Monthly Archives: November 2018

Upon This Rock

November 2018 Credo

At about the middle of the Gospel of Matthew, we find the famous account of the conversation that Jesus had with his disciples at Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16). In that incident, which took place just before his transfiguration, Jesus asked his disciples two questions.

The first question was: ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ The disciples readily supplied Jesus with a list of public opinions about him – John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, one of the prophets (16:13-14).

In the second question, Jesus wished to discover the views of his disciples who had accompanied him for several years and had personally witnessed his ministry. There can be no doubt that Jesus had expected a different answer from them.

Peter, impetuous as ever, blurted out the answer: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (16:16). Neither Peter nor the disciples realised that that reply was in fact revelation-enabled. This was only disclosed in Jesus’ response: ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven’.

Then, Jesus said these the remarkable words that have become the subject of one of the longest debates in the history of the Church: ‘And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (16:18).

What did Jesus mean by the metaphor of the ‘rock’? Does the rock in this context refer to a person (or indeed to several persons), or does it refer to something else?

The Roman Catholic Church adamantly maintains that ‘the rock’ refers to Peter himself, whom it regards as the chief apostle, the first among equals. Thus, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (para 880), we find this unequivocal statement: ‘When Christ instituted the Twelve, he constituted them in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from among them’.

The exclusive place of Peter as the head of the Church is also clearly articulated in the Catechism. ‘The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the “rock” of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock’ (para 881).

Consequently, it is the Roman pontiff who must be seen as Peter’s successor: ‘The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter’s successor, is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful’ (para 882).

The view that the Roman Pope is Peter’s successor and the theology of apostolic succession it spawns is uniquely that of the Roman Catholic Church, not shared by the other traditions.

The great 16th century reformer, Martin Luther, categorically rejected the Roman Catholic interpretation and insisted that ‘the rock’ refers not to Peter but to Christ himself.

In his comments on this Matthean passage, Luther insists that the ‘rock’ must refer to a ‘living, spiritual rock’. He therefore concludes: ‘“Church” must be a spiritual, living congregation, yes, living in such fashion that it all lives eternally. So this rock is now the Son of God, Jesus Christ, alone and no one else, [and] concerning whom the Scripture is full, and we Christians know well’.

In his commentary on Matthew 16, John Calvin also rejects the Roman Catholic interpretation. However, Calvin is of the view that ‘the rock’ does refer to Peter, and appears to give more weight to Peter’s apostolic office. But at the most fundamental level, Calvin puts emphasis on the faith of Peter, expressed in his great confession and shared by all who believe.

On the metaphor of the rock, Calvin could therefore write: ‘From this it appears how the name Peter belongs both to Peter and to other believers; that is, founded on the faith of Christ they are fitted in a holy concord into the spiritual building, so that God may dwell in their midst’.

The interpretation of the Reformers can he traced to the early fathers of the Church. Like the Reformers, the Patristic theologians did not interpret the metaphor in line with the Roman Catholic doctrine. Space allows us to consider only two examples, Origen and Augustine.

Origen, the head of a catechetical school in Alexandria in the first half of the third century, was a theologian of enormous intellect. More importantly, his interpretation of Matthew 16:18 became normative for the fathers of the Eastern Church.

Origen maintains that the rock in the Matthean passage does refer to Peter, but not in the Roman Catholic sense. Peter, for Origen, represents all true believers in Christ.

Thus, Origen could write in his commentary on Matthew 16:18: ‘And if we too have said like Peter, “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God’ … we become a Peter, and to us there might be said by the Word, “Thou are Peter”, etc’.

Augustine, who is without doubt one of the most important theologians in Latin Christianity, wrote more comments on Matthew 16:18 than any other Church father. Initially, Augustine interpreted the rock as Peter, but soon changed his mind.

For the remainder of his ministry as a theologian and bishop, Augustine maintained that the rock is not Peter but Christ, or Peter’s confession about Christ. Following the fathers of the Church who came before him, Augustine interpreted Matthew 16:18 on the basis of 1 Corinthians 10:4, where Paul explicitly states that ‘the Rock was Christ’.

In contrast to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church promulgated after him, Augustine did not see Peter as occupying a privileged position even though he acknowledged the special honour that Rome enjoys.

Summarising Augustine’s ecclesiology with regard to this issue, Karl Morrison writes: ‘Peter was said to have received the power of the keys, not in his own right, but as a representative of the entire Church. Without contesting Rome’s primacy of honour, St. Augustine held that all the Apostles, and all their successors, the bishops, shared equally in the powers which Christ granted St. Peter’.

Christ is the only foundation of the Church, the rock upon which she is established. As long as the Church remains faithful to Christ, ‘the gates of hell will not prevail against it’, as her Lord had promised (Matthew 16:19).


 

Dr Roland Chia is Chew Hock Hin Professor of Christian Doctrine at Trinity Theological College and Theological and Research Advisor for the Ethos Institute for Public Christianity.

Difficult Love

November 2018 Pulse

In 2017, ISIS detonated bombs at two Coptic churches in Egypt during their Palm Sunday services that killed at least 45 worshippers.

The first explosion, which killed 27 people and injured 78, took place in the Mar Girgis church located in the city of Tanta, about 90 km from Cairo. The second explosion took place three hours later at St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church, killing 18 and wounding 35.

Days after the incident, a journalist spoke to the widow of Mr Naseem Faheem, the Christian guard who was killed at St Mark’s Church. “I’m not angry at the one who did this”, she said, with her children by her side. “I’m telling him, ‘May God forgive you, and we also forgive you. Believe me, we forgive you.’ ”

Mr Amir Adeed, arguably the most prominent talk show host in Egypt, was stunned when he heard what the widow said. “How great is this forgiveness you have!”, Amir exclaimed, his voice cracking. “If it were my father, I could never say this. But this is their faith and religious conviction.”

Naseem’s humble widow embodies and so profoundly exemplifies that radical self-forgetting love that the Bible calls agape.

There are a number of passages in Scripture with the injunction for Christians to love their neighbours, including their enemies:

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28, NIV)

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” (Romans 12:14)

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing…” (1 Peter 3:9, NIV)

Agape is a difficult love. It calls us to do something that clearly goes against our inclinations. By calling us to love our enemies, the very people who hate us and who have either done us harm or wish to do so, agape stretches human love beyond its limits.

The American Catholic social activist Dorothy Day, who has poured out her life to serve the poor and disenfranchised, confronts the impossible possibility of such love with undisguised honesty.

“All men are brothers,” she wrote, “but how to love your brother or sister when they are sunk in ugliness, foulness, and degradation, so that all the senses are affronted? How to love when the adversary shows a face to you of implacable hatred, or just cold loathing?”

The command to love our enemies is a call to love in the way God loves. In Paul’s epistle to the Romans, he tells us that while we were sinners (i.e., God’s enemies – see Romans 5:10), God showed His love through the sacrificial death of Christ (Romans 5:8). On the cross of Calvary, Jesus prayed that God the Father would forgive the people who tortured and crucified Him (Luke 23:34).

Thus, in loving an adversary who emanates only “implacable hated” or “cold loathing”, we reflect in our lives the very ‘agapic’ love of God.

Approached from another angle, in loving others in this way, we become more human, for to be human is to be the bearer of the image and likeness of God.

But is such love even possible? Naseem’s widow has clearly demonstrated to us that it is. Agape is possible because of the power of the Spirit who dwells in us.

Following the approach exemplified by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Dorothy suggests that we could begin to love in this way by seeing Jesus in the other. “Jesus is disguised and masked in the midst of men, hidden among the poor, among the sick, among the prisoners, among strangers,” she wrote, no doubt with Matthew 25:35 in mind.

But decades of selfless service to the poor and marginalised have disabused Dorothy of all puerile idealism. ‘Agapic’ love is never easy, and very often she feels that her “love is too small”.

But Dorothy recognises that the Bible commands such love, and obedience requires nothing less than a strenuous act of will. In her book, On Pilgrimage, she put this again in manifest honesty: “If you will to love someone, you soon do… It depends on how hard you try.”

For Dorothy – as it should be for all Christians – loving our neighbour is not an option for those who have themselves received the forgiveness and love of God. It is a responsibility.


 

Dr Roland Chia is Chew Hock Hin Professor of Christian Doctrine at Trinity Theological College and Theological and Research Advisor for the Ethos Institute for Public Christianity.

Miracles

November 2018 Credo

Even the most casual reader of the Gospels will be struck by the many stories of miracles they tell.

On page after page, the Gospel writers describe Jesus cleansing the leper, opening the ears of the deaf, giving sight to the blind and even raising the dead. There are stories of Jesus turning water into wine, multiplying loaves of bread and fish to feed the hungry multitudes and calming the raging storm.

Should Christians today take these stories of miracles seriously? Can Christians who inhabit a world that is so vastly different from the writers of the Gospels – informed and shaped as they are by the scientific worldview – still believe in miracles?

Many have replied these questions with an emphatic ‘No’.

The 19th century Scottish philosopher and essayist, David Hume, is an example of a modern skeptic whose vision of reality is shaped by the natural sciences. Defining miracle as ‘a violation of the laws of nature’ or ‘a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity’, Hume argues that it is unreasonable to believe that miracles are possible because they fly in the face our standard notions of how the world works.

Thus, in his celebrated An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding Hume writes: ‘as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws [of nature], the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined’.

The positivists in that century, influenced by the reductionisms of modern science, argued that belief in miracles belonged to a stage of human development in which the dominant vision of reality was shot through with the supernatural. Describing this phase as ‘theological’ these positivist philosophers went on to assert that humankind has now entered a new phase in which knowledge of the world is established on empirical facts obtained by the scientific method, not superstition.

Consequently, Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) famously postulated that belief in God and the supernatural are simply objectified (and personified) projections of basic human desires. And Levi Strauss (1808-1874) suggested that the Incarnation and miracles are just mythological images conjured by primitive people.

In his attempt to reconcile Christianity with science F. D. E. Schleiermacher, who is christened as the ‘father of modern theology’, maintains that the only miracle is the act of God in sustaining the world he has created. All other lesser ‘miracles’, according to Schleiermacher, are just extraordinary events that science will eventually be able to explain.

Bewitched by the explanatory power of the natural sciences, many modern thinkers accuse Christians who believe in miracles of fabricating a ‘god of the gaps’. Christians attribute to divine agency the extraordinary phenomena or occurrences for which science has yet to provide satisfactory explanations. But the ‘god of the gaps’ will shrink – and perhaps one day he may even disappear – as science narrows the gap, so to speak, by providing ever more comprehensive accounts of natural phenomenon.

It is crucial to note, however, that the rejection of miracles is based on a certain view of science and a certain power that we have given to it, a power that it does not in fact possess. We have placed our hope in science’s omnicompetence – its ability to penetrate the depths of reality, and its ability to explain everything.

This hope is misplaced. In his book entitled, The Limits of Science Sir Peter Medawar, the Nobel Prize winner (and atheist) offers a sober (and sobering) estimate of science, its possibilities and its limits. ‘That there is indeed a limit upon science’, writes Medawar, ‘is made very likely by the existence of questions that science cannot answer and that no conceivable advance of science would empower it to answer’.

Theologian and scientist John Polkinghorne has perceptively pointed out that ‘no one lives as if science is enough’. This means that everyone knows that reality has a depth and breath that science is simply unable to reach. It has a profundity that science simply cannot fathom. Positivists, secularists, and atheists (including the new atheists) would all agree to this, if only they chose to be honest to themselves.

Miracles not only point to those depths inaccessible to science, they point more significantly to the God who is at work in this world.

The New Testament describes miracles as ‘a wonder’ (Gk: teras), an ‘act of power’ (Gk: dunamis) and a ‘sign’ (Gk: semeion). Theologian James Oliver Buswell offers this concise but comprehensive definition of a miracle in the biblical sense. A miracle is (1) an extraordinary event that cannot be explained on the basis of natural laws, (2) an event that causes the observers to conclude that God is at work, and (3) an event that points to a reality much greater than itself.

Even Christians who believe in miracles sometimes miss their true significative purpose. In the Bible, miracles, signs and wonders are never ends in themselves, but point to a greater reality.

Miracles in the Bible signals the presence of the kingdom of God that Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, came to inaugurate. In Matthew 12:28, Jesus said: ‘But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you’.

In sending the twelve apostles to preach the good news, Jesus instructed them thus: ‘And proclaim as you go, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand”. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons’ (Matthew 10:7-8).

Miracles are a sign that the kingdom of God has come into our world through the incarnate Son. They are a pledge and foretaste of the blessings to come when God’s inaugurated kingdom will be fully consummated when the risen and ascended Christ returns.


 

Dr Roland Chia is Chew Hock Hin Professor of Christian Doctrine at Trinity Theological College and Theological and Research Advisor for the Ethos Institute for Public Christianity.

On Sound Bites and Silence

November 2018 Feature

During the mid-autumn festival, my sister-in-law received a box of mooncakes from a property developer who was constructing a sky-scrapper office building right beside her apartment complex. Instead of going over the moon with the gift, she filed a complaint to the developer for noise pollution. The reason: work on the project has been going on into the wee hours of the morning almost daily, bringing with it an incessant humdrum of construction activity and noise pollution.

The problem of noise pollution has, in fact, become a major global concern. A report by the World Economic Forum in March, 2017, lists cities with the worst noise pollution. Among them are Guangzhou, Delhi, Cairo, Mumbai, Istanbul and Beijing. The problem is so bad in these cities that it is affecting their hearing. Singapore received a Worldwide Hearing Index rating of 1.08, putting us in the middle of the scale of fifty cities tested for noise pollution.

While you may not have to deal with a construction project right beside your home, the probability that you are regularly confronted with excessive noise of one form or another is quite high. It can be noise from the traffic, road works, your own television set and radio or, if you live near an airbase, the sound of military fighter jets booming over your home. Whatever the source, it is not too far-fetched to say that we are daily inundated by noise.

Unfortunately, some have gotten so used to living with noise that they seem not to be able to live without it! The common sight of people walking with headphones or earpieces is testimony to it. Yet, being constantly exposed to noise has dire consequences. A brochure by the National Addictions Management Service in Singapore lists noise as a major contributor to stress-related illnesses such as anxiety and insomnia. Prolonged exposure to noise is detrimental to our health. Over time, we lose the ability to hear not only sound but also our own thoughts and emotions. We lose touch with ourselves.

Sadly, many do not know how to be quiet despite knowing the benefits of silence. They dare not retreat into it, for sheer silence seem deafening to them. Yet, the practice of silence is not only good for our physical, emotional and mental health, it is especially important to our relationship with God.

I wish to highlight some benefits that the practice of silence brings to our relationship with God–and with others.

The Greek word for silence we wish to consider is hésychia. It describes that God-produced calm which includes an inner tranquillity that supports appropriate action (J. Thayer). We notice two aspects here. First, the calm that comes through the practice of silence is produced by God. It is an inner tranquillity. In other words, it is a peace that is much deeper than just the absence of noise. It is the inner assurance of God’s control over the chaos of life which sets us at peace–that which the psalmist echoes in Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God.”

This understanding of silence is primarily God-focused. Going into silence, we learn to wait, to watch and to listen to God. As such, the practice of silence revolves around the Word and the works of God. The Word, as we find it in Scripture, both precedes and follows our practice of silence. We enter into silence aware that we come before God (Hab. 2:20). We read the Word and ponder over it; we sit quietly to listen to it as to God (Ps 119: 15-16).

As we do, the Word of God searches our minds and hearts. Through the Holy Spirit, God works to clarify our thoughts and align them with his. We become more aware of our anxieties. We ask God to address them and remind us of his promises. We also begin to be more aware of our heart’s desires and motivations. We ask God to purify and guide them, to align them with his purposes. In silence, God begins to deliver us from the harassment of our anxious thoughts and devious hearts and guides us into life in Jesus Christ.

As theologian Gordon Smith affirms, “It is in the silence that we meet and hear Christ and attend to the inner witness of his Spirit through the Word of God–not only the inscripturated Word in the Bible, but also the specific Word of God speaking into the particular circumstances of our lives.”

This brings us to the second aspect of Thayer’s definition: the appropriate action that stems from inner tranquillity. Silence is not the same as passivity; rather, it is the depth from which arises an appropriate word or action. We become less reactive to external stimuli but more able to respond from an inner solitude forged by God. We are more alert to what God is doing—and wants us to do. God purifies our minds and hearts and enables us to relate better to others. This is a fruit of silence.

As the desert fathers say, silence is both the first duty of life and the first duty of love. As the first duty of love, it is the first requirement for survival within community. In other words, silence reaps not only the fruit of greater ability to hear God–and ourselves—it also enables us to better hear and respond to others.

The desert father, Abba Poemen said, “Someone may seem to be silent, but if in the heart one is condemning others, then one is babbling ceaselessly. And there may be another who talks from morning till evening, and yet in the heart that person is truly silent. That person says nothing that is not profitable.”

The practice of silence is sorely needed in a world polluted by noise. It not only rescues us from the destructiveness of excessive noise but releases us into the serenity of life in God. It helps us not only to hear and follow God but also to hear and love our neighbour.



Rev Dr Jimmy Tan is lecturer of Pastoral and Practical Theology at Trinity Theological College and an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in Singapore.

Normalizing Homosexuality: How Should Christians Respond?

November 2018 Pulse

Reader’s Question: How should Christians respond to the attempts to normalize same-sex relationships?

Without a doubt, the LGBT advocacy movement may be said to be one of the most successful in modern history. Within a short space of fifty to sixty years (slightly beyond one generation), we have seen the seismic shift in cultural sensibilities, from viewing homosexual behaviour as a reprehensible taboo to legalizing same-sex marriage.

These winds of change are not only blowing in liberal societies in the West, but are also felt in more conservative countries in Asia. The ruling of the Taiwanese Constitutional Court on 24 May 2017 that same-sex couples have the right to marry is a case in point.

LGBT advocates have exerted influence in different sectors of society – education, business, media and even religion – taking full advantage of the internet and social media to advance their agenda. Some have tried to repeal prohibitive laws against homosexual conduct by challenging the constitutionality of such legislations.

The main strategy of these advocates is to convince the world that homosexuality is normal, that people who are same-sex attracted are born that way. Many have appealed to the modern concept of sexual orientation and insist that the genetic and neurological basis for homosexuality is well supported by science.

If homosexual orientation has a biological basis, then discrimination against people with same-sex attraction amounts to bigotry and the infringement of their fundamental rights and liberties – so goes the argument.

How should Christians respond to the obvious agenda of LGBT activists to normalize homosexuality in society? Because of the multi-faceted nature of the LGBT strategy, the Christian response must take different forms and be made at various levels of society.

Church

 We begin with the Church. A recent study conducted by the Ethos Institute for Public Christianity revealed that the majority of church leaders and young adults think that not enough is being done to educate Christians on the LGBT issue.

Pastors and leaders could do more to help members appreciate what the Bible and the Christian tradition teach about sexuality, marriage and family through sermons, seminars and discussion groups. They must also be aware of the work of revisionist scholars who try to show that the Bible only prohibits certain forms of homosexual acts but not faithful homosexual relationships. And they must be able to show how these arguments are fundamentally flawed.

In addition, the church must also engage members who are struggling with same-sex attraction, and create an environment of trust where they can receive prayer, support and encouragement to choose obedience.

The National Council of Churches of Singapore has also played an important role in addressing this issue, and will continue to do so. In 2003, the Council issued a statement that clearly articulates its position on homosexual behavior and current legislations (377A) against such behavior. It also urged the government not to put in place liberal policies that would promote the homosexual lifestyle.

The Council has continued to intermittently address the issue since its 2003 statement whenever it has been necessary to do so.

Parents

Parents have a special responsibility to nurture their children in such a way that they would take the teaching of the Bible and the Church on human sexuality seriously. A number of studies have shown that the home environment and parental guidance play an important role children’s understanding of sexuality.

Parents should be willing to discuss with their children the liberal notions about sexuality that they may encounter in social media and in popular TV networks such as Netflix. They should also take an interest in the books and website articles that their children might be reading.

Education

One of the strategies that LGBT activists employ to normalize homosexuality is to influence public education – its curriculum, policies of inclusivity and ethos. Here, Christians involved in public education at various levels – from ministers to policy makers to principals and teachers – must be especially vigilant.

Parents should also take a special interest in what their children are being taught and the books they are required to read, especially on topics like sexuality and the family.

In Singapore, vendors are engaged by the school or the Ministry of Education to provide sexuality education in public schools. Christian principals and teachers should be aware of the background of the vendors and their views on human sexuality. Parents must likewise be aware of the assumptions and values of the vendors engaged by their children’s schools.

Social Policies

Christians involved in shaping policies should try to prevent the promotion of radical views on sexuality or the gay lifestyle. This includes, for example, granting licenses to operate explicitly gay bars or clubs or to organize big public events that promote the LGBT cause.

Much of the rhetoric for allowing LGBT to organize themselves in ways that make their presence more prominent in society revolves around cherished ideals and values such as inclusivity, equality and rights. For Christians, these values are important, but they must always be tempered by other considerations that are of no less importance, such as morality and the well-being of society.

Here, Christian politicians and civil servants can also play a crucial role in checking the information posted on government websites. For example, in 2014 the Health Promotion Board of Singapore posted its ‘FAQs on Sexuality’ that encourages readers (mostly youths and young adults) to explore their own sexuality.

The FAQs used the Kinsey Scale that originated from Alfred Kinsey, a controversial sex researcher who argued that human sexuality is fluid and therefore cannot be neatly classified as either heterosexual or homosexual. This theory has been refuted by a number of studies that show that human sexuality is not as fluid as Kinsey would have us believe. They indicate that the majority of adults are distinctly heterosexual while a small minority has homosexual or bisexual tendencies.

The National Council of Churches of Singapore flagged this with the authorities. Unfortunately, the reference to the Kinsey Scale has not been removed from the FAQs and the document still promotes a version of the Kinseyan theory of sexuality.

Christian civil servants should try to prevent the publication of materials for public consumption if there is cause to believe that they are either based on dubious science or promoting liberal theories about sexuality.

Politicians

Christian politicians play an important role in preventing the normalization of homosexuality in society. For example, in 2007 when the status of Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalizes male homosexual sex was discussed in Parliament, a number of Christian (and some non-Christian) MPs argued against its repeal.

In his speech in Parliament Christopher de Souza argued that a ‘repeal of 377A will not merely remove an offence. It is much more significant than that. Because of the concept of negative liberty, the removal of section 377A puts homosexual lifestyle on par with heterosexual life. It is to accord both lifestyles a sense of parity’.

De Souza goes on to show the undesirable consequences that the promotion of this lifestyle would have on marriage, spousal rights, adoption, and education. Christian politicians must have the courage to make such arguments even in the face of domestic pressures and global trends.

Conclusion

Much more could of course be said on this important subject. What is offered here is merely a sketch of how Christians at various levels and playing different roles can respond to this threat.

However, Christians must always assert their influence in a civil and respectful manner. Ours is a religiously and ideologically plural society that is subjected to numerous influences. In this multicultural and multi-religious context, the Christian position on this issue (on any issue for that matter) is often reduced to one viewpoint amidst many conflicting and competing opinions.

The church, however, must never be cowered by this. She must always speak the truth clearly, courageously and without compromise. But she must always do so with gentleness and love. But above all, the church must pray for those in authority so that they may always seek the welfare of the nation and not simply act for the sake of political and economic expediency.



Dr Roland Chia is Chew Hock Hin Professor of Christian Doctrine at Trinity Theological College and Theological and Research Advisor for the Ethos Institute for Public Christianity.