Thursday, August 28, 2008

Some Cats are Forever

Abba Ah Beng bought a kitten to catch the rats that were eating his loincloth. The kitten was very cute but playful. During chapel service, she would sneak quietly into the chapel and distract the young disciples of Sow Lin Monastery from their prayers and meditation. A sudden touch of warm fur and a perfect purr was enough to draw the most devout from the depths of God.

Abba Ah Beng finally solved the problem by tying the kitten with a string to a stake in front of the chapel. The disciples become used to seeing the little kitten and later a large cat tied to the stake as they enter and leave the chapel. The cat died and Abba Ah Beng bought a new cat and continued the tradition of tying his cat to the stake in front of the chapel before services. Abba Ah Beng was finally called home by the Lord and was succeeded by Abba Ah Lek. Abba Ah Lek continued the tradition of tying the cat to honor his spiritual director and mentor.

One hundred years later, a brand new gleaming mega-church auditorium stands where the Sow Lin Chapel used to be. It is large enough to sit 6,000 people comfortably. However, at the front entrance there is a stake to which a cat will be tied before each worship service. When asked about the reason, senior Pastor Joe Pan said he does not know but there has always been a cat in front of the worship hall. He postulates it may in some way draws God’s blessings on the congregation. Anyway, who is he to change a hallowed tradition.

To this day, if you visit the mega-church where the ancient Sow Lin Monastery once stood, you will see a cat tied to a stake in front of the worship auditorium. You can see the cat sitting and walking. The cat is active except when its battery runs down.

Do we need to keep all of our church traditions?


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Between Romans 13 and Revelations 13

From NECF: (NOTE: This is an extract. The full paper 'Human Dignity and Religious Liberty' is available in the book titled Religious Liberty after 50 years of Independence)

Christians often look to Romans 13 to answer questions on the relationship between Church and State. Some appeal to the passage to argue for unqualified submission to the authorities. I find this rather troubling since such a recommendation ignores the dynamic nature of the State that can swing from being God’s servant (Romans 13) to being a demonic State demanding ultimate allegiance and worship from its subjects (Revelation 13).

But what is stated clearly in Romans 13 – that the State is merely a servant of God and thereby possesses only limited authority – is correct. Likewise, the State – being merely one created institution amongst other divinely-installed institutions (family, school, market and church) – must respect and refrain from infringing other spheres of human authority.

Primary Social Task

The primary social task of the Church is to be itself – that is, a people who have been formed by a story that provides them with the skills for negotiating the dangers of this existence, trusting in God’s promise of redemption.1

The Church must resist two temptations:

Subjecting the gospel to ‘righteous’ anger, lending itself as the instrument of political/ideological struggle. Charles West has given us a pertinent challenge,“The church must project Christ’s Lordship into the search for a proper structure of justice and peace in society, which is also the business of political authorities. It must do so holistically, not taking refuge in the false purity either of nonpolitical projects or a romanticised oppressed people. It must do so in a secular way, recognising the involvement of every religious project in the mixed motives and misused powers of human life, the need of correction, and the limits of political coercion in the establishment of true humanity. The life of the community of faith with Christ Himself should keep things in proper perspective.”2
Accepting the terms on which the State allows them an undisturbed existence so long as it (the Church) remains isolated from the concerns of society. The end result would be that the Church legitimises the status quo. To quote West again, “the Church of Jesus Christ is called to be the Church for the world, not the servant of one of the world’s powers.”3

Conditional obedience

We affirm the clarion call from Bonhoeffer when he insisted that the individual’s duty to obey the State is presumed until the State directly compels him to offend against the divine commandment, that is to say, until the State openly denies its divine commission to enforce social justice and protect the freedom and dignity of the individual and forcefully suppresses the gospel. At this point, Christians must choose to disobey the State for conscience sake and in obedience to the Great Commission.

Realistic Social Engagement

Christians must avoid a naïve political outlook and must not pretend that they are pure and immune from the temptations of power. Still, the Church cannot avoid being in the world even though it may not be of the world. The Church must engage politics in a ‘secular’ manner, that is rooted in concrete historical realities and yet, while recognising that notwithstanding its mixed motives, it will seek to project Christ’s lordship into the search for a proper structure of justice and peace in society.

The Church should acknowledge that no human form of government is perfect, and all are necessarily under constant scrutiny in terms of the processes which they have promoted and do promote, and the processes which they counter and negate.

As human rights are inter-related, and are also subject to ongoing historical processes, their fulfilment, negation or violation by any group or agencies or even churches, have to be judged in a similar manner. Structures created by human beings are in constant danger of becoming self-perpetuating and self-fulfilling, and hence of becoming idols – in a truly biblical sense.

The right balance

A Christian approach to civic responsibility balances both Kingdom Justice and the Gospel of Peace in order to distinguish responsible from irresponsible political action. Pursuing justice without peace only perpetuates social conflict. Accepting peace without justice amounts to capitulation to a hegemonic power. Politics is judged on moral terms derived from a transcendent authority (God).

Christian political analysis must be rooted in local history and social context. This requires sensitivity to the ever-changing dynamic equilibrium between the competing power groups in society. Demands for both individual rights and community rights must take into account the enduring principles that were foundational when the founding fathers of the nation agreed in a social-legal contract at Independence (1957) and formation of Malaysia (1963).

We must deal with the full reality of politics and government in the contemporary world. Public policies must be supported by public arguments that go beyond simplistic quoting of scriptures (Biblical or Quranic), naïve moralism or mindless ethnic nationalism. We cannot work for anything less than a cosmopolitan, pluralist democracy.

This calls for a hermeneutical retrieval of Christian political theory that was vigorously developed in church history. I have in mind the Christian understanding of Statecraft which is defined as the “art of careful reasoning, judging, and acting in the process of making, executing, and adjudicating public laws.” Good statecraft depends on insight into God’s creation (including human nature), which is an order unfolding through the history of countless human generations.

If the Christian community fails to pool together its intellectual resources to inform its social engagement, it will by default remain divided and confused by the conflicting political dogmas and buffeted by social currents. It will easily be intimidated by hostile political groups and passively accept a political agenda that is imposed on it and remain ineffective with its ad hoc and piecemeal participation in national politics.

The challenge to develop a Christian political perspective that is coherent, integral, and comprehensive is indeed urgent. The fruitfulness of such a project is promising. Christian witness demands nothing less than the fulfillment of a contextualised Christian political theology that can assist citizens in their defence of freedom and justice.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mission In The Gospel Of John

CDPC camp in Cameron Highlands was themed "For Such A Time As This". There were 3 expositions on The Book Of Esther by Rev'd Ray Porter, Director of World Mission Studies at Oakhill College. He has pastored in Indonesia before and gave an insightful historical analysis of mission in Indonesia for faculty and students at malaysia Bible seminary. If you like to get a hold of the notes, email me at hedonese at yahoo dot com. But here's a exegetical paper on Mission in The Gospel Of John that I could gladly share online.

"Ray aims to see students able to communicate the scriptures into different cultures sensitively, with a passion for God and a love for people, both through the Theology and World Mission Course and in other lectures.

Ray's major ministries have been in two blocks of fourteen years with OMF: one in Indonesia where he pastored and established churches, and the other as a Regional Director in the UK where he has recruited and encouraged missionaries and mission support. Shorter slots have been as minister of a UK church and as New Testament lecturer at Belfast Bible College. He studied Mission at All Nations and has managed to accumulate eight years studying theology in Oxford. He is the only faculty member who preaches and has publications in Indonesian.

Ray is married to Janice and they live in St Neots. They have grown up twin daughters, Anne and Julia, and a son, Tom, who is at university."

Should Christians Convert Others?

Grace@Work eCOMMENTARY: Should Christians Convert Others?

It was quite jarring to walk into bookstores in Malaysia to be confronted with the cover of the June, 30th issue of TIME magazine.

The headline screamed: "Should Christians Convert Muslims?"

Fact is, there are state laws in Malaysia that penalizes anyone caught "enticing" a Muslim to leave his or her faith. Therefore the issue of how Christians should reach the Muslim community for Christ is one that is hardly discussed in public in Malaysia.

My first response to the headline was "I would frame the question differently."
The Scriptures teach quite clearly that conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit i.e. God's own Spirit (John 16:8-11). A Christian may share the truths of
the gospel, she may appeal to people to embrace the truth of the gospel, but he cannot convert anyone.

Indeed the church of Christ has often gotten into trouble when she crosses the boundary and tries to do the work of the Holy Spirit, "helping" people to
convert through the use of military or governmental powers, or enticing people to Christ through the giving of aid in times of need.

(I quickly need to qualify that Christians are called to show compassion to all in need, giving with a free hand, giving unconditionally. This indirectly reveals
the heart of Christ. But we cannot ever imply that to receive help, one must first embrace Christianity.)

No, we cannot convert anyone. Nevertheless, there are certain truths in the Scriptures that are clear. Two of them are:

1. Jesus is the only solution to the root problem of humankind - sin.
"There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 NRSV

2. Followers of Jesus are called to bring this message to all races and communities.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey
everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20

The irony is that Islam and Christianity share a number of things in common. One of them is a common adherence to the concept of objective and absolute truth. Standing against the post modern mood of many truths for many people, Islam and Christianity would say that if Islam or Christianity were true, then other answers to the fundamental questions of humankind --- "where did we come from", "why are we
what we are", "what is the ultimate solution for humankind's problems"---are wrong.

The temptation for Christians and Muslims alike, is to jettison our commitment to absolute truth. We are told to "play nice" and live and let live. Any position
that takes truth as absolute will lead to fanaticism and violence. After all, the modern world is a pluralistic world of many faiths. Let every faith community do their own thing but don't try to "convert" others.

This position is appealing because there many conflicts around the world that appear to be rooted in religious differences.

Unfortunately any backing away from a commitment to absolute truth undercuts the very basis of the truth of the Christian gospel. If Christianity is not true for all it is not true at all. Why should God come as man and to die on the cross if there was any other way? I am always amused when I hear people say that all religions are essentially the same. Such people betray the fact that they have not studied religions with any degree of depth.

Of course no one wants intercommunal violence. What this means for Christians is that we must take a long hard look at how we share the gospel. I am particularly partial to Leslie Newbigin's suggestion that the lives of Christians must be so different that we arouse the curiosity of those outside the faith.
(See for example his "The Gospel In A Pluralist Society.") And when they ask why we are different, then we answer with the gospel.

For example, I recall the enemies of Christ having to acknowledge "how they love one another" when they looked at the early Christian communities. I wonder if
they would say the same today.

The whole question of Christian-Muslim relationships is a big and complex one. I speak to those within the Christian community. We follow a crucified Christ and
have been specifically warned that his followers would suffer the same fate (2 Timothy 3:12). Suffering is intertwined deep in the Christian DNA. We must never
kill for Christ (Matthew 26:47-56). But we must always be ready to suffer and die for Him.

Before we even think of such heroic possibilities, we must first ask: What is the quality of our life in Christ? Do Christians and churches reflect so jarringly the love and holiness of God that people pause to look and ask questions? Or are we
qualitatively no different from those who do not follow Christ?

If there is no real difference, then there really is nothing for people to "convert" to is there?

Your brother,
Soo-Inn Tan
July 25th 2003.

Photo courtesy of FUBCNO

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What About Other Faiths?

Topic 1: Ancient Israel & the Modern Church

How did the Nation of Israel become the Kingdom of God? When did the Chosen People become the Blessed Church? Ecclesiology began with the New Testament claim that the people of God (Israel) have been reconstituted as a community of both Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 3:6 and 4:4-6). Membership in the household of God is not by birth but by profession of faith in Jesus Christ.

Topic 2: The Triune God
Unlike the great monotheistic Abrahamic faiths, Christianity is distinguished by the divinity of Jesus. The Trinitarian faith is drawn from both Old Testament (Deu. 6:4) and New Testament (James 2:19), not that there is one God, but that The Lord/God is One. How can one God be three persons with a common will? Can a common will be shared? The persons of the trinity intend with a common will - no agreement is required because no disagreement exists. Their eternal (rather than immortal or everlasting) status means that they never were without a common will. Understanding the Trinity teaches us to identify the common will as the universal church of God.

Topic 3: What About the Other Faiths?

Can those who believe in God outside the church be saved? Can a devout Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, or Jew be saved? More importantly, whatever your answer, why do you think so?

Tutor: Rev. Ron Choong, Executive Director of the Academy for Christian Thought
LLB (London), STM (Yale), MDiv, ThM, PhD candidate (Princeton)

Venue: Community Baptist Church, 107 & 109A, Jalan SS2/6, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Time: Friday 5th Sept (8.30- 0 p.m.) & Saturday 6th Sept (9-11 a.m.)
Registration: RM10 per person (Students – RM5)

Materials: Pre-book at RM20 per set, or RM30 at the door (limited copies). Call church office to pre-book materials. Closing date - 2 September 2008. Tel: 603-80608639

Read this document on Scribd: ACT-Asia 2008 Kairos Flyer 2008 08 01

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Adakah Keilahian Kristus berasaskan Alkitab?

Selain daripada pengumuman Yesus sendiri, pengikutnya juga menerima keilahian Kristus. Mereka berkatakata Yesus mempunyai hak untuk mengampun dosa – sesuatu yang hanya boleh dilakukan oleh Tuhan, kerana Tuhan yang diingkari oleh dosa manusia (Kisah Rasul 5:31; Kolose 3:13; bandingkan Mazmur 130:4; Yeremia 31:34).

Mengenai ilahian, Yesus dikatakan akan “menghakimi orang yang hidup dan yang mati” (2 Timotius 4:1). Thomas menyeru kepada Yesus, “Tuhanku dan Tuanku!” (Yohanes 20:28). Paulus memanggil Yesus “Tuhan yang Mahabesar dan Juruselamat kita” dan menunjukkan bahawa sebelum Yesus berinkarnasi, Yesus sudah ada dalam “rupa Tuhan” (Filipi 2:5-8). Buku Ibrani menulis mengenai Yesus bahawa "Takhta-Mu, ya Tuhan, tetap untuk seterusnya dan selamanya” (Ibrani 1:8). Yohanes kata bahawa “Pada mulanya adalah Firman; Firman itu bersama-sama dengan Tuhan dan Firman [Yesus] itu adalah Tuhan” (Yohanes 1:1).

Contoh dari ayat-ayat Kitab Injil yang mengajarkan illahiah Kristus dapat dilipatgandakan (lihat Wahyu 1:17; 2:8; 22:13; 1 Korintus 10:4; 1 Petrus 2:6-8; bandingkan Mazmur 18:2; 95:1; 1 Petrus 5:4; Ibrani 13:20), namun salah satu dari ayat-ayat ini sudah cukup untuk menunjukkan bahwa Yesus dipandang sebagai Tuhan oleh para pengikutNya.

Yesus juga diberikan gelaran yang hanya diberikan kepada Yahweh (nama Tuhan) dalam Perjanjian Lama. Gelaran “Penebus” dari Perjanjian Lama (Mazmur 130:7; Hosea 13:14) digunakan untuk Yesus dalam Perjanjian Baru (Titus 2:13; Wahyu 5:9). Yesus disebut Imanuel (“Tuhan beserta kita” dalam Matius 1).

Paulus menerangkan Yesaya 45:22-23 dengan merujuk kepada Yesus dalam Filipi 2:10-11. Lebih lanjut, nama Yesus digunakan bersama-sama dengan nama Yahweh dalam doa, “Kasih karunia menyertai kamu dan damai sejahtera dari Tuhan, Bapa kita, dan dari Tuhan Yesus Kristus” (Galatia 1:3; Efesus 1:2). Jikalau Kristus bukan Tuhan, ini adalah suatu penghinaan kepada Tuhan. Nama Yesus disandingkan kembali dengan nama Yahweh dalam perintah Yesus untuk membaptis “dalam nama [bentuk tunggal] Bapa dan Anak dan Roh Kudus” (Matius 28:19; ihat pula 2 Korintus 13:14). Dalam Wahyu Yohanes berkata bahwa segala ciptaan memuji Kristus (sang Anak Domba) – oleh itu Yesus bukanlah sebahagian daripada ciptaan tetapi Sang Pencipta (Yoh 1:3).

Perbuatan-perbuatan yang hanya dapat dilakukan oleh Tuhan juga dikerjakan oleh Yesus. Yesus bukan hanya membangkitkan orang mati (Yohanes 5:21; 11:38-44) dan mengampunkan dosa (Kisah Rasul 5:31; 13:38), Dia juga menciptakan dan memelihara alam ini (Yohanes 1:2; Kolose 1:16-17). Fakta ini bahkan menjadi lebih kuat ketika kita memperingati bahawa Yahweh mengatakan bahawa Dia kesendirian ketika menciptakan alam (Yesaya 44:24). Selanjutnya, Yesus memiliki sifat-sifat yang hanya dimiliki oleh Allah: kekekalan (Yohanes 8:58), maha hadir (Matius 18:20; 28:20); maha mengetahui (Matius 16:21), maha kuasa (Yohanes 11:38-44).

Mengaku diri sebagai Tuhan dan memperbodohkan orang ramai untuk percaya bahawa Dia benar-benar adalah Tuhan sama sekali berbeza dengan membuktikan diri bahawa Dia adalah Tuhan. Kristus membuktikan dakwaan-Nya dengan banyak mukjizat dan bahkan dengan bangkit dari maut. Beberapa daripada keajaiban Yesus antara lain: mengubah air menjadi wain (Yohanes 2:7); berjalan di atas air (Matius 14:25); melipatgandakan benda-benda fizik (Yohanes 6:11), menyembuhkan orang buta (Yohanes 9:7), orang lumpuh (Markus 2:3); dan orang yang sakit (Matius 9:35; Markus 1:40-42); bahkan membangkitkan orang mati (Yohanes 11:43-44; Lukas 7:11-15; Markus 5:35).

Lebih daripada itu, Yesus sendiri bangkit dari maut dan mengalahkan maut. Sangat berbeza dengan dongeng-dongeng mengenai mati dan bangkitnya dewa-dewa dalam agama-agama kafir, tiada berbanding dongeng-dongeng kebangkitan dalam agama-agama lain, dan tidak ada dakwaan lain yang mendapat bukti-bukti dari luar Kitab Suci (contohnya bukti sejarah) yang begitu banyaknya.

Baca seterusnya di Cahaya Nusantara

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Christian Theology In Islamic Context

Dr Markus Piennisch (EUSEBIA Missions Ministries) who lectured me on Apologetics has published this article called "Christliche Theologie im islamischen Kontext: Missionarische und hermeneutische Perspektiven" at the 2007 STUTTGARTER THEOLOGISCHE THEMEN (Band II/Vol II). Look out for the Malaysian references he quoted :)

Read this document on Scribd: Christian theology in Islamic Context

Friday, August 01, 2008

Bergantung Pada Bahu Gergasi

prophet "Salah satu teks daripada Alkitab yang saya gemari adalah Ibrani 11, bab yang hebat tentang iman. Untuk menggalakkan pengikut-pengikut Kristian awal untuk berlari dalam perlumbaan dihadapan mereka dikala cabaran-cabaran luaran dan dalaman (contohnya 10:32-39 and 5:11-6:12), penulis buku Ibrani bukan sahaja menunjukkan kekuasaan Kristus dalam segala keindahan dan kedaulatannya, tetapi juga mencabar mereka untuk terus bertahan seperti para anbiya sebelum mereka.

Dengan menamakan banyak nabi-nabi dalam Perjanjian Lama yang bukan sahaja percayakan perjanjian Tuhan yang berpusatkan Kristus, tetapi juga telah bertindak berdasarkan janji tersebut meskipun Tuhan Yesus Kristus masih belum muncul, penulis Ibrani mencabar umat Kristian untuk percayakan Firman Tuhan dan mendasarkan kehidupan mereka kepada apa yang sekarang telah dipenuhi oleh Kristus. Umat Kristian dicabar untuk terus bertahan ke akhir hayat. Dengan itu walau apa jua rintangan yang mendatang, orang-orang salih perlu memandang kepada Yesus.

Ibrani 11, dengan banyak lagi contoh-contoh dalam Alkitab menunjukkan betapa pentingnya mengikut jejak role model dalam kehidupan Kristian kita. Alkitab sentiasa mengingatkan kita bahawa tiada daripada kita berfungsi dengan bersendirian, tetapi kita berdiri atas bahu orang-orang yang telah datang sebelum kita, kita belajar daripada mereka, dalam amalan hidup mereka dan pemahaman teologi mereka.

Dengan itu, walaupun hidup kita mesti berpandukan kepada Alkitab dan direformasikan berdasarkan ajaran Alkitab – Sola Scriptura dan Semper Reformanda—“tradisi” juga mempunyai peranan yang penting, kritikal dan pembetulan kepada kita apabila kita cuba mempraktikkan ajaran Alkitab. Bak kata Nabi Sulaiman yang mengingatkan kita – “tiada yang baru di bawah matahari” and pepatah “mereka yang tidak dapat belajar daripada sejarah akan terus membuat kesilapan yang sama” – jika kita mengabaikan nenek moyang gereja kita sendiri yang rugi.

Tradisi dan pengajian teologi sejarah memerlukan pendekatan dimana amalan dan ajaran bersejarah, dikaji dengan konteks real-life dan cabaran-cabaran pada zaman berkenaan. Tujuan pengajian ini adalah untuk menghadapi isu-isu, debat-debat dan cabaran-cabaran dunia kontemporari.

lutherNamun begitu, pada hari ini salah satu masalah dalam gereja Injili yang menunjukkan budaya masyarakat, kita tidak tahu sejarah, apatah lagi sejarah Gereja dan teologi bersejarah dengan baik. Ini terutamanya pengetahuan kita tentang era Bapa-bapa Gereja (the Patristic Era). Adalah tepat untuk menyatakan bagi kebanyakan umat Kristian Injili, kita akan lebih berkenalan dengan tokoh-tokoh utama dan idea-idea teologi mereka daripada zaman Reformation dan post-Reformation, daripada tokoh-tokoh sebelum Reformation. Untuk kehidupan dan kesihatan gereja hari ini, pengetahuan kita tentang sejarah Gereja perlulah diperbaik kerana dua sebab.

Pertama, kita yang berada di Barat dimana Injil telah mempengaruhi masyarakat dan budaya, selalu lupa bahawa betapa majmuknya gereja awal pada abad pertama. Dalam zaman kita hari ini, kita berhadapan dengan implikasi hidup dan pengkhabaran berita baik dalam masyarakat pascamoden, pasca-kristian, dan budaya pluralistik.

Tetapi kita seringkali lupa bahawa dalam usia awal gereja, apabila berita baik disebarkan daripada Yerusalem ke Yudea dan ke hujung dunia, ia diperkhabarkan dalam budaya yang sangat majmuk dari segi falsafah dan agama dalam dunia Yunani-Rom, seperti zaman kita pada hari ini. Kita tidak perlu terkejut apabila isu-isu yang kita hadapi hari ini, contohnya interaksi dengan agama-agama lain, bagaimana kita mempertahankan kebenaran Injil kepada mereka yang tidak percaya atau mereka yang datang daripad worldview (pandangan dunia) yang berlainan, ataupun bagaimana untuk mengamalkan ajaran Kristus dalam masyarkakat yang pagan dan korup.

Sejarah boleh mengajar kita apabila kita menghadapi situasi serupa. Walaupun budaya dunia Yunani-Rom adalah pra-kristian manakala budaya masa kini adalah pasca-kristian (ini membangkitkan isu-isu yang baru yang tidak dihadapi oleh gereja awal), tetapi gereja awal mempunyai banyak pengalaman yang boleh dikongsi untuk hidup dan mengkhabarkan berita baik dengan setia.

nicaea-council Keduanya, adalah penting juga agar kita mengingati era Bapa-bapa Gereja dalam cabaran-cabaran bidaah terhadap doktrin-doktrin utama agama Kristian, khususnya dalam ajaran tentang Trinitas dan Kristus. Perhimpunan-perhimpunan gereja awal, telah membentukkan rukun-rukun iman yang berdasarkan Alkitab tetapi jika kita mengabaikan perhimpunan-perhimpunan tersebut, kita akan rugi. Banyak daripada bidaah-bidaah awal yang telah ditentang oleh perhimpunan-perhimpunan tersebut – seperti Arianisme, Modalisme, Adoptionisme, Apollinarianisme, Gnosticisme dan sebagainya, masih lagi wujud pada hari ini.

Jika bukan kerana usaha keras, penghayatan teologi dan pengorbanan individu serta usaha berterusan bapa-bapa gereja dan ahli teologi seperti Irenaeus, Athanasius, Augustine, Jerome, Cyril dan banyak lagi, pemahaman kita tentang rukun-rukun iman tersebut akan berkurangan. Sesungguhnya, kita bergantung terhadap bahu mereka dan kita menghormati mereka dengan belajar tentang mereka, mendekati ajaran-ajaran mereja dan cuba mempraktikkan ajaran mereka berdasarkan Alkitab pada hari ini…

Pengetahuan tentang sejarah gereja bukan sahaja membolehkan kita peka terhadap perkembangan semasa yang telahpun bermula dari zaman lampau lagi, tetapi membantu kita untuk mengamalkan dan mengkhabarkan berita baik dengan setia pada hari ini, untuk kemuliaan Tuhan dan untuk faedah kita sendiri."

Diterjemah dan diadaptasi daripada Stephen J. Wellum, "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants", Southern Baptist Journal of Theology.