A Christian think tank formed by the National Council of Churches of Singapore, Trinity Theological College and The Bible Society of Singapore.
Churches in Singapore have to deal with a reality that is unique, compared to many of their counterparts in other countries. Many of the churches here have been built on land that has a leasehold tenure of 30 years (or are located in buildings that have a similar leasehold arrangement). Every 30 years, these churches need to renew their leases to use the space for another 30 years, at the prevailing market rates. The net effect is a financial burden that few churches in other countries have to bear. Based on some estimates, the additional financial commitment necessary to sustain these leases can take up as much as 20% of a church’s annual budget, considering the typical weekly combined worship attendance of between 1,000 and 1,500 worshippers.
Given such burdens, while churches that are sitting on freehold properties can channel much of their funds to useful ministries, other less fortunate churches are constantly on a fund-raising mode to sustain the use of their facilities. Many churches do so with the hope that, once the lease is renewed, their congregations would continue to grow. This would hopefully lessen the financial burden, per capita, for the next lease renewal. However, that hope is also limited by the fact that the church can only accommodate so many additional members on a Sunday, as far as the physical space is concerned. This is quite a sombre language to use in talking about the ministry of the gospel! But it is a stark reality that many churches in Singapore have to grapple with.
August 2018 Credo
By Dr Roland Chia
Secular scholars who write on disability are often critical of religious accounts mostly because of the latter’s allegedly negative approaches. They point out that in Christianity – for example – disability is often associated with sin and divine punishment.
To be sure, there are passages in the Bible that speak of God inflicting disabilities such as blindness as punishment for sin and disobedience. For example, we find in Leviticus clear warnings that disease and disability are some of the dire consequences of idolatry: ‘I will bring upon sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain your life away’ (26: 16).
In similar vein, the Deuteronomist lists insanity and blindness as possible punishment for disobedience: ‘The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind, and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness’ (Deuteronomy 28:28-29).
August 2018 Pulse
By Dr Roland Chia
The Swedish meteorologist working in the UK, Lennart Bengtsson, is without doubt one of the most respected climate scientists in the fraternity. In April 2014, Bengtsson joined the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think tank that raised questions concerning the current ‘consensus’ on climate change based on data.
Bengtsson pointed out that climate change predictions that are based on computer models might not give the true picture of the actual state of global warming. ‘Since the end of the 20th century’, he said, ‘the warming of the Earth has been much weaker than what climate models show’.
Note that Bengtsson did not deny that global warming was occurring. He merely raised the scientifically valid question about the accuracy of model simulations and pointed out that observational results have differed.
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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.
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.
Very interesting topics and relevant issues in today’s generation.
Excellent overview of ideas and views from all sides of the debate.