Sunday, May 09, 2010

Common Questions About Creation Care

Why care for creation if it is to be destroyed by fire eventually (2 Peter 3:10-13)? Why bother since we'd be whisked away safely in our spirits from this God-forsaken physical planet?

Our Christian duty to be responsible stewards of God’s creation is based on clear biblical instruction in the Creation Mandate and motivated by love for the Creator and love for our neighbors, whose well-being depends very much on a sound ecosystem. (See Dr Leong Tien Fock’s article on Creation Care in this edition of Kairos for more details).

Therefore, it does not ultimately rest on any eschatological debate on whether the present universe will be utterly destroyed and replaced by a new universe created from scratch. It is clear though that the earth as it is now will not remain forever but will pass away.

The passage in 2 Peter 3:6-13 seem to imply that the present world will be subjected to judgment by fire but would ultimately result in the new heaven and the new earth. John Piper writes, “When Revelation 21:1 and 2 Peter 3:10 say that the present earth and heavens will ‘pass away,’ it does not have to mean that they go out of existence, but may mean that there will be such a change in them that their present condition passes away.

We might say, ‘The caterpillar passes away, and the butterfly emerges.’ There is a real passing away, and there is a real continuity, a real connection.”

Through fire, the present universe will be refined, restored, renewed and transformed into the new one. Just as the old world was destroyed by the Flood and the present world arose out of it, so also would the present world be dissolved by fire to give rise to a purified new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:5-7). 

Read on below:

Common Questions Christians Ask About Creation Care

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Malaysia Bible Seminari Experience

Dr Tony Lim asked me to write of my experience as a part time student at MBS so here goes:

As a new Christian believer, I used to think that an intellectual understanding of what and why we believe is not important as long as we have an experiential feeling in our heart! The heart is what you used in a relationship with God but the brain is what you used while studying science, computers, economics and history in school.

This results in a separation of the heart for spiritual stuffs and the mind for secular stuffs. But when that happens, no wonder our faith has so little impact on how we do our work or studies in the world. And no wonder our daily activities outside the church have very little to do with God or the gospel. Yet Scripture tells us: “Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewal of your minds” (Romans 12:2). It doesn’t say “Be transformed by the removal of your minds”!

As I slowly discover that love for God involves all our being (heart, head and hands), I begin to see the value of theology in my own spiritual life and ministry. Together with a group of working adults, I enrolled in Malaysia Bible Seminari (MBS) on part time basis while working as an IT consultant. Despite the challenge of battling traffic jams to attend night classes, the MBS learning experience has been both personally-enriching and ministry-enabling. The able and helpful lecturers equipped me with a biblical framework of creation, sin and redemption through which I have the tools to discern truth from error, right from wrong, beauty from ugliness in contemporary Malaysian life and the world in general. Seminary training is an invaluable resource as I engage with marketplace issues through the blog:

Today, there is an urgent and serious need for the church as a redeemed community to respond to current issues like racism, inter-religious harmony, creation care, globalization and ethics in medical technology. Since the gospel is public truth (not just private experience), we have a responsibility to think and speak biblically in the public square where such practical issues of life are discussed and decided. We cannot address these burning issues in our Malaysian society without faithfully and diligently applying our hearts and minds to connect God’s word with God’s world.

Liberation Theology: The Gospel and Solidarity With The Poor

Although liberation theology is by no means monolithic, certain broad emphases are discernible in how its practitioners understand the function of theological reflection. In contrast with abstract metaphysics that seem disconnected with ordinary life, liberal theologians stressed that theology should proceed in dialectical relationship with the common experience of oppression and poverty. The theologian is not a disinterested and neutral observer.

Rather his or her commitment to the poor against unjust structures which dehumanize God’s children becomes the particular, concrete context for critical reflection on praxis in light of God’s word. Committed action comes first, reflection follows as a second step. An understanding of liberation theology cannot be acquired by mere learning without actively taking the first step of embarking on its path.

Latin American Liberation Theology: The Gospel & Solidarity With The Poor