a seminary set on a hill

Thursday, January 9, 2014

First Biblical Studies Seminar 2014

LATEST! stm first biblical studies seminar (BSS) is on the way.

the aim of the BSS is to promote and encourage more people to take up a greater interest in biblical studies as a concentration for study. hopefully, from there we can increase the number of biblical studies scholars in malaysia with more biblical studies lecturers in the seminaries as well as resources persons in each denominational church!

for this one day seminar, our target audience is the following people:-

a] local seminary lecturers teaching biblical studies
b] mth and dth students in biblical studies
c] undergraduate seminarians with interest to pursue biblical studies at postgraduate level
d] church members interested in biblical studies

each year the seminar revolves around a major theme. we will have a main speaker and a few other supporting shorter papers from both OT and NT. there will be a final Q & A session.

this is a full day program from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm. outstation participants may check in on sunday evening and also choose to stay one more night on monday if it is too late for them to leave.

the first biblical studies seminar is targeted for 10th march 2014 (monday).
Title - 'Politics - OT and NT Perspectives'
the three main speakers are already confirmed.


7.30-8.45 am - breakfast
8.45-9.00 am - general welcome by Dr Ezra Kok ; briefing and introduction of speakers by chair - Dr Anthony Loke
9.00-10.10 am - main plenary paper - "Politics from the Book of Ecclesiastes" - Dr Elaine Goh (STM)
10.10-10.30 pm - Respondent: Dr Vincent Ooi (MBTS)
10.30-10.50 am - Q and A session
10.45-11.15 am - tea break
11.15-12.15 noon - subsidiary paper (NT) - "Politics from the Pauline Epistles" - Dr Lim Kar Yong (EFC)
12.15-12.40 pm - Respondent: Dr Ezra Kok (STM)
12.40-1.00 pm - Q and A session
1.00-2.00 pm - lunch
2.00-3.00 pm - subsidiary paper (OT) - "Politics from the OT Prophetic Books" - Dr Anthony Loke (STM)
3.00-3.25 pm - Respondent: Mr Wong Kow Cheong (Baptist)
3.25-3.45 pm - Q and A session
3.30-4.00 pm- Tea Break
4.00-5.00 pm - Panel (chair and 3 main speakers)
5.00 pm - Closing.

Kindly make your registration with the Chair, Anthony (; tel: 06-6322815 (O); 016-9045626 (h/p).
We need to know the number coming for logistics planning and to prepare lunch/tea.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

book review by dr peter lau

book review by dr peter lau.

Kathleen M. Rochester. Prophetic Ministry in Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Contributions to Biblical Exegesis and Theology 65. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 2012. xiv + 261 pp. £46.00.


Kathleen Rochester tutors for North-Western University, South Africa, and is also involved in itinerant ministry in Asia and elsewhere. This book is a revision of her PhD thesis, completed at Durham University. It compares and contrasts the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel in six chapters. An introductory chapter is followed by four chapters discussing different aspects of prophetic ministry, then a conclusion. A bibliography, and author, subject, and Scripture indexes complete the book.
The introductory chapter outlines the aim and methodology of the book. It aims to contribute to the understanding of OT prophecy, in particular its theology. Through a comparison of texts in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Rochester focuses on the texts’ depictions of Yahweh, as well as his interactions with and the roles he gives to each prophet (p. 10). As such, her approach falls within what is known as “theological interpretation of Scripture” (p. 9). The term ‘ministry’ is chosen to describe the work of the prophets as it indicates “service of a subordinate to a divine superior where divine purposes and commands” are authoritative (p. 1). Rochester notes the lack of a comprehensive comparison of the ministries of Jeremiah and Ezekiel in scholarly literature. She aims to help fill this gap by using a canonical approach, reading the books in their final form (p. 5). Just as she works with an ‘implied author’ instead of a ‘historical author’, she also deals with “the texts’ portrayal . . . of each prophet” (p. 7). Nonetheless, the historical and geographical settings found in the books are considered to be significant in evaluating the ministry of the prophets (pp. 8–9).

Sunday, September 1, 2013

book review by dr peter lau

Marty E. Stevens. Leadership Roles of the Old Testament: King, Prophet, Priest, and Sage. Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2012. xii + 122 pp. $17.00.


Stevens teaches biblical studies at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Although this book is a loose sequel to her previous book, Theological Themes of the Old Testament, it can be read as a standalone book (p. x), as it is in this review. The book is aimed at laypeople (church groups, college classrooms, seminary courses; p. x) so there are no footnotes (p. xi). The book contains four chapters, one each for the four leadership roles Stevens identifies in the OT: king, prophet, priest, and sage. Each chapter follows a similar structure: terminology and then a combination of vocation, roles, or duties. A brief list of books for further reading and a Scripture index complete the book.
Chapter 1 outlines the role of an Israelite king, emphasizing the human king’s rule under God, the true King of Israel. The duties of the king are described under the categories of securing the property (physical land and its boundaries), securing the progeny (royal succession), and securing the divine presence (temple and religious rituals). The chapter ends with a helpful discussion of the Israelite kings falling short of their task to “mirror the reign of the Divine King” (p. 28). Mention is made of Jesus the Messiah as the endpoint of a “theological trajectory,” which takes place “in the early Church” (p. 30). Considering the intended audience, clearer links could have been made to the NT, especially how Jesus is the ultimate king in David’s line (e.g., Matt 1:1).
The next chapter discusses the prophetic vocation. This is set on the background of ancient Greek and ancient Near Eastern prophets who speak in the name of the divine (pp. 33–34). The social location of prophets is also described, along with a short section on true and false prophets. Different forms of prophetic speech are outlined, followed by a summary of the prophets’ message: covenant faithfulness, exclusive loyalty, economic injustice, ritual without righteousness, and hope of ultimate salvation. The last element of the prophetic message outlined here focuses on salvation by God’s grace and mercy (pp. 62–63) but does not follow the trajectory through to the ultimate expression and anticipated fulfillment of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ.
Chapter 3 outlines the priestly vocation, which functions as the intermediary between “the divine” and the people. The duties of a priest are described under the headings of sacrifice, purification, divination, and teaching the law. The sections on sacrifice and purification helpfully sketch the different sacrifices, along with the concepts of consecration/profanation and purification/defilement. The section on divination could have been condensed. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the difference between Levitical and Aaronite priests, based on a reconstruction of the historical development of biblical texts (pp. 85–90).
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