The Herald Weekly Vol XV : 8

Ministry with Evangel B-P and Tangkak B-P Churches, and Evangel Reformed Seminary (ERS)

As you worship God at Herald this morning, whisper a prayer for me as I minister to the brethren at Evangel B-P Church in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. It is a joy to see God establish His Church among the Christians in this Malaysian state. From a humble shophouse, they recently moved into a unit in a newly developed area in PJ, and within the new premises they have also established the Evangel Reformed Seminary. God has been using Rev Dr Lim Yew Cheng, a heart surgeon, to establish this Christian witness in the heart of the country. The newly-ordained minister of the Lord will slowly retire from heart surgery to focus more on God’s work. We thank God for giving Dr Lim the burden of this gospel work. Presently, about 4 full-time students from different countries are pursuing theological studies at ERS. Then there are some who attend the night lectures on week-nights.

In the late Sunday afternoon, a group from Evangel B-P Church will drive down to Tangkak B-P Church in Johore where I will bring God’s Word to the believers there.

Then we will drive back to PJ/KL after the evening service. Thank God for these faithful ones who regularly provide encouragement to the brethren in Tangkak.

From Monday to Friday, I will be conducting a course on Christian Education.

Education comes from the Latin word “educare” which means to train or to educate. Christian education is a discipline with a humanitarian aspect which teaches people about God and Christian life, and develops those individual features given by God to each of us along with general virtues and knowledge to be transmitted from God to humans.

Christian education

  • Recognizes the family-centredness of Christian nurture throughout the Scriptures
  • Reaffirms the centrality of biblical revelation in the educative process
  • Reviews the example of Jesus as teacher, mentor and leader
  • Rekindles the dynamic role of the Holy Spirit in the teaching-learning process
  • Responds to the Great Commission by balancing evangelism and edification ministry
  • Refocuses on education for spiritual growth – producing mature disciples

Adelaide Case states that “Christian education is the effort to make available for our generations – children, young people and adults – the accumulated treasures of Christian life and thought, in such a way that God in Christ may carry on His redemptive work in each human soul and in the common life of man.” (Randolph C Miller, Education for Christian Living).

Christian education is distinguished from secular education in the use of the adjectival descriptor ‘Christian’. It must “have God’s esteem for the human being, since the task concerns a whole-life experience of growth and maturity, and gives opportunity for service to God through experiential action.” (M Lamport, ‘The Hand-Me-Down’ Philosophy: A Challenge to Uniqueness in Christian Education, Christian Education Journal).

Theology (the study of God) is a crucial aspect in Christian education. Often it has been “accused of drifting from orthodox theological training, particularly with regard to the Christian view of human nature and spiritual growth. This drifting is unfortunate, for Christian education is lost unless grounded in biblically based teaching. No matter how much zeal a Christian educator may have, it is of little use without an awareness of the essential theological underpinning of the faith.” (Jim Wilhort in Christian Education and the Search for Meaning). A programme for Christian education is in reality not Christian education unless there is sound theological basis.

There are many reasons for the apparent lack of integration of theology and Christian education. Many tend to keep the functions of Christian education and theology separate. The educational programmes in many local churches fail to disseminate an awareness of basic doctrines such as omnipresence, omnipotence, transcendence, eternity, love, holiness and the sovereignty of God.

To some, going to church is simply a time for only a short worship service and sermon…and nothing more than that. Many are unable to define or describe God, or explain who Christ is. Few are able to describe the Second Coming of Christ or know what Eschatology means, much less explain the purpose and significance of the event.

Importance of Theology

Theology has a preserving task in today’s world of change and turmoil. This is a world of meaning and man needs significance for his existence. Man is searching for answers in the futility and transitoriness of this world, for the meaning of past history and hope of the future. It is in theology that we can grant the deepest and most satisfying help to modern man. Theology is also the measuring rod as it assists one in culling out errors, blind spots, and discrepancies in the educational movements of the church’s ministry. Often, only the pastor is prepared to answer questions on Theology. But, in reality, all who call Jesus Lord of his/her life are teachers of theology, and should be trained to be such. The pastor, director of Christian education, youth director, music director, Sunday School teacher, and every believer is a conveyor of theology.

The Family is the conveyor of theology.

Parents should be major contributors of theology to the young and growing child. The family is the primary agent of Christian education. Parents are the child’s “pastors” and “teachers”. A living Christian faith is taught in the home basically through relationships and conversations between adults and children. Sadly, many parents have relinquished their roles in Christian Education to the Sunday School/Bible class teachers or Youth Fellowship, just as many parents expect the secular schools to teach their children basic values of human life. Christian parents need to teach theology in a young child’s life. A young child’s learning in theology occurs initially in a non-verbal atmosphere and setting. He learns by feeling from the parents’ love verbally as well as non-verbally. He learns to associate the word ‘love’ with parental care. And so it is with other important aspects of Christian life (faith, prayer, etc). The church could do well to prepare parents to be transmitters of Bible truths and theology through their own personal relationship with God.

The role of parents in the children’s education is much emphasized in a Jewish family. God often reminded the Hebrew people to tell their children and their children’s children of the God whom they worshipped, and His great and mighty deeds.

Deut 11:18-19 tells us:”Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.

And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

These are just a few aspects of the course which I will be conducting this week. Do pray for me and the full-time students in the day, and the participants in the night lectures. May God grant all participants a deeper understanding of the responsibility of providing wholesome Christian Education in the homes and in the churches.

May God grant to you and me the deep desire to grow in our knowledge and understanding of Him so that we can become more and more like Him.

Pastor Bob Phee

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