? As Christ did. First He looked at the City; then He wept over it; then He died for it.

 

Where are you to begin? Begin where you are. Make that one corner, room, house, office as like Heaven as you can. Begin? Begin with the paper on the walls, make that beautiful; with the air, keep it fresh; with the very drains, make them sweet; with the furniture, see that it be honest.

 

Abolish whatsoever worketh abomination—in food, in drink, in luxury, in books, in art; whatsoever

maketh a lie—in conversation, in social intercourse, in correspondence, in domestic life. This done, you have arranged for a Heaven, but you have not got it.

 

Heaven lies within, in kindness, in humbleness, in unselfishness, in faith, in love, in service. To get these in, get Christ in. Teach all in the house about Christ—what He did, and what He said, and how He lived, and how He died, and how He dwells in them, and how He makes all one. Teach it not as a doctrine, but as a discovery, as your own discovery.

 

Live your own discovery. Then pass out into the City. Do all to it that you have done at home. Beautify it, ventilate it, drain it. Let nothing enter it that can defile the streets, the stage, the newspaper offices, the

booksellers’ counters; nothing that maketh a lie in its warehouses, its manufactures, its shops, its

art galleries, its advertisements. Educate it, amuse it, church it. Christianize capital; dignify labour.

Join Councils and Committees. Provide for the poor, the sick, and the widow. So will you serve the City.

 

If you ask me which of all these things is the most important, I reply that among them there is only one thing of superlative importance and that is yourself. By far the greatest thing a man can do for his City is to be a good man. Simply to live there as a good man, as a Christian man of action and practical citizen, is the first and highest contribution any one can make to its salvation. Let a City be a Sodom or a Gomorrah, and if there be but ten righteous men in it, it will be saved.

 

“His Servants Shall Serve”: An Extract

This is an extract from “ The City Without a Church” in The Greatest Thing and Other Addresses written by Henry Drummond (1851—1897).  Scottish by descent, Drummond is described as a “theological writer, revivalist, explorer, geologist” in CCEL (Christian Classics Ethereal Library) where his works may be found.

 

The language may be a little archaic but there is a  wondrous lilt to it. May this passage give us food for thought over our National Day holiday. To Singapore and our place in it! (Editor)

The Commissioning of Peter Lim and family at Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church on 29 July 2007.

 

Peter and Siew Hong are both visually handicapped and they are sent as missionaries jointly by Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church and Zion Bible Presbyterian Church. The Lim family left Wednesday 1st August for Bandung for they  will do a year of  language studies before serving with STTIAA, a Bible College dedicated to train Christian evangelists who are willing to serve God in the rural and remote areas of Indonesia. You may keep in touch with Peter through:

P O Box 196
Thomson Road Post Office
Singapore 915707
Tel: (+62) 815 7384 1318 (Indonesia)
        (+65) 6853 3105, (+65) 9656 3226        (Singapore)

Text Box: Chapel Summary: 1 August 2007

Dr Douglas Milne, our regular guest lecturer from Melbourne, Australia, spoke from 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. This passage is commonly known as speaking about spiritual gifts, as even the sub-heading in the NIV testifies. However, Dr Milne led us to read the passage in a fresh perspective by focusing our attention on the first three verses. Although the passage as a whole talks about “spiritual gifts” or better, “the things of the Spirit” Paul’s emphasis here is not merely pneumatological, but christological. In these three verses as they were the preface to what follows Paul puts down his fundamental point: the things of the Spirit presuppose an intimate relationship between Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

 

The world today is hopelessly ignorant about the spiritual realm (v.1). This is not an exception with Christians. Churches worldwide are increasingly being influenced by secular thoughts and practices, instead of being “light and salt” to the world we live in. The global world is being carried away by “mute idols” (v.2), the evil forces that kept the Corinthian Christians under the system of spiritual darkness before their conversion. We see some of these examples from the resurgence of pornography, abortion and gambling in our society. Evil powers are coming back to dominate our society. But Paul reminds us that as opposed to the evil powers we possess the Holy Spirit as the leading power in our lives.

 

However, a word of caution here: our attitude to Jesus is fundamental. We must not isolate the Holy Spirit from Jesus. Unusual manifestations of the Holy Spirit are not a proof of true spirituality. The key to discerning true spirituality is the confession “Jesus is Lord” (v.3). But it is not merely the confession in itself, but the confession that is lived out by the Holy Spirit in one’s daily life bearing the fruit of the Spirit. In other words, true spirituality is the exaltation of Jesus AS Lord!

 

(Dr Aquila Lee)

Text Box: Weekly Highlights

Changes to Course Commencement Dates:

· Communication Skills for Speakers, “Preachers” & Church Leaders (AT232) scheduled to start on Aug 8 is now postponed to a later date to be notified.

·  Biblical Hermeneutics & Interpretation (HE101) scheduled on Aug 10 will now start on Aug 17. Venue and time as usual.

 

Courses Starting Next Week:

· Counsellor's Skills: Developing Micro-skills in Counselling (CO213, 3 credits), starting Aug 15 (Wed), 7.15-10.15pm. Lecturer: Mr Yam Keng Mun

 

Required Courses for M.Div students:          

· The Christian Spirit (TS251, 3 credits, video class), starting Sep 12 (Wed, new date), 7.30-9.30pm. Lecturer: Prof. James Houston/Tutor: Mr John Chong Ser Choon

·  Introduction to Evangelism & World Mission (ME101, 3 credits, video class), starting Sep 14 (Fri), 7.15-9.15pm. Lecturer: Mr Martin Goldsmith/Tutor: Miss Irene Tay

 

Chapel

Dr Douglas Milne will be our chapel speaker again this Wednesday. Next week we will hear from Dr Aquila Lee.

31 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088454   Tel: 62276815   Fax: 62276816   Email: bgst@pacific.net.sg

 

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