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.

NCCS' Letter to Churches

NCCS responds to “Singapore pastor apologises to Muslim leaders for US preacher’s alleged statements on Islam".

Click here to read the NCCS’ response.

May 2018 Feature Article

Sola Scriptura: Reality or Rhetoric?

By Dr Calvin Chong


Contrary to what is sometimes taught and believed, the Reformation doctrine of Sola Scriptura doesn’t teach “Scripture good, Tradition bad.” Rejection of church traditions was and is not its goal at all. The Reformation doctrine of Sola Scriptura arose amidst the noise of competing authoritative voices during the medieval ages. These included the writings of church fathers, ancient creeds, papal declarations, liturgical traditions, and pronouncements by theological faculty.

Some of these authoritative sources for guiding faith and practice unfortunately deviated significantly from scripture. Sola Scriptura was thus a doctrine which affirmed that scripture was the supreme source of authority – not the only source of authority – for Christian faith and practice. Whatever was taught, preached, and practiced needed to have good support from scripture and had to arise from good interpretation and understanding of scripture. This affirmation of a high view of scripture is the Reformation’s legacy for the Protestant church.

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May 2018 Credo

James and John (Packer and Wesley on Romans 7)

By Bishop Emeritus Robert Solomon

Some time ago, I read a book on the writings of J. I. Packer. It is Packer on the Christian Life: Knowing God in Christ, Walking by the Spirit  by Sam Storms (Crossway, 2015).

Packer is a writer who has influenced me significantly in my growth as a theologian, pastor and Christian. His deep roots in Anglican theology and liturgy, Puritan spiritual theology, and the evangelical emphasis on the authority of Scripture and the necessity to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ have been greatly helpful to the 20th and 21st century church.

His logical consistency as a systematic theologian, godly way of life and the steadiness of views held over a long period with conviction, together with his wide-ranging writings on the many practical issues related to Christian living have been most useful, and ought to be celebrated by us, especially as Packer has now lost his eyesight and is quite old – he turned 90 on 22 July 2016.

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May 2018 Pulse 

Hospitable Classrooms, Inclusive Society

The Straits Times reported on 4 Nov 2016 that the government would be extending the Compulsory Education Act, which was passed in Parliament in 2000, to special needs children. This will take effect in 2019.

Minister for Education (Schools) Mr Ng Chee Meng said that this is “an important milestone in Singapore’s continuing drive towards national inclusiveness”. He added that it “is a reaffirmation that every child matters, regardless of his or her learning challenges”.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) also gave the assurance that no special needs child will be denied of education because his or her parents are unable to pay the school fees.

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Special Article by Dr Roland Chia 

Darkness Has Become My Companion: Some Reflections on Mental Illness

In 2014, the Institute of Mental Health in Singapore conducted a study involving adult residents aged between18 and 65 years. Entitled, The Mind Matters: A study of Mental Health Literacy this study sought to obtain information about the general population’s recognition and beliefs about mental disorders. The study gathered information on public perception of five common conditions: alcohol abuse, dementia, Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and schizophrenia. In terms of general public awareness and recognition of these disorders, the highest is for dementia (66.3 per cent). In second place was alcohol abuse (57.1 per cent), followed by Major Depressive Disorder (55.2 percent). The poorest recognition was OCD (28.7 per cent) and schizophrenia (11.5 percent). In addition, the study also uncovered considerable social stigma towards mental illness. For example, some opined that people with mental health issues could get better ‘if they wanted to’. Others said that mental illness is a ‘sign of personal weakness’ and that people with mental disorders are ‘unpredictable’.

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Dear Readers,

Every month the ETHOS Institute publishes five articles on a variety of topics on its website. These articles have attracted many readers who find them informative and engaging.

However, we realise that although our articles cover a wide range of subjects, some issues and themes may not have received the attention they deserve.

If you would like us to address a topic or issue that is of interest to you, please write to us by clicking here. We will try our very best to post an article on that topic on our website.

Thank you for supporting the work of ETHOS Institute!

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Dr Roland Chia
Theological and Research Advisor 
ETHOS Institute for Public Christianity 


... your writings and works have built up many aspects of my interior foundation as relating to God’s words and also the meaning of being a Christian.

Ethos reader

The article “Divine Genocide” is extremely helpful and insightful to aid me in my understanding regarding Joshua 's 'brutal' military actions against the Canaanites - in relation to the 'occasional' and 'general' command. Something I will share with my cell members tomorrow evening.

Ethos reader

Very interesting topics and relevant issues in today’s generation.

- Participant of “Justice and the Common Good" Conference.

Excellent overview of ideas and views from all sides of the debate.

- Participant of “Science and the Christian Faith” Conference.

Upcoming Events

  • 11 May 2018 - ETHOS Engagement Series Public Lecture 2018 - Music for the Glory of God
    Speaker: Dr Billy Kristanto
    Venue: Bible House
    Time: 7.30 pm - 9.00 pm
    Click here for details and registration.
  • 29 Sep 2018 - ETHOS Conference 2018
    More details coming soon.
  • 24 Oct 2018 - ETHOS Annual Lecture 2018
    Venue: Trinity Theological College  
    Time: 7.30pm - 9.00pm

Featured Video

ETHOS Conference:
"Science and the Christian Faith" (Session 1, Part 1)
by Dr Brian Thomas

Part 2 and Sessions 2 and 3 of this lecture are available HERE.