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Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung

When John Wesley discussed the mission of the Church, he saw a synergistic relationship between the Church and society. To be a disciple of Christ is to be God’s co-worker. This means dwelling alongside others in society, where we live out our Christian character, where we may lead others to the Kingdom of God, where Christians may show forth the glory of the Lord.

Many Christians do good works remembering what Jesus said in Matthew 25:34–40 (NIV): “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” We must remember too that Jesus also said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13–14). Let us not give one, water for the body, without the other, water for the soul.

In this way, the ultimate purpose of doing good unto others is so that those who personally witness such deeds may ascribe all glory to our heavenly Father God.

At Aldersgate SG 2019, we revisit this familiar theme: A Task Unfinished—Together in God’s Mission. I believe that through our speakers, Bishop Emeritus Dr Hwa Yung and Bishop Emeritus Dr Robert Solomon, it will be a heart-warming experience for all.

Don’t miss Aldersgate SG 2019!

 

Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2016. He served as President of the Chinese Annual Conference from 2008 to 2016..

 

Article Source: Excerpt from Bishop's Message (May 2019)

 

 

Bishop Emeritus Dr Hwa Yung

Lecture 1: World Mission in the Methodist Spirit
23 May 2019 (Thursday), 7.30 to 9.30 p.m.

“The world is my parish” are probably John Wesley’s most famous words. They also encapsulate the essence of his understanding of mission, not just to 18th-century England but to the whole world.

This lecture will look at the historical background to and the meaning of Wesley’s well-known statement, made after his encounter with Bishop J. Butler of Bristol. His missional theology may be further expounded under five headings: the image of God, prevenient grace, salvation as healing, perfecting Christian character and the eschatological restoration of all things.

For Wesley, the Christian’s duty to preach or evangelise on home ground is no different from the call to overseas mission. As Professor Andrew Walls states, “In this view of the preacher’s task, there is no place for a special category of ‘cross-cultural’ or even ‘overseas’ mission.” Wesley’s approach to evangelism and mission is fully explicated in his sermon, “The General Spread of the Gospel.”

The lecture will also look at how Methodism and the preaching of the gospel spread rapidly to America, West Indies, Africa and Asia, even before the founding of the Wesleyan Methodist Mission Society in 1818. Those who drove this rapid missionary expansion included Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke, who primarily built on Wesley’s foundational teachings, and took the emphases further. For instance, Wesley’s concept of itinerant preaching received its greatest development under Asbury. It was the “circuit riders” under Asbury who advanced the gospel on the American frontier more effectively than any other denomination!

We will briefly explore how world mission advanced in the 19th and 20th centuries through people such as Hudson Taylor (who had a Methodist background) and David Hill in China, and E. Stanley Jones and Waskom Pickett in India.

Professor Andrew Walls asserted that “the Wesleys saw Methodism as a mission; their successors turned the mission into a church with a mission society.” This may well be the most important takeaway from this lecture.

Lecture 2: Key Challenges in World Mission in our Generation
24 May 2019 (Friday), 7.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.

Global Christianity is faced with a number of challenges:

  • the move of the centre of gravity of the Church from the West to the Majority World;
  • the Western Church’s increasing weakness and the declining number of missionaries sent out in comparison with the growing missionary numbers from the Majority World;
  • the problem of nominal disciples almost everywhere;
  • the geopolitical implications of an increasingly multi-polar world;
  • the growing persecution of Christians around the world; and
  • the increasing demand for the gospel to demonstrate its relevance in today’s world.

In the face of these, how do we prepare the church for effective mission?

 

Bishop Emeritus Dr Hwa Yung served as Bishop of the Methodist Church in Malaysia from 2004 to 2012. He is the keynote speaker at Aldersgate SG 2019. Above are synopses of the two lectures he will be delivering..

 

Article Source: Methodist Message (May 2019)

 

 

dr robert solomon web

The underlying truth behind all spiritual disciplines and missionary endeavours is that God is the Divine Seeker. We seek God only because He has first sought us. At the end of the day, it is God who primarily seeks us; we are the sought.

Francis Thompson’s poem expresses this profound human experience of a God who pursues us relentlessly.

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways…
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbed pace…

The story of Jonah is an account of how God pursued not only the Ninevites, but also the sailors and Jonah himself with fatherly love and missionary persistence.

Why does God go into such great trouble in pursuing us? Why does He not simply reject us when we are stubborn or stupid?

In the contemporary song “My Worth Is Not in What I Own”, there are a few beautiful lines:
Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed—my ransom paid
At the cross

The two wonders mentioned here explain why God pursues us. Firstly, our unworthiness—we know we have sinned and stand condemned. God pursues us to save us from what would be our default destiny. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8).

God also pursues us because we are His creatures, created in His image (Gen 1:27), and carry the dignity of being His handiwork. Like the heavenly Potter that He is, God picks up the broken pottery and remakes it with gentle loving hands.

It is thus for this dual truth—that we are both unworthy and worthy, that God pursues us with such persevering endurance, with a love that refuses to give up. A theologian used the phrase “noble ruins” to describe human beings, thus capturing this dual truth of both worthiness and unworthiness.

We should also pursue those who do not yet know God in the same way He does and for the same reasons. Our attitudes must be those of the God who uses us to reach others. This means that we should keep in focus both the Great Commission (to proclaim the gospel of Christ to every soul) and the Great Commandment (to love everyone as God-made people).

God’s pursuit of us should make us realise the foundational truth that God loves us. But we must be careful that we do not preach a truncated gospel that ignores God’s holiness and transcendence. Experiencing God’s love is not antithetical to learning to fear Him.

In the first chapter of Jonah, the fear of God is a central idea. When confronted and questioned by the sailors, Jonah professed, “I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land”(1:9). Jonah was guilty of not practising what he professed. In his actions he did not fear God.

It was the sailors who were terrified (v 10) because they recognised the implications of what Jonah had said. The men, who had cried out to their own gods, started crying out to the Lord (v 14). They were at first afraid of the violent storm (v 5), then terrified when they heard about God. As God worked in their hearts, they developed a great and healthy fear of the Lord that led to worship (v 16).

The fear of the Lord is always the proper response to realising the love of God. To know that God pursues us should help us to recognise His undying love for us and should create in us a holy fear of the God who pursues us day and night.

 

Bishop Emeritus Dr Robert Solomon served as Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 to 2012. He is the speaker for the Aldersgate Celebration on Sat 25 May 2019.

 

Article Source: Methodist Message (Apr 2019)