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Melbourne of路 Theology ambassador magazineSchool 路 Issue 216 Spring 2013

MST Postgraduate Institute

ambassador MAGAZINE

Why Do Gospel Workers Need PhDs? See page 6

Inside this issue MST Adopts New Flexible Model p8 Largest Leadership Intensive ... Ever! p13 Chinese Wesley Scholar here at MST CSCC p39


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Melbourne School of Theology Melbourne School of Theology exists to equip God’s people with transformational theology, biblical depth and a missional heart, to effectively communicate the Gospel of Christ to a diverse and changing world.

ambassador

Editorial Team Editor Dean Troth Section Editors MST Undergraduate (Blue): Rev Sam Reeve MST Chinese (Red): Dr Y C Liong MST Postgraduate (Silver): Dr Doug McComiskey MST CSIOF (Green): Dr Peter Riddell MST Alumni (Purple): Graeme Rule Design Kaleidoskope Design Printing Classic Press Proof Readers Deb Fox, Jo Khoo, Peter Orr Thank you to all contributors. If you would like to provide feedback on this ambassador or contribute articles for future ambassadors, please contact the Editor on dtroth@mst.edu.au

Contents Reflections from the Principal’s Desk Farewell Rosie Board Profile: Geoff Cox MST Welcomes Jacoby Why Do Gospel Workers Need PhDs? A New More Flexible Student-Empowered Model Maximising our Space = Being Good Stewards It’s All Apples with Peter Clarity of Mission for Kim A Trifecta of ‘Sisters’ Doing GDDs Proclaiming Christ, Back at Uni Clem Seeking True Disciple-Making Pages from My Diary From Fast Cars to Washing Feet of Lepers Sharing the Gospel: From Drinking Water to Life-giving Water Meet our ‘New’ Students with a raft of Gospel Experience behind them Mission Week: The Highlight of their Year The Play’s The Thing “So his fame spread through all Syria...” Zorro, Goldilocks and Jesus ‘Talking Past Each Other’: Shumack Joins CSIOF Meet Marsali, ‘Doyen of Reunions’ Trevor and Heather Smith’s epic story Way Out West where the Son Still Shines Espionage Novelist Writing to Serve God Theology, Science and Art Exploring the Storm Centre of Matthew Walking through Time, Making History on the Way Christian-Muslim Relations World Wide History Project Sharia Finance Uncovered: Ethical Finance but Whose Ethics? The Church’s R2P A Tour of Discovery through the Contest of Ideas

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Melbourne School of Theology Doncaster

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MST Location: Iconic triangle island at intersection of Eastlink, Burwood & Mountain Highways, Wantirna. 15 minutes from everywhere in Melbourne’s east.

Post: PO Box 6257 Vermont South VIC 3133 e/ mst@mst.edu.au ABN 58 004 265 016 CRICOS Code: 00691A/02809J Registered Training Organisation 3638

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FIRST SUBJECT* FREE! If you have been considering theological study for some time, or have a general interest to expand your knowledge in a particular area of the Bible, mission, or ministry, this could be the PERFECT OPPORTUNITY for you! MST invites members of the wider Christian community to enjoy their first *audit (non-credit) subject for FREE in Semester 1, 2014.   To apply, contact James on 03 9881 7800 or email JGoodwin@mst.edu.au. The pages motif, which makes up part of the MST logo, represents pages of the Bible, the living Word of God.

For more information about studying at or supporting the ministry of MST, visit us online at www.mst.edu.au


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Living Out the Gospel in ‘a Thousand Ways’ Reflections from the Principal’s Desk Thank you

for your partnership in the gospel!

a huge thank you I wanted to include a short note saying our first Annual for your support, particularly following e out in June. Update and Financial Report which cam we have close You should be encouraged to know that months and 12 t to doubled our total donations in the pas than 25% re increased the numbers of donors by mo Praise the Lord and THANK YOU!

“Therefore, Holy Brothers, who share in a heavenly calling; fix your thoughts on Jesus … For we are his house, if we hold on to the courage, and the hope of which we boast.” Hebrew 3:1 One of the more fascinating, and encouraging things I often reflect upon, is the variety of ways in which, over the years, our graduates end up serving God. While many of them have gone into ‘formal’ ministry roles in mission agencies and churches, vast numbers of our graduates also serve the Lord with passion and commitment in the context of a fantastic variety of vocations; medical and allied health work, commerce, education, the labour market, science and technology, aviation, engineering, aid and development, public service, the military, the family home …. the list is endless! In my own travels around Australia, and around the world, I constantly meet men and women whose lives and ministries were shaped by time spent studying here. It leaves me not only with a sense of great privilege, but serves as a reminder of something quite profound about the nature of the Christian life, and the work of Christ: that ultimately, the gospel can be appropriated, lived out and declared in the context of ‘a thousand ways.’ It should not be a surprise. After all, as the writer to the Hebrews claims, our highest calling is a heavenly one, but the outworking of that is that Jesus Christ delights to indwell, empower and enable his children, wherever they

are, and whatever it is they do. Being the ‘house of God’ means that Christ can be known, and declared even in the most ‘ordinary’ things – and not simply those roles that are more often associated with ‘ministry.’ Dallas Willard put this so eloquently, when he wrote, “Were he to come today, as he did then, he could carry out his mission through almost any decent and useful occupation. He could be an accountant, a computer engineer, a bank clerk, an editor, doctor, waiter, teacher, farm-worker, lab technician, or construction worker. He could run a housecleaning service, or repair cars. In other words, if he were to come today, he could very well do what you are doing. He could very well live in your flat or house, hold down your job, have your education and life prospects, and live within your family, surroundings and time. None of this would be the least hindrance to the eternal kind of life that was his by nature, and becomes available to us through Him. Our human life, as it turns out, is not destroyed by God’s life, but OPEN DAY/NIGHT is fulfilled in it; and in it alone.” Tuesday 8 October Day 9.30am–2.30pm (The Divine Conspiracy). Night 5.30pm–9.30pm

Rev Timothy Meyers Principal

For more information about studying at or supporting the ministry of MST, visit us online at www.mst.edu.au

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Farewell Rosie Rosie finished up at MST at the end of August to join the team at David McCracken Ministries (DMM), a prophetic ministry with a passion to speak prophetically into local churches, as its first business manager. Two and a half years earlier, when Rosie first joined the team at the end of 2010 to manage the settling into the new Wantirna campus, she made it clear upfront that God had clearly given her this ‘assignment’ for two years. “It has been an absolute joy and privilege to have had Rosie on our team for these past two and a half years,” Principal, Rev Timothy Meyers, said. “She not only has brought outstanding skills in financial management but with her deep commitment to prayer, spiritual life and leadership, she has been an inspiring leader within our Executive Team and, in particular, in the management of the Operations of the College. “She has brought excellence, efficiency and best-practice across a range of critical areas within the management of MST and we will miss her greatly. We pray that the Lord will greatly bless, encourage and empower Rosie, as she moves on into another important ministry,” he said. You might remember the story of faith she shared, back in 2011, (the first edition of Ambassador after changing our name and moving to a new Campus), how God had led them from South Africa, half way around the world to Melbourne, based on a vision of a coffee shop and the words “Melbourne is Canaan (the promised land)”. To read the full story CLICK HERE. MST’s accountant, Jo Khoo, has worked most closely with her and observed that Rosie can seem stern at first but has a compassionate heart. “Rosie always considers people, not just the tasks or functions they perform. I will miss Rosie’s prayerful care and concern. She has brought order out of chaos. And she has formed a team, recognising the strengths of each person, and empowered each to perform the work required,” Jo said. “Thank you Rosie, and I know my thanks are echoed by all in the team, for your constant prayers, for crying with me and laughing with me, for your gentle reminders and for being the best boss I’ve ever had,” she said.

A Trifecta of ‘Sisters’ Doing GDDs We have lots of talented new undergraduate and graduate students starting at MST in Semester 2, so we thought we’d introduce you to a ‘trifecta’ of ‘sisters’, each enrolled in the Graduate Diploma of Divinity. Read more about Belinda, Johanna and Wern on page 12.

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Board Profile: Geoff Cox Geoff Cox is a relative newcomer to the Board of MST, joining in 2011, but he has been connected to the life on ministry his whole life and his family connections go back more than 80 years. His mother, Lois, served on the Board for many years and earlier studied at Melbourne Bible Institute (MBI) before serving in mission in Papua New Guinea. Geoff’s grandfather (Lois’ father), Charles Sandland, was a long-time supporter of MBI and was one of a group of leaders who were key in the advancement of the college in the 1930s and ’40s. “Through these key people in my life,” Geoff shares, “I’ve been able to appreciate the great work of MST.” Geoff is a Partner with McCracken & McCracken Lawyers, practicing in property, commercial and workplace law. He has Board experience with Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra, the Missions Development Group of Scripture Union Victoria and a small NGO delivering aid and development programs in the Middle East. He believes one of the key challenges for MST is to provide a learning experience for students which engage both the heart and the mind with the gospel. “It is a real privilege to be involved in the growth and development of Christian leaders [through the ministry of MST]…[I joined the Board because MST’s ministry is] so vital in equipping people with the living Word to engage more effectively in their own spheres of ministry and mission.” Geoff is married to Ros and they have three daughters, Emma, Sophie and Claire.

For more information about studying at or supporting the ministry of MST, visit us online at www.mst.edu.au


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MST Welcomes Jacoby The high profile front man of internationally-acclaimed psalmsinging band, ‘Sons of Korah’ will join the MST team in 2014 to teach philosophy, preaching and worship. Dr Matthew Jacoby is a pastor and teacher at Barrabool Hills Baptist Church in Geelong. He will be teaching Christian Worship, Introduction to Philosophy and Introduction to Preaching, to undergraduate and graduate level students in 2014. In reframing and refocusing the way MST develops, structures and promotes courses, MST Principal Tim Meyers says he wanted to introduce some new electives, such as Introduction to Philosophy, and bring back some that hadn’t been taught for many years, such as Christian Worship, to include in its new Creative Arts, Worship and Spiritual Formation stream. Matt admits he is a man of many callings. In the past two decades has worked for the Bible Society; lectured at two of MST’s sister colleges; and was one of the founding directors of

“I couldn’t think of a better person in Australia for students to sit under to learn about Christian Worship and Philosophy, than Matt Jacoby,” MST Principal, Tim Meyers says. ‘Foundation 61’, a live-in community on the outskirts of Geelong which offers hope and direction for people dealing with life-controlling issues. In addition to this, Matt has been doing most of the preaching and teaching at Barrabool Hills over the last nine years. He has also recently started writing daily devotionals for the quarterly booklet, ‘Thrive’. After completing his Bachelor of Theology through the ACT in 1995, he went on to complete a Bachelor of Letters with Honours in Philosophy from Deakin University. At The University of Melbourne, Matt completed a PhD in Theology and Philosophy. He drew on the conceptual tools of contemporary analytical philosophy to articulate the views of 19th Century Christian

Peter moving on to Moore

philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, in the areas of truth, meaning and theology. Academically, Matt has a wide range of research and teaching interests, from Biblical theology and Church history to Christian worship and Faith and the Arts to Homiletics and Reformed Epistemology. He has had papers published in academic journals and has written widely on the spirituality of the Psalms, recently publishing ‘Deeper Places: Experiencing God in the Psalms’. He and his wife Kate have three children: Sophia, Jeremiah and Ivy. Apply before 31 January to study Preaching, Philosophy or Worship with Matt

You may have heard on the proverbial grape vine that our Lecturer in New Testament, Dr Peter Orr, has agreed to join the Faculty at Moore College in Sydney from the start of 2014. Thank you so much, Peter, for your service to MST over the past years, particularly at a time of rapid growth and change for the College. A longer farewell and interview will appear in the final Ambassador for 2013.

For more information about studying at or supporting the ministry of MST, visit us online at www.mst.edu.au

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‘People aren’t doing research to wear silly hats’, Doug says.

Why Do Gospel Workers Need PhDs? MST has the largest Postgraduate program of any ACT college in Australia, with roughly double the number of the second largest program. However, many of our past and future students don’t yet understand the purpose and importance of a Postgraduate education. So we asked Dr Doug McComiskey, the new Director of MST Postgraduate Institute, for his thoughts on the matter. “It boils down to serving the Lord better in some way,” Doug says. There are many benefits of doing a Postgraduate degree, whether by research or coursework, Doug explains, both for the person, in terms of professional development, and the church, mission project or agency. “People aren’t simply doing research degrees to get some sort of academic kick or impress people with a fancy title or credential. They want to improve themselves as ministers, in terms of skills and understanding, and improve their ministries,” he said.

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Research Degrees Around 90% of MST’s Postgrads are doing research degrees, either the Master of Theology (MTh) or a Doctorate of Ministry (DMin), of Theology (ThD) or Philosophy (PhD). MST’s biggest cohort is in the DMin program, representing roughly 75% of MST’s research candidates; about 15% are doing a ThD or PhD; and the rest are doing an MTh. Most of the research happening at MST is practical and vocationallyoriented and “certainly not just headoriented stuff!” Doug explains. The DMin is a practical research degree, with a large ‘human research’ component, which utilises methods such as face-to-face interviews, aimed at ‘gospel practitioners’ rather than academics who need a credential to teach. Two examples of practicalstyle research are outlined below. Astrid Staley, a Pentecostal Pastor and church planter, is also a survivor of suicide, having lived through the death of her adult

daughter, Jade, and baby grandson in 2010, after her daughter’s extended struggle with postnatal depression. Her doctoral research considers the supports offered by churches to bereaved family and friends postsuicide. She has a growing speaking ministry in suicide prevention and helping churches to provide better support to those who have lost loved ones to suicide. David Nicholls of SIL Australia featured in Ambassador Autumn 2012 edition. His research is into cross-cultural tensions in leadership within the organisational cultures of large international missionary organisations and other NGOs. He has undertaken significant theological reflection, and is particularly interested in the ‘cultural blinkeredness’ of ministry specialists working in cross-cultural ministries. Some who wonder about the value of research for Christian ministry argue that people can do their own research without the need to spend significant amounts of time and money on a degree. The benefits, however, of doing research as part of a degree are many, as Doug outlines below.

For more information about studying at or supporting the ministry of MST, visit us online at www.mst.edu.au


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2. Ethics Committee. “You have the ACT Ethics Committee supervising your research, making sure the way you are doing your research is not only ethical and unbiased but that the people you are interviewing are protected emotionally, that your questions aren’t agendadriven or biased, and that you’re not going to raise emotional issues that might hurt someone,” he said. 1. Supervisor. “Your Supervisor is someone with many years of experience in your area of interest, who will work with you all the way through as a sounding board, providing ideas about resources to read and people to speak to. Probably most importantly, the Supervisor will oversee the thinking and analysis of the candidates to ensure quality research comes out at the end,” he said. Petros* is currently completing research at the Master’s level and working part-time ‘undercover for Christ’ in one of the big corporate wealth creation businesses in Melbourne CBD. His MTh research examines the ideas of wealth and poverty in the Gospel of Luke, and he hopes to speak into the lives of business people at the ‘top end of town’ who are, “wrapped up in the world of amassing wealth.” Another example of “really practical research”, Doug says, is being conducted by Hensley Gungadoo, a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Pastor from Bendigo who was featured

in the last Ambassador Magazine. He started his doctoral research, which is in making disciples by improving the SDA’s ‘Sabbath Schools’, as part of the DMin program and recently transferred into the ThD program.

Professional Development “We also have a growing number completing a Postgraduate coursework degree, such as the Master of Arts (MA), primarily for professional development,” Doug said. “There are limited options in terms of professional development for those who’ve been in gospel work, whether church-based or cross-cultural, for some years. People who have been in any form of ministry for some years ultimately need to take the time to think about how their ministry has gone, where they are currently and assess their strengths and weaknesses. They may want to improve an area in which they’re weak or build on a strength God has given them.” Doug knows that critics argue that one can simply buy a few books on a topic of interest, for lesser cost, and there are literally thousands of them. “But you have no-one to talk to about it,” Doug observes. “If you invest the time and money in a Postgrad degree, it’s really an investment in your ministry and ultimately His Kingdom. The advantage is you have people who can help and guide you to find the best resources to be reading, you can learn through group discussions and, in the end, you’ll likely have strengthened yourself much

better than if you had attempted to do it by yourself,” he says.

Staying Fresh! “Finally,” Doug says, “one of the best reasons for doing a postgraduate degree is staying fresh in ministry!” “When you’ve been in a particular area of ministry for years (or decades!), you want to operate at a higher level than you can when you’re busy ‘doing’ the ministry. Particularly if you’re preaching week in and week out for years, you can get stuck in a rut, preparing sermons quickly. You want to think in greater depth on a topic before you actually bring it to the congregation,” Doug says. “But if you’re doing a research degree you have to devote extended time to thinking about a particular area. That added depth is refreshing and provides you substance to be creative with,” he said. “In the end, we can all become stale, if we’re doing the same things year after year. I need to be thinking and reading and writing so I am fresh and interested ... And lots of ministers and cross-cultural workers are the same. It’s great for them to get their head thinking about what’s interesting and challenging to them.” “So, in the end, everyone benefits – the student does personally and professionally, their ministry does, and the people they are ministering to appreciate the benefits!”

Meet Andrew: Comparing Worldvidews Andrew Kulikovsky, 41, lives in Adelaide and works as a defence systems engineer. He has just started as a part-time PhD candidate, doing a comparison between the Biblical view of human beings and the secular humanist view, as well as how these views affect one’s worldview and vision for society. He loves learning, studying and research. Prior to being admitted as a Candidate, Andrew completed degrees in computer science, Biblical Studies and Theology. Andrew believes God is calling him to use the research in some form of public theology ministry as well as teaching Christian worldview and apologetics. Andrew, his wife Debby and son Jordan, 13, worship at Victory Church, an independent Pentecostal church. For more information about studying at or supporting the ministry of MST, visit us online at www.mst.edu.au

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A New More Flexible Stu Library eBooks: a world of theological resources at your fingertips MST is very excited to announce the arrival of electronic books (eBooks) to its Library collection! While the rollout of eBooks is still in its infancy, we already have 39 electronic books available for registered library users. In this fast-paced world of technological advances, eBooks are enabling readers throughout the globe to access a wide range of information through dictionaries, novels, guides and text books previously limited to the remote shelves of particular library collections. MST Librarian, Ros Devenish, explains that eBooks offer a wide range of benefits to students and teachers alike in accessing the latest reviews and information on a wide range of different topics. “eBooks will be of a particular benefit to distance students who are unable to travel to the library to access physical books and resources”, she shares. eBooks allow for unlimited simultaneous users to access an eBook at any one time, eliminating the need for borrowers to have to go on a reserve list for a particular title. You can also add your own notes to the text as well as copy and paste limited amounts of text, making essay writing and referencing less tedious. EBL, the platform used for eBooks, automatically keeps track of material copied so that copyright will not be infringed. All MST students making use of this electronic resource will enjoy the benefits and ease of using this new programme. Ros adds, “While the majority of our set texts are not available through eBooks at the present time, the number of books available is increasing steadily. eBooks are an incredible supplementary tool to assist you with your research.” The MST collection will grow as we are given access to a wider range of titles from the electronic provider, EBL. Students can find out further information on how to make use of eBooks through the eCampus portal or by contacting the library at library@mst.edu.au. Please note that access to MST eBooks is limited to registered library users. 8

From 2014, MST will be adopting a different approach to the structure and shape of our entire curriculum. Under this new, more flexible ‘student-empowered’ learning model, there will now be much greater freedom and opportunity for MST students, whether full-time, part-time or distance, to benefit from flexible learning, and shape their studies in ways that directly reflect the vocational and ministry outcomes to which they feel called, and for which they wish to specifically prepare. In practical terms, this will not only mean more ‘free choice’ among a growing and more diverse suite of electives on offer, but more importantly, the opportunity to pursue “major” and “minor” areas of focus, across the entire spectrum of Awards. It will also provide MST students to participate, both on campus, and on-line, in learning cohorts, with others preparing for similar areas of ministry. Initially, we plan to offer five key areas of ministry training emphasis, represented by five colours of our new multi-coloured Apply for 2014 poster, (pictured):

‘Truly Interdenominational’ One of the great strengths and distinctives of MST is that for nearly a century, from the very outset, we have been an openly interdenominational school. Our students, Faculty and staff come from a wide variety of church traditions and denominations. This diversity fuels vision and inspiration, nurtures maturity, encourages humility, and greatly enriches the classroom as well as culture of the College. We also believe it is one of the most powerful and important environments in which to study the Scriptures, and be shaped and effectively equipped for ministry in the modern church, mission and society.

For more information about studying at or supporting the ministry of MST, visit us online at www.mst.edu.au

Core Values Corner


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udent-Empowered Model

Pastoral

THEOLOGICAL

Studies

STUDIES

TEACHING

LEADERSHIP

WORSHIP

CARE Pastoral

BIBLICAL

Teaching

Biblical

THEOLOGICAL

TEACHING

STUDIES

Chaplaincy

2014 BIBLICAL

STUDIES INTERCULTURAL

Islam + Other Faiths

SPIRITUAL

FORMATION

ORGANISATIONAL

STUDIES

Missions

Apply for

Chaplaincy

PASTORAL

Pastoral

ORGANISATIONAL

Leadership

Creative Formation Arts ARTS Worship

Care

Pastoral CARE BIBLICAL

STUDIES

Bible

Apply before 31 January “We are excited about intentionally moving to a model that allows for more flexibility and personal choice of subjects, across the range of ACT Awards available” MST Principal Rev Timothy Meyers shares. “This will provide MST students with a far broader range of electives, within our Awards, than previously available, enabling students to ‘shape’ their learning in ways that are directly relevant to their sense of calling.”

1 Pastoral and Organisational

Leadership – for those preparing for local church, pastoral, mission and para-church leadership. 2 Biblical and Theological Studies – for those wishing to prepare specifically for teaching ministry, either in the church, or academic world. 3 Intercultural Ministries – for those going into cross-cultural ministry, or wishing to focus on areas of specific interest such as Islamic studies. 4 Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care – for those interested in counselling, school-based religious education, sports chaplaincy or campus ministry. 5 Creative Arts, Worship and Spiritual Formation – for those whose sense of calling and passion lies in the creative arts, and spirituality. In 2015, MST hopes to add a sixth ‘major’ area, focusing on ‘Vocational and Marketplace Ministry’ – for those who do not feel specifically led into full-time vocational Christian service but are keen to be well equipped in the Scriptures to live out their faith in the workplace.

OPEN DAY/NIGHT Tuesday 8 October Day 9.30am–2.30pm Night 5.30pm–9.30pm

For more information about studying at or supporting the ministry of MST, visit us online at www.mst.edu.au

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Maximising our Space = Being Good Stewards ‘Why does a bible college need such a large building?’ and ‘What is MST doing with its extensive facilities outside of normal class times?,’ you may have been wondering. Over the past 18 months, MST has evolved from an educational institution into to a ministry hub, with hundreds of Christians meeting and using our facilities every single week. The space is used for ministry activities, Bible studies, prayer, business events, as well as classes and activities for our growing full and part-time student body. “It makes good stewardship sense to maximise use of the amazing facility God has given us. It gives us an increased income to expand our ministry over the long-term, but there are many other benefits in making our ministry sustainable well into the future,” MST’s Property Services and Venue Coordinator, Susanne Quilliam, shares. “It is an absolute joy to know that almost every day, our building is being utilised for Kingdom-building purposes.” Susanne adds, “Benefits for our sustainability include: increased income for ministry; deepening our relationships and interdependence with other Christian mission and ministry organisations; and growing exposure of our ministry outside our traditional church circles.” MST plans to maximise use of its space in a three-fold strategy: 1. Long-term tenancy – with organisations to utilise spaces that MST does not currently use, such as the lease of the Warehouse by CMS Australasia (see article on p9); 10

2. Partnership – with churches and other Christian ministries who meet here regularly, such as Bible Study Fellowship and Hills Bible Church; and 3. Venue Hire – for one-off or annual conferences and events, such as World Vision’s workshop, ‘The Faith Effect’, in early September, with visiting South American theologian Ruth Padilla DeBorst. Two of our partners are Bible Study Fellowship and Hills Bible Church.

BSF Every Monday, up to 300 women and up to 90 school-aged children meet to study God’s Word, as part of Bible Study Fellowship (BSF).

Sally Minett, BSF’s Teaching Leader of the Evening Women’s class for the Knox District, says she is excited the class is able to meet at MST and is thrilled the class has been growing at such a rapid pace. The class had been meeting weekly in a church building but had outgrown the facility. Each year, they were forced to turn participants away, placing women and children on a waiting list. After much prayer and searching, they approached MST, which had the space and car parking

they needed and, most importantly, shared their vision “to make thorough, in-depth Bible teaching available to all.” “We are extremely grateful to God and to MST for the relationship we enjoy and for the generous availability of your building to us,” Sally shares. “It’s an incredible privilege to see women give their hearts and lives to the Lord Jesus for the first time, to hear of marriages saved, class members becoming bold in their witness and women taking up ministries in their churches. These ladies are becoming sensitive to God’s leading and passionate about the Kingdom.” BSF runs a nine-year cycle of studies which students can begin at any time, including Genesis, The Life of Moses, The Minor Prophets, Isaiah, Matthew, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Romans and Revelation. “We thank MST for the warm welcome you’ve given us and extend an invitation to students, staff and friends to visit us any Monday night and see God continue His work ‘after hours’ at MST,” she said.

Hills Bible Church Hills Bible Church (Hills) is a growing, but newish church, that meets at our Wantirna campus each Sunday morning, with anywhere from 80 to 100 meeting for worship, exegetical preaching and a time of Godly fellowship together. Andrew Courtis, Pastor of Hills, says he is excited about sharing the facility with a ministry that shares the same vision and purpose as the

For more information about studying at or supporting the ministry of MST, visit us online at www.mst.edu.au


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church he leads. Hills is a reformed Baptist church, robustly evangelical in its theology, upholding the centrality of the scriptures with a strong teaching ministry. The church has gone through such growth after moving to MST that it recently started a new evening service. “The facilities at MST are amazing. We love large the open space, the warm and bright feel of the building. It is also encouraging to be meeting in a facility that is committed to training men and women for ministry,” Pastor Courtis shares. Hills started in 2009, originally meeting as a small homegroup church on Sunday afternoons in a member’s home in the Surrey Hills area but quickly outgrew the lounge room and moved to a hall in Mont Albert to extend its mission. When the Lord continued adding to their number, they reached the capacity of their site and, as they grew, identified MST was at the most central site to where members lived. More info about Hills Bible Church visit www.hillsbiblechurch.org

New Warehouse Tenant Creates the ‘Wow’ Factor Following months and years of prayer over MST’s need to lease the warehouse, Principal Rev. Timothy Meyers wrote to faculty and staff in late May beginning, “This is an email I have been longing to write. It is with tremendous pleasure, thankfulness to God, and a grateful heart for the hours put in by so many, that we announce that the warehouse has now been LEASED! Praise God and Hallelujah!” The story began in late 2012 with a sign, the world’s safest car, and a dream. Christian businessman Steve Anderson and his event communications business, CMS Australasia, had been contracted in 2012 to help create ‘the wow factor’

‘The wow factor’ created by CMS Australasia for the Volvo V40 launch.

for the Australian launch of the new Volvo V40, using their state-of-the-art 3D rendering technology. However his current premises did not have the space to set up and test the launch. After seeing the real estate sign outside MST on several occasions, Steve walked in the front door and enquired about hiring a 30 metre by 30 metre space for ‘a couple of weeks.’ “The moment we moved in and set up, however, we could see the potential. ‘This warehouse is a dream,’ we thought. It was perfect and allowed us space to not just build, test and display our products and services, but room to store, pack and rack our equipment,” Steve said. Over the weeks following, Steve says they kept thinking and talking and things eventually became very clear. When asked if he thought God’s will was involved in his decision, he quickly responds “100%. The Lord has had His hand on it the whole way through.” Steve started CMS from humble beginnings in 1992 as a conference recording company, known as Conference Recording Services and later as Conference Media Services. Twenty-one years later, CMS Australasia is a technical production company providing audio visual hire and recording,

production and live streaming of major events including gala balls and dinners, business update events and conferences for some of the world’s largest corporations and Australia’s best known brands including BP, Dell, Coles, NAB, and Kmart. “I am a man of faith and this business was never about building my kingdom or my house but about building His Kingdom and His House. To me it is about stewarding what God has put before me,” Steve said. “I believe synergies will develop between the services we offer and the ministry of MST and hope we can be of assistance in seeing the gospel go out,” he added. Both Tim and Steve expressed their sincere thanks and gratitude to Rosie Eloff, Finance and Administration Manager, and Susanne Quilliam, Property Services Coordinator, for their professionalism, persistence and attention to detail in handling the lease from initial enquiry to the final approval.

For more information about studying at or supporting the ministry of MST, visit us online at www.mst.edu.au

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It’s All Apples with Peter MST Principal Rev Timothy Meyers recently announced Peter Tyrrell as the new Director of Ministry for the College. Peter comes with a wealth of business and ministry experience from his role as the Australian CEO of Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll’s radio Bible-teaching ministry. He looks forward to joining the MST team in September.

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But who is Peter and why is he joining MST? “Apples…it’s all about apples,” Peter explains with an enthusiastic grin. (We’ll come back to that analogy later.) When Peter turned 55, his closest friends approached him and, rather than asking his plans for retirement, they asked him three questions: • ‘How are you going to finish?’ • ‘What’s God saying to you now?’ • ‘What is the most significant thing for His Kingdom that God has been preparing you for your whole life?’ These significant questions set him on a path of discovery over the next few years and were ultimately answered by his arrival at MST. Peter is a man of diverse talents and his skills stretch across many boundaries. He is an avid learner and a skilled and experienced teacher. He has built houses and played in bands his whole life, playing 6-string and bass guitar. He is a professional communicator and an audio engineer. He is also a photographer, a keen camper and a enthusiastic longdistance cyclist, riding throughout Tasmania, cycling from Melbourne to Adelaide and back, and participating in ‘Around the Bay in a Day’ three times. He is currently training for a ride, from Ferntree Gully to Mansfield, to raise money for his daughter, Eve, to work in a Muslim orphanage in Beirut. “I believe I have been training for my next role at MST for my whole life,” Peter shares. His philosophy is that everything he has done and experienced in the past is meaningful and that God will use will use it for the future. Prior to joining Insight for Living in 2003, Peter worked in operations and program development at Focus on the Family for seven years, and prior to that spent almost a decade

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in telecommunications for the organisation that launched Optus in Australia. He started his professional life in the early 1980s as a school teacher. He tells a story from his early life and a job that would significantly shape him for later ministry. At just 25 years old, Peter was hired as Head Teacher of the smallest primary school in the State, in a tiny township in one of the most isolated alpine regions of Victoria. Originally a gold mining township in the 1860s, Wood’s Point lies at the extreme headwaters of the Goulburn River, a three hour drive from Melbourne, on the road between Mansfield and Marysville. In Winter, it was accessible only by Four Wheel Drive. “This was in a time prior to mobile phones and internet”, he reminds me. “The experience at Wood’s Point taught me many life lessons, the most profound being about loneliness. It was the loneliest time of my life…it went close to destroying me. The lives of three previous teachers at Wood’s Point had been destroyed, literally, because of loneliness – and I was nearly another statistic!” Once a week, Peter recalls jumping in his 4WD and driving an hour and a half into Mansfield, just to play squash for an hour with himself, and then turn around and drive back. He

Wood’s Point, a tiny isolated township in regional Victoria.

believes that experience has given him the ability to really empathise and understand the pressures many people have to deal with on a daily basis. “Life is a journey and everything is a learning experience – becoming equipped to do more and more of what God wants us to do next,” Peter says. As well as being a ‘learning sponge’, he says he also likes to shake things up by asking questions and welcoming change. “There can be no sacred cows. If there is a better way, let’s do it.” When asked about his first comment on ‘Apples’, Peter quickly refocuses. He remembers a quote from a sermon by Dr Robert Schuller that he believes applies to everything we do at MST. “Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.” “God’s plans are bigger than just fertilising or strengthening one tree or organisation,” Peter says. “I want to help equip MST to take people with a passion for the Scriptures and

love for the Lord and fertilise and encourage them, sending them out and seeing them germinate … so that many many trees end up bearing fruit, across decades, because of our ministry at MST.” Coincidentally, Peter happens to like the apple analogy because he grew up in Vermont South, within four kilometres of MST, and remembers this area when it was all orchards. “I remember, as a boy, stealing apples off the trees and being chased over the fence by orchadists with dogs and guns,” he shares with a chuckle. We welcome Peter to our team as he begins to tend the seeds God has planted in His orchard at MST. Peter is married to Cornelia, who teaches German at several primary schools in Melbourne. They have four daughters in their 20s. He begins his new role with MST at the start of September 2013.

Largest Leadership Intensive … Ever! ‘Leadership’ is one of the five ‘streams’ or areas of ministry training emphasis, that MST is introducing in 2014 and Principal Tim Meyers led an intensive on ‘Leadership and Management’ in July, dubbed “the largest and most popular intensive in living memory!” by our Dean of Studies, Delle Matthews. Heather Coleman, who is General Director of Global Interaction (the Baptist Union’s cross-cultural agency) was part of the intensive and said the group had a mix of gender, ages, experience levels, denomination and work contexts and would recommend future students study ministry leadership at MST, rather than be confronted, confused and or surprised. ‘Mentoring’ – from identifying a suitable mentor by their characteristics to being a good mentor, was the big ‘take out’ for Heather, who leads an agency of around 150 people. She said the biggest highlight for her was the opportunity to spend a week focussing on the area of management and leadership in ministry, as well as the richness that comes to learning in a face to face forum, sharing questions and ideas. For more information about studying at or supporting the ministry of MST, visit us online at www.mst.edu.au

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Clarity of Mission for Kim Cambodia. The ministry is to villagers who have been seen by an overseas medical team, or referred by one of the New Life pastors, leaders, evangelists, health-care assistants or members.

Hwee Kim Toh, one of the first MinistryTrax interns from CityLife Church to study at MST, is also a trained medical doctor. Born and raised in Malaysia, she remembers telling her parents at a very young age she wanted to be a doctor when she grew up so she could help people. Six years ago she came to know Christ and has since developed a heart for local and global mission! “Before coming to MST, God had given me a vision and the heart to share the gospel with the lost and serve His people in the South East Asia,” Kim said. God has opened doors for her to volunteer with the patient care ministry at New Life Fellowship Church based in Phnom Penh, the capital of

“We help by coming alongside these patients and providing the assistance they need, whether that is medical assistance, financial assistance or prayer. At the same time, I am also involved in providing basic healthcare training to the provincial healthcare assistants,” she said. Kim says the ministry has both medical and Kingdom benefits and over the years it has been able to actively save many lives and souls. “From a healthcare point of view, it is vital because many times these sick people, especially those from the villages, do not know where to go for help or do not have the means to get help.” “From a Christian perspective, I see this as an open door to demonstrate God’s love in action to these people. And at the same time, we have plenty of opportunities to reach out and share the Gospel of Christ with them,” Kim said. Kim says that over the years, she always struggled emotionally with

Meet some of our new vocationally diverse students

Kim first heard about MST through the ministry internship program at her church. She says it was the clarity of the mission statement that really attracted her at the time: MST exists to equip God’s people with transformational theology, biblical depth and a missional heart, to effectively communicate the Gospel of Christ to a diverse and changing world.

patients dying, seeing the limitations of medicine. But by incorporating both faith in God and medicine in her ministry, she can see God working in awesome ways, far beyond what medicine alone can do. Kim says her study at MST has equipped her with the Biblical knowledge she needs and helped her through some of the challenges of serving cross-culturally. Kim is willing to be used by God however and wherever He plans but she feels God calling her to use her skills and training somewhere in South East Asia after she graduates.

A Trifecta of ‘Sisters’

Wern Li Chia, 26, is a fully-qualified pharmacist working fulltime in the community and enrolled part-time in the Graduate Diploma of Divinity (GDD). Commonly known as ‘Wormie’ or ‘Wernzy’, she was born in Malaysia but grew up in Melbourne and worships at CityLife church. As well as studying and working, Wern has also co-led a Life Group at CityLife and is part of the Communion preparation team. She believes God brought her to MST to become better equipped for God’s service by diligently studying the Word and learning from those around her, and to gain clarity and direction in what God has called her to do. She says the workplace is her mission field at the moment and she is using her pharmacy knowledge and skills to serve the community. It is her heart’s desire to be “an integral part of a God-driven movement that will impact people locally and globally for His Kingdom.”  Wern also wants to be spurred on in Christ so that she, in turn, can encourage and motivate others in their walk with God and perhaps, in the future, also teach the Word. 14

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Johanna Kornaczewski, 31, is also enrolled in the Grad Dip of Divinity (GDD), however studying full-time. Born in Melbourne but raised in Hobart, Jo completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Psychology and a Major in German. She says her plans of becoming a psychologist were ‘interrupted by God’ when, in 2005, she followed His leading to join an inter-denominational Christian community, known as The Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, whose ministry is motivated by a deep love for God and centres around building up the Body

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Proclaiming Christ, Back at Uni

Just six months after completing her Master of Divinity, Mardi is ‘so grateful’ for the opportunity to have studied at MST. After teaching overseas, Mardi Easton wanted to prepare for longterm mission work, so decided to study theology and part way through the first year of her MDiv course, she realised that she wanted to teach people about Jesus instead of maths and physics! Nearing the end of her course, she decided she wanted to serve God by working in university student ministry, and started working with Christian Union (CU) at The University of Melbourne. “Studying full-time was invaluable in the way it shaped my thinking. Although I am in no sense ‘proficient’, I am grateful for how my mind has

Doing GDDs of Christ. After serving six years at their headquarters in Germany, and another 18 months in NSW, she is now back in Melbourne, worshipping at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Vermont and excited to see where God will lead her in the future. Jo says her heart breaks for the ‘lost’ in the church – those who know some church traditions but don’t know Jesus personally, particularly in Europe. “More than anything Germany is on my heart and I believe He’ll take me back there some day to serve Him there. It’s my hope that my studies and time at MST will not only give me a deeper understanding of the Scriptures, but that I’ll be further equipped for whatever lies ahead,” she says. 

been trained to think theologically,” Mardi shares. Her responsibilities at CU are varied: she spends a lot of time meeting up with girls one-on-one to read the Bible and enjoys seeing them learn about how rich the Bible is and how much they can get out of it with a little bit of time and study. She also runs an Alpha course, a couple of Bible studies and, this Semester, will be co-leading a Ministry Training Group on systematic and biblical theology. “I’m really excited about this, because I remember doing the Old Testament overview class in my first semester of Bible College and being excited and blown away by the realisation that the whole Bible, Old AND New Testament is about Jesus and God’s plan of salvation through Him. I’m hoping I can share this enthusiasm with the students who will be taking this course.” She shares a few things that have happened that help her see God’s hand in her work. The first is how much she loves doing the work and using her skills to serve, in meeting with students and in organising events. Another great experience,

she remembers, in orientation week of her first year at Melbourne Uni. A first year girl saw her wandering through Uni with a CU t-shirt and recognised her from when she had been a beach mission leader, some 12 years earlier. “When she found the CU table she signed up to do the Alpha course and I got to meet her again when she came to one of our public Bible talks,” she says excitedly. Please pray for the work of Christian Union at Melbourne Uni and for the course Mardi is co-leading this semester. “Most of all, pray that God will be using the CU to further His plans at Melbourne Uni,” she finishes.

Belinda Fox, 28, calls herself ‘a local’ because she has lived in Wantirna, just down the road from MST, since she was ten. A member of Heathmont Baptist church, she is also studying the GDD full-time. Prior to studying at MST, she completed a degree in Indonesian and Linguistics (Hons) at Monash University, before moving to Papua (eastern Indonesia) with Wycliffe Bible Translators. For the past three years, she has been serving in a holistic community development project among an isolated tribal group, which included an oral Bible storytelling component.  “It was an amazing experience to witness the incredible work God is doing ‘to the ends of the earth’,” she shares. Towards the end of her time in Indonesia, God put the idea of going to Bible College on her heart. She believes God wants to sharpen her knowledge of Him and His word, both for spiritual growth and for future ministry purposes.  “I realise now how much there is I don’t know about God. My desire is to be better equipped to serve Him and share His love with others,” Belinda says. “I definitely feel drawn into global mission but ultimately I want to seek God’s direction for the next step, wherever He leads.”

For more information about studying at or supporting the ministry of MST, visit us online at www.mst.edu.au

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Clem Fung Family at BCV: Many years ago, outside BCV Lilydale, with his parents, and Dr Ronald Y.K. Fung

Clem Seeking True Disciple-Making “Building up the Church is important … that’s what I’m tasked to do as a pastor. But recently I’ve begun to see with greater clarity than probably ever before, that making disciples is our primary assignment, and that there is a huge difference – often misunderstood and unexamined – between church-building activities and true disciple-making intent.” So says Clem Fung, formerly a student at BCV from 2002, completing a Master of Divinity in November 2005. Previously, he and his wife served for 10 years in missions, working and travelling all across Australia and internationally to Mexico, Zambia, Thailand, and Malaysia. Their ministry focused primarily on itinerant evangelism, discipleship, and training. But even just a few years into his service, Clem longed for deeper, more systematic training in theology to better understand and accurately convey the Word of God. His father, a retired seminary professor and published NT scholar, strongly encouraged Clem to pursue Bible college training, particularly as Clem sensed God’s calling longterm to pastoral ministry. “In the end, I chose BCV because of its 16

strong reputation for solid Biblical studies, cross-cultural and interdenominational expression, and a theology going beyond mere intellectual exercise to practical application in mission and ministry. It probably helped too that my Dad and Dr. Colin Kruse [then and still a NT lecturer at BCV/MST] had an affinity and strong mutual admiration for each other’s work!” It had been a decade since his last formal studies in the very different field of Computer Science and IT, and Clem wondered if he would cope with the study load and discipline of reading, assignments, and exams. And while it was definitely hard work and stressful at times, he says he loved his time at BCV. “I was able to see with fresh insight the consistency of God at work to redeem humanity through OT, NT, and Church history … that this reality has been true throughout time and certainly continues today. Theology classes helped me think through the place and expression of Christ and the Holy Spirit in mission, the Church, and everyday personal and social relevance. Biblical and Greek studies gave me tools to mine deeper gems of truth in Scripture that previously I might have heard about or had

inklings of, but didn’t know how to discover or affirm firsthand.” When he finished at BCV, and started a few months later as an Associate Pastor at Grace Church of Christ (www.gracechurch.cc), he was itching to get back into ministry. His role covered small group life and training. Over the next almost four years, Grace Church went through 40 Days of Purpose and 40 Days of Community, in the process seeing God grow their small groups ministry from 15 cells involving about 180 people, to around 30 GROW Groups encompassing more than 280. Clem conducted monthly training for the group leaders on the purpose and function of small groups, understanding group dynamics, and practical leadership skills. And he also worked with the Education and Training team to devise and implement a discipleship strategy for the whole church, which included a spiritual growth stream, an equipping track for ministry, and courses in everyday life such as marriage and parenting. When the Senior Pastor retired at the end of 2009, the Elders asked Clem to step up, and since the beginning of 2010, he has served as Lead Pastor at Grace Church.

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Clem teaching at Grace Church

“It’s been a joy and privilege, and so exciting to see God at work … He has added to our staff; our youth, young adult, and young family communities in particular are growing and thriving; we are more deliberately and consistently engaged in our local community than [we have been] in a long time; we planted a new congregation last year to reach unchurched 20- to 30-somethings, and as a result had to extend our facilities and build a children’s playground; God is bringing new people to us all the time.” As thrilling and satisfying as the journey has been thus far, Clem believes God wants Grace Church to shift gears: “Jesus says in Matt 16:18, ‘… I will build my church’ and in Matt 28:19-20, ‘[you] go and make disciples … teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.’ But instead,

Clem and Justine

what we often do as Christians is spend the bulk of our time and effort on building the church, with little left over to actually disciple anyone.” He continues, “In the NT Greek, ‘church’ is ekklesia which connotes the gathering or assembly of God’s people, and Christ promises to be in their midst. Gathering is important, but it doesn’t guarantee those who gather will automatically grow in their love, loyalty, and obedience to Christ. We spend so much time trying to gather people, and figuring out new and better ways to gather more people – small groups, Bible studies, prayer meetings, church services, outreach events – these are all good; Jesus gathered large crowds too by the thousands. But He discipled only a few, letting them get close enough to really see what a Spirit-filled life in communion with

the Father looks like. Over three years Jesus relationally ‘rubbed off’ on them; they got more than just information, but learned to truly follow Him (Matt 16:24-25) even after He was no longer physically present.” At Grace Church they still will do what’s necessary to gather people in all the various settings, because gathering creates opportunity for relationships to be built. But for true disciple-making to happen, those relationships need to go further by each person intentionally seeking to ‘rub off’ on a few others in the same powerful way Jesus did. To find out more about Grace Church’s ethos and strategy to shift gears from church-building to disciple-making, please contact clemfung@gracechurch.cc

MST Students at Grace Church A team of students from MST led by lecturer Scott Harrower, will be joining Clem at Grace Church during Mission Week, 15-22 September. Clem says, “I’m really looking forward to them ministering with us … they’ll gain some experience and exposure in our local outreach activities, youth and young adult ministries, intercessors group, new Encounter service, and time with our staff. I’m praying that it’ll be a blessing both for them and for us.”

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Pages from My Diary ‘You are the light of the world,’ Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:14. And where does light have the greatest impact? In the darkness of course!

Realising the need to share the Good News of Jesus in the most unreached parts of the world has set MST alumni, Sandra Oh, on an incredible journey to Nepal, where she’s been serving God for the past three years. What has this journey looked like? Below, she has shared some snippets from her diary…

May 2000: CrossCulture Church of Christ’s Missionary Convention Dear Diary. Tonight I sensed God say ‘You’re not too young anymore. It’s time you take seriously my call to overseas missions.’ What should I study at university that will help me to grow in the gifts and abilities God’s given me so that I can use them for Him? December 2001: Tabor College Dear Diary. What an amazing year. So thankful to have had the opportunity to grow in my faith by doing ‘Year In The Son’! Now onto RMIT University to get a Bachelor of Business Management. January 2003: On board the MV Doulos in Ghana, West Africa Dear Diary. So glad I did this short term trip! I’ve learned so much about living in an international community and have had so much fun sharing Jesus with the people I’ve come across. Not sure if being onboard longer term is a good fit for me though. I think I want to be in a place for a longer period of time so that I can learn the language and culture and really invest in friendships with locals. December 2005: Bible College of Victoria Dear Diary. Coupling working as the Youth Ministry Worker at CrossCulture Church of Christ with studying a Grad Dip in Ministry over the past two years has been fantastic training for ministry! So thankful for the opportunity to do more in-depth study of the Bible and for the great lecturers I learned from. Am thankful for BCV’s focus on mission and the different missionaries we got to hear from during Chapel. September 2006: Urban Neighbours of Hope English Camp, Klong Toey Slum, Bangkok Dear Diary. I am SO blessed to have English as my first language! What a fantastic tool for missions! It’s amazing that people can gain education and employment opportunities by knowing a bit of English! Maybe I need to

look into English teaching as a way to bring hope for the future, as well as a way to build relationships where the Good News of Jesus can be shared. August 2010: At home, Melbourne, Australia Dear Diary. The past few years, getting experience teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in South Korea, and then at Monash University’s English Language Centre, have definitely prepared me for the new adventure I am about to embark on – teaching ESL (with support from Interserve) at the Kathmandu International Study Centre – a Christian international school for mission, expatriate and Nepali children. I’m sure that moving to one of the poorest countries in Asia will have its challenges, but God’s heart for the poor is clear throughout the Bible and I look forward to seeing how He can use me to bring hope and light to the people there. April 2012: Kathmandu, Nepal Dear Diary. What a truly fascinating experience! Living in a country that is 80% Hindu (only 1% Christian), I knew about the Kumari, but to meet her this afternoon was truly unbelievable! I think my Year 7 students were shocked that a young girl, the same age as them, is considered a ‘living goddess’ and is worshipped by many Nepalis. August 2013: Kathmandu, Nepal Dear Diary. I’m just about to start my fourth year in Nepal. I’ve come to see that there are many challenges that face the education system here, especially in more rural areas where students and teachers may have to walk many hours just to get to school. Over the next three years, I’m excited to continue teaching ESL, as well as train Nepali school teachers through a program which aims to transform communities by providing training for Nepali teachers, giving scholarships to kids who can’t afford to go to school, and taking books to schools in remote areas. It’s a new season, and I look forward to seeing what God is going to do in and through me in the years ahead.

To see where this journey takes me, feel free to check out my blog: www.sandraoh82.blogspot.com 18

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From Fast Cars to Washing Feet of Lepers As Jason was studying in medical school, he dreamt of living in a mansion, driving several luxury cars and jet-setting around the world in first class. God had other plans. ‘What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?’ (Mt 16:26, NIV). God’s merciful hand slapped him awake and guided him to a trip into Thailand and Myanmar in 1998 that changed the whole course of his life. In this trip, his callous heart was softened to the tremendous needs he saw in the tribal hill people of Thailand. Most of all, he saw the difference a humble and available child of God could make to people

who were desperate for hope. He cried every time he saw how God’s love rescued people from the darkness. After graduating medical school, he was determined to make his life count for the kingdom of God. Since graduating as a medical doctor, he has spent his holidays on at least one missions trip each year. He has served primarily in China but has also gone to India, Taiwan, Thailand, Myanmar, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. His work involves training doctors, caring for orphans, teaching English to high school students, providing sexual education to adolescents in schools and providing free medical care in rural settings.

On the mission field he has met amazing children of God who has given up much in this world to gain so much more in the world to come. One of his most life-transforming moments was learning how to care for the wounds of lepers from an Australian nurse. Her ministry involved walking into leprosy villages abandoned by society. The people encounter the radical love of God with raw authenticity as we kneel before them to wash the wounds on their feet. For decades, people would not even want to be in contact with them, let alone touch them. And now they could experience God’s love for them through Christians washing their feet! Often these patients would cry as we serve them and many have committed themselves to following Christ. So what of Jason’s dream during medical school? God has brought him to live in mud huts in the middle of nowhere, sit on horse-driven carts and travel to the poorest parts of the world. And yet his heart has never been so full of joy and contentment.

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Sharing the Gospel: From Drinking Water to Life-giving Water Ash Seaton, a former NSW Police Officer, is a distance student completing a Bachelor of Ministry, whilst working in development in a popular tourist destination in SE Asia, among the island’s four million Hindus. Ash and his wife, Caz, are involved with a small NGO that is committed to living out the gospel in such a way that lives are transformed in ways that bring them closer to God’s intention for His creation. They run water projects in villages with no access to clean water; and meet the needs of the disabled, particularly through therapy, wheelchair distribution and other mobility aids. They are also engaging in broader village based development. Their fellow-workers are all committed followers of Jesus and seek to live out their love for God in all situations. They look for people in whom God is working and form groups to study the Word together. 20

“Our vision is to see a disciplemaking movement amongst the Hindus on our island. We would love to see a multitude of communities discovering what it means to follow Jesus, being transformed by the gospel and then sharing the same with other communities.” Ash and Caz seek to develop the community by both meeting human need and encouraging engagement with the Word of God. They are involved in training local believers to make disciples, producing resources for ministry and leadership development of house church leaders.

Meeting the Word through Water Ash shares: “About a year ago, a team member visited a man who had suffered a stroke seven years prior. He

had not been able to walk unassisted since. This team member prayed for this man and he was miraculously healed and was able to stand up and walk into the village! He returned soon after with a small crowd from the village and proceeded to burn his crutches and many ‘trinkets’ that had been given by various witchdoctors. The next week, both he and his wife were baptised in response to the good news and are now leading a small group of people in their village to discover the truth in the Word. “The team has also been privileged to see a village transformed by gaining access to clean drinking water on tap at each home! The village, one of the poorest on the island, is also one of the most enthusiastic they have come across. The team now visits weekly to run simple program for the children and youth that teaches them twelve foundational moral values to live by. This program

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“The Aid and Development course has been instrumental in instigating some changes to our local approach to community development and making disciples.”

was requested by the local leader and village head. We are praying that God will reveal areas where he is already working and be able to identify persons of peace.” Ash completed a Diploma at SMBC in Sydney before coming to study at MST. Having worked in cross-cultural mission for eight years now, he says his study at MST is very much about “sharpening my focus” and “helping me to evaluate my current ministry.” He is currently studying two intensive subjects, Aid and Development with Peter Riddell, and Principles of Leadership and Management. Of the Aid and Development course, Ash says he very much enjoyed engaging with other students and learning “very practical application for their work in SE Asia.” “The Aid and Development course has been instrumental in instigating

some changes to our local approach to community development and making disciples,” he says. “It has pushed me to rework the vision of our foundation. We are trying some different approaches to development and have also started partnering with another foundation that is doing some great development work. The course also encouraged me even more to not be ‘separatist’ about the gospel, but to allow the entirety of our work to be an expression of the gospel,” he said. He says the Leadership course emphasised the need for mentors at different levels and it has helped him to clarify and be intentional about the direction of his own leadership development. “There is increasing openness to the good news on our island. God is definitely stirring up a deep interest in searching out truth amongst the

people here and there is no doubt that he is engaging in a very active way. It is not uncommon to hear testimony of dreams and miraculous healing leading to faith in Him. In the past two years we have seen an increasing number of people gathering in groups to study the Word.” “These people are not all followers of Jesus … but many are searching. God is bringing a greater sense of unity amongst the disciple makers on our island, but please pray for the many seekers who are ready to be discipled!” Ash and Caz, who have three children eight and under, have asked people to pray for their team as they re-discern their vision for these people and for clarity as they determine new and effective ways to live out the gospel in needy rural communities.

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Meet some of our ‘New’ Students with a raft of Gospel Experience behind them

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A few of our new students this year, already have decades of experience in cross cultural gospel work. Ian and Dorcas, on ‘home assignment’ after nearly 30 years in an Islamic country in South Asia, are two highlights. As part of their plan for 10 months ‘rest & refreshment’ they’ve jumped into the Grad Certificate of Divinity at MST, with a special interest in subjects offered by the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths (CSIOF). When they married in ‘76, Ian was already qualified as a doctor. He worked in the local hospital as the GP in a regional town in northeast Victoria, where they started their family. Dorcas remembers they loved being part of the community and sharing Christ. “Our desire to share the gospel with those who’d never heard kept increasing. Thus it was that in 1984, we planned our move to South Asia with our 5 kids. Our church and friends backed us, thinking we were ‘called’, but some people just thought we were crazy!” Dorcas shares.

Ian and Dorcas with their family, before they left for South Asia, in 1984

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The Lord graciously led and guided them over the years, but they had to work out their priorities within His plan. Top on the list, Dorcas shares, was prayer and meditating on the Bible for at least an hour a day; then there was language and cultural experience. Family was a particularly high priority, with their sixth child was born over there. They wanted their kids to be happy and well-adjusted. “We sought for ways to effectively communicate the gospel and have been involved in different things over the years,” she says. As a medical doctor, Ian was involved in tuberculosis & mobile

clinics, drug rehabilitation, a ‘quit smoking’ program and flood relief, as well as work in Christian hospitals. Dorcas taught, wrote booklets and worked with ladies in a doll-making business. “Working with national believers was our priority and we put a strong emphasis on practical Christian living, encouraging people to share their faith in difficult and dangerous situations, as well as on how Christ calls us to serve him sacrificially,” she says. All their children have now grown up and left home, but Ian and Dorcas delight in visiting and playing with their grandkids whilst they’re on home assignment. “It’s a pleasure to be part of MST, meeting like-minded people, making friends, learning, gaining new insights, being encouraged and hopefully encouraging others,” Dorcas shares. They plan to return to South Asia in November and continue their course by distance online.

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Mission Week: The Highlight of their Year Mission Week 2013, in midSeptember, will see MST student spreading out in five teams across Victoria and South East Asia, to partner with churches and other groups to proclaim the good news and help build up God’s people. “It is a great time for students to get out there and put into practice what they are learning here, as we join with others in getting the gospel out to their communities,” said Sam Reeve, Vice-Principal (Community). Teams of students, led by a faculty member, are preparing to go to city, suburban and rural locations in Australia, as well as to Cambodia, from Sunday 15 to Sunday 22 September. The team to Bendigo will be partnering with a new church plant called ‘Reforming Church’. Pastor Russ Grinter is excited to have an influx of enthusiastic students as they seek to grow and impact their community. The Drouin team will be working with past Student President and graduates, Heath and Mel Easton at Drouin Presbyterian Church, and another group will be ministering with MST Graduate Clem Fung at Grace Church of Christ in Wantirna. Students look forward to getting

MST Students ministering to locals in the Solomon Islands in Mission Week last year.

good input on what it’s like to minister full-time in these kinds of environments.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia Bendigo

Greg Forbes, Head of Biblical Studies at MST, is looking forward to leading the international crosscultural team going to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where they will be partnering with New Life Fellowship, a fast-growing church with myriad connections to their community and a real heart for planting new congregations. A key feature of this student experience will be teaching basic theology in local churches. “Students often tell us that Mission Week is the highlight of their year, as they see God at work in their own lives and the lives of others, by

Come to Graduation 2013 Please join us on 25 November for the Graduation Service and conferral of Awards for students completing courses in 2013. Monday 25 November 2013, 7.30pm Speaker: Rev Dr Mark Durie Location: MST Upstairs Light supper at close of Service MARK IT IN YOUR DIARY NOW. No booking required.

Melbourne

Wantirna

Drouin

putting into practice the things they are learning at MST,” Sam said. Please pray this will be an encouraging and enriching experience for students and faculty, as well as the churches and groups they partner with. Most of all, pray that this week will see people brought to faith and built up in Christ.

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The Play’s The Thing in which the intersection of Theology and the Arts is discussed and a challenge is issued! Ben Chenoweth In Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2, Hamlet exclaims: I’ll have grounds More relative than this – the play’s the thing Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King. Hamlet wants to catch out his guilty uncle by publicly re-enacting the events surrounding the murder of Hamlet’s father. He (and by extension, Shakespeare) clearly knows the value of the Arts for putting things in such a way that they can deeply impact the audience. In my second year of studies at MST, then called BCV, I had Rikki Watts for one of my subjects. That year he gave his students a choice for our main assessment: either, we could write an essay on one of a number of topics, or we could submit something from the Arts instead, something that had come out of our theological reflection on the themes of the particular book we were studying. (We would also have to submit a short essay briefly describing that theological reflection, but the item of Art was the main part of the assessment.) A few brave people did this. A couple of people submitted paintings, someone performed a song, and there was even a complete oratorio performed in multi-part harmony by a large group of Tongans! In each case it was extremely moving to see theology expressed through the Arts.

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What did I do? I wrote an essay. Now, 17 years later, what do I remember – my essay or the theological Art? I don’t even remember the topic of my essay, let alone the content! However, while I didn’t take up Rikki’s offer, the event really stuck with me. In fact, I took it as a personal challenge: to always be on the look-out for opportunities to intersect Theology with the Arts. I didn’t have to wait long. When I was asked by Ted Woods’ daughters to write a musical for their church based on the book of Esther I jumped at the chance. Here was an opportunity to get some theological reflection and (hopefully) good exegesis onto the stage. It took a while – I remember working on the orchestrations during classes while studying at SIL school – but in 1998 Lilydale Baptist performed Esther over four glorious nights. (A recording of one

of those performances is available for free from www.noisetrade.com/ benchenoweth/esther.) The experience was invigorating. I started looking around for another project. Now, one of my favourite books in the Old Testament is 1 Samuel. I remembered that in the course of researching for an essay for that subject, I had come across a brilliant book and a fascinating article. Together, these two sources had been amazingly helpful in explaining the significance of a number of otherwise puzzling events in the text. At the time I remember thinking, ‘Everyone needs to read this stuff!’ So here was a perfect opportunity to do something ‘arty’ that used these two sources, presenting the material in a more accessible form. So I wrote Saul, First King of Israel, a play in two acts that portrays the book of 1 Samuel from the perspective of Saul, with

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considerable input from the prophet Samuel (eBook available for purchase here). Unfortunately, this play has never been performed. So much for making it accessible! My wife Kylie and I joined Wycliffe Bible Translators and eventually we were sent to St. Petersburg, Russia, where we lived and worked for nearly ten years supporting translation teams scattered across the former Soviet Union. During that time, in the occasional spare moment, more as a hobby than anything else, I wrote a novel entitled The Ephesus Scroll. This time, I wanted to show that there are alternatives to the way the book of Revelation is interpreted by those of a pre-millennial dispensational persuasion (ably illustrated by the very popular Left Behind series). It took seven years to write, but the novel finally came out in electronic form last year (available here) and as a paperback more recently this year. While I am clearly taking this opportunity to shamelessly plug my stuff, I would also like to extend that same challenge Rikki Watts extended to my class all those years ago: make your theology accessible and whenever possible, use the Arts to do so. Lecturers, give your students the opportunity to submit

theologically-reflective art, not just words. Students, take what you learn, shape it into art and put it out there for others to enjoy and learn from. And perhaps in the process you will catch the conscience of someone and change their life! Ben Chenoweth is an eCoach for distance students and from 2014 will teach Introduction to New Testament Greek and Romans at MST. He is also Personnel Manager at Wycliffe Bible Translators Australia. Email ephesus. scroll@gmail.com to order a paperback copy of The Ephesus Scroll.

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“So his fame spread through all Syria...” (Matthew 4:24) Mary Davidson^ A young Syrian refugee waits to be registered at a centre in Al Beereh. Source: Salah Malkawi Flickr.com/UNHCR

It was late January 2011 and we were sitting with friends who, like us, had lived and worked in Egypt, in a coffee shop in Amman, the capital of Jordan, watching in disbelief as events in Egypt unfolded in front of us on the TV screen. Just over a month earlier, Muhammad Bouazizi, a Tunisian fruit vendor, had set himself on fire, leading to Ben Ali, President of Tunisia, resigning and popular demonstrations for democracy spilling over into Algeria, Yemen and Libya, sparking protests across the region that became known around the world as the ‘Arab Spring’. Now the crowds were massing in Tahrir Square in Cairo in a new fearless solidarity as they demanded political change. As we returned to Damascus for the end of that visit to the Middle East, we knew that the wave of turmoil would inevitably reach Syria, sooner or later, and also that the struggle there would be more drawnout and complex. But it came sooner, and has been longer and bloodier than we could ever have predicted. By the end of March 2011, protests had spread from their 26

beginning in Deraa in the south of Syria to cities around the country, beginning a struggle that has continued for over two and a half years. Some estimates suggest that 100,000 people have died since the conflict began. From a population of about 23 million, nearly two million Syrians are registered as refugees with the United Nations in neighbouring countries; and millions of others are unregistered and trying to survive in the surrounding countries, or are internally displaced within Syria itself. An average of 6,000 people are fleeing the country every day, generating what the UN describes as the worst refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Everyone we speak to, from many different religious and ethnic backgrounds, has had family members die or disappear, and tells stories of atrocities committed, too awful to be contained by paper and ink. The Syrian regime, not known for its tolerance of dissent, reacted harshly, generating more protests and demonstrations from people

from a range of political and ethnic backgrounds. Increasingly, although some protesters have tried to continue non-violent protest, many, supported by army defectors, respond with violence. News coverage from both Arab and Western sources initially focused on atrocities committed by the government, with no mention of equally savage rebel retaliation. Lack of access meant that reports of raids and bombings were hard to substantiate, even circulating photographic evidence that had pictured other wars in other countries. Early on, the government (erroneously) claimed that, rather than a movement across religious groups, the protests were driven by religious sensibilities. Now we see this claim fulfilled as increasing numbers of foreign jihadists join the conflict, fighting for a Sunni state. As assistance continues to come in for the rebels from Arab states and western allies, Iran and Hizbollah in Lebanon have become more overt in their support for the government.

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Newly arrived Syrian refugees in Jordan. Source: flickr.com/UNHCR

The length and ferocity of the combat, together with the militant position of some jihadist rebel groups, are now causing some who initially backed the revolt to abandon it in support of the government. At this point it seems impossible to predict whether one side or the other will gain power, or if the country will disintegrate into different ethnic areas. Probably the answer lies not within the country itself, but in the amount and direction of external involvement. When the disturbances began, many Christians supported the regime, believing that a Sunni state would be more restrictive. Over the last year, in conjunction with the rise of jihadist groups and foreign fighters, there have been growing reports of specific targeting of Christians by the opposition. Many Christians have joined those fleeing. Other Christians, though reporting shortages of electricity, water and food, and experiences of rape, kidnapping and death of community members, affirm their commitment to stay, pray and care for their country.

Following the kidnapping of two priests and two bishops in February and April 2013, the churches overcame traditional divisions to come together for a day of prayer for Syria on 11 May 2013, which was joined by Christians all around the world. God’s hand has been evident in many ways. Though there has been tragedy, there have also been miraculous deliverances. An audio CD recounting the story of salvation in Syrian Arabic was produced just before the turmoil began, and thousands have been distributed. Muslims are coming in numbers into churches in Syria, asking about Jesus Messiah, and many in refugee camps outside the country borders are coming to faith. While the country disintegrates, God’s church is growing in strength. Let us hear and pray with a leading pastor in Syria: “My people are hurting... Thank God we are the CHURCH of the living God. We are here in this country at such a time in history not just to mourn, though

mourning is certainly proper ... We thank God because the Church is united across the country in prayer 24 hours a day, seven days a week; praying for the glory of God to dwell in the Church, for an end to the bloodshed, for peace in the country, for keeping the Church’s faithful witness, to reach out to the suffering, to share the divine cure of the gospel, to speak the word of the Lord in all boldness. ... We see darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon His church and His glory appears over it. We deeply appreciate the prayers of God’s people everywhere; it is a rare time where the Church in Syria is feeling the true oneness of the body of Christ all over the globe.  For this, we thank the Lord, for it is a great encouragement to us.” ^ Mary Davidson is a pseudonym, used by a research candidate at MST CSIOF, who has lived and worked extensively in the Middle East.

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Zorro, Goldilocks and Jesus Mike Druber I was reminded of the old Zorro movies as I attended a Forum recently, headed ‘Jesus: Prophet, Messiah, God?’

and, for the most part, also clearly and concisely. No-one would be in doubt that each man had a very different view about Jesus.

In the movies there was always a moment where the Spanish Dons were so close to discovering Zorro’s true identity that it seemed all but assured that it would happen. Then, of course, came a rush of Zorro impersonators and the revelation that was all but assured was once again a mystery.

Steve, who presented Jesus as a non-divine Messiah, clearly knew his material well, showing he had committed considerable time to preparation. However the use of overly academic language in his presentation limited his audience somewhat. Even though his conclusions were clear, it was hard to follow the line of argument objectively.

The Forum in July, hosted by City Bible Forum in conjunction with CrossCulture Church of Christ, attempted to ‘unmask’ the man called Jesus, posing the question whether he was a Prophet, the Messiah or God. The speakers at the Forum were; • Shahir Naga: a Muslim and founder of the website 1GOD. com.au • Steve Katsaras: a Unitarian minister and founder of Red words church, and • Dr Bernie Power: a Trinitarian from Melbourne School of Theology. Each speaker was given an eight minute window to present their view on the ‘nature’ of Jesus. The remainder of the forum was then an interactive question time, with brief closing statements from each speaker. It was not surprising that even after the forum closed there were still many questions left unanswered. They presented their views intelligently and respectfully 28

Shahir, on the other hand, presented a prophetic Jesus focusing particular attention on the nature of God as a single personality. Shahir illustrated his points from both the Qur’an and the Bible to reinforce his arguments. It was easier to follow his thinking and more appropriate language for the audience at the forum, however it would have been helpful to hear him speak in more depth on his points with broader citations to reinforce them. The final speaker was MST’s Dr Bernie Power, presenting Jesus as a divine part of a Trinitarian God. In many ways Bernie’s presentation was the simplest of the three, keeping the language uncomplicated and using basic illustrations. His points were given strength by the associated material showing the breadth of research behind each of his points. While each speaker presented quite clearly, listening at times felt a little like Goldilocks trying out the three bears’ beds.

Was the forum a success? Yes, I think so. It succeeded in providing an open, safe and encouraging environment where people of all faiths and backgrounds can come to hear and discuss big faith questions. A wonderful turnout on the night exceeded organisers’ expectations and packed out the room. The fact that many approached the speakers after the forum to continue their enquiry was proof that the views expounded were not only heard but resonated with the audience. As a Christian, I believe it also worked to show that the Jesus of the Bible is relevant for all people today. I would encourage you to watch the Forum, posted on City Bible Forum Melbourne’s YouTube channel. Let’s keep these conversations going with our friends and colleagues, keep the question of ‘Who Jesus is’ on the agenda and remember that the word of God is a living word which does not go out in vain. Mike Druber is a first year Bachelor of Theology student.

NEXT DEBATE:

Bernie Power vs Faraz Normani Jesus or Mohammed: Who is the best model for humanity today? Melbourne City Conference, 333 Swanston St, Melbourne Thursday 19 September 2013 7.30pm

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‘Talking Past Each Other’: Shumack Joins CSIOF Well-known Sydney-based writer, academic and itinerant teacher on engaging Muslims, Dr Richard Shumack, has agreed to join MST’s Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths (CSIOF), as both a member of its Advisory Board and an Adjunct Supervisor in its Postgraduate research program. We spoke to Richard to get to know what motivates him. Richard says that one of the biggest problems for Christians wanting to engage Muslims is they so often ‘talk past each other’. “Quite simply, we answer questions the other is simply not asking,” he said. Richard completed his PhD research at the National Centre for Excellence in Islamic studies at the University of Melbourne. Richard’s research examined the philosophy of present-day Muslims, particularly their epistemology, which asks the question “How do we know what we know?” (or “Why do we believe what we believe?”). His thesis focused on certainty and doubt, in particular the arguments and writings of Muslims philosophers, both traditional and Western. “Most modern Muslims, even many Western Muslim intellectuals or academics, have a dualistic worldview, which recognizes two completely different sorts of knowledge. The first, and most important, sort is divine revelation. This is taken to consist of the Qur’an and the traditions of Muhammad. It is assumed to be unquestionably true. The second sort is human empirical knowledge which recognizes the need for reason and evidence.

This framework limits the capacity of Muslims to examine their faith.” When asked why he chose a secular university like Melbourne University rather than a Christian school of theology (like MST) to complete his PhD, Richard said he wanted to really get inside how Muslims thought and wanted to learn from, and be assessed by, the best qualified Muslim philosophers and academics he could find. Richard says this has opened doors to him that simply would not be opened if he had studied at a seminary or Christian institution. “Christians need to understand that Muslims have an unwavering confidence that their beliefs are true. The problem is that because most of their beliefs are unexamined this confidence is unwarranted.” “There is a saying in Islam, ‘Kaffirs (or ‘Infidels’) ask questions’. Even for professional Muslim philosophers there are multiple ‘no go’ zones,” he said. Richard says his real passion is not Islam as a religio-political system but to understand deeply the Muslim mindset. He says his PhD research was “merely a means to an end.” “The original motivation for me was to understand Somalis. If you want to reach out and connect with Somalis, a very unreached people group, you need to understand Islam,” he said. After training originally at Moore College in Sydney and working in the Blue Mountains, Richard moved to Melbourne originally to work alongside Dr Peter Adam, then Vicar of St Jude’s (Anglican) Community Church in Carlton, to head up a

church planting team in their ‘Estates Ministry’. He spent 12 years working with and reaching out to thousands of people on the Carlton Housing Estate, including many refugees and recent migrants from Somalia and other countries in the Horn of Africa. “My calling and passion is not first and foremost to Muslims or necessarily to Academia but to sharing the gospel with unreached people groups. And it so happens that the vast majority of unreached people, over 1 billion in fact, are Muslims.” As part of his research, Richard has studied Arabic, having spent time living in Egypt with his wife Judy and four children (see photo) before starting his PhD. He says the main reason he’s keen to join MST’s CSIOF is that it is one of the key Institutions in the world, and the leading institution in the Southern Hemisphere, seeking to understand Islam and the Muslim mindset from a Christian worldview. “I can’t promise I’ll be a great administrator as a Board member but I am keen to do all I can to promote Christian understanding of Islam, especially through supervising handson research in the MST Postgraduate program,” he said. Richard is also a research fellow and regular writer for the Centre of Public Christianity (CPX) in Sydney. He is also employed by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) to coordinate global research engaging Islam. He was previously engaged by MST to supervise and coordinate student placement field work, for a decade, ending in 2011.

For more information about studying at or supporting the ministry of MST, visit us online at www.mst.edu.au

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MST Alumni Family Roundup The mini reunion, in July, at the home of Brian and Barb Edgar.

One Scot, One Holiday Down Under and One Impromptu Reunion Bash It was a simple BCV Facebook group, started by Kerry Huggins (née Gilbert), that allowed almost instant communication with her fellow grads living in Victoria, and the organisation of a spontaneous surprise reunion while Joanne Harvey was out from Scotland recently. Joanne tells a good story, on returning to Australia recently for a vacation after studying at BCV in 1993. She writes: When you have a ‘special’ birthday, you focus on the things that have happened in your life that have shaped it. In January 1993, I left Scotland to come to BCV because I wanted to share in the community

experience at Bible College, having studied at a non-residential Bible College in Scotland. The lessons learned in community were not always easy but the results were lasting. The friendships I made during that time have helped me to widen my horizons as my fellow students scattered across the world, and I returned home to become a High School teacher in Scotland. When former student, Kerry Huggins (Gilbert) started a BCV group on Facebook a few years back, it gave an opportunity to communicate with friends in a way we had never had before. A sentence, a picture, a brief comment here and there joined St

Alma Hoel: our oldest known female student, now with the Lord Alma Hoel, aged 97, passed away suddenly, on 22 June and is now with the Lord. Alma grew up on a farm at Barnawatha near Wangaratta. One of five children, she became a Midwife and Infant Welfare Nurse with a view to becoming a missionary. She began studying at the Melbourne Bible Institute, now MST, in 1937. In 1941 Alma set off with three others to serve in what was then known as the Territory of Papua New Guinea. After serving for eight months, she and fellow missionaries 30

were repatriated due to Japanese atrocities. At war’s end she returned to PNG married to a Canadian Missionary, Theo Hoel. For 30 years she and her husband served in isolated posts. They raised five children with all its challenges, alongside teaching, nursing, evangelising, and counselling. Alma leaned to drive aged 65, and drove for 20 years. For 3 years she lived at Salford Park, MST’s near neighbour, as a shining example of God’s unfailing love. She kept up regular intercession for many missionaries almost to the end of her life.

Petersburg with Ecuador, Melbourne, Sydney, Papua New Guinea, England (and even Scotland) in an instant. This was the seed which led to the reunion in the home of Brian and Barb Edgar in Ringwood one Saturday in July. Over 50 people, including children, attended the mini-reunion. It was a great opportunity to relive some of the highlights of our time at BCV and remember friends who could not attend. It was also great to share some of the stories of our lives since our student days and compare wrinkles and grey hairs! Thanks to the Edgars, all who attended, and all who made the BCV community such a great experience!

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Meet Marsali, ‘Doyen of Reunions’ It’s great to meet passionate fellow believers and Marsali Campbell is one who ticks all the boxes. She loved her time at MST, then known as Melbourne Bible Institute (MBI), back in 68-69. She was back again a few years later to study Missions after serving in PNG. Only ill health stopped her study. Marsali, who has been dubbed the ‘doyen of reunions’, says she first got involved with the reunion caper when Len Pearce was organising a 20 year reunion. She took up a watching brief on her peers when Len went off to serve the Lord in the Middle East. In her own words Marsali says she was initially apprehensive but as she loved college life and the students in her year, she felt she could contribute to their ‘get-togethers’. “I have always had a sense of thanksgiving and belonging for those years. In fact, our year became my family. The Rev Graham Miller, then Principal, called us the coconuts. As he said we were destined by God to wash up on various shores,” Marsali shares. The 20th Reunion, back in 1988, was a one day event at the Presbyterian campsite at Belgrave Heights, which is now a Christian school where her husband John teaches. She says contact in the eighties was still by letter and phone. A number of interstaters came as it was over a weekend and “for many it was the first time they had caught up with fellow students serving overseas or living across state borders.”

Asked about the benefits of reunions, Marsali paused and said, “I see reunions offering support, encouragement and prayer while fostering continued interest in MST.” She clearly recalls one spouse of a grad commenting about the time together, “This has been real enjoyment and true fellowship.” When organizing a reunion of men and women from all over Australia and overseas, she says, “You need to consider the costs and prepare a budget. Most of our year group are retired now so we need to start planning 12 or 18 months ahead. However, if members of your year group are still working internationally, you may need to plan two or three years ahead to make it easier for those serving overseas to be present. Early notice also gives interstaters and those from NZ or elsewhere time to plan holidays so they can attend.” Marsali practises what she preaches and long-term planning for our last reunion paid divdends, with an amazing 80 alumni and spouses in residence, with every State and New Zealand represented. Melbournians, in her year, also try to get together for ‘minireunions’ two or three times per year. Finally Marsali admits she likes to do the hard yakka beforehand and then delegate all the aspects of programs to others. She doesn’t see herself as an upfront person. She is currently organising the 45th

Reunion for her year, over a year away in November 2014. The Lodge at Belgrave Heights is already booked! “I find keeping in touch with alumni is an ongoing thing and almost every day prayer requests are sent out along with emails and phone calls,” she said, “However, unless the Lord is glorified, it is all in vain.”

New Reunion Kit Offers 12 Tips to Ensure a Memorable Event 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Establish an organising group. Decide the reasons for a reunion. Set your target audience. Select a date, time and venue Develop a budget. Finalise a reunion program and/or activities schedule. 7. Grow a(n) (e)mailing list. 8. Prepare invitations, with RSVP. 9. Decide accommodation options. 10. Plan promotion. 11. Have a Photo display. 12. Update contact details via a Questionnaire about future events. The above tips are from a Reunion Kit for beginners which reunion veterans at MST have put Reunion Kit together. Contact Graeme Rule on graerule@gmail. com or 0412 559 059 to get a copy.

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Four Decades and Counting Trevor and Heather Smith’s epic story

It was mid 1969. We were all studying for upcoming exams at MBI, then located in Armadale. I clearly remember going into the Smith’s room to have a word with Trevor, a young doctor who was at Bible College after years of studying medicine. Even as we talked this whiz kept rapidly running his eye down the page at a pace I’d never seen - I am sure he was blessed with a photographic memory. I also recall what an energetic Christian he was in evangelical circles around Melbourne. Even in his first few weeks at MBI in ’68, he became well-known for using his training and skills as a doctor to save the life of young Peter Riley, who had a massive heart attack after he was asked a question in Dr Stevens’ Greek class. Talking with the Rev Lindsay Smith, Trevor’s older brother and fellow alumni of MST, I found that the brief humble story received on request from Heather and Trevor regarding their years with the Leprosy Mission, was far too self-effacing. As many Christians did and no doubt still do Heather and Trevor met at a Beach Mission, (I seem to recall CSSM used to stand for Come Single Soon Married). Trevor like many others was an usher at Belgrave Heights, another great place to grow in the faith. Heather studied at MLC in the days of the great evangelical and former missionary, Dr A H Wood, 32

and then went on to study Arts at Melbourne University. She became a teacher, to the benefit of generations of Thai students. In their own words, “We headed for Thailand in August 1969, not realizing we were starting a life sentence! Well, 44 years later and counting!  Seconded by The Leprosy Mission International we have been working under the Thai national church in the McKean Rehabilitation Centre, Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. At first this was a big leprosy settlement, with hospital and clinics (which kept Trevor busy), hostels and school (where Heather served), five villages and a church. Over the next fifteen years we saw hundreds of patients able to go back into society and McKean developed a general extended rehab centre for leprosy and other disabilities.” One amazing story we learned from Lindsay concerns a summons from the Thai Palace. One of the Princesses was in danger of losing her sight from cataracts. Lindsay’s acquired skill in operating on leprosy patients with serious eye problems had reached the ears of Thai royalty. Our Aussie medico received five-star support as he was taken to Bangkok to perform the delicate operation.  In gratitude for his surgical success Lindsay received one of Thailand’s most prestigious awards. Trevor kept practising and Heather moved on to head up vocational training,

Graeme Rule

social work, and become one of the administrators. Back to their reporting, “By 2000 we felt God was leading our Christian centre into aged-care, so in our own senior years we have helped set up the first multi-tiered agedcare centre in this region. Trevor is still doctoring full time and Heather is acting Manager of Dok Kaew Gardens retirement centre, with clientele from seven nationalities. A lot of Westerners and Japanese are retiring in Chiang Mai but may fall on hard times in old age due to strokes, accidents, dementia, or being cheated out of their savings. Their anticipated retirement heaven becomes hell, and we have a lot of social work and counseling challenges with many folk who have brought many anti-Christian attitudes from their own backgrounds. Fascinating how a centre founded in Thailand by western missionaries is now run by Christian Thais and bearing credible witness ministering to needy westerners, as well as to Thai, ethnic minorities, and to refugees. “So, we are working longer hours than ever, as volunteers since 2009, when asked to stay on by the Thais after we officially retired after 40 years with TLM. There’s no enthusiastic queue of applicants to take our place working with leprosy, disabled and the elderly, and we haven’t had any green light to pull away.  So we enjoy four weeks each year with the

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MST Alumni Family Roundup

family, and haven’t had much time in Australia since MBI days.  Our four kids knew Thailand as home, but finished university in Australia and are now working in Melbourne, Adelaide, Glasgow and Tokyo.” In 2006 Trevor and Heather were both recognised by the Commonwealth with the high honour of The Order of Australia (AO) in recognition of their distinguished service to medicine and international relations though medical and humanitarian aid to people with leprosy and other physical disabilities. “We’ve had active involvement with Chiang Mai Community Church all these years, have attended a super prayer and praise group every Tuesday since 1971, and Trevor has led a multi-national Bible study group weekly for many years. We’ve enjoyed enriching and challenging fellowship

Alumni and Friends 2013 Afternoon Tea Reunion Saturday 9 November, 2.30–4.00pm at MST Come and enjoy the fellowship, worship and a briefing on what’s happening here at MST. All MBI, BCV and MST Graduates welcome. For catering, please RSVP to Anne Horswell by 25 October on ahorswell@mst.edu.au or phone (03) 9881 7821

with multi-nationals all these years, in innumerable ways. McKean funding issues, and staffing issues, mean we have never worked so hard or longer hours, so we are definitely not grey nomads, but certifiably grey yes-mads!!”

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The Trigger by Hon Hoh This is a grabber. The fast moving story involves three individuals from three continents coming together with a single purpose. That purpose is to reach the last unreached people group with the Gospel. Described as “far more than just another “end times’ novel”, The Trigger is a riveting story and highly recommended. This is the third book written by MST alumnus Hon Hoh (1994). Hon is founding director of Living Impact, now an international ministry. He has degrees in the areas of psychology and ministry. Those who love thrillers and those who yearn to see the continuing advance of the Kingdom will find this read challenging and rewarding. Hon’s other books are titled ‘Risen Lamb- Empowered Saints’ and ‘The Book of Revelation Made Easy’. The Trigger runs to a gripping 370 pages and can be obtained from local Christian booksellers across Australia and overseas.  Highly recommended

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Coconuts Remember Quiet and Unassuming Geoff Geoffrey Allan Richards, born 1943, passed away on 8 February 2013. He was known jokingly by his friends as ‘Puffing Billy’ because of the way he rushed about, always breathless with anticipation, with a passion and excitement for life. Geoff arrived at MBI in 1968, as a trained primary teacher, to answer God’s call on his life, and was his year’s Prayer Coordinator. After Graduating in 1970, Geoff returned to teaching in Queensland and led a life of example, helping shape the lives of thousands of young people during his 50 year classroom

career. He retired as a school teacher in the early 90’s but returned to the classroom as a Religious Instruction teacher and it was here that he truly excelled, teaching 28 classes every week – that’s 7oo children taught every week about Jesus! Quiet and unassuming, he might have been, but a faithful servant of Christ until the end. He was always faithful to his classmates, termed ‘the Coconuts’, and attended the Coconut reunions until the end. At his funeral, about a hundred young people gave him a Guard of Honour and the school sang

‘Amazing Grace’ and a message from the Coconuts was read. “When I imagine Geoff’s reaction, after he realised we’re all gathered here today for him, I think he’d turn bright red, and sit down with a shy and nervous chuckle and say, “oh my, oh boy,” his friend Alan Sharpham said. “That’s because Geoff embodied humbleness, along with modesty, dignity, compassion, kindness, fun, and he was truly a loyal friend to many,” Alan said.

Reunion Fever! A number of reunions have already been held this year. But lots more are coming up at the time of writing! • Queensland Reunion group is meeting in Toowoomba Saturday 7 September. Contact Desley Stewart on desleystewart@optusnet.com.au   • Harry Box and a great team have been working hard to organise a reunion for the 1962 Year. It will be a residential get together on 5-6 October at The Lodge, Belgrave Heights, including a tour of the new MST campus on Saturday. Contact: carole_harry@ netspace.net.au

• The Jubilee Year 1963 reunion is also being held at The Lodge, Belgrave Heights from November 8 to 10. The group, led by Margaret and David Price, will be joining with Alumni and friends for a great day at our Wantirna campus Saturday 9 from 2.30-4pm. Contact Desley Greenhalgh elim70@bigpond.net.au • The 1973 Reunion, planned for 7 September, and organised by John Ullyatt, has been delayed until 2014. Contact John on jeullyatt@activ8.net.au for details. • For those living in Western Australia, we hear plans are underway to start an MST Alumni group, based on the model developed in Queensland. For more info contact Marsali Campbell on jmcampbell.em@gmail.com.

A Major Gift and an Enduring Blessing MST was recently delighted to receive a significant gift of $185,000, in loving memory and thanks for the blessings of a family member who studied at MBI. We praise God for this evidence of a generosity of spirit. The gift came at a time which proved a real encouragement to our Board and those who handle our finances. For a confidential discussion about leaving a gift or to get our new ‘Enduring Blessing’ brochure contact Graeme Rule on 0412 559 059.

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Way Out West where the Son Still Shines Graeme Rule

There is more than one way to get a biblical education. Alumni Ian and Lois Grant are a great example of a couple who overcame all the obstacles and are glad they did. As they tell the story, between 1988 and 1992 they managed a young family and work commitments by taking it in turns to study the Certificate of Christian Ministry, based ‘way out West’, at the campus BCV was running in Werribee. Lecturers included David Price, Ian Hawley, Brian Edgar, Bernie Power and others. And it was people like David and Ian who first introduced them to the concept of “tentmaking”. In 1992, Ian, a veterinary scientist, and Lois, an audiologist, moved with their family to Papua New Guinea to “live and work at the University of Technology in Lae.” Aztem, a tentmaking support agency, provided wonderful support as they settled into a different culture. Ian says the university was well run and he was involved in applied research and teaching. He developed an interest in livestock production and also set up a small veterinary clinic for the university and local community. For Lois working in the Morobe Special Education Centre, setting

up audiology services and living on campus gave her many opportunities to share life and faith with women around her. They were active in the Taraka Baptist Church and were able to support other missions in agricultural projects.

behalf of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. In July he was in the Solomon Islands continuing a program of paraveterinary training for livestock and extension officers. Ian trained a total of 60 people in three groups. He also ran an Animal Disease Emergency Response project using ‘mud-maps’ of the various provinces. As a tentmaker, Ian says, he “saw God at work in the way attitudes and behaviour changed in one of the groups…there were times of sharing and praying together”. Following a positive debrief session with key leaders as he was leaving, Ian is planning to return in October this year. Pray that Ian and Lois can find and support the next generation of Australian tentmakers, ready and able to serve God in their work and witness in the world, whether it be North, South, East or West.

Nowadays, Ian works for World Vision and is the honorary General Director of Aztem, mobilising and supporting Australian tentmakers. Lois is involved with Aztem member care and serves on the Committee. In 2012 they spent two months in Malawi. Lois had been invited to do audiology work while Aussie Christian friends were on furlough. This involved teaching as well as running clinics. Ian was able to take bible college students on outreach visits to village communities. Visits involved ear health service, evangelism with children, support of local gardening and livestock production. Ian kept working with World Vision’s Pacific program three days a week, supporting Lois in her activity and setting up a collaborative project with local Malawi bodies to enhance chicken farming with a view to improving the poor diet of local children.

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This year, Ian has been in PNG visiting remote rural locations undertaking sweet potato studies on

Please continue your support of God’s life-changing and world-changing work through MST • Credit Card. Donations can be made by calling Deb on 03 9881 7800 or emailing mst@mst.edu.au • Cheque. Donations via cheque can be posted to MST at PO Box 6257, Vermont South 3133 • Online. You can now donate online via our website www.mst.edu.au • Transfer. Donations can be transferred directly to BSB 033107 Account 384 543 Doncaster

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Please let us know at the time of donation whether you want your support to go to: 1. MST Community Needs 2. Missiology 3. MST Chinese 4. MST CSIOF 5. Other ABN 58 004 265 016 CRICOS Code: 00691A/02809J Registered Training Organisation 3638

Chadstone

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TA IN

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BU RW OO

Y

EASTLINK

(Please let us know by phone)

D HW Y

15 minutes from everywhere in Melbourne’s east.

Dandenong

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MST Location: Iconic triangle island at intersection of Eastlink, Burwood & Mountain Highways, Wantirna.

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Meet one of our new vocationally diverse students

Espionage Novelist Writing to Serve God Stephen Zhang (張群) is a prime example of a theological student who harbours other talents and hobbies that at first sight do not ‘fit’ the stereotype: he is a crime novel junkie and writes books on espionage! Born during the tumultuous years of the Cultural Revolution in China, Stephen has always been interested in literature. However his career path took a drastic turn into the world of international trading, setting up business in Germany which labels medical products for worldwide distribution. He was viewed as an upand-coming business entrepreneur scaling the dizzy heights in the world of finance.

But God has another plan for him. Stumbling blocks began to appear and after much struggle, Stephen began to want out. Meanwhile his wife became a Christian, and Stephen was intrigued and wanted to know more. He read through the whole Bible and was finally converted through a church small group. He is not one to do things in half measures, and began earnestly to delve deeply into his newfound faith. He then felt the call to study here in our College. Stephen has never given up on creative writing. He published a Chinese translation of James D. Horan’s book on American political intrigues, The Seat of Power, and

co-authored the book, Novelists who were Spies. He is now embarking on a new novel on espionage during the tumultuous years of the formation of the New China (1937-1946). “My Christian faith has turned the underlying ethos of my novel upside down, the plot became a critique of the human heart so ably portrayed by great Christian writers of the West. It is now a good time to reintroduce the concept into Chinese literature”, says Stephen, “My priority is still to serve God in wherever he wants me to be, but somehow I think The Lord will not forget my interest in creative writing!”

Delegates from East China Seminary Visit MST On 02 Aug 2013, a team of six delegates from the East China Theological Seminary, Shanghai in China paid a formal visit to MST and interacted with the MST and MST Chinese. The aim of the visit was to pave the way for a possible future collaboration in the ministry of theological education between China and Australia. Names and titles of the delegates are as follow: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

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Xie Bingguo – Chairperson of Shanghai Christian Council; President of East China Theological Seminary. Xu Yulan – Vice Chairperson of Shanghai Committee of Three Self Patriotic Movement; Vice President of East China Theological Seminary. Wang Jianhua – Vice Dean of East China Theological Seminary. Geng Weizhong – Teacher at East China Theological Seminary; Chief of Qingpu District Committee of Three Self Patriotic Movement. Ruan Enrong – Teacher at East China Theological Seminary Quan Shaohua – Staff member at the Foreign Affairs Department, Shanghai TSPM/CC

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Theology, Science and Art Dr Y.C. Liong My ‘Study Leave’ trip to collect data at the John Rylands University Library of Manchester last March was truly a fruitful and fascinating one. The vast array of primary sources such as those of the Wesleys’ was, indeed, very impressive to say the least. In addition to the primary sources, I was also very much captivated by the building itself, i.e. the architectural presentation, which, is in its own right, a piece of fine art. As a student of history, particularly Church history, I was intrigued by the statues of the past giants at the Robert Bridgeman collection in the Historic Reading Room. These giants such as Bunyan, Luther, Homer, Newton, Wycliffe, Tyndall, Bacon, Shakespeare, Calvin, and Wesley epitomised the best of humanity, civilization and Christian history in Europe and beyond over the centuries. However, of all the statues, I was most mesmerised by Cassidy’s group of statues, namely Theology directing the labours of Science and Art (see photograph). This group of three statues was placed in the foyer of the building in 1898. It symbolized the supremacy of Theology to both Science and Art. The group of three figures embodied Mrs Rylands’, the founder, own

idea of the library’s essential function. It was reported that the group “remains the most inspiring work of statuary in the whole building. It impresses visitors powerfully with a sense of otherworldly values.” Undoubtedly, this fine sculptural work of John Cassidy (1860-1939) is commendable. It took Cassidy three full years to complete in red Shawk stone. However, I was more attracted to the conviction and courage of Mrs Rylands at a time when science and rationalism reigned supreme in most people’s mind. She believed that “Science and Art alike derive their highest impulses and perform their noblest achievements only as they discern their consummation in religion.” Theology, the central standing figure of a woman, clasps in her left hand the volume of Holy Writ, and with the right hand directs Science, in the guise of an aged man seated, and supporting in his hand a globe, over which he bends in study and investigation. On the left-hand side of theology is the seated figure of a youthful metal-worker, as representing

Art; he has paused in his work of fashioning a chalice, and with upturned face listens to the words which fall from the lips of Theology. As a theological educator in an era where nothing is thought to be absolute and biblical truth is considered by many to be obsolete, Cassidy’s work inspired me to be even more faithful to the biblical truth and place theology in the proper perspective. Dr Y.C. Liong is Dean of MST Chinese.

Please continue your support of God’s life-changing and world-changing work through MST Chinese • Credit Card. Donations can be made by calling Susana on 03 9881 7850 or emailing shui@mst.edu.au • Cheque. Donations via cheque can be posted to MST MST Chinese Location: at PO Box 6257, Vermont South 3133 Iconic triangle island at intersection of Eastlink, • Transfer. Donations to the Chinese Theological Education Foundation Inc. Burwood & Mountain can be transferred directly to BSB 06 38 94 Account 100 89 544 Highways, Wantirna. Doncaster

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Bayswater

Melbourne

(Please let us know by phone) ABN 39 031 351 287 CRICOS Code: 00691A/02809J Registered Training Organisation 3638

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Dandenong

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Exploring the Storm Centre of Matthew More than 130 pastors and students from Chinese churches across Victoria graced the halls of MST on 8 July for a Symposium, dubbed by many Chinese pastors as “the highlight of the year.”

message,” Dr Justin Tan, Director of the MST CSCC said.

The fourth Annual Centre for the Study of Chinese Christianity (CSCC) Symposium was on the theology contained in the Gospel of Matthew and included addresses by international and interstate academics as well as MST Chinese Faculty and current Graduate students. Past Symposia were on the Theology of Paul, Luke, and the Trinity.

Deborah Xu, a current Master of Divinity student, began the Symposium with a summary of recent debate on the Gospel to familiarise the audience with point of contention. Professor David Pao, Chair of the New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in the U.S., then gave a succinct interpretation of Matthew 19:9, linking a difficult text to the ethos of the Ancient context.

“Recent scholarship has termed The Gospel of Matthew the ‘storm centre’, and there has been heated debate and overall a significant advancement in the understanding of Matthew’s

“We have had the privilege of hosting this symposium bringing the latest interpretations of the Gospel texts,” he said.

Rev Ming Leung, of Chinese Theological College of Australia in Sydney, looked at the same text but from a social scientific

FREE Chinese Theological Symposium

investigation, reaching a much richer understanding of the text. MST Chinese’s own Lecturer, Dr King She, looked at the gentile mission context of the faith of the Samaritan Woman in Matthew 15:21-28. Dr Justin Tan reinterpreted the text on the easy yoke in Matthew 11:28-30, from the perspective of the Law in Matthew and, Caleb Nip, another Master of Divinity student, explored the implications of the Patristic interpretation of Building the Church on the Rock in Matthew 16:18-19.  “Overall, it was a wonderful occasion for the Chinese church, in thinking deeply about crucial Gospel texts that are both relevant and lifegiving,” Dr Tan said. Photo Top (L-R): Dr Justin Tan, Prof David Pao, Dr King She, Rev Ming Leung, Ben Wong, Caleb Nip, Deborah Xu.

Venue: MST Chapel

MST Centre for the Study of Chinese Christianity in partnership with Chinese Mission Strategy Planning Group presents

God Loves the World vs God Loves the Poor?

Mission Strategy in the Context of the Suffering World Saturday 21 September, 9.00am–12.00noon Speaker: Rev Morley S. Lee (李秀全牧師) Former General Secretary, Chinese Coordination Centre of World Evangelism and Founder, Care Ministries International Communique

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Walking through Time, Making History on the Way Beijing is a mega-city so rich in history and culture even taking a stroll is like walking through time. I was there in and out there for four months this year and Beijing never ceased to be a city of wonders for me. For me who am always interested in history, it is not only like walking through time, but I feel honoured to make history on the way as well. Peking University (PKU) has been in existence since the late 19th century, the present site of the Campus is part of a vast imperial garden, most of which was destroyed by Western foreign powers after the Boxer Rebellion, but what remains is still breath taking in its splendour. There was a considerable Christian influence on the ethos of the University in its early days, and at one stage courses in Christian theology were taught there, but since the establishment of the New China, Christian thought was taught only under the auspices of Philosophy courses. It was only in the early 21st Century that PKU began to offer Biblical Studies, and I felt privileged and honoured to be involved in teaching Old Testament, a first in

Justin Tan

PKU’s history for 80 years! It was with some trepidation and much excitement that I entered into this history-making venture. And most people expressed their disbelief when I shared this experience with them. The Lord has indeed opened a big window of opportunities for his Word to take root in the higher educational institutes of China. There is yet another surprise as I began my lecturing in PKU. From an official survey by the Social Science Department, more than ten percent of the student population (which numbers over 10,000) registered themselves as embracing the Christian faith! The evidence of the Christian presence on Campus is everywhere. Quiet prayer before meals is done without fanfare or fear; often times you could see groups gathered together, and the topic of conversation is the Christian

faith. Students are required to take interdisciplinary subjects, and it is only natural that our classes become an attraction to those who are Christians for a number of reasons: they are legitimate courses and the students find solid Bible study here which the churches cannot provide. This is indeed a surprise gift from the Lord. 2013 is a crucial year for us. One of our students, Lazarus Yu has successfully defended his thesis on the Concept of Time in the Book of Ecclesiastes, and was awarded a PhD. I have had the privilege of being his mentor and supervisor for four years, and his is the first PhD thesis on the Old Testament in PKU ever! We are making history as we continue our journey to plant more centres for the study of the Bible in China. Dr Justin Tan is Director of MST Centre for the Study of Chinese Christianty.

Chinese Wesley Scholar at MST CSCC One of the main aims of MST’s Postgraduate ‘Centre for the Study of Chinese Christianity’ is to provide an avenue for exchange of scholarship. For the past few years we have had the privilege of hosting research scholars from China, the research areas include Missionary history in China, Christianity and Islam, and Biblical Studies. This year we are honoured to host Rev Dr & Mrs Wilfred Ho for a few months. Dr Ho is a lecturer in Church History and Theology in Singapore’s Trinity Theological Seminary and a Methodist Minister. His area of research is Wesleyan Theology, exploring the formation of John Wesley’s theology in the context of 18th Century theological controversies. MST’s library can partly serve his research, but we have since found out that Melbourne is one of the best places for the study of Wesleyan Theology, outside of England and the USA, because Melbourne is home to some distinguished Wesleyan scholars who can provide a community for Dr Ho as he continues to write his book for the topic. For more information about studying at or supporting the ministry of MST, visit us online at www.mst.edu.au

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Christian-Muslim Relations World Wide History Project

Participants at the Indonesian International Interfaith Young Leaders Conference 2012. Source:vimeo.com/54141141

How did early modern Christians and Muslims in the South East Asian region relate to one another in history and, in their writings of one another, did they rely on inherited stereotypes or move beyond them? This is the question central to one of the largest global research projects into the history of Christian-Muslim relations ever conducted, that researchers at the MST Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths (CSIOF) are involved in. Volunteer researchers across the globe have been engaged to identify and compile writings from between 1500 and 1900AD, which are mainly about or against the other faith, as well as works that contain significant information or opinions that shed light on people’s attitudes towards the other religion. The project, hosted at the University of Birmingham in the UK and funded by the British Arts & Humanities Council, is a five Volume bibliographic history project over four years, called ‘ChristianMuslim Relations 1500-1900’ or ‘CMR1900’ for short.

For the purposes of this research project, the world has been divided into four regions: Europe, Middle East and North Africa, Asia and Oceania, and Africa and the Americas, and MST’s own Dr Peter Riddell, Director of the CSIOF, is leading a team of researchers for the South East Asian sub-region, covering Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Together with assistance from CSIOF Adjunct Research Fellow Dr Ruth Nicholls and a team of volunteer researchers, Dr Riddell is attempting to compile an exhaustive list of works relating to Christian-Muslim Relations within the South East Asian region. CSIOF PhD candidate Denis Savelyev is also involved in the Europe regional team for this project. “Both Islam and Christianity are ‘imports’ to the Southeast Asian region. Both have come with traders and both have sent their ‘missionaries’ and have interacted with each other in the region on the basis of a prior understanding of each other,” Dr Riddell said.

Dr Nicholls added: “Finding original materials within the region, especially since local languages are also involved, is not an easy task. Currently our research team is investigating what is known as ‘secondary’ sources which, we hope, will direct them to original writings or speeches in the original language of that area. “On one level, modern technology makes the task a little easier because the internet makes it possible to search various library holdings for books, articles, pamphlets and newspaper reports which may refer to an original work or may report a speech or conversation.” Dr Riddell summed up the importance of involvement in the project in saying “I believe it is important that Christians, with a real and living faith, are involved in such research projects, rather than leaving it to secular institutions, so we can better understand missionaries in past centuries, and how they have contributed to modern ChristianMuslim relations.”

Human Rights Struggle for Coptic Christians in Egypt The struggle faced today by Coptic Christians for basic human rights and recognition as equal citizens is neither new nor, sad to say, unique to Egypt. With the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, however, Coptic Christians have become particularly vulnerable. Violent crimes against the Copts are increasing, though to view these incidents as localised and isolated would be wrong. Such crimes are surging all around the world and must be seen within their broader context. To read the full article ‘The Coptic Struggle For Equality In Egypt: Now A Struggle for Survival’, you will need to purchase or subscribe to the MST Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faith’s Annual Bulletin, due for release in late 2013. 40

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Sharia Finance Uncovered: Ethical Finance but Whose Ethics?

British Newspaper, the Daily Mail, uncovered in July that Senegalese Muslim footballer, Papiss Cisse, estimated to earn around £40,000 per week, was refusing to wear Newcastle United’s branded training kit or match day shirt, because it is against his religious beliefs. It appears that other Muslim Newcastle United players have not taken this stance toward donning a Wonga shirt, the payday loan firm that won the club’s new sponsorship deal. But it appears Cisse has a greater commitment to Sharia compliance than his co-religionists. His refusal to wear the payday loan firm’s insignia is based on his belief that Sharia does not allow Muslims to benefit from lending money; that Sharia compliance forbids interest to be paid on bank accounts or added to mortgages. Such a strong stand by Cisse may seem a little ironic given his willingness to wear the previous shirts sponsored by Virgin Money and his exorbitant salary no doubt being the product of the same interest bearing system he opposes. However, with promises of no interest and the concept of ethical investment being hailed as the greatest selling feature of Islamic Sharia finance in Australia, perhaps it is worth considering both those claims. Sharia compliant finance is simply finance that complies with Islamic Sharia law. It is the financial arm of a foreign and religious body of law. This is the first important issue. In order to facilitate Sharia finance locally, there must be legal compliance to a body of religious law that transcends national boundaries and commercial law, essentially deferring to the quasi state of Islam. Rather than simply offering another financial product, this unfortunately supports Islamist ideals and ultimately the concept of the Islamic Caliphate. Indeed, the philosophical origins of Sharia finance date back to the 1920’s and the founder of the Muslim

Brotherhood Hassan al-Banna. He promoted the concept of ‘financial jihad’ and the Muslim Brotherhood have promoted this as a means to erode western markets and economies; something that one would expect to be at odds with Australia’s national interest. Chairing the 2002 Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) meeting, then Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad stated, ‘A universal Islamic banking system is a jihad worth pursuing to abolish this slavery (to the West).’ The claim to being a means of ethical investment begs the question ‘whose ethics?’ One of the highest Sharia finance regulatory bodies is the Bahrain based Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI). It is my understanding that Australia has adopted AAOIFI standards. However, AAOIFI International Chairman Mufti Taqi Usmani has also been accused of supporting violent jihad, promoting Sharia law in the West, and running a Pakistani madrassa that has trained thousands of Taliban! While Dow Jones no longer employs Usmani, he is still chairman of AAOIFI, the umbrella organization guiding Australian investment. It should not be surprising that Italian economist Loretta Napoleoni stated for Front Page magazine that ‘Islamic Banks… are the life-line of Wahhabi insurgency, they are the feeder of Islamist armed groups, without them terror-donations could not reach the end users scattered around the world’. However it’s not just the alleged connection to terrorism that challenges the claims to ethical investment. Sharia finance involves a theological proposition and at the heart of this is a doctrine that implies that the non-Muslim world, its people and systems, are unclean. Sharia finance must be purified from all contamination - a term publicly promoted - and is done so by investment in Muslim-only charity.

Vickie Janson

Most would agree that indiscriminate charity is more ethical than charity that discriminates against another person’s belief or religion, viewing this as defilement. The values undergirding Sharia ethics itself are not consistent with the UN Declaration of Human Rights, but rather reflect the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights subject to Sharia law. The prohibitions against investment in the pork and hospitality industries merely boycott legitimate Australian industries and validate a belief that these are unethical in nature, as is the expectation of increased return on investment. Should our government acquiesce to this? Perhaps the greatest consideration in promoting this financial product under the guise of being ‘ethical’ is the legitimacy of the claim that it is ‘interest free’. As many Sharia finance practitioners affirm, interest is merely rebadged as fees, rental or profit. According to Mahmoud ElGamal, Chair of Islamic Economics at Rice University in Texas USA, “All Islamic finance today is interest based”. Islamic banking, merely ‘Sharia Arbitrage’, is “first and foremost about religious identity”. Given this financial product is identity based, has philosophical origins intent on undermining Western interests, has been accused of sponsoring terrorism, discriminates against people in need of charity and legitimate Australian businesses, and veils the cost of banking by redefining interest, perhaps our government should consider, just as the UK Muslim footballer did, if this is an identity they wish to sponsor and wear. Vickie Janson is a public speaker, human rights advocate and friend of the MST CSIOF. She has authored several books including ‘Ideological Jihad’ and ‘Sharia Finance: A Question of Ethics’. She is the Victorian Senate Candidate for the political party, ‘Australian Christians’.

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The Church’s R2P

Elizabeth Kendal Responsibility to Protect, or R2P, is a United Nations (UN) initiative that encourages independent states to see sovereignty not as a right that allows them to act however they please within their own borders, but as a responsibility. It comes in response to increasing levels of violence within, as distinct from between, states. Much of this violence is either sectarian (as in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan) or is greed fuelled by ethnic-religious hatred (as in Kachin State, Burma; the Nuba Mountains, Sudan; Papua, Indonesia). In each of the above cases, Christians are facing extreme persecution, even genocide. It is no accident that religious violence has escalated markedly over recent decades. Trends such as the emergence of religious nationalism, the revival of fundamentalist Islam, the advance of cultural Marxism and the loss of Western influence have converged with the trends of massive population growth, rapid urbanisation and mass migration to create what analyst Gregory Copley describes as “a perfect strategic storm”. The US International Religious Freedom Act of Nov 1998 was a direct response to escalating religious persecution. But the economic crisis of late 2008 ripped the teeth out of the Act and now persecution with impunity is the order of the day. To 42

use Isaiah’s imagery, the Church is facing a mighty “flood” of persecution. Christians across the Western world are largely oblivious to all this; partly because their churches (in general) are addicted to entertainment and/or they are living in denial and/or they are cruising along with an erroneous view of persecution which they regard as something one might learn about in a Church History course. I am absolutely convinced that most Western Christians, including many church leaders, view the subject of persecution as irrelevant to Western Christians. This is not inconsequential! Firstly: the believer who regards another Christian’s suffering as “not my concern” or “not something I want to be burdened with” has rejected (albeit subconsciously) the theology of our union with Christ along with the teaching that the Church is the family and body of Christ. Such an attitude not only grieves the Lord, it can lead to judgment (Ezekiel 34, Matt 25:41-45). Secondly: persecution is stirring in the West on account of Culture Change which is driven by cultural Marxism’s promotion of moral and cultural relativism. A godless, essentially Marxist state ideology is being imposed at the cost of religious freedom. Is the church prepared?

Jesus warned us that persecution would come (John 15:18 – 16:4) so that by being prepared, we would endure. Yet I would suggest that the church, in general, is not prepared and that many believers and churches will struggle to endure. There will be “shipwrecks”, with many believers battered and many passengers lost at sea at a time when the world needs Christians to be firm in faith, exalting the Lord. We need to stop watching believers and churches sailing into the future unprepared. Our cruising days are over! Much needs to be done to awaken the church and prepare her to face the storms ahead. Christian pastors, teachers and leaders must see this as part of their R2P! Elizabeth Kendal is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the MST CSIOF, author of Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today, which was launched recently at MST. She is also a longtime religious liberty analyst (www.elizabethkendal.com) and is Director of Advocacy at Christian Faith and Freedom.

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MST Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths

A Tour of Discovery through the Contest of Ideas A Review of ‘Islam and Christianity on the Edge’ by Stuart Robinson Rita and Steven* are Christians who were born in Malaysia which is 59% Muslim. Both were brilliant students. They accepted as normal that: • At secondary level Muslim students were redirected to elite schools • At college level Muslim students received better tutorial assistance • While all students sat the same university entrance exams nonMuslims were required to achieve higher grades to gain admission • After graduation government scholarships were provided only for Muslim students who wanted to study overseas • Only from overseas institutions would non-Muslim students learn of their actual exam results beyond the pass/fail information made available back home. Non-Muslim students could not be seen to outperform Muslim students • Only non-Muslim government employees were required to resign thus sacrificing seniority and continuing salary benefits, if they wanted to continue with post graduate studies • Upon completion of all studies, if government employment was granted, only Muslim staff could expect subsequent promotion.

Discrimination was not confined to the educational process. It was also applied across the entire spectrum of life for Malaysian non-Muslims. Only years later, secure in their overseas careers, did Rita and Steven understand why they had been treated as second class citizens in their homeland. They had been subject to the common practice of Islamic Dhimmitude. For those who have not lived as non-Muslims within a Muslim society it’s difficult to understand Muslim mindsets, practices and worldview. For those who have experienced the prevalent realities of Muslim societies, should their voices sound a note different from the prevailing politically correct tone, they are dismissed as being Islamophobic or even silenced with the threat of prosecution in some jurisdictions. Other well informed views are not that easily dismissed. In the volume, Islam and Christianity on the Edge the 14 authors, each qualified at the highest level in their areas of expertise, provide 17 well researched viewpoints. The uninitiated may be as surprised as were Rita and Steven. The lively exchange of ideas within this single volume is a tour of discovery which challenges assumptions, answers questions for the curious and demonstrates the complexity of issues under examination. It encourages, not so much a search for simple answers, but rather provokes interaction with

others in the all-important contest of ideas and dogmas. In the process, the reader who perseveres discovers a treasure trove of archived articles and books by others. To understand Islam is not a casual pastime for the fainthearted. Even less so is the prospect for meaningful engagement in dialogue with Muslims. This book will certainly help all of us to continue that endeavour and reduce surprises along the way. Dr Stuart Robinson is the Founding Pastor of Crossway Church and an Adjunct Research Fellow, Melbourne School of Theology * names changed

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