ETHOS Institute™ for Public Christianity

A Christian think tank formed by the National Council of Churches of Singapore, Trinity Theological College and The Bible Society of Singapore.

Recent NCCS Statements 

  • 5 December 2016 - Protestant Attitudes towards the Departed
    (Click here to read the statement)
  • 17 November 2016 - Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing of IVF Embryos
    (Click here to read the statement.)

Announcement on ETHOS Steering Committee

The new Steering Committee has commenced its two-year term from 25 October 2016 with the President of the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS), Bishop Rennis Ponniah, as the newly appointed Chairman of ETHOS Institute. 

Click here to view Steering Committee.



January 2017 Feature Article 

Common Morality in a World Wounded by Fragmentations

by Rev Dr Daniel Koh Kah Soon

“Get off your moral high horse,” we have heard this phrase thrown by people who think that you have been too demanding when making an ethical judgement or they just do not agree with a stand which you have made. Sometimes this is put differently.

They may appear as a convenient retort, saying “do not impose your moral views on us” usually in an attempt to cut short a conversation on a controversial subject, for example, when dismissing a person who thinks there is valid ground for reviewing the policy on current laws governing abortion.

This kind of reaction is taking an escapist way out of legitimate discussion. It short-circuits calm reasonable debate.

More seriously, however, that kind of attitude may suggest that on matters of morals, it is impossible to find consensus. In other words, morality, to use a phrase borrowed from Alasdair MacIntyre, is too fragmented in our post-enlightenment world that we cannot talk anymore with people who do not share, say, our religious beliefs or world views.

The assertion is that we cannot have any in-depth conversation with those who hold different perspectives on life especially on issues relating to what constitute moral standards deemed to be acceptable for people of differing faiths and those with no religious affiliation.


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What Does it Mean to Uphold Sola Scriptura Today?

by Rev Edmund Fong

Having celebrated Reformation Sunday some weeks back, I find it appropriate to write on one of the chief slogans that encapsulates the essence of what the Reformation was about—Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone). I offer the following theses for our consideration (the reader should be glad to know it is 5 and not 95 theses!)

 1. Sola Scriptura is first and foremost a theological claim: Scripture is the divine discourse of the self-communicative God to his people

A proper grasp of Sola Scriptura, I believe, begins with an assertion of the following theological claim: Scripture is the divine discourse of the self-communicative God to his people.

In turn, this theological claim involves two other key doctrines, that is, our doctrine of God and our doctrine of Scripture.[1] God is seen as the God who desires to communicate, to speak with His people. And Scripture is seen as the text used by God to be the viva vox Dei (living voice of God) to address the people and generate faith and obedience.[2]

This, I submit, is the basic theological claim underlying Sola Scriptura that imbues the slogan with its sense of authority in the first place.


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Is it Ethical?

By Dr Roland Chia

In 2006, in an article published in Methodist Message, I argued that gender dysphoria is a form of mental disorder – a view I still hold today. If this judgement is sound, then far from being a helpful correction to the condition, sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) is in fact collaborating with the illness.

In this article, we focus on a different but not unrelated question. SRS is legal in many countries, including Singapore and Iran (because homosexual acts are punishable by death, homosexuals in Iran are forced to undergo SRS – but that’s another story). Countries like Thailand and South Korea have become international hubs for SRS, attracting medical tourists from across the globe.

SRS may be legal, but is it ethical from the standpoint of medical ethics? To answer this question, we must examine what SRS entails and what benefits (if any) it brings to persons suffering from gender dysphoria.

SRS is a major procedure with significant risks.

SRS for the male involves hormone treatment, the removal of the penis and testes, preparation of genital tissue for the creation of pseudo-vagina, the creation of the pseudo-vagina, opening the urethra, breast implants, silicone implants in the hips and buttocks, and cosmetic surgery.


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Upcoming Events

  • 17 Feb 2017 - ETHOS Engagement Series Public Lecture: 'Kindness: A Moral Argument for the Existence of God'
    by Dr William Wan
    Venue: Bible House Level 4 Seminar Room 
    Time: 7.30pm - 9.00pm
    Click HERE to register
  • 21 March 2017 - The ETHOS Conversation 2017 with Minister Chan Chun Sing and
    Dr Mathew Mathews
    Venue: Bible House Level 5
    Time: 7.30pm - 9.30pm
    Click HERE to register

  • 10 May 2017 - ETHOS Conference on Science and Religion 
    by Dr Brian H. Thomas 
    Venue: Bible House Level 4 Seminar Room 
    Time: 10am - 4pm 
    Registration opening soon. 

Featured Video

The ETHOS Annual Lecture 2016 is now available HERE.