From its description, this book appears to be interesting enough to catch my attention. I look forward to engaging Prof Koester in his latest book.
Saturday, 30 June 2007
From its description, this book appears to be interesting enough to catch my attention. I look forward to engaging Prof Koester in his latest book.
Thursday, 28 June 2007
In Malaysia (comprising Peninsular Malaysia, or West Malaysia and East Malaysia which is part of the Borneo Island - see map above), there are more than 100 different ethnic groups speaking different languages and celebrating diverse cultural practices.
One of our Iban students also presented a special item at the end of the chapel service - the ngajat dance. This is a unique dance as it serves many purposes depending on the occasion. During Gawai (the Harvest Festival), it is used to entertain the people who in the olden days enjoy graceful ngajats as a form of entertainment.
We are thankful the the colourful diversity within our community.
Wednesday, 27 June 2007
I have always enjoyed SBL meetings in the past, having participated in the Singapore (click here for the abstract of my paper) and Edinburgh Meetings (click here for the abstract of the paper) where I presented aspects of my thesis and received constructive criticism and encouraging feedback.
This year, I am scheduled to read my paper on July 24 in the Paul and Pauline Literature session. The title of my paper is “I Will Boast of the Things That Show My Weakness:" The Function of Paul’s citation of Jeremiah 9:22-23 in 2 Corinthians 10:17 in light of his apostolic sufferings in 2 Corinthians 10-13. If I were to make it, it would have been a real privilege to have my doktorvater presiding over the session.
Perhaps next year I might be able to make it to the Annual Meeting 2008 in Boston (would be nice to visit my alma mater as well, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and to taste once more the delicious and creamy New England clam chowder). Perhaps the International Meeting 2008 as well...
- Is there a close correlation between quality theological education and character building?
- The better the quality of theological education, will this translate to better spiritual formation and character building?
Alex subsequently picked up these questions and did some reflections on the correlation between quality theological education and character building. Read the rest of his post, "Does quality theological education produces character?"
I think Alex is right on target in his reasoning. I do agree that theological education is not merely about impartation of knowledge for the sake of knowledge or simply an exercise in intellectual stimulation. The GPA is not everything - as jokingly suggested by someone in the seminary chapel recently that those who get straight As might not make good pastors while those C students turn out to be the best pastors (so, am I a good pastor? hmmmm..).
I guess what is crucial is holistic training - and this raises another question: what constitutes holistic training within a community of believers?
Ultimately, how can we hold the two - excellence in scholarship and christian formation - in balanced tension? Or can we?
Tuesday, 26 June 2007
David Tuesday Adamo, ed.Biblical Interpretation in African Perspective
Reviewed by Jan van der Watt
Eve-Marie Becker and Peter Pilhofer, eds.
Biographie und Persönlichkeit des Paulus
Reviewed by Günter Röhser
April D. DeConick
Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas: A History of the Gospel and Its Growth
Reviewed by Eric Noffke
David L. Dungan
Constantine's Bible: Politics and the Making of the New Testament
Reviewed by Jean-François Racine
Reviewed by Garwood P. Anderson
Simcha Jacobovici and Charles Pellegrino
The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence That Could Change History
Reviewed by Jonathan Reed
Leon R. Kass
The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis
Reviewed by E. Theodore Mullen Jr.
The Divine Symphony: The Bible's Many Voices
Reviewed by Richard S. Briggs
Argumentiert Paulus logisch? Eine Analyse vor dem Hintergrund antiker Logik
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas
How Much Does God Foreknow? A Comprehensive Biblical Study
Reviewed by Craig L. Blomberg
Jeffrey Rubenstein, ed.
Creation and Composition: The Contribution of the Bavli Redactors (Stammaim) to the Aggada
Reviewed by Steven Sacks
Der 1. Brief an die Korinther: 1 Kor 1,1-6,11
Reviewed by Mark W. Elliott
Paul the Reluctant Witness: Power and Weakness in Luke's Portrayal
Reviewed by Ruben Dupertuis
".eine kleine Biblia": Exegesen von dreizehn ausgewählten Psalmen
Reviewed by Gert T. M. Prinsloo
James D. Tabor
The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity
Reviewed by Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte
Peter T. Vogt
Deuteronomic Theology and the Significance of Torah: A Reappraisal
Reviewed by William Morrow
Geza G. Xeravits and József Zsengellér, eds.
The Book of Tobit: Text, Tradition, Theology: Papers of the First International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, Papa, Hungary, 20-21 May, 2004
Reviewed by Micah Kiel
Sunday, 24 June 2007
Those of you who are interested in the studies of the Revelation of St John, make sure you check out Dr Siew's blog, Revelation is Real.
Yesterday, The Star highlighted that another newly built government building, the Pekan Hospital, has been found with defects that resulted in leakages (see Pekan Hospital a ‘sick project’). This angered the Health Minister, who labelled this hospital as a "sick project."
This is not the first time that such embarrassing news concerning serious defects found in newly completed government buildings hit the headlines. In the past few months, we have seen successive reports on defects, faults, and leakages in newly completed multi-million Ringgit buildings including the Jalan Duta Court Complex, the Headquarters of the Immigration Department Building in Putrajaya (see photograph to the right, courtesy of The Star), and the multi-purpose hall of the Entrepreneurial Development and Cooperative Ministry in Putrajaya (see photography below, courtesy of The Star). Not to forget are the reports on the leakages in the Parliament House and the runway blackout at the Kuala Terengganu airport that caused flights delay.
As someone who was involved in the property development industry for many years before making a "career change" to theology (well, I am still a property valuer...at least in name! BTW, those who would like my professional advice, I'm happy to provide consultancy services, but please be reminded that it will be 10-year dated!), I am naturally concerned not only for the safety of these buildings but also the people that work and visit those buildings. As a responsible citizen, I am also concerned that more tax-payer's money might be used to rectify those defects in the event that the guilty party, should there be any, is not brought to justice.
It does not take a professional in the building and construction industry to inform us that defects just simply do not happen, and there could be many contributing reasons - unscrupulous cost cutting measures, poor supervision and inadequate quality control, unskilled labour, unethical practices, shoddy workmanship, poor design, not building according to specifications, and not adhering to building standards, amongst many others.
Similarly, as a theological educator, I am also concerned whether we have been producing "sick" graduates for the Christian ministry in Malaysia and beyond. And there could be many contributing reasons for this. Perhaps we have taken the easy route by providing short cuts in theological education. Perhaps we are guilty of poor pastoral supervision. Perhaps it is due to a poorly designed or outdated curriculum that does not meet the present ministerial expectations. Perhaps it is a result of lowering the standards of theological education. Perhaps we have demonstrated sloppy scholarship to our students. Perhaps we could have fallen into the temptation of conferring titles and paper qualifications to the extent that we are prepared to compromise the academic requirement and integrity of a degree programme.
Perhaps this is a good time for us to evaluate ourselves critically and honestly. The article by John Piper, "Brothers, Pray for the Seminaries," is one that I constantly refer to and reflect upon. This article has been my constant source of challenge, guide, and prayer as I struggle to live out my vocation as a seminary lecturer.
Let us be reminded that as theological institutions, we must uphold our integrity as provider of quality theological education in training pastors, workers, thinkers, and scholars not only for this generation but also for the future. If we do not rectify our weaknesses now, it will be too costly in the future - and it might be too late by then.
Saturday, 23 June 2007
Thursday, 21 June 2007
What are they praying for? They pray that it would rain...and more specifically, they pray that it would rain at 5pm...
Somehow, it seems to rain or drizzle at the right time; if not, there would be sounds of thunder; just enough for the announcement to be made that gardening is cancelled. Then the rain or the thunder stops... This has happened several times already this year.
Then you can hear shouts of joy coming from the halls of residence, echoing in unison..."God is so good, God is so good..."
Wednesday, 20 June 2007
Hopefully, we don't confuse them...!!
John Paul Heil is Professor of New Testament at Catholic University of America. His books include The Meal Scenes in Luke-Acts: An Audience-Oriented Approach and The Rhetorical Role of Scripture in 1 Corinthians (Society of Biblical Literature); The Gospel of Mark as Model for Action: A Reader-Response Commentary (Paulist); and The Death and Resurrection of Jesus: A Narrative-Critical Reading of Matthew 26–28 (Fortress).
Tuesday, 19 June 2007
If you have not been up-to-date on the latest in NT scholarship, this issue is not to be missed. For example, in the area of my interest (the Corinthian correspondence), the following books are reviewed:
- Michael F. Hull, Baptism on Account of the Dead (1 Cor. 15:29): An Act of Faith in the Resurrection, AcB 22 (Atlanta: SBL, 2005)
- Peter Arzt-Grabner, Ruth Elisabeth Kritzer, Amphilochios Papathomas &amp; Franz Winter, 1. Korinther, PKNT 2 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006)
- Michael Barram, Mission and Moral Reflection in Paul, SBL 75 (New York: Peter Lang, 2006)
- John Inziku, Overcoming Divisive Behaviour: An Attempt to Interpret 1 Cor. 11, 17-34 from Another Perspective, EHS 23.816 (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2005)
- Michelle V. Lee, Paul, the Stoics, and the Body of Christ, SNTSMS 137 (Cambridge: CUP, 2006)
- John Paul Heil, The Rhetorical Role of Scripture in 1 Corinthians, SBL 15 (Atlanta: SBL, 2005)
- Andrew D. Clarke, Secular and Christian Leadership in Corinth: A Socio-Historical and Exegetical Study of 1 Corinthians 1–6, 2nd edn, PBM (Bletchley: Paternoster, 2006)
Monday, 18 June 2007
- I tend to group commentaries according to its canonical book order - but I do run into some problems. For example, most NT commentaries do not have a single volume on Colossians, but they include Philemon. I'd just place them in my collection on Colossians Another problem is what does one do with multi-volume commentaries? For example, there are 5 volumes in the Expositor's Bible Commentary series. In this case, it does not really fit into the commentaries based on individual books. So I decided to put them together in a series.
- This is followed by my collection of the Hebrew Bible - I don't have much problem with this as my collection for this "forgotten" testament is somehow limited...
I group the NT studies into several categories:
- Greek Grammars
- Textual Issues
- Hermeneutics/Biblical Interpretation
- Introduction to the NT
- NT Background
- Biblical Theology
- Jesus Studies
- Pauline Studies
- Thematic Studies that do not seem to fall into any of the categories above, such as the Use of OT in the NT; Mission in the NT; Ethics, etc.
Well, as you can see, what I do for my collection is rather arbitrary.
If you have other ideas, do let me know!
As in the tradition of STM, the day begins with a Quiet Day. This year, Rev Victor Vethamani is the speaker and the theme is "Have Thine Own Way."
Sunday, 17 June 2007
According to its website, the work of "Biblical scholars is usually published in specialist journals which, together with their highly technical language, remain inaccessible to the general public. SYNEIDON is dedicated to providing an accessible and non-technical introduction to the academic research of the Old and New Testament for everyone who wishes to widen their understanding and appreciation of these texts, regardless of faith or academic ability."
Therefore, the aims of the this project are threefold:
- To provide informative and fun courses, all of which can be tailored to suit the needs of your church or group. The aim of each course is to stimulate thought and an active engagement with the Bible.
- To promote and disseminate current research in the Old and New Testament to a wider audience.
- To encourage opportunities for interaction between faith-based and academic approaches to the study of the Bible.
This project appears to be very promising, and it is a very useful introduction not only to those who are interested in biblical studies but also to beginning seminary students.
It has always been my dream to create something similar with the SYNEIDON project where academic research of biblical studies can be made accessible in non-technical language to the wider audience. I wish this project every success.
Perhaps a Malaysian version of this website can be created where resources suited for the local context can be promoted and shared. At the same time, perhaps courses suitable for church groups can also be designed to benefit, equip, and empower the wider audience. Any adventurous takers out there? If so, I would love to hear from you.
Saturday, 16 June 2007
We do not have any further details at the moment, but most likely, it would be a 8-9 day tour, and the cost would be at least RM5k!
We are looking at the 3rd quarter of 2008 for the trip, after the summer peak season, to take advantage of the lower cost.
p.s. - concerning the photo: that's yours truly at Areopagus, standing at the spot traditionally believed to be where Paul stood when he addressed the people of Athens (Acts 17:25-34).
Friday, 15 June 2007
It's difficult for me to share about my sermon. But based on the feedback and comments received, I think the congregation was blessed by the sketch. It seems to me that having the sketch in the middle of the sermon did create an impact - because it was totally unexpected and it surprised everyone. As a result, the main message of the sermon was powerfully communicated.
The sketch went very well. Both Ruth and Ewe Jin did a fantastic job. Both of them have recorded their reflections on the sketch. Do read what Ruth and Ewe Jin have to say about their experience. The script for the sketch can also be found in Ruth's blog.
I hope that on Sunday, June 10 2007, the church has a different, refreshing, and meaningful worship experience.
p.s. - oh yes, I did receive one more comment - my sermon is getting shorter and shorter....! Hmmm..wonder whether is this good or bad?
Thursday, 14 June 2007
"Although not yet offered for degree credit, the diploma curriculum is provided at a graduate level and involves Master of Arts core courses."
Please note that "The application process for Chinese-Semlink diploma students is completely separate from the application process for Gordon-Conwell degree programs."
To qualify for the award of the Chinese-Semlink Diploma, students are required to complete 6 core courses and 2 electives.
The core courses are:
The electives are:
Note also that the fees for students from Asia are heavily reduced. Scholarships are also available (well, that is if my reading of the Chinese version of the website is correct!!).
Is anyone out there interested in the Chinese Language Semlink programme?
Wednesday, 13 June 2007
A Workbook for Intermediate Hebrew: Grammar, Exegesis, and Commentary on Jonah and Ruth
Reviewed by Stefan Fischer
The Book of Proverbs in Social and Theological Context
Reviewed by Magne Sæbø
The Saint John's Bible: Prophets
Reviewed by George C. Heider
Romans: A Commentary
Reviewed by James D. G. Dunn
Reviewed by Friedrich W. Horn
Jeremiah, Zedekiah, and the Fall of Jerusalem
Reviewed by Bob Becking
Katherine Doob Sakenfeld, ed.
The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible: A-C
Reviewed by Walter A. Vogels
Kritische Theologie ohne ein Wort vom Kreuz: Zum Verhältnis von Joh 1-12 und 13-20
Reviewed by Andrew T. Lincoln
Der zweite Brief an Timotheus
Reviewed by Raymond F. Collins
L. L. Welborn
Paul, the Fool of Christ: A Study of 1 Corinthians 1-4 in the Comic-Philosophic Tradition
Reviewed by Russell Morton
Der Tag des Herrn: Zur Gerichtserwartung im Neuen Testament auf ihrem alttestamentlichen und frühjüdischen Hintergrund
Reviewed by Markus Oehler
One of the biggest challenges for theological students is finding bibliographic sources. This is one of the struggles that beginning students taking the Master of Theology programme usually encounter. The difficulty is building up a fairly exhaustive bibliography at the early stage of their research.
I've decided to document it in my blog, perhaps this could also be helpful to other research and theological students as well. (Note: if you have other tips, please let me know. Also, it would be great to learn from your experience as well)
1) Finding Books - using bibliographic search engines on the web
Tyndale House Library catalogue - TynCat
If you can find a book in Tyndale Library, then it is worth reading! Tyndale House is a specialist library in biblical studies, one of the three in the world!
The best thing about using TynCat is that the records are formatted for copying and pasting them straight to your footnotes and bibliography - this saves time! There are also links to online reviews and online copies.
This is a combined catalogue of 24 UK academic libraries in one single database.
Library of Congress Online Catalog
This is the largest English-language library catalogue in the world. You will surely find something here!
BILDI: Documentation for biblical literature Innsbruck
This is an excellent, free bibliographical tool from the School of Theology at the University of Innsbruck. Searches for books and articles can easily be done in a comprehensive database. This is one database that should not be missed for theological books and articles. Note also that there are several special databases: Deuteronomy; and Plants and animals in the Bible
BiBIL: Biblical Bibliography of Lausanne
This is a very useful free bibliographical tool for books and articles on Biblical Studies. But note that this database is not as comprehensive as BILDI but capable of quite complex and detailed searches, including use of Biblical languages.
This is one of the best bibliographic search engines. It searches several catalogues comprising Online Biblical Articles Library, Library of Congress Online Catalog, COPAC (Union of Universities in the UK and Ireland), BILDI, and Pontifical Biblical Institute Catalogue at a click of your mouse.
I have commented on this in one of my earlier posts. See the post on "The Wired Scholar and Google Books."
Search by keyword or subject. Make sure you check out the exciting feature available online in the website, where you can search for the content of the entire book, and are able to browse through selected books in its entirety (No kidding!!). I have used this feature many times, and find it very useful and helpful.
Zacharias also highlights two "under construction" web pages dedicated to pointing out biblical studies works that are freely available, mostly from Google Books. While most of these works are now in the public domain, the list contains some recent books as well. Check out the following lists:
- The first is maintained by Mischa Hooker from the University of Memphis.
- The second is a joint collaborative efforts by Bob Buller and Zacharias himself.
Tuesday, 12 June 2007
In many respects, he was like a Daddy to me. From Standard 1 right up to Form 5, he was the one who fetched me to school without fail everyday. He would be our "captain" during the Mooncake Festival (Mid-Autumn festival), being there with all his children, nephews and nieces, in celebrating the festival with brightly lighted and beautifully decorated lanterns.
As an educator, Daddy made a very significant contribution to the field of education, particularly in the development of the national-type Chinese primary school in the state of Kelantan. He was a teacher, friend, and mentor to many.
In the church, Daddy also served the Lord with wholehearted devotion both in Kota Bahru Chinese Presbyterian Church and Kuantan Presbyterian Church. Those in the church could readily testify of his faithfulness and commitment in the ministry of the gospel of Christ.
On June 10, 2007, at 3.55am, I lost my Daddy. He departed from this world and went home to be his Maker. As Kar Tiat, his youngest son (my cousin) reminded us in his tribute to his father last night during the momorial service, life has no full stop...it continues on. Although Daddy finished his journey on earth, his life in the bosoms of the Heavenly Father has just begun. Although a chapter of his life on earth had ended, a new one has just begun for him in the Lord's presence. Although we dearly miss his presence on earth, there will always be a very special place in our hearts for him - our fond memory of him would always live on, be cherished and will be passed on to our future generations.
Daddy, as we bid you goodbye, we long to see you again, and we have this confidence that we will we see you again in glory.
Daddy, we miss you, but we know this is temporary. We will see you face to face again in glory...And it's just a matter of time.
"I have fought the good fight,
Dream no more! The Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia has launched Rome Reborn 1.0, a digital reproduction of ancient Rome as it appeared in AD320.
The purpose of this project which took 10 years in preparation is to "spatialize and present information and theories about how the city looked at this moment in time, which was more or less the height of its development as the capital of the Roman Empire."
It contains still images, video clips, audio clips and papers concerning ancient Rome (unfortunately, I am unable to stream the video clips at the time of writing - no thanks to streamyx!!)
Read the news report below, and make sure you check out Rome Reborn!
Guided by laser scans of modern-day Rome and advice from archaeologists, experts have rebuilt almost the entire city within its original 13-mile-long wall using the same computer programs architects use to plan new constructions, he said.
Saturday, 9 June 2007
When we think of the Apostle Paul, we would naturally think of him as a courageous missionary who contributes significantly to the expansion of Christianity; an excellent communicator who articulates his thoughts eloquently and persuasively in his letters; and a principled person that stands his ground without compromise, refutes false teachings, and confronts those who oppose the gospel of Christ.
First, this is the story that Paul wants the church in Corinth to embrace. In his initial proclamation of the gospel in Corinth, Paul emphasizes on the story of Jesus and him crucified so that their faith is grounded in the unshakable foundation of Christ, and not any clever rhetoric or human wisdom (1 Cor 2:1-5).
Finally, this is the story that Paul wants the church in Corinth to live out in their daily lives. In exhorting the church to give generously to the financial project that Paul initiated in helping the church in Jerusalem, Paul appeals to the story of Jesus (2 Cor 8:9). It is this character of Jesus Christ that considers the needs of others before self that Paul wants the church to emulate (see also Phil 2:5-11).
I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.
Friday, 8 June 2007
Wycliffe Hall, Oxford
Tutor in New Testament
Wycliffe Hall is an international centre for evangelical Christian life and thought within the University of Oxford. It is both a theological college of the Church of England and a Permanent Private Hall of Oxford University. The Hall trains ordinands, mainly for the Anglican ministry, but also welcomes independent students, postgraduates, school-leaver undergraduates and a variety of others. The total student student body is in the region of 130 students. We also have a thriving part-time course with around 70 students and another 60 on an American Studies programme in Oxford. It is committed to the task of training Christian leaders for both church and society, through a focus on theology, community and mission.
The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, in partnership with Wycliffe and the Zacharias Trust, is also based at Wycliffe Hall
From 1st September 2007, or as soon as possible thereafter, we are looking to make appointment of Tutor in New Testament. This is a significant opportunity to contribute to teaching and research in the Hall and the University as well as contributing to the task of ministerial and spiritual formation in those called to ordained and other ministry.
Major Roles and Responsibilities
§ A lead role in tutorial teaching for those undertaking the BA Honours school in Theology in the University of Oxford, especially those from within the Hall. This will involve tutoring in the following papers:
- the Gospels and Jesus
- Pauline literature
§ Delivering lectures and other involvement within the Faculty of Theology of the University, including the potential supervision of research students
§ Teaching within Wycliffe Hall (alongside the other New Testament lecturer, the Revd Dr Peter Walker), the New Testament syllabus for the University of Oxford Bachelor of Theology and other ministry courses. This is likely to include contributions in the following areas:
- Jesus and the gospels, including their reliability;
- New Testament books, including Matthew, John, Romans, 1 Corinthians;
- Other New Testament books or topics either as part of the syllabus or the wider bible teaching programme of the Hall (eg in ‘Bible themed weeks’ or ‘Integrated Study Weeks’).
2 Research: research, writing, reading and publication in areas of expertise.
3 Other responsibilities
§ Being a member of the college Academic team (as part of the management structure of the Hall).
§ Leading a college fellowship group, including report writing.
§ Leading a preaching group and associated responsibilities.
· To contribute, as requested, to teaching on the Hall’s evening Diploma course.
§ Other administrative and wider college responsibilities as directed by the Principal
Person & Skills Specification
We are looking for someone with significant ability in teaching and research, and with a passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ. A postgraduate qualification (probably at doctoral level) is essential and experience of university level teaching an advantage. The candidate should be able to enthuse and inspire students for the gospel and its teaching.
The successful applicant:
- will be committed to the Evangelical ethos of the college and be able to relate sympathetically to students from a wide variety of church backgrounds, including charismatic, open and conservative evangelicals;
- will have a clear belief and commitment to the authority of Scripture and the transforming power of the Word of God;
- will have a biblical understanding of ministry consonant with the Trust Deed of Wycliffe Hall;
- will be able to encourage and enthuse students for leadership, mission and ministry;
- will be prepared actively to support the training of women and men together for leadership in the church;
- will be gifted in the areas of New Testament teaching;
- will be theologically well-qualified and have a higher degree (probably a doctorate);
- will be able to bring the skills of theological and biblical reflection upon practice;
- must be able to teach students clearly and sympathetically and to enthuse them.
There is a Genuine Occupational Requirement (GOR) that the postholder is a Christian man or woman, being in full sympathy with the ethos and aims of Wycliffe Hall. Regulation 7(2)a of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 applies.
Enhanced CRB disclosure is required.
All tutors, prior to formal appointment, will be required to sign a declaration approving the objects and principles upon which Wycliffe Hall was founded and to uphold them.
This post is offered subject to the satisfactory completion of a 6-month probationary period and the capability and disciplinary provisions set out in the employee handbook. The salary is provided on Wycliffe’s scale (linked to both the Lichfield Scale and the University of Oxford) and will be £24,697 (as at 1 April 2007) plus housing (either a college provided property or an allowance of up to £15,000 per annum).
In addition, in the case of an ordained person, the employee will be a member of the Church of England Pension Scheme, and the college will be the responsible body for contributions. In the case of a lay appointee, an amount equal to 20% of the stipend would be payable to a private pension scheme. However, arrangements can be made for the pension to be taken as part of the salary.
30 days per year, in accordance with the College Holiday Policy, in addition to public holidays, which if these fall during college term, shall be taken at an agreed time during vacations.
Currently tutors are provided with study leave of 3 months in a four-year period.
A book grant of £563 per annum is provided.
Meals in college
The appointee will be entitled to free college meals except when the kitchen is closed.
The job description is correct as at 7 June 2007. It will, however, be discussed between the appointee and the Principal of Wycliffe Hall, and may be amended from time-to-time, following such consultation, to reflect developments in or changes to the job.
To apply for this post, please send the following
1) A full CV.
2) A personal statement explaining your vision for this position and the experience you have which might qualify you for this post.
3) The names and addresses of TWO referees.
4) A covering letter.
Please note that we are unable to accept applications by email.
§ Applications are to arrive by 28 June 2007.
§ Interviews are likely to take place at Wycliffe Hall on 11 July 2007.
§ Shortlisted candidates will be expected to give a ten-minute presentation on one aspect of contemporary New Testament studies designed for first year ministerial students.
If you have queries about the post or wish to have an informal discussion regarding this vacancy, please contact Helen Mitchell, College Administrator (01865 274201).
Please send applications to:
Miss Helen Mitchell, College Administrator, Wycliffe Hall, 54 Banbury Road,
Oxford, OX2 6PW
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, 7 June 2007
How does a theologian/biblical scholar preach a Sunday sermon? How does he/she prepare for a sermon? What about sentence diagram? Do we need to quote Greek text, or provide our translation if we disagree with the translation of the pew Bible? These are some of the questions I have been repeatedly asked. In addition, I think it was one of my students who also asked me whether textual criticism should be included in a sermon.
I've decided that perhaps I'd share some of my joy and struggles in preparing for my sermon this coming Sunday, June 10, 2007.
I must confess that for me, preaching does not come easily, and it is something that I struggle with everytime I have to preach, and it is usually accompanied by sleepless nights. Unlike those who have the gift of communication who could preach without notes, this is one area I lack; and to overcome this, I found that the best way for me is to script out my sermon in its entirety - this way I will not be caught in a situation where I could be lost for words. Not to mention, I know for sure how long my sermon is going to take because we could easily get carried away in our sermon and we forget how fast time flies when we speak.
The text that I have chosen is Mark 5:1-20 on the narrative the healing of the demon-possessed man in the region of Gerasenes.
Of course with the help of BibleWorks, it makes the task of reading the Greek text a great joy! Several key elements in this narrative strike me:
- This account signifies a turning point in Mark's gospel. Here, Jesus is now entering into a gentile territory.
- The irony is that Jesus' ministry thus far up to Mark 4 has been met with conflict and rejection, although some welcome him (cf. the five conflict stories in mark 2:1-3:6); and it is in a gentile territory that a gentile is healed of his condition, and becomes the first evangelist to the gentiles.
- In 5:3-5, all the verbs are in imperfect tense in describing the conditions of the demoniac man. This highlights the continuous pathetic circumstances surrounding the man, and the imperfect provides a very vivid picture of the situation the man is in.
- In 5:6, the verbs change to aorist tense, describing the actions of the demoniac man in approaching Jesus
- In 5:7, the verb is in present tense in describing the actions of the demoniac man crying out to Jesus
- From 5:9-20, there is a constant change in the tenses - from imperfect to present and back to imperfect, and then aorist, imperfect, present and aorist. This is interesting. Why does the evangelist continue to switch the tenses? I suspect that this is to provide a very dramatic and vivid narrative of the event, highlighting emphasis, and at the same time contrasting the varied responses to the event of the healing of the demoniac man.
- There are two versions of the eyewitness accounts recorded in this account on how the people reacted to Jesus' acts of healing and exorcism - the account of the pig farmers (5:14-16) and the account of the demoniac man (5:20)
- Each of these eyewitness accounts results in opposing response to Jesus. Based on the account of the pig farmers, the people reject Jesus. However, based on the story of the healed demoniac man, people welcome Jesus (cf. the response of the people in Decapolis in 7:31-37 - could this be due to the testimony of the healed demoniac man as recorded in 5:20 that prepared for the subsequent visit of Jesus to the area?)
The are many other insights that I could list, but I thought for my sermon, I would focus on the BIG IDEA (a concept of preaching learned from my "sifu" - Haddon Robbinson) of the differing eyewitness accounts that result in opposing response to Jesus. To help me make the emphasis of this point, I turn to my good old friends to help me come out with a sketch - Chris, Ruth, and Ewe Jin. Chris will write the script, Ruth will play the role of Mrs Pig Farmer, and Ewe Jin Mr Demoniac. Both Ruth and Ewe Jin will tell stories of their encounter with Jesus - one focuses on her loss, the other his gain; one focuses on the negative and the other positive. But both have one thing in common - something are GONE in their lives - the pigs for Mrs Pig Farmer; and the chains for Mr Demoniac.
We have decided that the sketch will come on in the middle of the sermon - to give the congregation an unexpected "interruption" - after I give the historical background of the narrative. Then after the sketch, I will draw the sermon to a close with practical applications and implications for Christian living and discipleship - what story are we telling in our witness for Christ in a pluralistic context? Do our testimony, demonstrated through both our word and deed, result in people rejecting or accepting Jesus? Are we telling the story of how much the Lord has done for us, and how he has had mercy on us? (5:19)
As a seminary lecturer, my concern is not only faithful exegesis of the text, but also relevant application of the text in our contemporary setting. I am reminded that if I strive to be the best exegete of the text and yet fail to bring out its contemporary significance to the congregation, I fail as a preacher and teacher of the scripture. If I can be a very eloquent and persuasive preacher and yet fail to subject my life to the authority of the Bible, I not only a hypocrite but also one that brings dishonour to the One whom I am proclaiming. As such, every preaching engagement is a humbling process. It is a struggle. It comes with sleepless nights. But yet I can trust that every word of the Lord that is faithfully proclaimed will not return to him void. This is my prayer, hope, and joy.So, now it's time for me to script out my sermon. Pray for me, and also for Chris, Ruth and Ewe Jin for the sketch.
I think it is worthwhile to pause for a moment to reflect on the role of a seminary/bible college and the responsibility that God has placed on those who teach in theological institutions. In this respect, I find John Piper's article on "Brothers, Pray for the Seminaries" which is reproduced below, to be very timely and inspiring. On reading it once again, I realise that as a theological educator, how insufficient I am to the calling God has placed in my life, and as a theological institution, how inadequate we are to train and equip God's people for ministry.
So, I urge you, if you are able, please spare a moment and say a prayer for the seminaries and for us.
Brothers, Pray for the Seminaries by John Piper
We cannot overemphasize the importance of our seminaries in shaping the theology and spirit of the churches and denominations and missionary enterprise. The tone of the classrooms and teachers exerts profound effect on the tone of our pulpits. What the teachers are passionate about will by and large be the passions of our younger pastors. What they neglect will likely be neglected in the pulpits.
When I was choosing a seminary, someone gave me good advice. “A seminary is one thing,” he told me. “Faculty. Do not choose a denomination or a library or a location. Choose a great faculty. Everything else is incidental.” By “great faculty” he, of course, did not mean mere charismatic personalities. He meant that wonderful combination of passion for God, for truth, for the church, and for the perishing, along with a deep understanding of God and his Word, a high esteem for doctrinal truth, and careful interpretation and exposition of the infallible Bible.
I believe his advice was right: choose a seminary for its teachers. Which means that when we pray for our seminaries, we pray especially for the minds and hearts of faculty and those who assess and hire them.
When we stop to think for a while about what to pray, we start to clarify our own concept of ministry. We can’t pray without a goal. And we can’t have a goal for a seminary faculty unless we have a vision for what kind of pastors we want to see graduate. So the more we try to pray, the more we are forced to define what we value in the pastoral office. And once we clarify this, we begin to ponder what sort of person and pedagogy cultivates these values.
So the will to pray for the seminary presses us on to develop at least a rudimentary pastoral theology and philosophy of theological education. What follows is a baby step in this direction – a rough sketch of what I think we need from our seminaries. My petitions cluster in three groups. Each group echoes a biblical value at which I think we should aim, and toward which we should pray, in pastoral education.
Under the all-embracing goal of God’s glory (first petition), petitions 2-7 echo my goal that we cultivate a contrite and humble sense of human insufficiency. “I am the vine, you are the branches . . . apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” (2 Cor. 4:7). “Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor. 2:16).
Petitions 8-11 echo my goal that we cultivate a great passion for Christ’s all-sufficiency; and that, for all our enthusiasm over contemporary trends in ministry, the overwhelming zeal of a pastor’s heart be for the changeless fundamentals of the faith. “Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:7).
Petitions 12-21 echo my goal that we cultivate strong allegiance to all of Scripture, and that what the apostles and prophets preached and taught in Scripture will be esteemed worthy of our careful and faithful exposition to God’s people. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
You will want to supplement these prayers with the burdens of your own heart for the seminaries you care about most deeply. But these are essential, I think, to breed power and purity in our churches.
- That the supreme, heartfelt and explicit goal of every faculty member might be to teach and live in such a way that his students come to admire the glory of God with white-hot intensity (1 Corinthians 10:31; Matthew 5:16).
- That, among the many ways this goal can be sought, the whole faculty will seek it by the means suggested in 1 Peter 4:11: Serve “in the strength which God supplies: in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”
- That the challenge of the ministry might be presented in such a way that the question rises authentically in students’ hearts: “Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:16).
- That in every course the indispensable and precious enabling of the Holy Spirit will receive significant emphasis in comparison to other means of ministerial success (Galatians 3:5).
- That teachers will cultivate the pastoral attitude expressed in 1 Corinthians 15:10 and Romans 15:18: “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me. . . . I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has wrought through me to win obedience from the Gentiles.”
- That the poverty of spirit commended in Matthew 5:3 and the lowliness and meekness commended in Colossians 3:12 and Ephesians 4:2 and 1 Peter 5:5-6 will be manifested through the administration, faculty, and student body.
- That the faculty might impress upon students by precept and example the immense pastoral need to pray without ceasing and to despair of all success without persevering prayer in reliance on God’s free mercy (Matthew 7:7-11; Ephesians 6:18).
- That the faculty will help the students feel what an unutterably precious thing it is to be treated mercifully by the holy God, even though we deserve to be punished in hell forever (Matthew 25:46; 18:23-35; Luke 7:42, 47).
- That, because of our seminary faculties, hundreds of pastors, 50 years from now, will repeat the words of John Newton on their death beds: “My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Jesus is a great Savior.”
- That the faculty will inspire students to unqualified and exultant joy in the venerable verities of Scripture. “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart” (Psalm 19:8)
- That every teacher will develop a pedagogical style based on James Denney’s maxim: “No man can give the impression that he himself is clever and that Christ is mighty to save.”
- That in the treatment of Scripture there will be no truncated estimation of what is valuable for preaching and for life.
- That students will develop a respect for and use of the awful warnings of Scripture as well as its precious promises; and that the command to “pursue holiness” (Hebrews 12:14) will not be blunted, but empowered, by the assurance of divine enablement. “Now the God of peace . . . equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20).
- That there might be a strong and evident conviction that the deep and constant study of Scripture is the best way to become wise in dealing with people’s problems. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
- That the faculty may not represent the contemporary mood in critical studies which sees “minimal unity, wide-ranging diversity” in the Bible; but that they will pursue the unified “whole counsel of God” and help students see the way it all fits together. “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God” (Acts 20:27).
- That explicit biblical insights will permeate all class sessions, even when issues are treated with language and paradigms borrowed from contemporary sciences.
- That God and his Word will not be taken for granted as the tacit “foundation” that doesn’t get talked about or admired.
- That the faculty will mingle the “severe discipline” of textual analysis with an intense reverence for the truth and beauty of God’s Word.
- That fresh discoveries will be made in the study of Scripture and shared with the church through articles and books.
- That faculty, deans, and presidents will have wisdom and courage from God to make appointments which promote the fulfillment of these petitions.
- And that boards and all those charged with leadership will be vigilant over the moral and doctrinal faithfulness of the faculty and exercise whatever discipline is necessary to preserve the biblical faithfulness of all that is taught and done.
John Piper, "Brothers, Pray for the Seminaries," in Brothers, We Are Not Professionals (B&H).