Saturday, December 31, 2011

Review of Lim's Life and Ministry of John Sung

Lim Ka-Tong, 2012, The Life and Ministry of John Sung, Singapore: Armour Publishing

This is a timely and much needed book in English on the biography of evangelist John Sung who played such an important part in the revivals in China and South East Asia in the 1930s and 1940s. Unfortunately, John Sung is not well known or even remembered among the contemporary churches in Asia except for a few. Among these are those who actually met Sung and whose lives were changed as a result of that meeting. Even now six decades later, these people can remember Sung clearly and with joy their remembrance of their encounter with God as a result of this meeting.

The last significant biography of John Sung was by Leslie Lyall which was written 50 years ago! Lim Ka-Tong’s biography is a distinctive improvement with more new information from Sung’s diaries and letters. Lim, presently a pastor in Texas, is a graduate of Singapore Bible College, Dallas Theological Seminary and Asbury Theological Seminary. In this book which covers Sung’s early formative years, the short 12 years of ministry and his dying years. Significantly it covers the five phases of his life; water (reimmersion, 1927-1930), door (opening, 1931-1933), dove (time to soar, 1934-1936), blood (wartime spiritual warfare, 1937-1939) and tomb (pastoral years, 1940-1944).

Lim’s book explores the impact of Sung’s ministry in the context of prewar and wartime China and South-East Asia, the Chinese worldviews and Sung’s own personal spiritual development. He does this by answering five questions:
(1)   What shaped John Sung? How did John Sung become John Sung?
(2)   In what ways did contextual elements contribute to the prominence of John Sung’s ministry and his lasting influence?
(3)   How did John Sung’s ministry contribute to the growth and indigenization of Chinese Christianity?
(4)   How did John Sung make such a great impact in so brief a time?
(5)   Why has John Sung been slighted by historical scholarship, despite his pivotal influence on Chinese Christianity?

In this book, Lim has succeeded in helping us to understand this complex and driven servant of God. He shows us the constant struggles Sung had in his spiritual life and his ‘unconditional’ surrender of everything to God. It is a hard lived life of seeking God and seeking his will in making choices. These choices including a life of comfort in the United States or poverty in China, ministerial ‘success’ or itinerary wanderings, theological conservatism (fundamentalist) or liberalism, being a ‘Chinese’ Chinese or a Western educated Chinese, and living a kataphatic or apophatic Christian spirituality. It is a result of these struggles that Sung was able to have such an impact in his ministry.

This is a highly readable and interesting book and a must for all Christians especially for those who want to appreciate the Asian and Chinese Christian heritage.


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Friday, December 30, 2011

Exert Oneself to be a Hero

The lyrics of this song is my new year resolution.

"Exert Oneself to be a Hero" or "A Man should Strive"
(this is the lyrical version of the Wong Fei Hung theme, sung by George Lam for the film "Once Upon a Time in China", starring Jet Li)


defiantly laughing at ten thousand waves (= trials and tribulations) /
with righteous ardour burning hotter than the sun
gall (=courage) forged of iron / bones (=character) of steel
broad-minded and far-sighted
I vow to exert myself to strive to be a hero
to be a great hero, one must exert oneself everyday
the zeal of a man burns hotter than the sun

I gather the power of the skies and the seas / to separate heaven and earth
that I might charge towards my ideals
look at the blue waves high and mighty,
and also at the blue skies broad and wide raising my spirit
as a man of determination

striding boldly with one's chest out, everyone should be a great man
(like beams holding up the nation)
use me to ignite a hundred spirits, shining with a thousand rays
to be a great hero / one's zeal must burn with ardour / brighter than the red sun


Monday, December 19, 2011

Book Gifts from Seminari Theologi Malaysia

It was a pleasant surprise this morning to receive this envelope containing two books by my good friends, Dr Anthony Loke and Dr Tan Jin Huat. This is sent by STM to their friends and partners and I think it is a wonderful Christmas gift.

Thanks, STM!



Monday, December 12, 2011

Wind Beneath My Wings

Wind beneath my Wings
The sanctifying life in the Spirit
Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-23
Dr Alex Tang

  1TH 5:16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

    1TH 5:19 Do not put out the Spirit's fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.

    1TH 5:23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

Sermon statement

The sanctifying work of the Spirit finds its expression in rejoicing, prayer and thanksgiving. We must not quench the Spirit.

read more

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Soul Care: The Art and Science of Spiritual Direction Course

I will be teaching a course on spiritual direction in August 2012 at the Malaysia Bible Seminary at their beautiful Kuang campus.

Course Title

Soul Care: The Art and Science of Spiritual Direction

Course Objectives:
The desired outcomes are that by the end of the course, students are able to
*      develop a biblical and theological basis of Christian spiritual formation and transformation
*      understand the psychospiritual dynamics of spiritual development
*      differentiate between the dynamics of spiritual friendship, mentoring, counseling and spiritual direction
*      listen and cultivate discernment concerning the movements of the Holy Spirit
*      acquire some basic skills in spiritual direction

Course Content
*      Defining spiritual direction and its role in spiritual formation and transformation
*      Biblical and theological foundations of spiritual formation
(concepts from shalom, Trinity, imago dei and missio dei)
*      The psychospiritual dynamics of spiritual development
*      The continuum of soul care: spiritual friendship, discipling, mentoring, coaching, counseling and spiritual direction.
*      The spiritual life of a spiritual director
*      The art of listening
*      Discernment
*      Guidelines in spiritual direction

3 credits

*      Pre-course reading
*      Participation during course
*      One group class presentation
*      One reflection paper
*      One research paper
*      One practicum report paper

If you are interested to attend, please contact MBS at
   Working Days   : Mondays to Fridays
   Off Days           : Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays
   Working Hours : 8 am to 5 pm
Lot 728, Jalan Kundang,
48050 Kuang, Selangor Darul Ehsan,
Mobile Phone: 6012-223 4527
Tel:   03-60371727           
Fax:  03-60371728