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 Statement on Foreign Christian Preachers

The National Council of Churches of Singapore has issued a Statement to Members on Foreign Christian Preachers. Click here to read the statement.

October 2017 Feature Article 

The Seed of the Church

by Michael Fisher

For the seventh year in a row, Asia Bibi, a Christian mother, has spent Christmas in a dark and dingy prison cell in Pakistan.  Isolated from her husband and five children, she has been on death row for allegedly insulting the prophet Muhammad following an argument with a group of Muslim women in a small village in Punjab where she used to live.

During the argument, Bibi reportedly challenged the women by saying, “I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind. What did your Prophet Muhammad ever do to save mankind?” The question drew their ire.

The women gathered a local mob and beat up Asia Bibi. She was subsequently imprisoned for over a year before being formally charged with blasphemy, and has been languishing in prison ever since the incident took place in 2009.

Politicians who have tried to defend her or repeal the controversial law have been threatened, and some assassinated.  Pakistan’s blasphemy law prescribes a fixed death penalty for all those who are found guilty.

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Adam’s Sin and Ours—What Paul Really Said in Romans 5:12

By Dr Brian H. Thomas

Few doctrines of the Christian faith enjoy as much simultaneous empirical confirmation and conceptual confusion as that of original sin.

Despite the universal evidence that all people are sinners, Christians through the ages have struggled to define exactly what original sin means, and to defend it rationally and ethically.

The key text is Romans 5:12: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (NASB, my emphasis).  Theologians have grappled with the Greek phrase eph hō that is rendered above as “because.”

Augustine, influenced by the Latin Vulgate, understood eph hō to mean “in whom,” referring to Adam.  How could this be so?  One explanation was that all of humanity was literally in Adam, in some kind of real physical union such that we were all literally present and participating in Adam’s sin.  It is a moot point whether this makes any kind of sense in terms of metaphysics, human nature, or ethics, because there is a consensus that the Greek eph hō cannot mean “in whom.”

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Wesley Among the Fathers

By Dr Roland Chia

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, is arguably one of the most theologically complex and creative figures in 18th-century England.

Scholars almost unanimously agree that it would be a misnomer to describe Wesley as a “systematic theologian” because of the disparate and somewhat diffused character of his corpus. But to give Wesley the polite designation of “practical theologian”, as some scholars are wont to do, is not only to create a distorting caricature but also to be scathingly dismissive of his theological genius.

To be sure, Wesley’s overall theological approach has proved very difficult to classify, making it frustratingly challenging to “locate” him in the Christian tradition. To simply pigeonhole Wesley’s theology as “Anglican”, or “Arminian”, or even “Protestant” is to reduce the polyphonic character of his thought to a dull monotone.

Wesley scholars are beginning to appreciate Wesley’s creative retrieval of some of the most important insights of the early Church Fathers, especially the theologians who wrote before the Council of Nicaea that took place in A.D. 325.

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Suggest a Topic!

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 

Upcoming Events

  • 28 Aug 2018 - ETHOS Conference 2018: Theological Education in Singapore: Retrospect and Prospect
    in collaboration with Baptist Theological Seminary, Biblical Graduate School of Theology, Discipleship Training Centre, East Asia School of Theology, Singapore Bible College, TCA College & Trinity Theological College
    Venue: Trinity Theological College
    Time: 9am - 5.30pm 
  • 24 Oct 2018 - ETHOS Annual Lecture 2018
    Venue: Trinity Theological College  
    Time: 7.30pm - 9.00pm

Featured Video

The ETHOS Annual Lecture 2016 is now available HERE.