Category: Religion


Remembering the Reformers

This year marks the 500th year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, where on 31 Oct 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the Catholic church in Wittenberg. That sparked a movement that has continued throughout the centuries, and today, our church is a recipient of what the Reformers stood for and sacrificed their lives for.

As much as there were several benefits and results of the Protestant Reformation, two stand out for me. The first was the translation and printing of the English Bible. John Wycliffe and William Tyndale were among the first to translate God’s Word for the purpose of distribution and circulation among the masses, and were amongst many who were burned at the stake for their efforts. We have them and many others to thank for the fact that we are able to have access and able to read the Bible for ourselves. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16)

The other thing that strikes me is the belief in the power of the gospel which many of the Reformers were convicted about. As much as there was value and history of church traditions, reason, Christian experience, Martin Luther believed that as people read God’s Word and God spoke to them through it, they would come to the saving knowledge of God’s grace through the work of the Holy Spirit. Even today, as much as we have great churches and pastors/leaders, each of us have a personal responsibility to read, study and apply God’s word into our lives, and to spread His word and gospel to others, especially the lost. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes … For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith…” (Rom. 1:16-17)

What do you appreciate about the Protestant Reformation? Find some time perhaps this week to reflect on all that God has done through the Reformers, and give thanks for the many blessings and benefits, leading us to live lives worthy of His name and glory.

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(article extracts from Christian Today and Washington Post)

Ten-year-old Michael Keating was taken by his parents to welcome Pope Francis when he arrived in Philadelphia on September 26. According to the Washington Post, the family – all devout Catholics – had not originally planned to bring Michael because of the difficulty in getting him around. At the last minute, though, they decided to go as a whole family.

They stood on the tarmac at Philadelphia International Airport, among thousands of others. Something must have caused them to stand out, though, because as the Pope was driven away, suddenly the car stopped. Francis got out, walked over to the Keatings, and offered Michael a blessing, kissing his head. Michael’s mother, Kristin, said it was “life-changing for our family”


Pope Francis was already in his car, headed away from the Philadelphia airport, when he saw Michael Keating.

The whole family, from Elverson, Pa., was on the tarmac to watch Michael’s father, Chuck Keating, lead the Bishop Shanahan high school band as it was playing for the pope.

The car stopped.

The pope emerged, walked up to Michael in his wheelchair, and blessed the boy, who has severe disabilities.

Michael’s mother Kristin Keating said she could not understand Francis’s words, which were not in English. But she understood the emotion: “Love.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/09/26/pope-francis-saw-a-boy-with-cerebral-palsy-this-is-what-happened-next/

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/100000.raised.for.boywith.cerebral.palsy.blessed.by.pope.francis/67588.htm

A Christian response to …

Here’s a great article by Karina Kreminski on Missio Alliance titled “A Christian response to Iraq and ISIS”.

I shared at our staff devotion this morning from Rom 12.9-21, adapting what Ms Kreminski wrote, on our Christian response to war, persecution, natural disasters and other negative circumstances in the news and all around us.

On 4 Aug 1914, Britain declared war on Germany, a declaration which plunged the nations into WWI. This year, the centenary of WWI, a war which took the lives of around 9 million, is being commemorated by various nations.

This year we commemorate the centenary of the start of the “war to end all wars.” The last veterans have died and the village war memorials, with their tragic lists of the dead, are weathered with age, but war itself is not history and soldiers have not gone away … there are more than 50 conflicts continuing in the world today. As Christians we must not simply ignore or wish them away.

Continue reading

Very interesting infographic about the world’s population, focusing on the Asian part of the 10/40 window.

More than half of the world's population

Some observations by the writer:

  • There are more Muslims in the circle than outside of it.
  • There are more Hindus in the circle than outside of it.
  • There are more Buddhists in the circle than outside of it.
  • The circle pulls all of this off while being mostly water and including the most sparsely populated country on earth (Mongolia).

Read the full article here.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1040351/1/.html
CNA, 27 Feb 2010

SM Goh was the guest-of-honour at the official opening ceremony of the new Bartley Christian Church building. He said

inter-faith harmony in Singapore is active, not passive, meaning religious groups make it a point to stay in touch, allowing them to clear up any misunderstandings that may arise.

and

Singapore is “blessed” because different religious groups are able to co-exist, and because there is inter-faith dialogue … It’s not just passive harmony, but active harmony … We have the Inter-Religious Organisation, where the leaders meet often so that they are in touch with one another, so they are able to very quickly react to any misunderstanding and put things right.

MP Seah Kian Peng added

Let us not forget that our speeches – whether in Parliament, from the pulpit or at community events like these – are heard by many who may not be present at the event. This is, by and large, a good thing … But it also means that we have to be prepared to defend our statements and our views to a larger audience. We can usefully put forward our own positions and views without running others down.

See related articles
Community leaders celebrate racial harmony month with gala dinner (CNA, 10 Jul 10)
Be rational, calm, decisive but do not over-react: Dr Yaacob on ISD detentions (CNA, 10 Jul 10)
Ties among religious leaders remain strong: IRO president (CNA, 06 Jul 10)
Maintaining racial harmony imperative to Singapore’s survival: MFA (CNA, 28 Apr 10)

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