Friday, 28 November 2008

BibleWorks 8 Has Launched

The folks at BibleWorks must have been hard at work to get the latest version of the powerful biblical exegesis and research software, BibleWorks 8, ready for shipping before the Christmas season.

The new version that has just been launched promises to be even better with the following new features:
  • new analysis tab
  • phrase matching tool
  • related verses tool
  • new formatting for text export
  • cross-reference window
  • another new NT Greek diagram set supplementing the current NT Greek diagram available in BibleWorks 7

In addition, some of the following new resources now come standard with BibleWorks 8:

  • the grammars by Wallace, Waltke & O'Connor, and Joüon & Muraoka (and to think that I actually had to pay to unlock those grammars in the past!!)
  • Early Church Fathers
  • Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai and Arabic Bibles
  • OT Pseudepigrapha

For a full list of the new feature and databases of BibleWorks, please click here.

For the full contents of BibleWorks 8, pleases click here.

By reviewing the new features, I must say I am impressed. The new version appears to be much more user-friendly, and I know that it would certainly enhance my research and make the already powerful software even more powerful. For example, with the expanded information now available in the new analysis tabs feature, the Context Tab shows the most common words in the current pericope, the most common words in the current chapter, and the most common words in the current book when a search is being done. With a click, the Browse Tab shows the full context for the active verse. A plot of the current search results is shown in the Stats Tab. All of this is right at one's fingertips! Impressive indeed!! How much more can one ask for in doing exegesis and searches in Greek and Hebrew?

So how much does BibleWorks 8 cost? Surprisingly, it is not priced any higher than the previous BibleWorks 7 at US$349.99 (approximately RM1260). If you have been thinking of getting BibleWorks but have yet to do so, now is the time since you will be getting a better product with additional new features and databases that are not available in the previous versions.

What about those with older version? Currently, I am using BibleWorks 7. It has served me well thus far. Will I get an upgrade? At a price of US$149.99 (approximately RM550!) for an upgrade to BibleWorks 8 in the current difficult economic situation, I find it rather difficult to justify parting with such a large sum of money. Looks like I am contented with what I already have in possession.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

The Advantage of Writer's Block

Just when I thought that I have been progressing rather well with the writing for my second book, it turned out that today is one of those days that no matter how hard I tried, I could not churn out anything meaningful and coherent at all. Instead of trying to push myself harder, I decided to call it a day at about 3.30pm.

So what would I do for the rest of the day? Suddenly, I remembered a partner-in-crime informed me earlier today of a bookstore having a hard-to-resist-30%-discount-sale for most books. So that was it. I did not have to think further, and immediately I jumped on the bus to the bookstore. As a result, I picked up the following 3 books that have been in my Wish List at a real bargain price.

So I have no regrets for having a writer's block today.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

How Does A Biblical Scholar Spend His Long Vacation? Book Writing in TTC Singapore - Part 6

Time flies - I have been here in Singapore for 2 weeks already! I have only less than 2 weeks here to put in as much work as possible for my second book project. Now I wish I have more time here.

On last Friday, the library was closed. So that means that I am "forced" to have a day off - something I would not complain. It was nice to have a day off just to refocus on the stuff that I have been working on, and also to have the opportunity to meet up with a couple of friends based in the National University of Singapore.

I also took the opportunity to walk around and explore the campus - here are some photos.

The imposing main entrance to the college, with the symbol of the cross clearly visible from the main road frontage, Upper Bukit Timah Road

The main administrative block

The rock fountain at the courtyard, with the halls of residence and the dining hall at the background

The facade of the library, and the chapel is located on level 4

The chapel

Monday, 24 November 2008

Passing Away of Bishop Julius Paul

I have just received the sad news that Bishop Julius Paul, Bishop of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia and also the Council Chairman of Seminari Theoloji Malaysia where I teach, was drowned yesterday when the boat he was travelling in sank in popular tourist region of Lake Atilan, Guatemala.

Arrangements are being made to bring back the body for funeral service. Bishop Julius leaves behind his wife and 3 children.

Please remember the family in prayers.

For news report, please click on the following:
The Latin Herald Tribune
Asia Lutheran News

Theology and Architecture

It has been said that you can take a property valuer out of the real estate industry but you can never take the interest in real estate out of him. That is so true of my personal experience. My fascination and interest in real estate continues on today even after having left the industry for more than 10 years already. I am still very interested in architectural design of buildings and conceptual and land use planning of property development.

Last Saturday, I decided to take some time off from working on my book project to satisfy my fascination, curiosity, and interest in some of the interesting architectural designs of some prominent religious buildings in Singapore.

I visited the Church of St Mary of the Angels, a Franciscan parish, in Bukit Batok. The design of the sanctuary has won the prestigious President’s Design Award, Singapore's highest recognition award, and has been favourably mentioned in numerous publications and exhibitions.

The sanctuary of the Church of St Mary of the Angels is one example where the creativity of the human mind, the simplicity of contemporary design, the indigenous use of sculptures and spaces, and the emphasis on spiritual awareness for both the congregation and visitors collide to create an architectural wonder, inviting a sense of awesomeness from those who step into the sanctuary, calling them to worship the Creator and issuing a call for them to pause and reflect on their existence in this world.

I am struck at the minute details that have gone into the design of the sanctuary. Not only is the concept contemporary, but what amazes me is that its simplicity does not rob the sanctuary from being reduced to a mere functional space, as seen in many construction and renovation of large church halls in the Klang Valley in Malaysia.

The strategically positioned gigantic crucifix hanging from the ceiling, and placed above the altar in the mid air, reminds me of Christ’s work of redemption. I can only imagine as I walk towards the altar to participate in the Eucharist, this sculpture would naturally evoke in me a reminder of the passion of Christ.

As this sculpture invites me to focus on Christ, it also draws my attention to gaze upon the ceiling of the sanctuary where the shape of the cross dominates my attention. The clever design of using glass panel in the shape of the cross allows natural lighting to penetrate the sanctuary, giving one a sense of warmth. As my attention focuses on the crucifix, my thought is drawn to the finished work on the cross. But as I lift up my head looking at the cross on the ceiling, I am reminded of the truth that it is God who initiates this work of redemption by sending his son for all humanity. At I reflect on this, it is only natural that it draws me to fall down on my knees in worship of the creator God, constantly being reminded of my sinfulness and wretchedness who is in need of God’s grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness that flows through Christ on the cross to me. My thoughts lead me from the earth to the cross, and from the cross to the heaven, and from the heaven back to the cross, and from the cross to the earth.

A visit to this church has not only reminded me of the work of the cross, it has also caused me to pause for a moment to ponder over the purpose of my existence in this world, to reflect on the calling of God in my life and to reorientate my focus on Christ and his cross.

This visit to the Church of St Mary of the Angels is truly unforgettable. This is one excellent example of how by paying close attention to architectural and conception design would go a long way in inviting those who walk into the sanctuary to rightly focus on God and to worship him and him only. It is a real beauty where theology and architectural design converge to make a powerful and dynamic statement concerning our vibrant faith.

I could only wish that more churches in Malaysia would not have compromised the fact that the architecture of the church does make a strong theological statement of our faith. It is unfortunately that many churches would rather settle for pragmatic design for the sanctuary, where in the end, we are being bequeathed with space which is merely functional as a place of meeting and not a place of worship.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Sermons and Gadgets

I have a funny feeling that what this cartoon depicts will soon be a reality in the seminary chapel. Who says chapel is "boring"?

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Review of Biblical Literature November 20, 2008

The following new reviews have been added to the Review of Biblical Literature:
Hector Avalos
Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence
Reviewed by J. Harold Ellens

Bob Becking
From David to Gedaliah: The Book of Kings as Story and History
Reviewed by Marvin A. Sweeney

Jason Beduhn and Paul Mirecki, eds.
Frontiers of Faith: The Christian Encounter with Manichaeism in the Acts of Archelaus
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Roland Boer, ed.
Bakhtin and Genre Theory in Biblical Studies
Reviewed by Timothy J. Sandoval

Susan Brayford
Reviewed by Jan Joosten

Rhonda Burnette-Bletsch
Studying the Old Testament: A Companion
Reviewed by Steed Vernyl Davidson

Stephen K. Catto
Reconstructing the First-Century Synagogue: A Critical Analysis of Current Research
Reviewed by Birger Olsson
Reviewed by Jonathan Bernier

Nicola Denzey
The Bone Gatherers: The Lost Worlds of Early Christian Women
Reviewed by Paul Dilley

Deborah L. Ellens
Women in the Sex Texts of Leviticus and Deuteronomy: A Comparative Conceptual Analysis
Reviewed by Naomi Steinberg

Richard A. Horsley
Scribes, Visionaries, and the Politics of Second Temple Judea
Reviewed by Lester L. Grabbe

Paul Joyce
Ezekiel: A Commentary
Reviewed by Corrine Carvalho
Reviewed by Steven S. Tuell

Adriane B. Leveen
Memory and Tradition in the Book of Numbers
Reviewed by James W. Watts

David R. Nienhuis
Not by Paul Alone: The Formation of the Catholic Epistle Collection and the Christian Canon
Reviewed by Patrick J. Hartin

Matthew B. Schwartz and Kalman J. Kaplan
The Fruit of Her Hands: A Psychology of Biblical Woman
Reviewed by Corinne Blackmer

Jan G. van der Watt, ed.
Identity, Ethics, and Ethos in the New Testament
Reviewed by H. H. Drake Williams III

Géza G. Xeravits and József Zsengellér, eds.
The Book of Maccabees: History, Theology, Ideology (Papers of the Second International Conference on the Deuterocanonical Books, Pápa, Hungary, 9-11 June, 2005)
Reviewed by Pierre Keith

Friday, 21 November 2008

Vege and Ice Cream!

Someone sent me this cartoon, saying that it could not have portrayed me better. Any truth in this?

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Preferred NT Course for 2010 TEE

For the entire month of October 2008, I ran a poll in the seminary's Theological Education by Extension Forum for our TEE students. The purpose of the poll is to solicit opinions on "What New Testament Course would you like me to teach for TEE in 2010."

I listed 5 courses in the poll and asked the students to select one that would most likely appeal to them as an indication of interest. This would help me design and prepare for a course that would meet the interest of the students.

The 5 courses are:
1) Romans
2) Ephesians
3) The Use of the Old Testament in the New Testament
4) New Testament Theology
5) Mission in the New Testament.

And the results are in now, and the surprising verdict is as follows.

The most popular course is The Use of the OT in the NT, generating the highest interest at 34%, while NT Theology takes second place with 26%. The remaining courses attracted an equal interest of 13% respectively. I do not anticipate this results, as I would imagine that Romans would probably the most popular course. But it seems that this poll suggests otherwise. Perhaps the rise in the interest in the use of the OT in the NT is also in response to the proliferation of publications on the subject matter in recent years. So looks like I would take some time to prepare for this course, and I might rope in my colleague, the Rabbi, to co-teach this course too! Rabbi, are you game?

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

How Does A Biblical Scholar Spend His Long Vacation? Book Writing in TTC Singapore - Part 5

The triple-volume height reading room

How time flies. It's been more than a week since I arrived Trinity Theological College, Singapore, working on my second book project. I have been enjoying my time here, utilising the excellent resources available in the library.

The spacious reading room

View from the reading room, looking out to the courtyard and halls of residence

I particularly like the triple-volume height reading room which creates a generous sense of space for those who are working here. The clever use of glass panels surrounding the reading room not only allows the morning sun to penetrate it, giving a sense of warmth for the readers; it also allows one to look out to the aesthetically landscaped courtyard and halls of residence, providing one a necessary and welcome change of scenery from the books and computer screens.

Would anyone fancy a game of chess in the library? This is my favourite spot in the reading room

Thus far, my time has been rather productive working on my book, and have written about 15,000 words since I arrived Singapore. I have a better sense of the direction of the book and how I would like the flow of my argument to take. Since I have intended this book to be targeted at a rather popular level catering to an informed audience, I have to be mindful in limiting my footnote references and staying clear on the main course of getting the message across without being dragged into the seemingly unending scholarly debates of some of the wider issues.

What am I working on? I am looking at how Paul uses images/metaphors in his Corinthian correspondence with the specific purpose of building up the community, leading to the creation of a Christian identity; and how we can also appropriate Paul's teaching in the context of the 21st century church in the contemporary setting in Asia. I will blog more about this in the coming days.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

T&T Clark Will Release My 1st Book on May 24

T & T Clark, the publisher for my first book (a rather extensive revision of my doctoral dissertation), has scheduled its release on May 24, 2009. And this coincides with Aldersgate Day.

Does that make me a Methodist? Suddenly, I feel a "strange warming of the heart"...

For further details of my book, The Sufferings of Christ are Abundant in Us: A Narrative Dynamics Investigation of Paul's Sufferings in 2 Corinthians, please click here. It will be published under the Library of New Testament Studies monograph series. The retail price is a whopping GBP65/US$130 per copy.

Monday, 17 November 2008

JSNT Vol 31/2 (Dec 2008) is now Published

The new issue of Journal for the Study of the New Testament Vol. 31, No. 2 (1 December 2008) is now published, featuring the following articles. To be of interest is the critical review of Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses by Jens Schroter and Craig Evans, and a response from Bauckham himself.

Out of our Minds? Appeals to Reason (Logos) in the Seven Oracle of Revelation 2-3
David A. deSilva

Hybridity and Reading Romans 13
John W. Marshall

An Apocalyptic Reading of Psalm 78 in 2 Thessalonians 3
Nijay Gupta

The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony? A Critical Examination of Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses
Jens Schroter

The Implications of Eyewitness Tradition
Craig A. Evans

Eyewitnesses and Critical History: A Response to Jens Schroter and Craig Evans
Richard Bauckham

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Review of Biblical Literature November 15, 2008

The following new reviews have been added to the Review of Biblical Literature, November 15, 2008:

Hector Avalos
The End of Biblical Studies
Reviewed by Ulrich H. J. Körtner

Ward Blanton
Displacing Christian Origins: Philosophy, Secularity, and the New Testament
Reviewed by Clare K. Rothschild

Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
The Last Week: A Day-by-Day Account of Jesus's Final Week in Jerusalem
Reviewed by Craig L. Blomberg

Katherine J. DellOpening the Old Testament
Reviewed by Bill T. Arnold
Reviewed by George Heider

Brad E. Kelle and Megan Bishop Moore
Israel's Prophets and Israel's Past: Essays on the Relationship of Prophetic Texts and Israelite History in Honor of John H. Hayes
Reviewed by Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer

Jens Kreinath, Jan Snoek, and Michael Stausberg, eds.
Theorizing Rituals: Issues, Topics, Approaches, Concepts, Annotated Bibliography
Reviewed by Brian B. Schmidt

Daniel A. Smith
The Post-Mortem Vindication of Jesus in the Sayings Gospel Q
Reviewed by William Arnal

Fred Strickert
Rachel Weeping: Jews, Christians, and Muslims at the Fortress Tomb
Reviewed by Samuel Thomas

Emily Teeter and Douglas J. Brewer
Egypt and the Egyptians
Reviewed by Roxana Flammini

Ben Zion Wacholder
The New Damascus Document: The Midrash on the Eschatological Torah of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Reconstruction, Translation and Commentary
Reviewed by Gregory L. Doudna

Jürgen Zangenberg, Harold W. Attridge, and Dale B. Martin, eds.
Religion, Ethnicity and Identity in Ancient Galilee: A Region in Transition
Reviewed by Christoph Stenschke

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Tyndale Bulletin Vol 59 No 2 (2008) is Out

The next issue of Tyndale Bulletin is now published, featuring the following articles:

The Last Words of Jacob and Joseph: A Rhetorico-Structural Analysis of Genesis 49:29-33 and 50:24-26
Nicholas P. Lunn (Wycliffe Bible Translators, UK)

The Shema and Early Christianity
Kim Huat Tan (Trinity Theological College, Singapore)

'Known by God': The Meaning and Value of a Neglected Biblical Concept
Brian S. Rosner (Moore College, Macquarie University, Sydney)

Tiberius Claudius Dinippus and the Food Shortages in Corinth
Barry N. Danylak (St Edmund's College, Cambridge)

Semantic Variation within the Corpus Paulinum: Linguistic Considerations Concerning the Richer Vocabulary of the Pastoral Epistles
Armin D. Baum (Giessen School of Theology, Germany)

Searching for the Holy Spirit in the Epistle of James: Is 'Wisdom' Equivalent?
William R. Baker (Cincinnati Christian University)

Tyndale Bulletin has also recently joined the journals in ATLAS who provide online copies for 5 years ago and earlier. This is good news as we are now able to access full text of Tyndale Bulletin online!

Friday, 14 November 2008

How Does A Biblical Scholar Spend His Long Vacation? Wet Singapore - Part 4

Since my arrival into Singapore, it suddenly seems that the British wet and gloomy weather has hit this tropical city state. It has been raining quite a fair bit for the past few days (and I have not been able to jog for the past few days). I have a speculative theory why this may be so as I suddenly realised to my horror something rather disturbing (for me) and yet comical (for some of my friends) this afternoon. And I really hope against all hope that my eyes are playing tricks on me....!

The view from the library where I have been seating for the past few days - wet and gloomy!

Book writing is progressing rather well - written about 7,800 words in 3 days. I have finished the bulk of the introductory chapter, and another main chapter. I will blog about my book project in some depth later. Stay tuned!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

How Does A Biblical Scholar Spend His Long Vacation? Arrived TTC - Part 3

I arrived Trinity Theological College on Monday afternoon, and quickly settled in the apartment allocated for my 4-week stay here. It is a very nice fully furnished 1-bedroom apartment with kitchenette.

Immediately after arrival, I headed straight to the library and ransacked the shelves for some of the books I need to work on my book project. I must say that I have been rather productive, and have written about 5,500 words (complete with footnotes!) in about 48 hours. This is a great achievement for me! But I am less certain if I am able to keep up with this pace in the following days to come (well - most of the stuff I have written have been swimming in my head for a while already and they form the bulk of the introductory chapter). And again, not all that has been written will see the light eventually.

It is not all work and no play for the budding NT scholar. On Monday, the first day of arrival, Tony Siew who is a faculty member of TTC and a good friend, together with his wife, took me out for dinner. Then on Tuesday, I met up briefly with Joshua Woo after his Greek exam (if you would like to know how he fared in his exam, you can read it here). Then I had lunch with a good old friend who is currently a priest at the Marine Parade Christian Centre. He has recently completed his Master of Theology at TTC. Our path first crossed more than 20 years ago in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia where we were both undergraduates in the same faculty. In the evening, I caught up with another dear friend who mentored me during my formative years in university and had dinner together with his family. On Wednesday, both Tony and I had the privilege of meeting up with blogpastor, Kenny Chee for lunch. We had a great time together.

I better get back to some writing before retiring for the night....Let's see whether I can hit 6,000 words??!!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

PhD Studentship in Biblical Studies: Use of OT in the NT

The following announcement just came through the BNTS list.

PhD Studentship in Biblical Studies: the Use of the Old Testament in the New

Newman University College is offering a fully-funded PhD studentship in Biblical Studies, available from January 2009 for three years. The successful candidate will be required to study on a full-time basis and preferably to be willing to live within reasonable travelling distance of the College.

Applicants must have a good first degree (1st or 2i), preferably in Biblical Studies. Those with a good first degree in Theology will also be considered, if they can demonstrate that their undergraduate course included a substantial element of Biblical Studies. It is desirable that applicants also have an MA or MTh in Biblical Studies, or a closely related area, and a working knowledge of New Testament Greek. It is important to demonstrate in the application evidence of the skills necessary to undertake independent research (e.g. details of research methods modules undertaken and/or successful dissertations completed.)

The studentship will require exploration of some area within the general field of the Use of the Old Testament in the New. Candidates will be free to choose which book(s) of the New Testament to study in depth, and which aspect of the field to focus on (e.g. direct OT citations; OT allusions; the exegetical techniques of a NT author; the representation in a NT book of an OT narrative or characters; Septuagintal text-form; parallels in the Qumran texts, other ancient Jewish commentaries or Hellenistic literature; the contribution to this field of rhetorical or narrative criticism; theological intentions of a NT author). Candidates will be invited to state on their application form the aspect(s) of New Testament study in which they are particularly interested, and to outline a draft research topic/proposal. Those called for interview will also be asked to supply samples of their previous work.

The Supervisory team will be:

Dr. Martin O’Kane, Visiting Professor of Biblical Studies at Newman University College and Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University of Wales, Lampeter (areas of expertise: Hebrew Bible, literary and inter-disciplinary approaches to the text);

and Dr. Susan Docherty (areas of expertise: Use of the OT in the NT, Septuagint, Second Temple Judaism).

For further information please contact:
Dr. Susan Docherty;; 0121 476 1181 ext. 2231.

Informal enquires/discussions from interested candidates are welcome.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Review of Biblical Literature November 8, 2008

The following new reviews have been added to the Review of Biblical Literature. There are some interesting NT studies that are being reviewed.

Kevin L. Anderson
'But God Raised Him from the Dead': The Theology of Jesus' Resurrection in Luke-Acts
Reviewed by Ron Clark

Paul Barnett
Paul: Missionary of Jesus
Reviewed by Don Garlington

David A. Brondos
Fortress Introduction to Salvation and the Cross
Reviewed by Ron Clark

Donald Capps
Jesus the Village Psychiatrist
Reviewed by Pieter F. Craffert

Robert R. Ellis
Learning to Read Biblical Hebrew: An Introductory Grammar
Reviewed by Max Rogland

Alec Gilmore
A Concise Dictionary of Bible Origins and Interpretation
Reviewed by Jan G. van der Watt

H. Klinkott, S. Kubisch, and R. Müller-Wollermann, eds.
Geschenke und Steuern, Zölle und Tribute: Antike Abgabenformen in Anspruch und Wirklichkeit
Reviewed by Mark W. Hamilton

Thomas L. Leclerc
Introduction to the Prophets: Their Stories, Sayings, and Scrolls
Reviewed by Bo H. Lim

Andrew T. Lincoln and Angus Paddison, eds.
Christology and Scripture: Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Reviewed by Mark Elliott

Theo A. W. van der Louw
Transformations in the Septuagint: Towards an Interaction of Septuagint Studies and Translation Studies
Reviewed by Francis Dalrymple-Hamilton

Grant Macaskill
Revealed Wisdom and Inaugurated Eschatology in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity
Reviewed by Brian Han Gregg

Frank J. Matera
New Testament Theology: Exploring Diversity and Unity
Reviewed by Udo Schnelle

Sarianna Metso
The Serekh Texts
Reviewed by Ian Werrett

Ela Nutu
Incarnate Word, Inscribed Flesh: John's Prologue and the Postmodern
Reviewed by Larry D. George

Alexander Samely
Forms of Rabbinic Literature and Thought: An Introduction
Reviewed by Joshua Schwartz

Klyne R. Snodgrass
Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus
Reviewed by Ernest van Eck

David E. S. Stein, ed.
The Contemporary Torah: A Gender-Sensitive Adaptation of the JPS Translation
Reviewed by Linda S. Schearing

Marvin A. Sweeney
I and II Kings: A Commentary
Reviewed by Ernst Axel Knauf

John S. Vassar
Recalling a Story Once Told: An Intertextual Reading of the Psalter and the Pentateuch
Reviewed by Philippus J. Botha

Claus Wilcke, ed.
Das geistige Erfassen der Welt im Alten Orient: Sprache, Religion, Kultur und Gesellschaft
Reviewed by David Weisberg

Gary Yamasaki
Watching a Biblical Narrative: Point of View in Biblical Exegesis
Reviewed by David R. Bauer
Reviewed by Helmut Utzschneider

Monday, 10 November 2008

How Does A Biblical Scholar Spend His Long Vacation? Second Book Writing Project at TTC - Part 2

I will be heading off to Singapore in a very short while. I will be spending about a month in Trinity Theological College working on my proposed second book project on Paul and the Corinthians. I will blog more about the book project after I settle down in TTC.

During my time there, I also hope to catch up with friends and relatives in the evenings and over the weekends. So it is not all work and no play!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

It Was A Nice Treat

Sze Zeng blogs about wanting to get me to patronise Starbucks during my trip to Singapore beginning next week. That reminds me of Yoshua who called me out for a drink at Starbucks last week in Seremban. Nice of him to keep his word for taking me out in returning a favour that I did for him earlier on in the semester. Don't ask me what the favour was for. Nothing to do with his grades...Anyway, thanks for the coffee.

Next Counter Please...

There are some things you may not understand at times. I had a little experience last week when I was at one of the post offices. The sign at the first counter says, "Next Counter please". On the next counter, it says, "Next counter please." Then on the next counter, "Closed."

Malaysia Boleh....

Saturday, 8 November 2008

A Moment of Reflection in the midst of Busyness

I blogged about my hectic schedule for the past two weeks in the seminary. But in the midst of my busyness, I decided to take some time off in one of the early mornings to walk around the seminary campus which is blessed with verdant grounds. It was refreshing to just pause for a moment to enjoy the greenery, plants and flowers.

I walked pass these flowers and plants everyday and it's amazing how often we miss out these beautiful creation of the Almighty if we just don't pause for a moment to enjoy them.

I managed to capture some of the flowers with my Sony Ericsson K530i.

Friday, 7 November 2008

LKY Ministries ala JP Ministries?

Sze Zeng blogs about the innovative approach adopted by Joseph Prince Ministries in inviting people to be partners with this ministry to help them "preach the gospel of grace." There are 4 categories of how one can be a partner, and obviously, which category of partner one belongs to will then depend on how much one dispenses with the monthly or one-time contribution to this ministry. Of course, the benefits and privileges of each tier of partnership will also vary accordingly.

Here are the 4 categories of partnership:

1) Destined to Reign Partner - Classic Blue
2) Grace and Favour Partner - Royal Purple
3) Gospel Revolution Partner - Gold
4) Joseph's Inner Circle Partner - Platinum Elite

To be Joseph's Inner Circle Partner (Platinum Elite), one must be prepared to contribute a monthly gift of at least US$500 or a one-time gift of US$5,000.

I am not sure whether I should be disturbed by this kind of promotion. But again, it gives me a real crazy idea now - perhaps I should set up a LKY Ministries inviting people to be my partners as well. But you don't have to give so much to be LKY's Inner Circle Partner Platinum Elite. All you need to do is to make a minimum monthly contribution of RM500 or a one-time gift of RM5,000. I will make sure you receive an autographed copy of my forthcoming book to be published by T&T Clark worth GBP65 or US$130. How about that.....

NT Position: Regent College, Vancouver

I must say something very interesting caught my attention.

Regent College, an evangelical, international graduate school of Christian studies based in Vancouver and affiliated with the University of British Columbia, invites applications for a position in New Testament studies to begin on September 1, 2009. The candidate will have expertise in Pauline studies. As the faculty ranking of this position is open, the successful candidate may be appointed at the rank of Assistant, Associate or Full Professor.

According to Regent College's website, the selection criteria for this position can be listed as follow:
  • Does the candidate seek to make a significant contribution to writing and teaching in his or her field of study?

  • Does the candidate view his or her expertise as held in trust for the service of the whole Christian church?

  • Does the candidate have direct experience as teacher, researcher, and writer in the pursuit of the purposes for which Regent College exists?

  • Does the candidate subscribe without reservation to Regent College's Theological Position?

  • Is the candidate capable of supervising comprehensive examinations and Master's theses?

  • Does the candidate fully embrace the mission and ethos of Regent College? This includes:
    1. our commitment to provide theological education for the whole people of God
    2. the integration of piety/spirituality with learning and scholarship
    3. our commitment to interdisciplinary studies, especially with relation to faith and culture
    4. our commitment to the development of Christian character within a diverse community.

The search committee will also give serious consideration to the way in which this appointment might foster gender and ethnic diversity on the faculty.

The normal responsibilities of a faculty member at Regent College include a teaching load of five three-credit hour courses per year along with expectations in terms of research and publication, availability to students for counsel and spiritual direction, and participation in faculty work in governance. For more information about Regent College, including our mission statement, please consult the rest of our website, beginning with Regent College's Distinctives and Statement of Faith / Theological Position.

Further information on this position can be found here. The closing date for is January 5, 2009.

With a first class faculty and alumni in over 80 countries, representative of more than forty Christian denominations, Regent College has gained an international reputation for excellence in theological education.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Long Vacation and Empty Car Parks (Almost)

Despite my busyness for the past couple of weeks (see here and here), the seminary campus is rather quiet during our long vacation. Just look at the car parks - they are almost empty, and I suddenly have a choice of where I want to park! During our normal semester, it is rather difficult to find a car park.

My Dream Pulpit

I really like this pulpit...

This cartoon originally appeared in the Church Times and is taken from ‘The Dave Walker Guide to the Church’, published by Canterbury Press

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Doctor of Ministry Orientation

Yesterday was a historic day for the seminary. For the first time ever, we had a group of 21 Doctor of Ministry candidates participating in the 1-day D.Min Orientation Programme. This is the pioneer batch of our new D.Min programme.

It was really great meeting up with experienced ministers and pastors who decided to take time off from their busy schedule to upgrade themselves over the next few years.

I have been tasked with the heavy responsibility of teaching a module on Advanced Hermeneutics and Homiletics scheduled from March 30-April 3 next year. In the afternoon, I had the privilege of meeting the candidates that would most likely be taking this module next year. In our session together, I handed out the reader for the module (see photo above) to them. I am looking forward to our time of learning together next March. I know I have much to learn from these experienced ministers.

Snippets of Life of A Faculty Member During the Long Vacation - Part 2

My colleague, the Rabbi, is having a long week this week. I am no less busy than last week. The only comfort that I have is that I will be on leave for the next two days to recuperate, to get ready for my one month research leave at Trinity Theological College, and to take my parents for their several doctors' appointment scheduled for the next two days.

How did my week look like during the seminary's long vacation?

November 3
Interviewed new students for next academic year intake in the morning. This is followed by a celebration lunch hosted by my colleague, Dr Joseph Komar, who recently earned his PhD. This was then followed by a faculty meeting stretching from 2.30pm till 7.15pm. After the faculty meeting, I met up with one of my thesis writing students to discuss his proposal over dinner. To wrap up the day, I had another meeting with a postgraduate student to discuss the direction of his thesis at 9.30pm. I left my office at 1o.30pm.

November 4
Today was a historic day for the seminary. We had our first ever Doctor of Ministry orientation programme from 9am-4pm (I will post some photos in a later post). At 4pm, a newly accepted Master of Theology student came by to see me to work out his study programme. He plans to work on New Testament. Then it was off to dinner with Desmond, Lan Yin and Joel. This was followed by a drink at Starbucks with another student who wanted to return a favour granted to him earlier. Finally retired at 11.30pm.

November 5
It's back to the office today to clear all the administrative work before I head home.

I am so looking forward to my one month research and writing time in Singapore.....

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

The Old in the New Quiz

Zondervan has recently launched the book, Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament written by Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Darrell L. Bock, and Peter Enns.

In conjunction with the launch of this book, there is now a quiz designed to test one's view of how the NT authors use the OT.

With only 7 questions, this quiz will reveal one's view of how the NT authors understood and used the OT in their writings. Though a simplification of a complex topic, it places participants into one of three categories (or "views"). It's meant to be fun and informative. Don't take the results of this quiz too seriously.

Check it out by clicking here.

Ever wonder where I stand? Here's my results after taking quiz.

NT Use of the OT -- Test Your View!
Fuller Meaning, Single Goal view
You seem to be most closely aligned with the Fuller Meaning, Single Goal view, a view defended by Peter Enns in the book “Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament” (edited by Kenneth Berding and Jonathan Lunde, Nov. 2008). Since the NT writers held a single-minded conviction that the Scriptures point to and are fulfilled in Christ, this view suggests that the NT writers perceive this meaning in OT texts, even when their OT authors did not have that meaning in mind when they wrote. It should be noted, however, that advocates of this view are careful not to deny the importance of the grammatical-historical study of the OT text so as to understand the OT authors on their own terms. For more info, see the book, or attend a special session devoted to the topic at the ETS Annual Meeting in Providence, RI (Nov. 2008); Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Darrell L. Bock, and Peter Enns will all present their views.
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Boy, does this quiz suggest that I am now aligned to Peter Enns? Oh dear...That means I can never be employed by Westminster Theological Seminary.