Greetings and Happy New Year in the name of our Living God!
It is important for us to recognize our Lord as the Living One as we usher another Chinese New Year. As the year comes and goes, the cycle repeats itself among the ethnic Chinese every twelve years. It is so easy for us to fall back on seeing life as a mundane and endless circle, not knowing or preparing for the truth that God can be and is in fact doing new things. Surrounded by people who considered life as seasonal repetition, the ancient Hebrews thought and lived likewise until they were called by the One Who was, is and is to come — Yahweh, the Living One. Since then they had learnt to read the times and begun to speak of how God worked in the seemingly mundane and endless circle, to show them the promise of life ahead. Thus, the Exodus, the rise of the Dynasty, the building and the fall of the Temple of Solomon, the Babylonian exile, the return from exile, and the building and the fall of the Second Temple all aspire to the coming of the Living God and the redemption of His people and creation. The early Christians inherited this understanding but could see it in a more focused way and from a higher vantage point because of Jesus Christ. In him, life is no longer an endless circle. There are tough times that make life appear endlessly tragic. Yet there are also times when we are too comfortable to aspire to glorious days. In either case, it takes pain, discipline and effort to read and comment on the times, let alone to act.
So how shall we read the times here in Singapore? As another year has just risen from the far horizon and has gently slipped in, are we reading the times and preparing to work with God? It takes effort and discipline to do so. Here, I think the recently released Census 2010 gives us some hints. As consecutive censuses have shown, the Christian population has continually grown from 10.1% of the population in 1980 to 12.7% in 1990, 14.6% in 2000, and 18.4% in the latest census taken in 2010. The increase has taken place mainly among the educated. Data in 2010 Census further indicates that half of permanent residents in Singapore hold a degree. While the Gospel must be preached to all - male and female, young and old, rich and poor, well-educated and less educated - it is a plain fact that we are facing a time when more and more people are better educated than ever, and ready to pose good questions and expect quality answers concerning all aspects of life, including matters of faith. Singapore’s literacy rate is among the top in the region, such is the ethos of the country. The significance of theological education is clear.
So the question is, are we ready to greet this kairos (unusual time)? How are we getting ready to meet this unusual time? No easy or convenient answer can be given; certainly no single church or institution can take on such challenge. It will take effort, teamwork, partnership efforts, and a process to identify, articulate and achieve this goal. At a time like this, BTS needs you and I am convinced that you need BTS as well. BTS will strive to be faithful to the divine call from our Living God to train pastors that would become blessing to churches, and be accountable to churches that have been praying for and aiding us in various aspects. I pray that as partners we would be faithful to our Lord Jesus, ushering in the kairos that God has granted us. I pray that by getting to know you we may strengthen our bond with you, that by visiting this website frequently you would find out how we are faithful to our Lord and what wonderful things He is doing among us.
Praise and Prayer Items:
1. Students — we are grateful that enrollment has reached 50 (18 in the English Program and 32 in the Chinese Program), let’s pray that they may be faithful and humble in their studies and ministry;
2. Site — we are yet to locate a site even though we will have to move from the current site in May. The rise in student population and enrollment makes this need more urgent and concrete;
3. Program — despite the uncertainly of where to move to and lack of hardware, our team has striven to be faithful. In April we will be launching a Doctor of Ministry program in cooperation with Union University (USA). We are presently planning to start Graduate Diploma study programs in the near future.