Monday, March 31, 2008

An elephant with horse blinders and Nikes eating ice cream

My onslaught of work shows no sign of abating. I had thought with the deadlines met last Friday, I could breathe a bit today but not a chance. Anyhow, I am still hanging on by eating an elephant, putting on horse blinders, wearing Nike shoes and eating ice-cream with a foot in front.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday spree

I decided to do something we have not done for a long time - spend Sunday afternoon in town. Calvin and I headed to Bangsar Shopping Village after attending church and was greeted with a most pleasant surprise. As we were walking towards the concourse area of the mall, we saw someone playing at the piano. I said to Calvin the one thing I always say to him when we see someone at the piano in the mall - go learn your piano well and next time you can play in malls to earn some pocket money. As we were walking towards the baby grand, I realised the pianist was none other than Colin, Janet Ng's son, whom I blogged about just yesterday, whose book I bought and finished reading just yesterday.

Janet Ng, Harvest of Love, 2005
Janet Ng quit her full-time job to devote her everfy to nurture her visually-impaired son, Colin. Harvest of Love is an inspiring real-life story of how Janet went against all odds to help Colin pursue tertiary education in music in Malaysia where there is hardly any music teacher of facility for visually-disabled students. Born with multiple disabilities in 1983, Colin was not expected to survive beyond one month. Through sheer grit and faith, Janet proved her doctors wrong and managed to raise a talented young man - the first visually impaired person to graduate in music from a Malaysian university-college.

We got permission from Janet to take a video and Calvin took this with my phone camera.

Calvin and I then headed off to lunch and I am not sure what came over me, I started sketching him.

Calvin decided to try sketching too.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

So many good things!

I had such a full day today it may be true that I have enough content for the next one month. Alright, I am exaggerating but it was.

I collected a big box of books from Kar Yong. I had breakfast with him and engaged in bible talk. He agreed to take up a biblical session in my church. I attended a workshop on "Writing Effective Testimonies" by Angela Little. I met Melissa - my first blogger friend meeting. I wrote my first paragraph of a real testimony as a ghostwriter. I met Fung Bo Bo who also attended the workshop. I also met Rosalyn, an ex-colleague. I bought Tony Anthony and Angela Little's Taming the Tiger. I bought Janet Ng's Harvest of Love about her son, Colin. I had a nice chatty dinner with Melissa. I came home and finished reading Harvest of Love. It gripped my heart.

I will write about these in days to come.

At home, I spent some time with Calvin and at bedtime, I read to him Exodus 30 & 31. He was as usual full of questions and this time after reading Exo 30:10 "Aaron shall make atonement on its horns once a year; he shall make atonement on it with the blood of the sin offering of atonement once a year throughout your generations. It is most holy to the LORD," he asked me, "what is atonement?"

I was very tired and I actually ignored his question, and continued reading - shame on me.

"You did not answer my question," he demanded.

I smiled. I relented. "An atonement is when something is put to death in place of us. God has set it as a law that all Israelites, who sinned against God, who in His holiness must die, should take a lamb to be sacrificed in their place, so that God will not be angry anymore. Do you know who the Lamb of God is?"

"The person who offers the lamb?"

"No, the Lamb of God is Jesus himself who became the lamb that died in our place. He did it once and for all, as an atonement for us. Do you then think that you can sin more because Jesus has taken your punishment anyway?"


"Good, and do you have to kill anymore lambs?"



"So I can have lamb chops."

With that, my son went into fits of laughter. You could have seen my face. I put on a mock smirk but found that so hilarious I burst out laughing as well - lamb chops! I had a really good day.


Friday, March 28, 2008

For Whom Would Jesus Vote?

I have been spending time off and on, in keeping up with the current local news in Malaysiakini, as well as reading thoughts and opinions over several blogs. As much as the topic of politics now interest me, I began to also ask questions concerning my stand as a Christian. At this time when I am still asking questions and finding my role, responsiblity and identity as a Christian in the context of government, I was grateful enough not to be put in a position where I had to choose between a Christian MCA candidate and a PAS candidate.

I did a search today and found this article most helpful.

For Whom Would Jesus Vote?
Single-issue politics is neither necessary nor wise.
A Christianity Today Editorial November 2004, Vol. 48, No. 11

It has become a cliché for Christians to ask, What would Jesus do? But as we close out one of the nastiest campaigns in memory, it might be timelier to ask, For whom would Jesus vote? Many Christians think they at least know for whom the Lord would not vote, based on one issue.

In September, Illinois Republican Senate candidate Alan Keyes stated that Jesus would not vote for rising star Democrat Barack Obama, his opponent, because of Obama's earlier vote in the state Senate against a bill requiring doctors to provide medical care to infants born alive after attempted abortions. James I. Lamb, executive director of the pro-life group Lutherans For Life, also thinks he knows. "A candidate who favors abortion should be disqualified from receiving a Christian's vote," Lamb says. "A vote for a pro-abortion candidate implicates the voter in the destruction of children created by God and for whom Jesus died."

Over the summer, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave such single-issue thinking more nuance. In a memo to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C. (McCarrick leads a task force on Catholic politicians), Ratzinger said Catholics may vote for a politician who supports abortion rights if (1) abortion is not the reason for their vote, and (2) they have "proportionate reasons" (in other words, if the candidate's positions on other issues outweigh his or her stand on abortion).

But how do you measure whether a candidate's good on other issues outweighs his or her bad on the question of human life? As Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis said in reaction to the memo, "What is a proportionate reason to justify favoring the taking of an innocent, defenseless human life?" Obviously, no amount of praiseworthy policies on the environment, terrorism, or the economy can atone for the loss of a single human life made in God's image—let alone for the 44 million unborn taken from us since 1973.

However, a vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights does not necessarily translate into more abortions. In some cases, voting for a pro-choice politician may be morally acceptable (especially if the pro-life opponent is otherwise incompetent). Of course, Christians should not vote for abortion ideologues—who reflexively and actively support the destruction of innocent human life at every turn and for every reason—and then claim ignorance.

This summer the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) released a thoughtful draft document titled "For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility." It encourages evangelicals of all political stripes to work together not just for the sanctity of human life, but also for religious freedom, family life, the poor, peacemaking, and creation care. While sanctity-of-life issues will always be of vital interest to Christians, today's context demands that believers engage a broad spectrum of issues.

We continue to believe the classic Christian teaching that abortion is the wrongful taking of innocent human life and a grave sin. We also recognize that many Americans view abortion as sometimes the lesser of two evils, and a complete ban is politically impossible right now. Unfortunately, public opinion tolerating this evil has been remarkably consistent since Roe v. Wade. Last year, 57 percent of Americans said abortion should be legal only under certain circumstances (compared with 54 percent in 1975)—such as to save the life of the mother (88 percent) or to end an unwanted pregnancy (42 percent). Former President Bill Clinton, who apparently never met an abortion restriction he liked, nevertheless captured public sentiment when he said abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare."

As President Bush has said, to make abortion nonexistent, we first need to build a culture of life. Part of that effort surely means educating and making alliances with open-minded pro-choice politicians (those who exist) to work toward reasonable compromise measures, such as parental notification, a ban on partial-birth abortions, funding for ultrasound machines, and waiting periods.

That's the real world of politics. We must make hard choices about using our scarce resources of time and money.

By thinking in terms of single issues, we marginalize ourselves, whether we are Republicans or Democrats, pro-life or pro-choice. A better approach is to think of dominant issues. For most Christians seeking to honor God with their votes, the sanctity of human life is a given. Because of Scripture's clarity on the dignity of human beings, abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, and like issues should be prime concerns for all of us.

But we can't stop there. Jesus is Lord of all. As the NAE statement says, "While individual persons and organizations may rightly concentrate on one or two issues, faithful evangelical civic engagement must champion a biblically balanced agenda."

The dark side of single-issue politics is that it has forced evangelicals to become ever more shrill and ever less imaginative. Dominant-issue politics shows greater promise in addressing our society amid all the pressing issues our society faces, including terrorism, economic justice, church-state relations, gay marriage, embryonic stem-cell research, and so on.

Abortion is a monstrous tragedy for the nation, but our Christian commitment to a culture of life does not permit us the luxury of abandoning other important issues. While single-mindedness in following Christ is always wise, single-issue voting may not be.

Copyright © 2004 Christianity Today.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Don't look

Things are seriously piling up, from all sides, and I am trying not to think. I am a procrastinator, a last-minute person, a perfectionist, I mull, and I ruminate. How in the world am I going to get things done. My one post-it note on my work-stuff is so long it won't fit into my computer screen. Don't look, don't think, just do.

Photo © 2007 Richard Dudley

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I received these in what I call "fwd-emails", which usually go poof! into the recycling bin. However, I looked these through and thought they were brilliant!

Q. What kind of man was Boaz before he married Ruth?
A. Ruthless.

Q. What do they call pastors in Germany ?
A. German Shepherds.

Q. Who was the greatest financier in the Bible?
A. Noah. He was floating his stock while everyone else was in liquidation.

Q.. Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible?
A. Samson. He brought the house down.

Q. Which Bible character had no parents?
A. Joshua, son of Nun.

Anyway, it was not a really good day today and I needed the laughs.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

List of Fives
cc. Melissa, Julia, Kar Yong,
Reb, Kevin, Kansas Bob

Randi Jo tagged me and I thought this should be fun. So here goes:

What was I doing 10 years ago? March 1998
1. I was recuperating from the birth of our son on 20 Feb 1998
2. I was undergoing the confinement period in my in-law’s home
3. I was getting used to having someone to care for
4. I was learning how to bathe a tiny human being
5. I was breastfeeding

5 things on my to-do list today
1. Getting client reports out of the way: I was just commenting that I need a truckload of motivation to get myself moving to work on these reports
2. Drive Calvin to the center for his piano class this evening
3. Kick start on my stalled John assignments and get moving again
4. Did I mention all the reports I have to do?
5. All of the above

Snacks I enjoy
1. Ice cream
2. Cakes - butter, cheese, carrot, chocolate, spice.
3. Chocolate
4. Cheezels!!!
5. Tong sui (literally sugar water, Chinese sweet soups) particularly wheat, peanut, black sesame and black bean … yum yum!

Things I would do if I were a billionaire
1. Build a library, hire a librarian and get all the theological and biblical related books and journals in the world
2. Open a kitchen-soup style restaurant for the old folks and needy
3. Open a restaurant cum cooking school ala Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen
4. Be a sponsor of Seminari Theoloji Malaysia!!! Definitely!!!
5. Invest and get another billion to do more of the above

Five of my bad habits
1. Buying books without a second thought
2. Playing with my hair – this is a really bad one for me
3. Thinking and listening at the same time, and ending up not listening at all, "Sorry, what did you just say?" (Calvin frowning at me now)
4. Reading the first couple of chapters of a book and starting on another thus abandoning the first one I started, or was it the second one already, or third?
5. I sing to myself and when at home, on top of my lungs!

Five places I have lived
1. My life started in Kuala Lumpur
2. I was in Pulau Pinang when I was 1 till I was 3
3. We then moved to Sungai Petani, Kedah, we stayed there till I was 8
4. Then we were in Klang till I was 16
5. I have been back in Kuala Lumpur since then

Five jobs I've had
1. After my Upper 6, I was a temporary English teacher in SMP Taman Petaling; that lasted for about 3 months and it was fun! I remember getting the students to explain in English how to tie a saree with a saree on hand.
2. During my break when I was in university, I worked as a vocational trainee in Diners Club, they made me shred documents and make calls to salvage card members who decided to cancel their cards – in short, I did what the staff there didn’t want to do
3. I worked as a Management Trainee in East Asiatic Company
4. I worked as an assistant in Cycle and Carriage Bintang Bhd
5. There were a few more but here I am, in HR consulting – something I thorough enjoying doing

I Tag
You are not obligated to do this but in the name of comradery, I hope you would:
1. Melissa - it is a great thing to come to know you, looking forward to see you this Saturday!
2. Julia - I know I still owe you a fridge photo!!! I am getting to it ...
3. Kar Yong - since you got out of the other meme! This should be easier, eh? And a test of your wit as well.
4. Reb - I had to tag you, I am quite curious if you are up to it ;) as long as you won't kill the cat
5. Codepoke - I know you are tough one to crack - I am still gearing up to face your onslaught of Calvinism but before that, care to reveal a bit of Kevin-istory?
6. Kansas Bob - I know I am to tag only 5 but I put you in for good measure because you are about the nicest blogger friend I have


Monday, March 24, 2008

Unconcious sins?

SH and I were debating about knowledge of sin in reference to Lev 5:3. I began reading Henri Blocher's Original Sin today and found some very interesting verses.

Psalm 19:12 (NASB)
Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.

1 Corinthians 4:4 (NASB)
For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.

Numbers 15:27-29 (NASB)
27 'Also if one person sins unintentionally, then he shall offer a one year old female goat for a sin offering. 28 'The priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the person who goes astray when he sins unintentionally, making atonement for him that he may be forgiven. 29 'You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the sons of Israel and for the alien who sojourns among them.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday
Christ the Lord is Risen Today!

Mark 16:6
Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Holy Saturday
We will remember the cross

We spent a quiet day today. I am having a headache and a bit worried about tomorrow's line up. We will be having our Easter Service at 6.30am as a Sunrise Service, where SH and I will be transferring our membership officially over. Then I have to rush over to our family church where Grace Notes is helping out the church choir in their Easter Service. We are singing "Mighty Cross, A Celebration of the Tree of Life"*. I am doing a short one-page solo piece entitled, "We Will Remember the Cross". I am freaking out because I keep forgetting the words and it is at my most challenging and weak range: the G and A above the middle-C are my horror notes.

We will remember the cross
Lifted high upon the hill
We will remember His loss
And the blood that's pleading still
O the wonder of his suffering love
And the crown of pain he wore
We will remember the cross of our Lord
(David Baroni and John Chisum)

I need your prayers. But most of all for the message of the mighty cross to be received by the people.


* Created by Don Moen and Tom Hartley, arranged by Dave Williamson

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday
All have sinned

USA Today published today in their website: Has the 'notion of sin' been lost?
By the look of it - notion of sin? - I am afraid it has.

The same subject of sin was brought up at dinner. SH was asking if Lev 5:3 is a principle that confirms that if we do not know that we have sinned, we are not guilty. A plea of ignorance?

Leviticus 5:3 (NIV)
Or if he touches human uncleanness-- anything that would make him unclean-- even though he is unaware of it, when he learns of it he will be guilty.

His line of question is this: if we do not know that we have sinned, have we sinned? Are we guilty? The examples he gave are two. (1) A man who has been indoctrinated since young to rid of one particular race, send thousands of people into gas chambers. He did not know and does not see that he is doing anything wrong because he has been taught from the crib that such and such a people must be eliminated. (2) A baby without the capacity to reason, does not know wrong from right, did something that is evil.

We had quite an animated debate. I brought in the doctrine of justification, that first and foremost, and the fundamental thing of it all, a person needs to be justified by faith. He said I am not answering his question. I brought in the doctrine of the "inherited" original sin as opposed to the "personal" acts of sins, as different categories that should be handled differently and he said all sin is the same. We had to agree to disagree.

Karl Menninger published Whatever Became of Sin? in 1973. The "concept" of sin was steadily evaporating from everyday life. What is sin? How do we understand sin? Speaking from an Asian culture, particularly the Chinese, it is in our mentality that as long as I have not done anything wrong against anyone, I am good: as the saying literally goes, I did not kill, I did not start the fire. The Chinese culturally believes in the original goodness of humankind. And since I am good, I do not need your Jesus.

How then can we explain Romans 3? 10 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." 13 "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit." "The poison of vipers is on their lips." 14 "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." 15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and misery mark their ways, 17 and the way of peace they do not know." 18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."

Mark 15:33-39
33 At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"-- which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" 35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, "Listen, he's calling Elijah." 36 One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down," he said. 37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. 38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!"

As the USA Today article conclude and so I also say, "Without an idea of sin, Easter is meaningless." We need a comeback of the doctrine of sin.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maundy Thursday
At the Garden of Gethsemane

At the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked if the cup can be removed from him, but yet not his will but the will of the Father be done. "It symbolises neither the physical pain of being flogged and crucified, nor the mental distress of being despised and rejected even by his own people, but rather the spiritual agony of bearing the sins of the world, in other words, of enduring the divine judgement which those sins deserved ... in Wisdom literature and the prophets the Lord's 'cup' was a regular symbol of his wrath." (John Stott, The Cross of Christ, 76)

Jesus took on the wrath of God that is meant for us.

At the cross, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34). For far too many times, I was being told and retold that Jesus was reciting Psalms 22:1 without much being reminded of the reason for it being uttered. John Stott himself said that while the people there at the cross at that time misunderstood it, thinking that Jesus was calling for Elijah, many today still misunderstand it. Some suggest that is was a cry of anger, unbelief or despair. Some understood it to be a cry of loneliness. Some said Jesus was uttering a cry of victory, using the first verse of the psalm to represent the whole of the psalm which ends with great confidence and triumph. Some even took it as a simple and straightforward cry of real dereliction. But these are not why Jesus cried out those words.

He called out to the Father - calling Him his God - crying why has He forsaken him - in the darkness, he was alone, he was God-forsaken. As Calvin put it, "If Christ had died only a bodily death, it would have been ineffectual ... Unless his soul shared in the punishment, he would have been the Redeemer of bodies alone." In consequence, "he paid a greater and more excellent price in suffering in his soul the terrible torments of a condemned and forsaken man." So then an actual and dreadful separation took place between the Father and the Son; it was voluntarily accepted by both the Father and the Son; it was due to our sins and their just reward; and Jesus expressed this horror of great darkness, this God-forsakenness - God has reconciled the world to himself in Christ. C.E.B. Cranfield emphasised that Jesus experienced not merely a felt, but a real, abandonment by his Father, but the paradox is that while this God-forsakenness was utterly real, the unity of the Blessed Trinity was even then unbroken. (Stott, 81-82).

I needed so much to be reminded of this. Through the years, the message has somehow became diluted. It has not been taught enough, not been reminded of, not been meditated upon much. My attention was mainly directed to the bodily pains of Christ. The death meant to me just something temporary because after death came resurrection anyway, because Jesus is after all, the Son of the Living God. But now that I am being brought back to the reality of Christ's sacrifice on the cross. He gave up more than his bodily life. He experienced a separation from the Father, with whom he has had eternal communion from everlasting. He experienced the separation that is rightfully ours, for our sake. So that we can be reconciled to God through him. Oh, such is the steadfast love of the Lord.

Just imagine: though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8).

What kind of a God would do that? If you have created something and it turns bad - discard it, no big deal. But we are more than a big deal to God. More than fixing us, he made himself one of us, so that we can be right before God on his account. He died so we may live. He got forsaken so that we may be returned to God, holy and justified, redeemed and made righteous. But first, he has to die.

O Christ, what burdens bowed Thy head!
Our load was laid on Thee;
Thou stoodest in the sinner's stead,
Didst bear all ill for me.
A victim led, Thy blood was shed;
Now there's no load for me.

The Holy One did hide His face;
O Christ, 'twas hid from Thee:
Dumb darkness wrapped Thy soul a space,
The darkness due to me.
But now that face of radiant grace
Shines forth in light on me.

J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 218.

Photo: Jim Caviezel as Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. From The Passion of the Christ

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Holy Wednesday
Jesus is Lord

Carson in his teaching session on Revelations 13 strongly calls for us to lead a life that reflects what Christ has done on the cross - we must live a life that either proclaims that Jesus is Lord or the beast is lord. There are no two ways about it: it is one or the other.

So what have I been doing?

Do I think, say and do things that reflect Christ? Do they testify to the truth that is in Christ? Do I passionately endure and be faithful to the gospel of Christ? Do I bear up under the pressure in faithfulness to display godliness and obedience to the gospel of Christ? How I live bears testimony to who rules my life.

If the answer is no, it is then without a doubt that the beast is lord. The beast is lord if I have tacked God to only when I am free, the beast is lord if I have a need for prayer only when I am in trouble, the beast is lord if do not take pain to think and reflect what the cross means, the beast is lord if I abbreviate the cross to just an ornament I hang around my neck, the beast is lord if I reduce the cross to just a piece of wall fixture in my church.

Indeed, Jesus is Lord: what is my testimony?

Ephesians 2:13-16
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

Photo © 2008 Vivek Chugh

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Holy Tuesday
Jesus of the Scars

Jesus of the Scars
If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow;
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars.

The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place.
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars we claim Thy grace.

If when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,
Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;
We know today what wounds are; have no fear;
Show us Thy Scars; we know the countersign.

The other gods were strong, but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.

by Edward Shillito (1872-1948)

Photo © 2007 Herman Brinkman

Monday, March 17, 2008

Holy Monday
Because of the blood of the Lamb

I was having problems with getting the mp3 player to work properly in my car but I finally got it settled and in good timing too. I did not have anything planned for the Holy Week. Without much of a thought, I proceeded on with the rest of Carson’s mp3s on Revelations 12. As it turns out, the message was a resounding one:

The Evil One has been defeated. He has been thrown down and he is full of fury. He knows his time is short and therefore he is taking the opportunity to pull down as many people as possible. Over the centuries, ever since Jesus' crucifixion on the cross and his glorious resurrection, the Evil One has been actively doing that. But the redeemed in Christ has been defeating him and will continue to overcome him. This is because of three things (Rev 12:11).

Revelation 12:11
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

It is first and foremost, the blood of the Lamb, then it is the word of our testimony and denying of self because of the cross. This is a great challenge for us who are covered by the blood of the Lamb to hold on to our duty to testify for His namesake and present ourselves as sacrifices, to deny ourselves for the sake of Christ.

Revelation 12:12
For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Palm Sunday

We had Mr Selvaraj as our guest speaker today who spoke from Luke 19:28-40. He drew our attention to Jesus, the 3 groups of people and the donkey:

1. Jesus, as the epitome of total submission to the Father's will

Philippians 2:1-11
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

2. The disciples, a confused lot, each with their own personal agenda

John 13:36
Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus answered him, "Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward."

John 14:5
Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?"

John 14:8
Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us."

3. The crowd, emotional and euphoric, whose "Hosannas!" soon evolved into "Crucify Him!"

Luke 19:37-38
37 As he was drawing near - already on the way down the Mount of Olives - the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

Luke 23:20-21
20 Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, 21 but they kept shouting, "Crucify, crucify him!"

4. The religious leaders, who were infused with jealousy

Luke 19:39
And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples."

John 12:19
So the Pharisees said to one another, "You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.

5. The donkey, lowly and humble, ready for Jesus to ride on.

Zechariah 9:9
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

We are to look to Jesus to imitate his submission to the Father. We are to be aware that we may at times be confused like the disciples, with own selfish agendas. We need to realign our focus to the cross. We are to be careful not to be carried away by our feelings and emotions like the crowd but to stand firm on His word, whether we feel like it or not. We are to be careful not to be taken away by jealousy when we see others receiving blessings from God. We need to rejoice with them and share in their joy. And like the donkey, be always readily available for God to use.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Politics 101

I was never interested in politics. I am not sure if I can really pin down all the reasons why but I can say that it mainly has to do with the masquerading two-faced quality of human beings, regardless of which side they are in - what is being said may sound acceptable but usually just on the surface. What goes on with the undercurrents is what we should be vary of at all times, and I find that exhausting to keep up, and so I didn't. Not until this recent elections.

The recent happenings in Malaysian politics is something very significant. It has been 39 years since the racial riots of 1969 that are without a doubt still fresh in the minds of the more senior generations. I grew up being reminded of it by my late grandmother. But that generation has almost passed on. It is highly possible that the younger generations now are not even aware of it. The intensity of the memory has faded. In this current milieu, add on the freedom of press via the internet, Malaysians are more vocal and bold, hence the recent transfer of power.

In my case, you can say I took a crash course in Malaysian politics over the past week. I devoured information akin to a hungry lion. Yet I am still quite dubious of it all. What I hear now can sometimes differ a few hours on. What I am convicted of now is usually overturned by one's later comment. But I suppose that is life: we are after all not omniscient.

A few links I found you may find worth checking out:

Freedom House
Malaysian Elections Represent Step Forward for Democracy
Freedom in the World 2008: Malaysia

The Economist
Malaysia's election: The no-colour revolution

A one week crash course is obviously miniscule, a mere lick of the political arena. I am not sure if this is just a fever for me - I may soon just resign and leave it to the pundits to do their thing. But I think not - the political canvas in Malaysia has practically been ripped off and a new one is being set up, what with the new state governments in Perak, Selangor and Penang. I will be watching - albeit just a nibble here and there.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Justification in the Pauline Corpus: Day 7

We had the final installment of classes on Justification today.

I was a bit disappointed - firstly, I missed the first hour of class because I also have choir practice, about the same time, same day. I did not want to miss practice because for one, Easter is so near and we are not ready and two, more importantly, a choir is a unifying body: merely one member missing is like one part of your body missing. So I decided to turn up half for each - I am not sure if that is a good idea though.

The second thing was that in all the hum of activity lately I forgot to bring my Pillar commentary on Ephesians written by Dr O'Brien for his autograph! How could I?

But I got a picture though, albeit not very good in quality.

For what I got out of attending the second half of class is however, quite important. Dr O'Brien talked quite a bit about justification in our living and preaching. One very important question to ask is after all we have learnt and will learn about justification, grace, righteousness of God in our assignments: would it make a difference in our lives? Would we preach and teach it? How different would we be one year from now?


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Justification in the Pauline Corpus: Day 6

I am taking class in a more relaxed manner come the 6th installment of class, having resigned to the fact that it might be just beyond my abilities to tackle this one head on. I am releasing some stress by affirming myself that I do not have to take this credit if I find that I can't cope, what with 4 assignments still pending, two of John's and two more of Psalm's.

But whatever the case, if I do decide to work on this, I will tackle the assignment on the comparison between E.P. Sander and Paul - on how Sander's views that in Second Temple Judaism gaining "salvation" is described in terms of "covenantal nomism" where one "get in" by grace and "stay in" through obedience to the Torah can be squared against Paul's teaching on salvation. In my opinion, this will pave for me a stronger foundation in the traditional understanding of justification and the New Perspective of Paul, that is, if I decide to tackle this head on.

Nevertheless, today's class was rather interesting - I realised something I hadn't quite thought about before. Dr O'Brien touched on the topic of "Justification and Personal Assurance of Salvation". Midway through, he asked:

Have you ever experience any instances of doubt, after your conversion, of your assurance of salvation?

I frowned a bit, trying to think if I did.


The class was either a bit shy and subdued like most Asians would be, except for a few more vocal Westeners - no one responded to the question.

You mean you are all confident and never had any doubts? You've never actually asked if you were elect?

Several students put their hands up.

I am in trouble here: I really didn't doubt it.

Class continued but I could not shake it off. I kept asking myself if I am missing something here. I admit it - I was not paying much attention there for a while. I then think I realised why - could it be because I am a Methodist, who plainly believed in justification by faith, that as long as I profess Jesus as my Saviour, I am saved. What is then at stake is how I live out my Christian life. On Judgement Day, it will be a matter of whether I am getting crowns or not.

Of course I am simplifying it here - the statement beginning from "I am a Methodist ..." will generate loads of disagreements and questions. But I am merely stating where I am coming from and I recognise that there are still many questions unanswered. But this is basically just why I hadn't doubted my assurance of salvation at all.

But the question is very real to some, and that I now acknowledge.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tears of joy!

I posted this 1 ½ years ago. Just imagine, the last time they had good news was 1 ½ years ago, and they are still hanging onto the Lord and trusting him. I believe there are times, they just want to give up, but they have no one to turn to but God and God has not failed them.

They finally heard the sweetest words they have been waiting for all these years, they have been waiting 5 years in Malaysia to hear it, more if you count the time before they came over here in transit. They are now being issued international passports and all set to fly to Canada, in the next few months. This is wonderful news.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I dare not entitle this post "Justification in the Pauline Corpus: Day 5" with what I am going to post here. I stumbled upon this video some weeks ago and simply loved it. I am putting it here because in a way, I am like that Kiwi trying to wade myself through the myriad theological thoughts and teachings on justification, sanctification, redemption, reconciliation, salvation, propitiation, expiation, imputation, penal substitution and on top of all that the New Perspective on Paul, with not only its own version of justification, sanctification, redemption, reconciliation, salvation, propitiation, expiation, imputation, penal substitution but also Second Temple Judaism and covenantal nomism. Whoa!

Kiwi! © 2006 Dony Permedi
Music by Tim Cassell

Quite dismal to think about it, if I were to build and gather up accolades only to meet my death if they were accomplished for my own purposes. So, God help me.


p/s I was explaining to Calvin how I connected the animation to my drowning in justification, sanctification, redemption, reconciliation, salvation, propitiation, expiation, imputation, penal substitution, and his respond was "and urination". Oh, dear.

p/ss on 25/3/08 It just dawned on me when I reread this - drowning in urination? Eww ...

Monday, March 10, 2008


I was just telling a few people today that I wished I were omnipresent! But what a havoc it would be if God designed us that way. For the fun of it, what do you think would be the worst disaster if we were all omnipresent?


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Worship in Spirit and in Truth

Pastor Chris’ reiterated his call to us to be serious in our worship through his sermon today, “True Worshippers” based on John 4:23-24.

John 4:23-24 (NAU)
23 "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

I remember someone telling me that we usually misinterpret worshipping in spirit and in truth. I cannot remember what it was and if I now perform a simple exegesis by looking at the verses themselves to derive its meaning, I saw it as follows:

Worship Him in Spirit
I have usually taken it to mean to worship him in a spiritual manner. But now I think it is not. If we look at v.20-21, “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.” The reference was to the place of worship rather than the manner of worship. Jesus was referring to the time when he will be glorified, and when the Gospel will be preached to all people, all believers will be able to worship the Father wherever they are, worshipping him in spirit rather than physically in Jerusalem or Mt. Gerizim where the Samaritans worship.

Worship Him in Truth
In terms of worshipping in truth, I have usually taken it to mean that I need to always worship God truthfully and honestly, to mean what I say and what I sing. I can now say that it is not. While it is also true that we must mean what we say and sing, in that context Jesus had meant it differently. In v.22, Jesus said, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” Apparently, the Samaritans only took the Torah as the authentic word of God and therefore had not known God more than what was revealed in the Torah. Jesus told her that she must worship in truth, what is revealed not only through the Laws but the Prophets.

Therefore, the next time I use this phrase or hear this phrase being used, I must bear in mind that when Jesus uttered it, he meant that God seeks for someone who not only worships him in the church on Sundays but everywhere else and he seeks for someone who worships him in his word, to be knowledgeable of his revelatory word.


Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Rakyat has Spoken

It was "Justification in the Pauline Corpus, Day 4" and I found this lecture the most interesting one - touching on imputation of righteousness, justification and works.

But that is definitely eclipsed by Malaysia's 12th election that was held today, nationwide. It is the most exciting watch in my lifetime as a Malaysian citizen and voter. The Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition suffered much in losses even though they have won a simple majority - what with 30 parliament seats, of which they won 29, Sarawak with only a population of 2.4 million (a 2006 estimate), compared to 22 seats in Selangor with a population of 4.8m (a 2007 estimate).

Thank you for giving us up-to-date live reports on the election results and going-ons. The mainstream media is as expected utterly hopeless. I have been also updating myself on what had been happening in the Seputeh parliamentary seat, where I placed my vote in this morning. I have heard about it and seen the "revised" poster after complaints were mounted. Just unbelievable.

Here's what I have been following for the past 9 hours as the results unfolds. I better go to sleep now - I will be definitely late for church tomorrow!

Malaysiakini live coverage - 6.45pm
Due to extremely high traffic to the website, Malaysiakini is providing this stripped-down frontpage as the results come in. This page is divided into two sections - live reports on the left and a score chart for selected hot seats/states on the right. Please click refresh/reload on your browser for the latest updates.
The Malaysiakini team is receiving reports from our journalists on the ground while the ballots are being counted and we will give you the unofficial results as we get them.

Opposition takes lead in key hot seats - 6.47pm
Based on ground reports, DAP candidates are leading in the early stage of the count. Tony Pua is leading by 1,800 votes in Petaling Jaya Utara. Fong Kui Lun is similarly leading by 3,000 votes in Bukit Bintang. Hannah Yeoh is leading the Subang Jaya state seat.
In Klang, DAP's Charles Santiago is also leading at this very early stage. PKR's S Manikavasagam is also in the lead in neighbouring Kapar.

Poor turnout in opposition’s favour? - 6.55pm
A very poor turnout in Taiping, especially among the Malay voters, is expected to cause some problems for incumbent M Kayveas. Similarly poor voter turnout in Selangor's Kapar and Klang, again among Malay voters, could benefit PKR and DAP in both seats.

PKR in unassailable lead in Bukit Tambun - 7.05pm
PKR's Law Choo Kiang has taken an unassailable lead of 1,500 votes for the state seat of Bukit Tambun. This may be the first Penang seat to fall to opposition hands.
Early reports indicate DAP candidates are leading in many Penang state seats.

Latest updates - 7.10pm
- Opposition parties are leading in all key seats in Penang
- Teresa Kok leading by 10,000 votes in Seputeh
- DAP leading both Petaling Jaya Utara state seats
- Edward Lee from DAP leading in Bukit Gasing
- In Sarawak, PKR leading in Limbong and DAP in Bandar Kuching.
- PKR’s Dr Xavier Jayakumar leading in all streams in Kota Raya state seat
- PKR’s Tian Chua leading in Batu by 3,743 votes.

DAP retains Kuching - 7.15pm
DAP’s Chong Chieng Jen has retained Kuching with an increased majority of 10,000 votes according to unofficial results. Chong won the seat in 2004 with a 2,000 majority.

ISA candidate Manoharan wins seat? - 7.20pm
Hindraf leader M Manoharan, who is being held under the Internal Security Act, is reported to have taken the Selangor state seat of Kota Alam Shah (unconfirmed).

Nurul Izzah ahead in 3 out of 14 polling stations - 7.27pm
Nurul Izzah Anwar is leading at three out of 14 polling stations at the Lembah Pantai parliament seat.
Meanwhile, PKR’s Azmin Ali is leading in both the Gombak parliamentary seat and the Bukit Antarabangsa state seat.

Victory parades banned, says police chief - 7.36pm
Police chief Musa Hassan has announced that all political parties are not allowed to hold victory parades after the results are announced. He said this is to prevent ‘untoward incidents’.

Tony Pua increases lead - 7.40pm
In Petaling Jaya Utara, Tony Pua is now leading by 4,000 votes.
DAP also retained its Tanjung parliamentary seat in Penang as well as taking a large lead in all three state seats under that parliamentary seat.
Wee Choo Keong, standing under a PKR ticket, is leading in Wangsa Maju.

Unofficial - Tony Pua wins PJ Utara - 7.45pm
Tony Pua has helped DAP has reclaimed Petaling Jaya Utara.
Meanwhile, Janice Lee has won the state seat of Teratai, which is under the Pandan parliament seat.

Tian Chua leading in Batu - 7.47pm
PKR’s information chief Tian Chua in on the way to cause an upset in Batu by leading Gerakan’s Lim Si Pin by 7,089 votes

PAS retains Kelantan: PAS president press sec - 7.50pm
According to Roslan Shahir Mohd Shahir, who is the press secretary of PAS president Hadi Awang, PAS has unofficially won 31 of the 45 state seats.
He said that PAS' Nasharuddin Mat Isa has beaten Umno's Awang Adek Husin in Bachok. Awang Adek, who is deputy finance minister, also lost in the state seat of Perupok, which is under Bachok.

Kit Siang on the way to win Ipoh Timur - 7.51pm
DAP leader Lim Kit Siang has retained his Ipoh Timur parliamentary seat and his party is also leading in all three state seats - Canning, Tebing Tinggi and Pasir Pinji
Pasir Puteh Utara

Voter turnout tops 70 percent - 7.58pm
At 7.30pm, voter turnout nationwide was reported at 70 percent, but the figure is expected to go up as more information comes in.
Election Commission head Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman.told a press conference in Putrajaya that turnout was highest in Kelantan and Putrajaya (81% each), followed by Terengganu and Perlis (79 percent), Selangor (74 percent) and Pahang (73 percent).
The lowest turnout was for the Federal Territory of Labuan at 59 percent. Generally, about 70-75 percent of voters come out to vote for each general election.

Unofficial: DAP’s Tan Seng Giaw retains Kepong- 7.54pm
The incumbent is leading in all 13 polling stations.

Unofficial: Opposition on the way to take over Penang - 8.01pm
The combined DAP-PKR_PAS opposition is running hot in the state by winning 17 state seats and needing only another four to form the state government.

Teresa Kok retains Seputeh, wins Kinrara - 8.03pm
Incumbent MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok has retained her seat with a huge majority of 20,000 votes. She has also won Kinrara, a state seat under Puchong in Selangor.

Blogger Jeff Ooi has big lead in Jelutong - 8.15pm
DAP’s Jeff Ooi is leading in the Jelutong parliamentary seat and the party is also leading in all three state seats in Jelutong - Datuk Keramat, Sungai Pinang and Batu Lanchang.

Opposition closer to taking Penang - 8.20pm
Having unofficially won 17 of the 40 state seats in Penang, the opposition is currently leading in six other seats with a wide margin. They need to pick up just another four seats to take over government in the island state.

DAP reclaims Kota Melaka - 8.25pm
DAP has won Kota Melaka, a seat which the party lost in 2004.

Sothinathan looks shaky in Teluk Kemang - 8.27pm
As it stands, reports from the ground indicates incumbent K Sothinathan is facing a tough fight against PKR’s Kamarul Baharin Abbas.
Meanwhile Port Dickson’s MIC candidate T Rajagopalu is also facing a tough fight against PKR’s M Ravi and independent Jeeva Kumar Marimuthu.

Ramasamy knocks out Koh in Batu Kawan - 8.29pm
Unofficial - Prof P Ramasamy has defeated outgoing Penang chief minister Koh Tsu Koon by a majority of 3,000 votes. Koh is the most senior BN leader to have lost so far.

MIC Youth chief behind PAS in Kota Raja - 8.35pm
MIC Youth chief SA Vigneswaran is trailing behind PAS candidate Dr Siti Maria Mahmud in the state seat of Kota Raja, which is under the Klang parliamentary seat. Vigneswaran is parliamentary secretary to the Youth and Sports Ministry.

Samy trails by 1,300 votes - 8.32pm
PKR’s Dr D Jeyakumar is presently leading by 1,300 votes in Sungai Siput. However there are sill more than 20,000 votes to be counted. Samy Vellu has been the Sungai Siput MP since 1974. Samy Vellu claims today is his 72nd birthday.

Kit Siang: Political tsunami - 8.39pm
This is from Lim Kit Siang’s blog: here is a political tsunami in the 12th general election, with the Barisan Nasional suffering probably its biggest setback in history. From available reports, DAP has won victories, in some cases with huge majorities, in the following parliamentary seats:
1. Bagan
2. Tanjong
3. Bukit Glugor
4. Ipoh Timur
5. Batu Gajah
6. Petaling Jaya Utara
7. Seputeh
8. Kepong
9. Bukit Bintang
10. Cheras
11. Bandar Kuching
12. Sandakan
13. Segambut
14. Kota Melaka
DAP is leading in the following parliamentary seats:
1. Sarikei
2. Serdang
3. Klang
4. Taiping
5. Beruas
6. Teluk Intan
7. Jelutong
8. Bukit Bendera
9. Batu Kawan
For state assembly seats, DAP has won
1. Subang Jaya
2. Teratai
In Penang, the three state seats of Tanjong and Bagan have also been won by DAP. Other Penang state seats won by DAP are Air Puteh, Prai, Batu Lanchang, Pulau Tikus and leading in all the other state seats contested by DAP. DAP has also won new state seats in Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Johore.
One of the most noted state assembly win is the Sri Tanjong seat of Tawau, Sabah.

Tengku Adnan wins Putrajaya - 8.45pm
Controversial minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor retained his Putrajaya parliamentary seat, where most of the voters are civil servants. He bagged 4,038 votes against PAS Mohd Noor Mohamad's 1,304.

Unofficial: DAP retains Ipoh Barat and three state seats - 8.46pm
Incumbent M Kulasegaran obtained a majority of 1,056 while the three state seats in the parliamentary constituency - Buntong (majority 4,437), Bercham (3,395) and Kepayan (1,382) were also won by DAP.

Confirmed: Opposition takes Penang - 8.52pm
Unofficial result: The opposition will form the next state government in Penang for second time in history. Gerakan, then an opposition party, won Penang almost 40 years ago. The DAP-PKR-PAS combination has collectively won at least 24 seats out of the 40 seats.

Teresa Kok wins with whopping 36,600 majority - 9.02pm
Teresa Kok has won her Seputeh parliamentary seat with an unprecedented 36,564 majority. She also won the Kinrara state seat with a massive 4,901 majority.

Close fight in Terengganu - 9.10pm
Latest report from Terengganu is that Umno and PAS are neck in neck as counting continues in many of the state seats. PAS is said to be leading with eight state seats against Umno's five. At least 17 seats are needed to win the government as there are a total of 32 seats.

Opposition supporters told to stay calm - 9.20pm
DAP MP for Bukit Mertajam Chong Eng has advised all opposition supporters to remain calm and not provoke others. She also said they should refrain from having victory parades.
“The Barisan Rakyat must learn how to handle victory or loss with maturity,” said her statement which comes as early polls result indicate a major swing towards the opposition.

Unofficial: PAS concedes defeat in Terengganu - 9.23pm
According to the state’s director of election Mustafa Ali, the party has conceded defeat in Terengganu, paving the way for BN to retain the state.

PKR candidates leading in KL - 9.25pm
Unofficial result: PKR’s Zuraida Kamaruddin defeated BN’s Azman Wahid in the Ampang parliamentary constituency.
Meanwhile, Khalid Ibrahim has taken both the Bandar Tun Razak parliamentary seat where he contested against MCA’s Tan Chai Ho and the Ijok state seat against Umno’s Mohd Sayuti Said.
PKR vice-president Azmin Ali is leading Umno’s Said Anuar Syed Ahmad in the Gombak parliamentary seat, while Nurul Izzah Anwar is leading in Lembah Pantai against Umno's Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

Unofficial: Nurul creates upset in Lembah Pantai - 9.29pm
According to polling agents, Nurul Izzah looks sets to unseat Shahrizat Abdul Jalil in the Lembah Pantai seat.

PAS bags 15 seats in Kedah - 9.34pm
According to PAS organ Harakah, the opposition party has won 15 of the 36 state seats in Kedah, including seats that were considered Umno strongholds. It needs four more seats to win government.

Kayveas loses at Taiping - 9.40pm
Another BN big gun, PPP's M Kayveas, who is a deputy minister, has lost his Taiping parliament seat. Winner DAP's Nga Hon Ming has told his supporters to have 'zero celebration'.

Recount in Rembau - 9.41pm
A recount is underway in the Rembau parliamentary seat which saw Khairy Jamaluddin taking on PKR’s Badrul Hisham Shaharin.

Unconfirmed: Samy is out - 9.43pm
Unofficial: MIC president S Samy Vellu has suffered a shock defeat at the hands of PSM’s Dr D Jeyakumar for the Sungai Siput parliamentary seat which he has held for nine terms. Jeyakumar polled 16,874 votes to Samy's 14,408. Today is Samy Vellu's 72nd birthday.

IGP: Don’t spread rumours of riots - 9.53pm
Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan tonight warned that ISA will be invoked against those found spreading rumours of riots and urged those receiving such SMSes to report them to the police. Meanwhile, the opposition has urged its supporters to remain calm.

Unofficial: Nurul Izzah beats Shahrizat - 9.55pm
According to ground reports, PKR's Nurul Izzah Anwar, Anwar Ibrahim's daughter, has knocked out Umno minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil at Kuala Lumpur's Lembah Pantai. Today is also International Women's Day.

DAP takes Klang - 10.01pm
Unofficial: DAP candidate Charles Santiago has won the Klang parliament seat with 16,975 votes against MCA's Ch'ng Toh Eng.

KL's Titiwangsa falls to PAS - 10.05pm
Unofficial: PAS' Dr Lo' Lo' Ghazali has won the Titiwangsa parliament seat with a majority of 1,972.

Unofficial: Wan Azizah retains Permatang Pauh - 10.07pm
The PKR president and incumbent has won the seat by a 4,000-vote majority.

Confirmed: Tan Seng Giaw retains Kepong with higher majority - 10.10pm
The six-term DAP incumbent obtained 35, 552 votes to win with a 23,848-vote.

Confirmed: ISA detainee wins with big majority - 10.15pm
Hindraf leader and ISA-detainee M Manoharan, on a DAP ticket, obtained 12,699 votes to win with a 7,184-vote majority the Kota Alam Shah state seat (Selangor).

Human rights lawyer Sivarasa wins Subang - 10.16pm
PKR's R Sivarasa wins the Subang parliamentary seat by a majority of 8,000 votes. The opposition has also picked up the three state seats under Subang - Elizabeth Wong (PKR) in Bukit Lancang, Dr Nasir Mohd Hashim (PKR) in Kota Damansara and Khairudin Othman (PAS) in Paya Jaras.

Unofficial: Zam loses in Sungai Petani - 10.22pm
The information minister has apparently lost Kedah’s Sungai Petani parliamentary seat to PKR’s Johari Abdul by 10,000 votes.

Tsu Koon promises smooth transition - 10.25pm
Former Penang chief minister Dr Koh Tsu Koon has promised a smooth transition of power to the combined opposition of DAP-PKR-PAS, which has taken over the state.
State DAP chief Chow Kom Yeow said this was relayed to him by Koh who is also Gerakan acting president. Speaking at a press conference at Hotel Macalister in Georgetown, Chow said Koh told him that the wishes of the people must be respected. DAP has again appealed to its supporters to remain calm.

Unofficial: Najib wins in Pekan - 10.26pm
Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak retained Pekan with a majority of about 26,000. He defeated PKR rookie Khairul Anwar Ahmad Zainuddin.

BN wins big in Sarawak, only Kuching falls - 10.40pm
BN in Sarawak, with only parliamentary seats being contested, is winning big. Results over RTM as at 10.29pm confirmed that DAP only managed to defend its sole Bandar Kuching seat. BN won Serian, Selangau, Julau, Petra Jaya, Betong, Bandar Sibu, Stampin, Miri and Kota Samarahan comfortably. However, BN only managed to scrap through Sarikei by a 51-vote majority.

Wee Choo Keong takes Wangsa Maju - 10.42pm
Unofficial: Former DAP leader Wee Choo Keong, has won the Wangsa Maju parliament seat in Kuala Lumpur for PKR. He is reported to have won by 500 votes. This will mark the return of the fiery lawyer to Parliament.

Unofficial: MIC deputy president G Palanivel wins slim - 10.44pm
The Hulu Selangor incumbent has won by a mere 100-vote majority.

Unofficial: MIC’s Wanita chief Komala loses in Kapar - 10.45pm
The incumbent parliamentarian is defeated by PKR’s S Manikavasagam by a 3,000-vote majority.

Unofficial: T Mohan defeated in Batu Caves - 10.47pm
MIC’s new face T Mohan has been defeated by Amirudin Shari from the PKR.

Unofficial: Pak Lah wins with reduced majority - 10.48pm
The Barisan Nasional chairperson retains his Kepala Batas by a reduced majority of about 11,000. His majority in 2004 was 18,000.

Confirmed: Opposition takes Kedah - 10.50pm
Both the PAS and PKR have won 22 out of 36 state seats in Kedah. This means that the combined opposition will form the next state government there. Apart from Kedah, the opposition has won two other states - Kelantan and Penang.

Anwar: BN to lose two-thirds majority - 11.02pm
PKR advisor Anwar Ibrahim said tonight that early results from the general election indicated the BN would lose its critical two-thirds majority in parliament.
"We have crossed the one-third majority. This is based on information from the candidates from the initial counting," he told AFP. "This is a major victory... and we are moving up very fast towards (winning) 40 percent (of parliament seats)," he said.

Joseph Pairin trailing brother, DAP may take KK - 11.08pm
BN’s Parti Rakyat Sabah (PBS) president and Sabah caretaker deputy chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan is trailing behind his brother, state deputy PKR chief Dr Jeffrey Kitingan at the Keningau parliamentary seat.
Unconfirmed reports also say DAP has won the the Kota Kinabalu parliamentary seat through its Kota Kinabalu chief Dr Hiew King Chiew.

Latest official tally - 11.33pm
As at 11.20pm, BN has won 52 parliamentary seats, followed by DAP with six, PAS (2) and PKR (2)

Opposition wins 27 state seats in Penang - 11.40pm
The opposition has won 27 out of 40 state seats in Penang - DAP (19 seats), PKR (6) and PAS (2). Of the parliament seats, DAP has seven seats while PKR has three so far.

Abdullah says defeat part of democracy - 11.50pm
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that he accepted defeat in three states - Penang, Kedah and Kelantan - a sizable number of parliament seats. He said that was how democracy works and urged everyone to remain calm and not to celebrate in the streets.

Umno Youth chief Hishammuddin wins - 11.59pm
The Umno Youth chief beats PKR’s Lee Sang by a majority of 11,570.

Confirmed: Both MCA chief and brother win - 11.58pm
MCA president Ong Ka Ting wins the Kulai parliamentary seat while his brother Ka Chuan also wins at Tanjung Malim.

Official: PKR’s Khalid Ibrahim takes Bandar Tun Razak - 12.04pm
PKR’s Abdul Khalid Ibrahim wins the Bandar Tun Razak parliamentary seat beating BN’s Tan Chai Ho by a majority of 2,515 votes. He has also won the state seat of Ijok, which he had lost in a bitterly fought by-election last year.

Guan Eng to be Penang CM - 12.11pm
It is believed that DAP has named party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng as the next chief minister of Penang. DAP won all 19 state seats it contested in Penang with PKR winning six and Pas two. There are 40 state seats in Penang.

Uncounted ballot boxes in Lembah Pantai - 12.12am
There are another 14 ballot boxes that have not been counted in this parliamentary seat, throwing a spanner in the victory achieved by PKR’s Nurul Izzah against incumbent Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

Unofficial: Opposition wins Selangor - 12.25am
Selangor has fallen into the hands of the opposition. PKR has earlier announced that its secretary-general Khalid Ibrahim will be named chief minister. In Selangor, DAP has taken 35 seats (DAP - 15, PKR - 11 and PAS - 9) out of the 56 seats in the state.
Meanwhile, the opposition is also doing very well in Perak but it is still not clear how many of the 59 state seats it has won. The opposition has so far won Penang, Kedah, Selangor and Kelantan.

Official: BN retains Perlis, Johor, Terengganu, Malacca and Negeri Sembilan - 12.28am
The respective state menteris besar officially announced that the BN had retained the state governments in these states.

Official: Wan Azizah retains Permatang Pauh - 12.31am
The incumbent wins the seat with a larger majority of 13,388 votes. She polled in 30,338 as opposed to BN’s Firdaus Ismail’s 16,950. In the three state seats under this constituency, BN took Seberang Jaya while Pas won Permatang Pasir and PKR won Penanti.
Polling agent: Only technical issue to be solved in Lembah Pantai - 12.43am
A technical issue has been blamed for the delay in the delivery of official results from 14 ballot boxes. However, the result will remain the same - a win for Nurul Izzah - with no question of a further count.

Official: Opposition wins big in Kelantan - 12.47am
PAS and PKR won 40 of the 45 state seats in Kelantan, with BN taking the rest. In 2004, the margin was much closer with the opposition having just a one-seat margin against the BN.

Tiger of Jelutong roars in Bukit Gelugor - 12.50am
DAP’s Karpal Singh eats up Koay Kar Huah (BN) with a whopping 21,015 majority.

MCA president shocked by BN losses - 12.58am
MCA president Ong Ka Ting today expressed shock over the election results which saw the ruling Barisan Nasional losing scores of seats to the opposition.
“The results are shocking because there are several states which BN has lost. However, MCA accepts the decision of the voters because it is their right,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
Ong also added that MCA will conduct a detailed study on the defeat.

Confirmed: Guan Eng is the new Penang CM - 1.01am
DAP confirmed today that its secretary general Lim Guan Eng will be the next Penang Chief Minister. He said that DAP would form the state government with PKR. “It will be a government for all Malaysians. We stress that we will not rule alone but together with PKR. We also hope that the PAS can help this new government”.

Opposition may take Perak as well - 1.20am
Unofficial: The opposition is reported to be on the way of winning close to half of the 59 seats in the state. It has so far won 22 seats and it could pick up a few more. However, it is still too close to call.

Khairy: We suffered a lot tonight - 1.25am
Khairy Jamaluddin, who won the Rembau parliamentary with 5,740-vote majority, admitted that the BN suffered a lot in this general election. “This is not the end of this world. We will fight back,” he said.

Mahathir’s son wins in Jerlun - 1.26am
Mukhriz Mahathir obtained a 2,205-vote majority to win the Jerlun parliamentary seat. He obtained 19,424 votes.

MIC Youth leader Vigneswaran suffers heavy defeat - 1.30am
The Kota Raja incumbent Vigneswaran polled in 17,879 votes to PAS’ Siti Mariah’s 38,630, losing by a whopping 20,751-vote majority.

Perak - Tajol Rosli survives - 1.35am
The caretaker Perak menteri besar defeats PKR’s Lee Sing Long by a majority 4,645 to take the Pengkalan Hulu seat.
Meanwhile, DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang retains his parliamentary seat of Ipoh Timur by a massive 21,942 majority. In Kuala Kangsar, Wanita Umno chief Rafidah Aziz polls 10,735, defeating PAS’ Dr Khairuddin Abdul Malik who got 9,277 in Kuala Kangsar.

Opposition claims victory in Perak - 1.50am
The state is still too close to call. However, the opposition claimed that it has won a simple majority in the state. According to PKR state chief Dr Lee Boon Chye, the opposition was victorious 30 out of 59 seats (DAP - 18, PKR - 6, PAS - 6).
But the state Election Commission appears to have suffered a computer glitch, which has delayed the announcement of the results.

Sothinathan loses Teluk Kemang - 2.15am
MIC deputy president S Sothinathan was defeated in the Teluk Kemang parliamentary seat by PKR’s Kamarul Baharain Abbas in a three-cornered fight which also involved an independent candidate.
MIC appears to be the biggest loser with almost all its top leaders axed, including president S Samy Vellu and deputy president G Palanivel. Also shown the exit was its MIC Youth chief SA Vigneswaran and Women’s wing chief P Komala Devi.

EC declares simple majority win for BN - 2.20am
Election Commission chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman says BN has won a simple majority to win the 12th general elections and will form the next federal government.“BN wins the Parliament,” he said in a brief statement at 1:30 am this morning. When asked of the number of seats won by opposition parties at the point of tally, Abdul Rashid said, “Don’t know lah. It is not written here.”

MIC deputy president loses too - 2.22am
G Palanivel loses to PKR’s Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad by a slim margin of 198 votes at the Hulu Selangor parliamentary seat.

Umno leaders in emergency meeting - 2.25am
The mood is grim at the Umno headquarters as the shock results of the today’s polls become apparent. The Putra World Trade Centre which houses the Umno headquarters is unusually quiet with party leaders trickling in slowly. No statements have been made to reporters gathered at the venue as they remain locked in deep discussions upstairs.
The evening saw the arrival of
8:10pm BN secretary-general Radzi Sheikh Ahmad and Azalina Othman
8:53pm Umno Youth leader Hishammudidn Hussein
9:42pm Umno Information Chief Muhd Muhammad Taib
10:15pm Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and wife
11:40pm Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and wife
12:06am Minister of Women and Family Shahrizat Abdul Jalil

Pak Lah to meet King on Monday to form gov’t - 2.25am
In a live TV broadcast caretaker Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says he will seek an audience with the Yang di Pertuan Agong on Monday to form the next federal government following BN’s simple majority win in the 12th general elections.
To a reporter’s question on whether the BN coalition would be denied its two-thirds majority in Parliament, Abdullah said: “This is what the people want if they do not want us to have a two-thirds majority.”
When asked whether the massive lost by BN was a vote of no confidence on the government, he said, "I don't see it that way."

PKR victorious in Kuantan - 2.32am
Former PKR Wanita chief Fuziah Salleh has won in Kuantan beating MCA incumbent Fu Ah Kiow.

Unofficial: BN denied two-thirds majority - 2.42am
According to unofficial tally, the opposition has apparently denied the ruling Barisan Nasional its crucial two-thirds majority by winning up to 82 parliament seats so far (PKR - 29, DAP - 28, PAS - 25). To deny the government two-thirds majority, the opposition must win 75 seats. On the other hand, BN has won about 130 seats. There are still a dozen more seats to be decided.

Samy says ‘goodbye’ - 3.37am
After defending the seat for nine terms since 1974, MIC’s 71-year-old president S Samy Vellu made a quick exit upon learning his defeat. According to nstonline, on his way out, Samy Vellu could only muster a "goodbye" to reporters and supporters present at the convention hall.
The MIC stalwart lost to Dr D Jeyakumar who has been contesting against him since 1999. In the previous polls four years ago, Samy Vellu defeated the latter with a majority of 10,349 votes. This time around, Jeyakumar, who stood on PKR ticket, garnered 16,874 votes to Samy Vellu's 14,408.

DAP-PKR-PAS to form gov’t in Perak - 4.56am
The combined opposition of DAP, PKR and PAS said that they will form the new government in Perak. Collectively the three parties have won 30 seats (DAP - 18, PKR - 6, PAS - 6) out of 59 seats. One seat (Teja) is yet to be decided.
However, the opposition still will have a narrow one-seat majority even if Teja goes to BN. About 50 opposition supporters are attempting to seal off the state government building in Ipoh to stop documents from being removed.

Khalid to meet Selangor sultan soon - 4.05am
PKR secretary-general Khalid Ibrahim said they will meet with the Selangor sultan "soon" regarding the formation of the new state government.
However, he told Malaysiakini that he did not wish to jump the gun when asked whether he would be the new mentri besar. The deputy mentri besar is likely to be DAP’s Teng Chang Khim, who is former state opposition leader.

Anwar ushers in ‘a new dawn for Malaysia’ - 4.08am
A triumphant PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim described the victory of the opposition parties in five states and its breach of Barisan Nasional’s two-third majority in Parliament as “a defining moment” in the history of the nation and the opening of “a new chapter.”
“The people have voted decisively for a new era where the government must be truly inclusive and recognises that all Malaysians, regardless of race, culture or race are a nation of one,” he told a packed press conference at his residence in Segambut, Kuala Lumpur.
“The people have expressed in no uncertain terms that they want accountability, transparency, and the rule of law.”

PM: ‘We’ve lost, we’ve lost’ - 4.12am
These were the only words which Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi could muster when quizzed on the ruling coalition’s shocking defeat in five states.
Abdullah was posed with the question during a press conference at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur. He was accompanied by his wife Jeanne, deputy Najib Abdul Razak and other BN leaders.
The prime minister added that he will make a media statement after analysing the results in detail.


Friday, March 07, 2008

Calling on the Saints

It was the body of Christ that picked up the pieces after a rape left me in shambles.
by Heather Gemmen Wilson
Christianity Today, February 2008, Vol. 52, No. 2

My husband had gone to a meeting at church and my children were asleep down the hall when an intruder entered my bedroom, waking me from a deep sleep. In the dim light reflecting from the hallway, I saw his silhouette—and vaguely perceived that a tall man with bulky arms stood just a few feet from my bed.

I didn't scream. For a few naïve moments, I didn't understand what was happening. "Who are you?" I asked. The ugliness of his laugh shocked me into wakefulness. I sat up quickly, and he yanked a knife out of his pocket.

"Oh, no," I whispered, holding my hands up toward him. "No—don't do this."

Some have suggested that the church was partly to blame for my rape. They have a point. My husband and I had moved into the inner city as penniless college students, planning to leave as soon as finances allowed. But we began attending a neighborhood church that had a vision for community development and racial reconciliation—and we were hooked.

With transformed attitudes, we began sitting on the front porch of our home instead of hiding behind shuttered windows. We invited kids who once broke our tulip stems to join us in weeding, and we organized block parties and community rummage sales. The hood became our home. There's no denying it: If it weren't for the church, I wouldn't have been living in that place four years and two kids later.

It was the church that I immediately called when I broke free from my attacker's grip that night. I first ran into my kids' room and touched their beautiful, sleeping heads—then crunched myself into a corner and dialed the number I knew by heart.

The man who answered was a dear friend of our family. "I need my husband!" I cried. Those were the only words I could choke out. At that moment, I wasn't thinking about whether I'd ever be able to trust the church again—or the God I worshiped there. I wasn't aware of the crisis of faith I would endure in the coming months. At that moment, all I knew was my pain and shame and terror and loss.

While the church may have been partly responsible for encouraging me to live and work in the inner city, I never blamed the church for the rape. I do, however, "blame" it for my recovery.

Not that recovery came easily.

Rape is ugliness in its basest form. It destroys innocence and replaces it with shame. It steals a sense of security and extends fear. It cultivates bitterness. It leaves no room for beauty. The overpowering emotions I experienced that awful night did not go away the next day—or the one after that.

But neither did the people of the church.

Like every good congregation, mine had an impromptu "casserole committee." When one member was hurting, the others rushed in with food. I hadn't much understood this casserole obsession until I was its beneficiary. I discovered that hot meals made by loving hands comfort the soul better than Band-Aids on skinned knees. All the other small acts of service—from lawn mowing to housecleaning to babysitting—said what I needed to hear: "I love you." "You are one of us." "We are in this with you." Slowly, I began to notice more joy than despair, more confidence than fear. And so much love was poured into me that there was no room left for shame.

One of the tokens of kindness given to me at that time was a puppy. This darling little beagle proved remarkably protective and became our family's watchdog. I went outside one bright winter day to find Gus growling menacingly. I looked around to see what was threatening him, but didn't notice anything out of place. Feeling a little spooked, I stroked his ears, hoping to calm him, but he bared his teeth and raised his hackles. Then I saw it, the menacing figure that Gus kept at bay.

A great. Big. Snowman.

It took a while to convince my small protector that this intruder was no threat. I pulled off the orange hat from the snowman's head and tossed its raisin eyes and carrot nose in Gus's direction. He ate them cautiously, then inched his way forward. By the time I had yanked the sticks out of the snowman's sides and the scarf from its neck, Gus saw the wilting lump of snow for what it really was: an empty threat.

It was the church that disassembled my snowman. This community helped me see that my hackle-raising fear of physical harm, and the even greater suspicion that my faith had been wrongly placed, was unnecessary. I had not been abandoned by God, and his people proved it.

Most people don't blame the church directly for the trials in their lives, but many do accuse the church of not responding appropriately when calamity strikes. Church leaders and laypeople alike certainly make mistakes as they care for us in times of need. However, if we allow that their mistakes come from their own wounds and that their love is genuine, if imperfect, we nearly always find ourselves more healed than hurt.

Sometimes we forget what the church was created for: to teach us how to live, how to care for each other in love, and how to draw others to Christ. In Acts we read that the first Christians "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. … And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:42, 47).

When the church is functioning the way God intended, it provides a sense of belonging in the same way a family does. That means not only that we gain support when trials press on us, but also that we are prodded when we're slacking, challenged when we're comfortable, and reprimanded when we're wayward. And sometimes we're the ones on the casserole committee.

It has been more than a decade since the rape, and I've experienced many life changes since then. I gave birth to a precious baby girl, conceived that fateful night, and she is now my daily reminder of God's restorative love. We adopted one of the little boys who used to pluck our tulips, and now he towers over me, a godly young man who brings much laughter to our family. I've moved from Michigan to Colorado to Indiana. I've experienced the death of loved ones and the birth of a grandchild. Both unexpected hardships and blessings have come my way. Yet through all these changes, one thing has remained constant in my life: the family of God.

We can blame the church for many things, I suppose. But if we are faithful to give to it as much as we receive from it, we'll find this communion of saints to be a source of astonishing beauty.

Heather Gemmen Wilson is the author of Startling Beauty: My Journey from Rape to Restoration and runs the website She speaks internationally on the subject of hope and forgiveness.

Copyright © 2008 Christianity Today

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Justification in the Pauline Corpus: Day 3

Where do you go when you get lost in a town? An information stand. A directory. But where do you go when you get lost in a jungle? Nowhere, stay where you are and pray? I checked this blog, and it says amongst others to: draw attention, get along with the wildlife and keep a sense of humour.

In class, I did not quite draw any attention, i.e. I did not ask any questions - not because I didn't want to - I don't know what to ask! But I got along the the "wildlife" alright - i.e. the notes, the contents, the lecture, whatever, I just went along with it. And I kept a sense of humour. Right here: the perfect place to do it (and whether or not I am humourous is not the point).

We touched on faith and justification today. What is faith?

Luther said that real, true Christian faith is not simply that you believe Christ is a man, but Christ is the man for you. It involves wholehearted trust that God is on your side. Calvin said that faith is the firm and certain knowledge of God's benevolence towards us.

O'Brien gave a few more on what is faith according to the Reformation view:
  • It is personal, but it points away from oneself to God. It is focused on the person of God, not simply doctrine: I fully subscribe to this, we live in a world that is too much of the unholy trinity - I, me, and myself. As I was mentioning at one of my post on Sunday, the worship songs we sing sometimes are so "I, me and myself".
  • It is bound to the word of God, always: it is not wishy washy faith, not something you believe because "you feel it", but something you worked out based on the word of God.
  • It is a gift of God. It is not a natural faculty of human beings: this is where I beg to differ. I know there are more so-called Calvinists than Armenians - so, please don't bite my head off, I hear you. I appreciate being reminded that it is indeed a gift from God, because I know that on my own, I would never have received and believed in Him. God is so gracious as to place me in a believing family and faith-community that I grew into Him. But this gift of faith, which is received, if not nurtured and built on, might disappear, just like gifts received can get lost. Now, where did I put that coffee pot I got last year?
  • It involves both knowledge and confidence: I am not sure what was discussed here (bear with me, it was about 10pm then), but how does this square with Heb 11:1? Knowledge and confidence? Things hoped for and things not seen?
  • It implies assurance: I think O'Brien mentioned here that if faith is depending on regeneration, there is no assurance, but I may be wrong. To me, I have the assurance of salvation but I can lose it too, if one day I just decide out of the blue I am out. That is also an assurance, is it not?
  • It is characterise by struggle - Luther said it was 'restless' - putting to death and made alive. Calvin said one cannot imagine 'faith' with an element of doubt: I can certainly attest to that, it is when I doubted that when I address that doubt and work it out, my faith is strengthened.
  • It is inseparable from hope and love. If we trust in him, loves directs the consequences: I "feel asleep" by the time we got to this point. But looking at it now, it has to do with 1 Cor 13's "faith, hope and love, abide these three".
  • It is instrumental but constitutive. Faith generates an entirely new perspective. Faith is nothing in itself, it gains no merit, and it doesn't co-operate with God (as the Catholics taught): co-operate with God? What?

Questions, questions, questions.
Just no answers.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Two textbooks were listed as required for the “Justification in the Pauline Corpus” classes I am currently taking.

Stephen Westerholm, Perspectives Old and New on Paul (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004)

John Piper, The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright (Wheaton: Crossway, 2007)

They are not easily located and finally I had to fork out RM108 to get Westerholm’s book from Canaanland that had them flown in. I started reading it before classes and before long found myself more scanning than reading.

I just got hold of Piper’s book yesterday (also from Canaanland), and read about 40 pages of it this morning. It is a good book. For someone who has not spent much on this topic of justification and who is quite new to the New Perspective on Paul (NPP), I feel that Piper would be a good start.

He gives a good introduction and also lists out a few NPP issues that he deals with in the book:
  • The Gospel is not about how to get saved?
  • Justification is not how you become a Christian?
  • Justification is not the Gospel?
  • We are not justified by believing in justification?
  • The imputation of God’s righteousness makes no sense at all?
  • Future justification is on the basis of the complete life lived?
  • First-century Judaism had nothing of the alleged self-righteous and boastful legalism?
  • God’s righteousness is the same as His covenant faithfulness?
To me, at this point at least, the Gospel is about how we get saved, justification by faith is how I become a Christian, but that is about all I can attest to in the list above for now. I do not agree that justification is the Gospel per se, or that we are justified by believing in justification. I would have to read Piper to see why he asked those questions.

I do not have an answer to the question on imputation because as much as I believe that Christ’s righteousness is imputed on us, I need to study it deeper. As far as the other questions are concerned, I have no idea what they refer to. I will have to read on to find out. And just like the last book I actually finished reading, I must do the same for this one and kick myself if I end up having it half read like the ones piled on top of my table now. Hit me if I do.