Monday, February 27, 2006

Federal Constitution: Protection for All

Article 11 in collaboration with the Bar Council invites you to attend a public forum

"Federal Constitution: Protection for All".

The forum addresses the recent court cases involving Nyonya Tahir, Moorthy and Shamala that highlight the problem of jurisdiction and underscore the need for a judicial system that will protect everyone.

Date:12 March 2006
Time: 9 a.m.-1.00 p.m.
Venue: Crystal Crown Hotel, Petaling Jaya.

Ivy Josiah
Prof. Shad Saleem Faruqi
Dato Dr. Cyrus Das
Malik Imtiaz Sarwar
Dato Zaid Ibrahim

Places are limited and registration is a must. To register (name, telephone and email) or make enquiries contact Lojini 03-20321715; 03 20261313 (fax) or email

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Hermann Samuel Reimarus

Far from the prying of the pious, and occasionally polite, Church in the East, and in a time still further from our own, Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1694 – 1768; Hamburg, Germany) was conjuring quite a storm in the cauldron of New Testament scholarship. He was a curious man, but one of his most curious works was only available to the wider audience a good six years after his death, perhaps an indication of his cautiousness of the vengenceful sensitivity of the 18th century Christianity. Albert Schweitzer's high regard on Reimarus can be read in the opening lines of the second chapter of Schweitzer’s The Quest of The Historical Jesus,

“Before Reimarus, no one had attempted to form a historical conception of the life of Jesus” (emphasis mine)
Click on title to read on.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Googling God's Will

For those who missed the last Agora forum by Soo Inn on discerning God's will (is it a pagan idea?) here it is in a nutshell

eCOMMENTARY: Googling for God's Will.

"Why doesn't God just gave me a straightforward answer when I ask Him for His will?"
Invariably someone will ask this when I run a seminar on "Finding God's Will."

The logic of this question is even clearer in an Google age.

After all when I need to know something I just Google and there are the answers.
Why on earth doesn't God set up a similar search engine?

Or maybe a 1-800 number. 1-800-Godspeaks?

There are many ways I can answer this question.

Often I remind folks that God only answers when we are ready to obey. He doesn't entertain approaches that go "you tell me the answer first God and then I decide if I will obey."

If we are to hear from God we are to approach Him in the fear of the Lord, which essentially means with a will in submission to Him.

Or I remind them that probably their life is so noisy that God's still small voice just gets drowned out. And impatience is so loud.

In the words of Emilie Griffin:
"We are so busy with our complaints and our requests that we hardly stop to listen for the voice of can the voice be heard, unless we listen? Sometimes God can hardly get a word in edgewise."

In truth I do not know for sure why God doesn't simply answer every time I have a query for Him. But my strong suspicion is that it has something to do with this:

That God's primary concern is that we grow in maturity. And that is something that is unlikely to happen if He gives us some technique to get Him to speak.

When I was in primary school (grades 1-6) I had a friend who told me that he and his brothers used to go to the cemetery at night to ask the spirits for "numbers", i.e. the winning numbers of upcoming lotteries. I forget the steps involved.
It had something to do with impaling a grave with a bamboo stick at midnight, saying the right spells and offering the right food offerings, some form of DIY shamanism.

The focus of such exercises was not the spirit, nor even those asking. The focus of the exercise was the information required. I feel the modern approach to questions hasn't moved too far beyond such a culture. We all want information on all sorts of issues. Of course that includes the critical ones like marriage partners and job choices.

But how many of us are interested in knowing what God is truly like? How many of us want to go deeper in our relationship with Him?

And how many of us have "growing in Christlikeness" as life priority one?

The temptation is that we are not really that interested in knowing God more. And essentially we want to live our lives with minimal reference from the Big Guy. Until we need something from Him, like answers.

This temptation finds fertile ground in an age so enamoured with technique and the technical.

Here is Quentin Schultze's warning:

"If we are not careful , even prayer can become just another instrumental technology to employ when everyday modes of control do not work. Prayer slips into machine logic, a means for manipulating God and neighbor to produce our desired results."

If our primary focus is on the right technique to get God to speak, how different then are we from those who are basically bosses of their own fates until they need
something from the Big Guy? Then its time to visit the temple. Or the right holy men. And once we get the desired answers its back to life as usual, which is essentially life lived with little consciousness of God.

Evangelicals are quick to answer that God's primary means of communicating His Mind to us is the bible. And they are right. The bible properly interpreted should be our primary means to discern what God desires (Psalm 119:105). My only fear is that we reduce God to a book and depersonalize our exercise of knowing His mind.

Therefore we note that God also guides us through His Spirit. God Himself comes to us to guide us but often He does that by bringing to our minds the words of the Lord
that apply to a given situation (John 16:12-15).

The centrality of God's written Word in any exercise in knowing His will presupposes that we are on an ongoing journey of knowing His Word, and a journey of being known by His Word as we allow the Word to reveal who we truly are (James 1:22-25) and to shape us to what we should become.

That this is God's primary approach to knowing His mind is something that the Word itself teaches.

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your
spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God–what is good and acceptable and perfect."
Romans 12:1-2 NRSV

This then is the tension of modern life. Our lives are fast.
We need answers quickly. So much of modern life exists to support such a pace and the focus is on doing things quickly rather then wisely. And we approach hearing God in the same way.

The trouble is God refuses to play our game. He sticks to His divine agenda, which is to build a new humanity, a transformed people who will bear His image in the world. He knows that in the long run, a transformed people will be able to know His heart accurately, in fast times or in slow.

And so He refuses to give us a 1-800 number. Or allow us to Google His will.

Basically He asks us, "Do you want Me or do you just want information?"

If it is just information we want, there is Bloomberg.

If it is God we desire, we switch off the cell phones, unplug, and enter into a posture of worship.

Your brother,
Soo-Inn Tan (

Friday, February 24, 2006

Cognitive Science V.S Darwinism

William Dembski posted an email exchange between two high profile evolutionalists: Michael Ruse and Daniel Denette.

Check it out here:

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Bold And Beautiful

Christian And The Arts

A theology for artistry (Why the need for artistry? Is it important to God?)

- The function of the artist (The various roles an artist can play)
- A Christian worldview for artistic expression (What kind of artistic expression is acceptable/valid in God's eyes? Does our artistic expression always have to be about our faith for God to accept it?)
- The Bible and the arts (A survey of the whole Bible as a case-study to see God's perspective on artistic expression and to draw principles for our own artistic expression)

This workshop is targeted at older teens and adults

Date: 12 March 06 (Sunday)
Time: 1.45 pm
Venue: City Discipleship Presbyterian Church (Map available)
Presenter: Colin Kirton (Footstool Players)

Colin trained and performed in professional theatre at Rosebud School of the Arts and Rosebud Theatre in Canada. He now regularly teaches on issues pertaining to the arts and faith, directs creative projects and conducts practical theatre skills workshops towards equipping and encouraging the Malaysian church in using the creative arts as a medium for worship, teaching and evangelism. Colin also freelances in the local arts and entertainment scene as an actor, director, trainer, musician, singer, host/emcee and voiceover talent. He worships in Subang Jaya Gospel Centre.

Friday, February 17, 2006

An Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation

An Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation
by the >Evangelical Environmental Network

An Evangelical Declaration on the Care of Creation

The Earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof - Psalm 24:1

As followers of Jesus Christ, committed to the full authority of the Scriptures, and aware of the ways we have degraded creation, we believe that biblical faith is essential to the solution of our ecological problems.

Because we worship and honor the Creator, we seek to cherish and care for the creation.

Because we have sinned, we have failed in our stewardship of creation. Therefore we repent of the way we have polluted, distorted, or destroyed so much of the Creator's work.

Read the full article here

Sunday, February 12, 2006


A. Some preliminary considerations.

1. A practical outworking of the doctrine of the Lordship of Christ. (Matthew 7:21-23)

2. Even more needed in an age of choices.

3. Must take into consideration the bigness of God and the diversity of His people.

B. A six-stage model.
(Based on Bruce Waltke’s approach in Finding God's Will: Is It A Pagan Notion?)

1. Read your Bible. (Consider biblical teaching on the matter.)
(Psalm 1: 1-6)

2. Develop a heart for God and listen to it. (Let God sanctify your desires and then go for it.)
(Psalm 37:4)

3. Seek wise counsel. (The critical place of community in Christian decision-making.)
(Proverbs 12:15; 15:22)

4. Look for God’s providential control of circumstances. (God is guiding through all the details of your life.)
(Ruth; Genesis 45: 1-9)

5. Use sanctified common sense. (Use our minds to think God’s thoughts after Him.)
(Mark 12:29-31;1 Corinthians 2:16)

6. Be open for God’s special leading. (There are times when God leads through special indicators.)
(Acts 16: 6-10)

C. As in all things, live your lives in faith, not in fear.
(Psalm 37: 23-24)

Tan Soo Inn
E Mail:
Web site:

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Reasonable Faith Conference

Check out this Ravi Zacharias International Ministry camp in Johor.

Highlights include a survey of the early church and her various ecumenical councils. a study on the Acts of the Apostle, Comparative Religions and contemporary worldviews, and a critical look at popular culture - film and art (Da Vinci Code?)

We live in a world where there are too many unsettling questions and few satisfying answers. To share the truth and love of Christ with relevance and effectiveness to today's generation, we need not only evangelism, but evangelism undergirded by apologetics. This program is designed to help you offer an apologetic that makes sense to both the heart and mind. Come and be challenged as we survey the historicity and authenticity of our faith with a range of topics in apologetics, philosophy, ethics and other disciplines.

As we are limiting the number of participants to 30, register to join us immediately. Details as follows:

April 7 - 10, 2006
Austin Hills Resort Johor Bahru
Subsidized cost (meals, accommodation and conference) of RM350 (for Malaysians) and $200 (for Singaporeans)


Monday, February 06, 2006


Objectives of Forum
To explore the significance of classical Christian doctrines (exemplified in the creeds of the Early Church and the Reformation) for contemporary society, with special emphasis on Concept of God and Christology.

To equip Christians with tools of philosophical and cultural analysis so that they can conduct effective apologetics in a pluralistic society.

Pre-registration and Time
Knowledge of basic Christian doctrines is assumed. Expect hard work in thinking through issues.

Participants MUST pre-register since we have limited space and need to prepare enough hand-outs. You may call Kairos office (77265420) or email to to confirm your place.

Time – 8.30 pm. First Monday evening on each month. First Meeting on 6 March 2006.
Place – Kairos Research Centre

The Forum will concentrate on the Christian concept of God for the year 2006. It will be supplemented by a course on the Doctrine of God which will be offered sometime middle of 2006

The first few sessions will focus on the nature of religious language and truth claims, and reasoning and rhetoric in religion.

Emphasis is on an analytical approach to Christian truth claims, e.g. explaining attributes of God, the nature of the Trinity and the Incarnation and testing the coherence of these concepts.

Reference Books
John Frame. The Doctrine of Knowledge of God. Presb & Reformed 1987.
The Doctrine of God. Presb & Reformed 2002.
J. P. Moreland & W. L. Craig. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview. IVP 2002.
T. V. Morris. Our Idea of God. IVP 1997.
J.N.D. Kelly. Early Christian Doctrine. HarperSanFrancisco, 1978.

The following books are recommended for prior reading:
Bruce Milne. Know the Truth. IVP 1982. Read pp. 1-175.
Millard Erickson. Christian Theology. Baker 1998.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Lord, Drop Me A Sign?

Decision Making and The Will Of God

As Christians we know we are supposed to live under the Lordship of Christ.
But how do we know His will in specific decisions?

Whom should I marry?
What job should I take?
Is it time to move to another job?
Should I go into full time church related ministry?

How do we discern God's will?
Does He lead minute by minute through the Holy Spirit?
Or do we just use common sense based on Scripture?
How about prophets?

This public lecture will attempt to lay down some basic biblical principles of discerning God's will.

Date: 12 February 2006 (Sunday)
Time: 1.45 pm
Venue: City Discpleship Presbyterian Church

Presenter: "Jedi Master" Tan Soo Inn

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Vantage Point

Introducing VantagePoint, an online publication which features views and news from Eagles Communications (Singapore's answer to Kairos?) with a desire to pursue truth and encourage Christian thinking on issues of life, faith, and ministry in our modern and complex society.

There are different sections catering to different needs. Here is how their website describe it...

Directions section is by our Founder-President Peter Chao. VantagePoint is the voice of the leadership of Eagles Communications and Directions provides Peter's views on issues of life and ministry.

Pathways highlights situations and thoughts on discipleship. Crossroads focuses on evangelism in society and the marketplace and Leading Edge is our take on leadership trends and ideas.

Connections deals with questions pertaining to mediation and counseling. Last but not least, In-Sight features movie and book reviews relevant to the theme of each issue.