Monday, December 7, 2009

2009 CREDO500 Blog Conference Closing

The 2009 CREDO500 blog conference (Sept 7th-Oct 30th) in commemorating John Calvin 500th annivesary has now completed. My gratitude to Daniel for co-organizing this fruitful and enjoyable theo-blogging event. The contributions, reviews and comments were intellectually provoked and spiritually attuned to the Triune God, in pursuit of the Reformed heritages and godliness. With these two months discussions of the twenty-two topics, ranging from“The Legacy of Reformed Theology” to “The Reformation and John Calvin”. Here is an index of all the posts in the blog conference:

Introduction (by Jonah Tang)

Biography of Contributors (In Chinese)

Opening of Blog Conference (by Daniel Chew)

Part I: The Legacy of Reformed Tradition (Updated)

I. Scripture and Tradition

1. Sept 7 th: Mejlina on Scripture and Tradition (Review by Jonah Tang)

2. Sept 9th: J.J Lim on Place and Necessity of Creeds and Confessions in The Modern Church
(Review by David Chang)

II. Scripture and Theology

3. Sept 11st: Daniel Wong on Analysis and Critique of Signs and Wonders (Review by Daniel Chew)

4. Sept 14th: David Chong on Evaluating "New Perspective" on Paul's Exposition of The Doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone (Review by Tsun En Lu)

III. Scipture and Counseling

5. Sept 16th: Gideon Teo on The Tradition of Counseling and Physiology (Review by Andrew Teo, and Response by Gideon Teo)

6. Sept 18th: Andrew Teo on Reclaiming The Biblical Care of Souls in The Body of Christ (Review by Gideon Teo)

IV. Scripture and Apologetics

7. Sept 21st: Benjamin Ho on Francis Schaeffer and Reformation (Review by Mejlina Tjoa)

8. Sept 23rd: Daniel Chew on Evaluating The Purpose Driven Paradigm: Recapturing The Vision of The Centrality of the Gospel (Review by Peter Wong)

V. Scripture and Culture

9. Sept 25th: Linus Chua on Reformation and Education (Review by David Chen)

10. Sept 28th: Tsun En Lu on Christian Justice and Pluralistic Society (Review by David Chong)

Part II: The Reformation and Calvin (Updated)

I. Calvin and Historical Legacy

11. Oct 3rd: Stephen Chan on Calvin's Tales of Two_Cities (Review by David Cheng)

12. Oct 5th: Jack Sin on The Spiritual Influence and Legacy of John Calvin to The Modern World
(Review by Soon Beng Lim)

13. Oct 7th: Daniel Chew New Evangelical Calvinism: An Analysis of The Calvinist Resurgence (Review by Edward Sim, and Response by Daniel Chew)

II. Calvin and God's Sovereignty

14. Oct 9th: Ang Lai Hoe on Addressing The Biblical Validity of A Claim Against Unconditional Election (Review by Lemuel Hii)

15. Oct 12nd: David Chen on Francis Turretin and Calvin's Doctrine of Election (Review by Alex Tseng)

16. Oct 14th: Alex Tseng on Karl Barth Doctrine of Election (Review by Joel Tay)

III. Calvin and Worship Theology

17. Oct 16th: Wang Zhi Yong on Calvin and The Psalms: Singing The Songs of Jehovah (Review by Cathy Tan)

18. Oct 18th: Cathy Tan on The Quest for Calvin's Essence of Worship: Passion and Love of God-A Journey Away from Ritualistic Worship (Review by Gao Ai Jun)

19. Oct 20th: Timothy Peng on Reformed View of Music (Review by Yoong Jun Hao)

IV. Calvin and Practical Thelogy

20. Oct 23rd: Ten Fook Seong on Calvin's Institute and The Practice of Pietism (Review by Yong Pai Chan)

21. Oct 26th: Jason Loh on Calvin's View of The Cultural Mandate (Review by Benjamin Ho)

22. Oct 29th: David Cheng on Calvin's Law and Grace (Review by Jason Loh)

Reformation Day Dedication-Soli Deo Gloria (by Jonah Tang)

John Calvin 500th Annivesary Video (by Gospel Culture Centre)

Conclusion of Blog Conference (by Daniel Chew)

The blog conference has more or less be done in communion with The Holy Spirity, though we may not have agreed in all issues, i believe we have all been benefited by thinking through these topics altogether. Our goal is that we are a humble learner, and gracious writer, who listen other views. Discussing in a way that Grace shines through the Truth we were contending. After all, we are all into "Faith seeking understanding" with "understanding ending in Doxology" as the outcome of the exercise. Finally, thanks for all whom participate in this conference, we looking forward to more in the future.

In appreciation,
Jonah Tang

Monday, November 23, 2009

Conclusion, by Daniel Chew

[This would be my conclusion for the CREDO500 conference; my co-organizer Jonah's conclusion would come later, so stay tuned]

The CREDO500 blog conference has officially and successfully ended [after Jonah's conclusion), and as the co-organizer, English editor and translator I would like to make some concluding remarks.

First of all, I am personally thankful for this privilege of getting involved with the CREDO500 blog conference. It wasn't that long ago when I was contacted to contribute to the conference, and even more recently invited and volunteered to help out with it. I am very thankful to the other contributors, both writers and reviewers, who have made both Jonah's and my tasks much easier. Regardless of our disagreements, I appreciate all of your efforts small or large in contributing to this conference to commemorate the 500th anniversary of John Calvin, and to promote the pure Christian and Reformed faith. May the unity and co-operation seen through this conference be translated into greater unity and growth in the [Reformed] faith which was once for all delivered to the saints, and for the edification of the Church of God.

It is also sincerely hoped that all of you after this conference would come to learn something more of God and Christ, His Gospel and His Word. In the plethora of topics covered in the two months, it is sincerely hoped that one or more or all of the papers would teach you something more about our faith from the Scriptures and in the application of Scripture, as well as getting us acquainted with our Reformational heritage. If this is achieved, this conference will have achieved its success in you.

Secondly, with regards to the actual commencing of the blog conference itself, it is good to see the Body of Christ interacting with the many articles published. No doubt as the days go by, fatigue starts to set in, even for me as the editor and translator. Many of you doubtless also have your own work and life and ministry commitments to attend to, as do I. However, it is indeed heartening to see that many people still come and are hopefully edified by the articles posted, as well as taking part in the interaction where applicable.

Right from the start, the conference was overshadowed by the specter of a few hate-filled bigots who continually post cowardly and slanderous comments using multiple pseudonyms. Through posting many times and under various pseudonyms like "Antithesis", "A Reader", "The Reader", "A friend", "Ming Liang", "Luther Lim", "Calvin Chan", "Anonymous" and possibly others ("Monica C", "Eng Kiat","Pistevo"?), these few people attempt to give the illusion of a large number of people. These few people continually violate our blog conference rules and persist in attempting to post comments even after being banned and having their comments deleted. They even try to turn brothers against each other, and nearly succeeded. In this respect, I am thankful to God that most people saw through the anti-Christian attitude exhibited by these bigots, and refuse to have anything to do with them. This episode also shows us the dangers in having such an open and public conference whereby heretics of all stripes can enter and attempt to hijack the conference. As we have heard through feedback, the presence of these people do deter others from commenting so as to avoid the toxic environment and at the same time avoid being targeted by these bigots. In the event that another such conference would be planned, we would most definitely take this into consideration so as to prevent a repeat of such attacks of the devil by his minions, and thus create a godly environment conducive to the discussion of the doctrines of God's Word.

May the Lamb that was slain receive the fruits of our labors, as an offering for the glory of His Holy Name. Amen.

Sola Fide,
Sola Gratia,
Solus Christus,
Sola Scriptura,
Soli Deo Gloria.

Ecclesia Reformata et Semper Reformanda

Your servant,
Daniel Chew.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

In commemoration of John Calvin 500th anniversary

A video has been made in commemoration of the 500 anniversary of John Calvin for use in the CREDO500 conference. It is used with permission from Gospel Culture Centre, which owns the copyright for at least parts of the video. Thanks to Dr. Keng Ang LEE, Shao Wei WANG, Jun Hao YOONG, Amos CHAW, Canaan CHAW and Le Pey LEE for contributing to the making of this video.


On comments

The comment section or meta for the blog conference papers would be closed at the end of this month 30th Nov, which will mark the final closure of this blog conference.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Reformation Day Dedication - Soli Deo Gloria

written by Jonah Tang
translated by Daniel H. Chew





Reformation Day Dedication

The CREDO500 blog conference is nearing its end. The first part of the conference orbits around the theme of Scripture and the validity of the Reformed tradition, while the second part centers on the theme of Calvin’s theology and its applicability in the post-reformation era. We would like to take this time to thank our friends. First, we would like to thank brother Daniel CHEW for his help in helping to co-organize this conference, and in his hard work and thoughts in editorial and translation work for the conference. Next, we would like to express our sincerest thanks to our three specially invited advisers for the conference Rev. Dr. Stephen CHAN, Rev. Dr. Zhi Yong WANG and Rev. Dr. Keng An LEE for their help and support for this conference, especially as we would be seeking their opinions on the final phase of editing and publication later. Lastly, we would like to thank all who have participated in the conference, including all who have submitted their articles, those who have reviewed them and all who have participated in the discussion online. All of you have in your own way make this fist blog conference a success. This conference in its learning and promotion of Reformed theology aims for the semi-technical level of scholarship, and targets professors and seminarians and pastoral staff from both Chinese and English background in the hope that Reformed theology would be able to enter and transform the Chinese churches and our task of understanding theology. To quote Rev. Stephen Tong: “A very important direction for the Church, in fact it can be said its only hope, is for various denominations to truly study, understand and go in depth into the Reformed faith; to understand Scripture. The future of such a church would be stable. Reformed theology places the Christian faith at its foundation, build upon it as like a building being built with reinforced concrete, such that it would not be easily shaken.” The writer believes that if the faith of the Chinese churches has as its goal being founded on the revelation from and by God, it must not treat lightly and dismiss Reformed theology with its resources, its spirit and its methodology, but rather should utilize them as a paradigm in order to defend the apostolic truths in these last days.

Today is the 492nd Anniversary of Reformation Day, in which we thank God for raising up men like Martin Luther, John Calvin and the other reformers in leading the Church back to the faith of Scripture. In this light, we would like to welcome all our friends to post their thoughts and reflections on the Reformation. These can be done under this post, and can include your appreciative thoughts on any person, event or thoughts from any theological system and reading materials. You may also write your reflections on your website/blog or an email and send them to , so that we can publish or link them from our blog. The writer firmly believes that the living faith of the Reformers still lives today in our 21st century, and calls upon today’s Chinese churches to truly return along the path of Reformation unite in a Covenant community, and creatively continue to proclaim the truths of the Reformed legacy for all of life. We can see that God is already working in many parts of the world, so let us take the initiative to actively work towards the promotion, building a foundation for and developing the Reformed faith in the Chinese churches. May God open our eyes so that we may work for the promotion of pure religion, to make preparations for and invest more time and effort in the teaching of God’s people in going back to the Scriptures, and in so doing avoid the errors of the past. It is hoped that the Reformed Evangelical movement will flourish in Asia and the third world countries just like the 16th century Reformation in Europe, the 17th century Puritan movement in England, and the 18th century Great Awakening. Just like these movements, may the Reformed Evangelical movement raise up a generation of young people who are apt to teach and counsel, who have a steadfast faith and evangelical zeal, who are founded on Scripture, firm on tradition and convicted about the truth, and who will carry forth the torch of the faith as soldiers of Christ. The writer firmly believes that such is indeed a blessing that God gives to this generation, which is also the light of revival for Chinese congregations around the world. Amen.

On this Oct 31st 2009 therefore, let us together remember this important day which changed the world.

David Cheng on the topic of Law and Grace

What is the relation of the concept of Law to the concept of Grace? Are they antithetical to each other, or they parts of a whole? In this paper of his, David Cheng has written an interesting paper which puts forward a way of understanding the relation between Law and Grace. An excerpt:

The word “Law” may mean different things; a scholarly dictionary would easily give us 9 to 23 different meanings. The focus of this paper would be on the conception of the word “law” as it is found in the Christian vocabulary among common believers. The main part of law consists of the Moral Law given to us through Moses on the stone tablets, the Decalogue. It is by no means however that only the Decalogue is considered as Law. ...


The review for David's paper would be uploaded later.

David's paper is now open for discussion.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Jason Loh on Calvin's view of the Cultural Mandate

The Cultural Mandate is the mandate to transform Creation and Culture, something which is supposedly to be found in Gen. 1:26. In this interesting paper, Jason Loh attempts to demarcate and interact with Calvin's view on the Cultural Mandate. An excerpt:

It is important to first establish Calvin’s distinction between Church and State and then only move on to discuss the implications this has for the “cultural mandate.” A distorted view of the Church and State will also lead to a distorted understanding of the cultural mandate.


Benjamin Ho has reviewed this article by Jason as follows:

In his paper, Jason uses the role of civil government as a case in point to illustrate how the cultural mandate – in Calvin’s thought – is being articulated. This is an interesting paradigm – one that is not often explored – and Jason does a commendable job in teasing out some of the finer aspects of this relationship. Indeed, with the Western secular belief that God and politics are matters of separate and non-related realms, it is sometimes difficult to see – much less argue – how the role of civil government is related to God’s on-going sovereign rule over all of life.


Jason's paper and Benjamin's review are now opened for discussion.

An Apology

We the organizers would like to apologize to our readers for the delay in the schedule for the conference. Yesterday Monday was supposed to be the presentation of David Cheng's paper on Law and Grace. Unfortunately, there were some hiccups here and there, and the paper is not yet ready for publication. We would keep you updated with regards to further developments.

Update: We the organizers have decided to post Jason's paper on Wednesday, then David Cheng's paper would be posted when ready, hopefully by thursday or friday.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ten Fook Seong on Calvin's Institute and The Pracitice of Pietism

Calvin's Institue of Christian Religion continued to be read and studied since they first appeared, and they have spread in new translations in modern times. It's less commonly remembered that Calvin was also both a preacher and pastor; his commentaries, sermons, prayers and letters offer important insights into piety that transformed the communities which came to be called Calvinist.

The present paper written by Pastor Ten Fook Seong seeks to trace the spiritual legacy of Calvin's piety focusing his teaching in the Institute about the human relationship with God. The purpose was to lead and challenge all who heard him, or read his writings, to realize that their true happiness consists in devotion to God for God's glory; that their salvation is assured by Christ's grace; and their lives will be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and should be given over to the service of God and their neighbour. Here are a short excerpt:


The review is written by brother Yong Pai Chan here in chinese, and translated by Daniel Chew here in english.

[The paper and review are now open to discussion.]

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Timothy Peng on The Reformed View of Music

In his book The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren states that "Worship has nothing to do with the style or volume or speed of a song. God loves all kinds of music because he invented it all — fast and slow, loud and soft, old and new. You probably don’t like it all, but God does! If it is offered to God in spirit and truth, it is an act of worship" (p. 65). In modern Christianity, on the one hand, the new breed of Evangelicals that Warren epitomizes think that all kinds of music is good and can be used to worship God. On the other, many traditionalists behave as if only Western music composed in the Baroque to Romantic (some limit themselves to Baroque only even) era are suitable for worship. In this worship war, is there a distinctly biblical and Reformed view of music for us to consider? Are there distinctive features in music that are good and adequate for worship, while other features are inappropriate for the same purpose?

In his paper, Timothy Peng tackles the issue head-on. An excerpt:

Abraham Kuyper calls music the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the Church of Jesus Christ has been blessed tremendously as she uses music to bring her devotion and prayers to God throughout the ages. However, Christians have engaged in great controversies over the use of music in the church, with extreme diversity of opinions ranging from Zwingli’s total rejection of music to Rick Warren’s complete embrace of every style of music. The purpose of this paper is to provide guidance on how we can use music for our benefit, and impart wisdom on the way to discern the dangers hidden in its usage as we live in this fallen world. To do this, I will briefly trace the development of music theories to the ancient Greeks, then compared the ancient wisdom with the insights from the Reformers (especially John Calvin), and finally explore the natures of music in order that we can enjoy it.


Junhao Yoong has reviewed Timothy Peng's article and his response can be seen here. An excerpt:

Timothy Peng传道在其论文里提出了许多关于圣乐之重要的论据,即现今信徒皆所忽略的。此论文中,Timothy Peng讲述了音乐在诗歌里所扮演之角色,音乐于人类历史与文化中的发展及音乐的风格、音符、节奏、诗歌的架构及词汇等都与整首诗歌所要表达的信息是息息相关的。此外,他也引用了许多圣乐作品作为例子,讲述了圣乐作品如何带出音乐于崇拜里该有的庄严与神圣两种重要的性质。在此,笔者仅能对此文略作回应,盼能借此彼此勉励,以期能够更好的在教会音乐事工中彼此配搭,敬拜事奉我们的上帝。


Timothy Peng's paper and Junhao Yoong's review are now open for discussion.

Add: The review has now been translated to English here, as follows:

In his paper, Pastor Timothy Peng argues for the importance of many principles with regards to worship and music which has been sadly neglected by many believers today. Peng describes the role music plays in worship, the development of music through humanity’s history and culture, and argues that the character, melody, rhythm and structure of songs of worship are intricately linked to the message that the song aspires to give. In developing his argument, various pieces of church music are used as examples of how the dignity and sanctity of worship is expressed. This reviewer would like to add his appreciation on this excellent article, and wishes that good church music ministries would partner with each other in worship and service unto our God.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cathy Tan on The Quest for Calvin's Essence of Worship: Passion and Love of God -A Journey Away from Ritualistic Worship

One of the best ways to get at the heart of Calvin's concept of worship , preferably his idea of liturgy is to study his interpretation of the first tablet of the law. The Institutes contains a chapter devoted on the law. Surely a completely study of Calvin's theoloy of worship will also deal with his chapters on the sacraments, his chapter on prayer, the Genevan Psalter,and other documents.

This study, however deals with Calvin's theology of worship as found in his liturgy in Strasbourg. Cathy Tan, a part-time music ministry advisor for Jubilee Presbyterian Church Singapore, a choral conductor, a music educator, and a speaker and writer on music and worship,provides pratical wisdom concerning the purpose of Calvin's liturgy, calls us back to biblical worship with theological content as the priotity in today's church. She opens it this way:

「1538年,年青的加尔文接受布赛尔(Martin Bucer) 的邀请,到斯特拉斯堡(Strasbourg) 牧养日益增多的法国难民。本文要探究的,就是这间拥有数百名会众,被加尔文呢称为「小法国教会」(Ecclesiola Gallicana) 的崇拜礼仪。从加尔文在流程的修订与元素的取舍上,认识其考量的依据,希望藉此为今日教会提供一个崇拜更新的标引。」

Pastor Gao from Shanghai, a reflective pracitioner of regulative principle of worship, his review in chinese here, and english translation done by brother Daniel Chew here.

[This paper and review are now open for discussion.]

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wang Zhi Yong On Calvin and the Psalms: Singing the Songs of Jehovah

Psalm singing is experiencing a revival in our time. Why sing psalms? or the real questions should be "why not sing psalms?" Even though Luther did not limit his singing to the psalms, he did have a great appreciation of the psalms. John Calvin, on the other hand, championed exclusive psalms singing in the Reformed churches. In this paper, our conference advisor, Rev. Dr. Wang Zhi Yong gives us a very clear cut treatment of the exclusive psalmodist view, here are the opening lines:

「我自己从一九九七年开始在中国大陆牧会,也曾在多处旅行,如今在美国研修,参加多处华语教会,见到大陆以及海外华语教会中一个颇为普遍的现象就是:弟兄姐妹的敬拜虽有热心,但往往不是按着圣经中所启示的真知识。各种人所撰写的歌曲大摇大摆地进入公共敬拜,有的甚至声称是“在圣灵感动下”撰写的,大有让人非接受不可之势!有的人觉得甲某某写的哥属灵,有的人认为乙某某写的歌属灵,教会中总是不断有人为在敬拜中唱谁写的歌曲而争执不休,但却甚少有人主张唱颂上帝在圣经中亲自默示的<诗篇>!我对这种现象感到非常痛心,自己又感到困顿乏力,就向上帝多多祷告,希望华文诗篇能够早早面世,有更多的基督徒能够认识到用上帝所默示的诗篇敬拜的重要性。 」

Cathy Tan's chinese review paper here, the review has been translated into english by Daniel Chew as follows:

In his article “Singing the songs of Jehovah,” it is apparent that Zhiyong Wang relies on the Puritans’view of the Regulative Principle of Worship when discussing the issue of worship. Expressed in the 17th century Reformed confessions (the 1646 Westminster Confession of FaithChapter 21, paragraph 1 & the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith Chapter 22, paragraph 1) [More]

[The paper is now open for discussion.]

Thursday, October 15, 2009

David Cheng's review of Stephen Chan's paper

David Cheng's review of Stephen Chan's paper A Tale of Two Cities has finally been edited and is ready for publication. It can be found here. An excerpt:

Rev. Prof. Dr. Chan is one of the greatest teachers of theology in our time. His article provides us a better understanding of Calvin and his works especially in regard to Calvin’s contribution to the Reformation of the 16th century. This reviewer has found no mistake or any point for scholarly challenge. Certainly, Dr. Chan is very careful in his wording and therefore he is safe even on a couple issues which are already controversial in the scholarly literature.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Alex Tseng on the Lapsarian Dilemna, and Karl Barth's doctrine of election

The 17th century Reformed Scholastic movement saw the beginning of what became known as the Lapsarian controversy, with the two main contenders being Supralapsarianism and Infralapsarianism (Amyraldianism and Arminianism being minor contenders in this fight). The controversy centers on the logical order of God's decrees, especially as it centers on whether the decree of Creation is logically antecedent (Infralapsarian) or consequent (Supralapsarian) to the decree of election and reprobation. This in-house debate has continued to this very time, although widespread apostasy, liberalism, and dead formalism and traditionalism have placed the subject in the background most of the time. Nevertheless, the debate still rages once in a while, and the debate continues on in our paper and review for today.

With the development of Neo-Orthodoxy by Karl Barth and his disciples such as T.F. Torrance and Bruce McCormack, as a "conservative" response to the Liberalism of their age , another element has entered into the Lapsarian debate. While keeping the terminology of the Reformed Evangelical faith tradition and claiming continuity to that tradition, Neo-Orthodoxy eviscerates the contents of the Reformed tradition. Without digressing, since Neo-Orthodoxy claims continuity with the Reformed tradition, it creates its own lapsariam scheme and thus join in the lapsarian debate — an alien as it is.

In this paper, Alex Tseng has written an interesting paper on this particular topic. Entited The Lapsarian Dilemna and Karl Barth's Christocentric Doctrine of Election, it interacts with both of the two main lapsarian scheme, as well as Karl Barth's unique lapsarian scheme. An excerpt:

Christianity affirms that God is sovereign and perfect. Understanding the sovereignty of God’s will and perfections of God’s being becomes a challenge when the presence of evil is taken seriously: How can there be evil in this world if God is good and almighty? In this paper, I will discuss Calvinism’s answer to the problem of evil and demonstrate an intrinsic difficulty in the Calvinist-Augustinian formulation of predestination played out in the lapsarian controversy of the 17th Century. I will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Karl Barth’s Christological formulation of the doctrine of election and how it hints to a way out of the lapsarian dilemma. Finally, I will appeal to John Owen’s Christological treatment of the doctrine of predestination to suggest a Reformed orthodoxy solution.


Joel Tay has written a well thought out response to Alex's paper here. An excerpt:

In his paper, Alex Tseng affirms the sovereignty of God and presents the problem of evil as a launching pad for rejecting supralapsarianism. Having done so, he puts forward his own formulation based upon infralapsarian thought combined with elements of Barth’s doctrine of election, which supposedly covers the holes in traditional infralapsarian theology.


This paper and its review are now open for discussion.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

David Chen: Francis Turretin and Calvin's doctrine of election

Calvin versus the Calvinists — a common charge thrown against historic Dordtian Calvinism is that Dordtian Calvinists especially the Reformed scholastics in the 17th century have distorted the real teachings of the French Reformer John Calvin. This charge has continued to this very day, starting with Jacobius Arminius in the Netherlands, John Cameron and his student the French Huguenot theologian of the school of Samur Moise Amyraut (or Amyraldius), and into the modern times by "calvinists" such as R.T. Kendell, successor of Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel, London.

In this paper, Pastor David Chen has written an article on this very subject, dealing with the Reformed scholastic theologian Francis Turretin. Has Turretin been faithful to John Calvin's theology and especially his doctrine of election? Chen wrote:

The Bible is the eternal Word that doesn’t change, but human beings do change from generations to generations. New cultures, new ways of thinking, new methodology of scholarship, new ideas have always prompted a new generation of seekers to re-raise questions on the teachings of the Bible. Sometimes old doctrines need to be reformulated in new ways for new generations to appreciate what is being taught. At the same time new challenges will also force the revisiting and sometimes reframing of old doctrines to more properly clarify, rebuke, or simply elaborate what was left unsaid by earlier generations. The same applies to Calvin’s teachings. This paper will focus on Calvin’s Doctrine of Election, and how Francis Turretin two generations later had used and improved on Calvin’s doctrine. In what aspects had he followed Calvin’s teachings faithfully? Does he at the same time also further elaborates or reframes what was said by Calvin to address his own culture and the challenges of his era? In comparing and contrasting Calvin and Turretin, will there be any deviations between Turretin and Calvin that can be used to support the Calvin versus the Calvinists theory? Or will one appreciate the reasons for the changes as being faithfully Calvinistic in the core and following the trajectory that Calvin had set?


Pastor Alex Tseng has reviewed this article as follows:

A very fine paper on Turretin’s doctrine of predestination has been written, owing to efforts of my friend David Chen. I am especially thankful for his defense of 17th-century scholasticism and his critique of the “Calvin-against-the-Calvinists” thesis, which, in fact, did not end with the Amyraut Controversy, but has persisted well into recent theological scholarship, as shown in the works of E. J. Dowey, J. B. Rogers, R. T. Kendall, etc. Since Calvin and Puritan studies are still in their infancy stages among Chinese Christians, works such as Chen’s are especially important in challenging innovative re-interpretations of Calvin and Reformed theology that explicitly or implicitly oppose Reformed orthodoxy, as found in the works of popular Chinese writers like Hong-Hsin Lin.


This paper and its review are now open for discussion.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ang Lai Hoe: Addressing the biblical validity of a claim against unconditional election

The biblical doctrine of election has many foes, and much misunderstanding. In this paper, Lai Hoe Ang attempts to clear up the fog over the matter, in dealing with one objection against the doctrine of election: the salvation or damnation of infants. An excerpt:

Many objections have been raised against the biblical teaching of divine election. This paper aims to address one of them, namely that “God is not fair to send non-elect infants/babies upon death to burn in hell”.

This particular objection is predicated upon a denial of Original Sin, or at least a non-consideration of that doctrine. Those who make such an objection thus reveal their error, denying the direct teachings of the Bible on the sinful nature of the baby and even the unborn (Ps 51:5) such that infants are sinners born in sin. This objection therefore does not primarily deals with the state of non-elect infants but rather on the biblical teaching of original sin. If one truly understands the doctrine of divine election and the salvation of man biblically, this objection would not be raised, for the eternal judgment of the non-elect is for the glory of God.


Pastor Lemuel Hii reviews Ang's paper as follows:



The review has been translated into English as follows:

The doctrine of predestination is a contentious topic throughout the history of the Church. Some discern the difficulty in addressing it and therefore refrain from doing so, figuring that we should not transgress the hidden mysteries of God. Indeed, misunderstanding or incomplete understanding of the doctrine of predestination does indeed cause spiritual danger and doctrinal error.


The paper is now open for discussion.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Daniel Chew on the New Evangelical Calvinism

With the publishing of Colin Hansen's book Young Restless Reformed by Crossway Books in 2008, and the formation of The Gospel Coalition around the same time, New Calvinism has emerged as a supposed revival of interest in Reformed theology. With Time magazine even giving the New Calvinism the spotlight, it seems as the next revival in Christianity has arrived - Reformed Christianity as that. However, is everything going fine in this supposed revival?

In this paper modified and submitted for the blog conference, Daniel Chew addresses certain concerns regarding this New Calvinist movement, which he sees as a descendant of the New Evangelicalism from 50+ years back. An excerpt:

A phenomenon is growing and spreading within the churches in the USA. Spurred on by the degradation of culture, the downgrade of [New] Evangelicalism, the passion and appeal of charismatic personalities such as Pastor John Piper, C.J. Mahaney and the Sovereign Grace Movement among others, and above all to the providence of God, a renewed interest in Calvinism and the reformed worldview is spreading within the Evangelical movement. Journalist Colin Hansen has researched this phenomenon and published his results in his book Young, Restless, Reformed, truly an illuminating book which shows us the growing resurgence in Calvinism in myriad sectors of the Visible Church.

As Reformed (and reforming) Christians, the current resurgence in Calvinism surely is cause for gladness. Believing with Spurgeon that "Calvinism is the Gospel and nothing else”, the turning away from the destructive errors found in modern-day bankrupt Evangelicalism with its embrace of semi-Pelagianism and Pelagianism is indeed cause for joy. Nevertheless, in observing the movement, many areas of concerns, some serious, have came up and it in this spirit that these concerns are brought up for our consideration.


Edward Sim has reviewed the article as follows:

I read Daniel Chew's article, titled "New Evangelical Calvinism: An analysis of the Calvinist Resurgence", with mixed feelings. There is so much that one can agree with. In this article, Chew highlighted 5 major issues that he found within the recent so-called "Calvinist Resurgence". These 5 issues are summarized in 4 questions and the call to be unashamed ambassadors of Christ. The 4 questions are: Will we learn from history? Will we embrace the material principle of the Gospel without embracing the formal principle of Sola Scriptura? Will we aim for rational and lifestyle consistency? Will we reject the New Evangelical infatuation with positivity? There is a sense that there is much that we can and must embrace together. It should be said from the outset that these warnings are great reminders and should be heeded. However, am I to understand these questions as veiled (if not then apparent) attacks on the recent Calvinistic Resurgence? And if so, the validity of these charges being brought forth takes on paramount importance. The aim of this review is to examine Chew's case and leave the readers to decide whether it has been convincingly and conclusively presented.


Daniel Chew has responded to Edward Sim's review here, as follows:

I am grateful for Edward Sim’s review of my article on the New Evangelical Calvinism. Though I would most definitely not be in agreement with him on some of the issues he raised, I appreciate his frankness and his desire for the truth. In a culture which desires peace at all costs, those who are willing to disagree and do it in a Christian manner as based upon the authority of Scripture are indeed rare, and it is in this sense that I appreciate Sim’s review (cf Prov. 28:23).

It must first be reiterated that this paper was initially written in response to the attack of Tim Challies on “watchbloggers” on his blog. This paper was not therefore intended to be a full-scale analysis of the current Calvinist Resurgence, and thus of the positives and negatives found in it. Also, being a movement, it is definitely the case that the movement is not monolithic and thus not everything stated would apply to everyone. The article therefore was meant to be a clarion call towards the New Calvinists of the concerns with regards to possible deficiencies in the movement itself, which of course may or may not apply to them as individuals. It must be said that I am sympathetic to the movement, being able to identify with them on certain issues like the need for having a dynamic and passionate faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, after all having experienced the transformation that comes with embracing the Doctrines of Grace later in the Christian life.


[This paper is now open for discussion]

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Jack Sin: The Spiritual Influence and Legacy of John Calvin to The Modern World

With this year being the 500th year of Calvin, Rev. Dr. Jack Sin has given a lecture at the Miri Reformed Church in commemoration of this event. What is the spiritual influence and legacy John Calvin gave to the world? In this succinct lecture, which was then transcribed and edited for this conference here, Dr. Jack Sin shows us Calvin's life, influence and his legacy, and calls us to likewise give our lives for God's glory.

There are a few men that made a lasting and notable impact in the world today in a religious or ecclesiastical sense. This year marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin. John Calvin the renowned 16th century French reformer was one of the greatest thinkers and prime spiritual movers of the 16th century besides Luther, Zwingli, Tyndale and Knox, and his writings and teachings continue to be widely taught and propagated throughout the reformed community worldwide.


Soon Beng Lim reviewed Dr. Jack Sin's article as follows:

John Calvin is one of the great heroes of the Reformation, whose achievements can only be described as superhuman (i.e. energized by the Holy Spirit). It would be a difficult task to try to capture everything about him in one short article. Nevertheless, Dr Jack Sin has attempted to do so, and it is a commendable effort indeed, giving us a broad historical overview of the man and his contributions to the Reformation.


[This paper is opened for discussion.]

Translation of Tsun En's review done

The Chinese-English translation work has been ongoing for the various reviews and articles submitted for the CREDO500 conference. On the 14th Sept, David Chong posted his paper on the New Perspective, of which Pastor Tsun-En Lu reviewed. At that time however, the review was only in Chinese and so limited to those more fluent in that language.

It is my pleasure to say that the translation work for Pastor Lu's review has been completed and can be accessed here. An excerpt:

With the growing number of translations of the works of the British Anglican Bishop of Durham and leading New Testament scholar Nicholas Thomas “Tom” Wright (N.T. Wright) into Chinese (for example, the recently published translation of What Saint Paul Really Said), the Anglo-American theological theory of the New Perspective on Paul has in recent times slowly but surely attracted the attention of the Chinese churches.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Stephen Chan on Calvin's Tales of Two Cities

The year 2009 marks the 500th annivesary of Calvin's birth, various events of international and interdemominational held to commemorate his life and works. In this paper, Rev.Dr. Stephen Chan gives us an insightful guide which deeply engage with Calvin's mind through his methodology in the Institute of Christian Religion, and a brief survey of it's development in the Post-reformation with a keen eye towards Mainland China, the "most strategic mission field" in the 21st century.

Dr.Chan, our conference advisor, President of Reformed Institute for Christianity and 21st Century, Associate Professor of Seattle University, his paper can be read here. Excerpt:


This article has been reviewed by Rev. Dr. David Cheng, newly added here. Excerpt:
Rev. Prof. Dr. Chan is one of the greatest teachers of theology in our time. His article provides us a better understanding of Calvin and his works especially in regard to Calvin’s contribution to the Reformation of the 16th century. This reviewer has found no mistake or any point for scholarly challenge. Certainly, Dr. Chan is very careful in his wording and therefore he is safe even on a couple issues which are already controversial in the scholarly literature.

[The paper is now opened for discussion.]

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Progress of CREDO500 blog conference

[This is a translation of the previous post by Jonah]

We are considering running the CREDO500 blog conference again next year. As such, we would like to open up this post for suggestions from our readers and participants, especially welcoming your thoughts and constructive feedback on the conference so far. We wish to make this and possible future conferences even better, as well as gather valuable comments and feedback from all of you. This is done so that future conferences [if done] could be improved, and that the proclamation of orthodox theology could be done for the growth of the Chinese churches towards maturity.

The first part of our blog conference "The Legacy of Reformed Theology" has concluded, although readers can continue to [and are encouraged to -DHC] post their comments. In this slightly over three weeks of discussion, besides growing in knowledge, we have also grown in our friendship in the Lord. Although we have many divergent viewpoints on the issues presented, yet we have generally engaged the issues not the people, with the goal of ad fontes or returning to the Scriptures, the source of our faith.

The translation [and editorial - DHC] work of the articles and reviews into English is undertaken by Daniel Chew, while the translation [and editorial - DHC] work into Chinese is undertaken by Pastor Jonah Tang and Amos Chaw. This is done so as to facilitate understanding in either or both languages. The second part of our conference "The Reformation and John Calvin", has an addition of three additional papers in them. As such, we have adjusted the period of this part to 2nd to 28th Oct, with the schedule being as follows:

Part II: The Reformation and John Calvin (3rd - 28th Oct 2009)

I. The historical legacy of John Calvin

Oct 3rd Stephen Chan, Calvin's Tale of Two Cities (Response: David Cheng)

Oct 5th Jack Sin,The Spiritual Influence and Legacy of John Calvin to The Modern World (Response: SoonBeng Lim)

Oct 7th Daniel Chew, New Evangelical Calvinism: An analysis of the Calvinist Resurgence (Response: Edward Sim)

II. Joh Calvin's theology of God's Sovereignty

Oct 9th LaiHoe Ang, Biblical Consistency of Calvin’s Work on Election (Response: Lemuel Hii)

Oct 12th David Chen,Has Turretin been faithful to John Calvin’s Doctrine of Election? (Response: Alex Tseng)

Oct 14th Alex Tseng, Karl Barth's Doctrine of Election (Response: Joel Tay)

III. John Calvin's theology of worship

Oct 16th Zhi Yong Wang, Calvin and the Psalms: Singing the songs of Jehovah (Response: Cathy Tan)

Oct 19th Cathy Tan,The quest for Calvin's essence of worship: Passion and love of God — A journey away from ritualistic worship (Response: Paul Gao)

Oct 21st Timothy Peng, Reformed View of Music (Response: Junhao Yang)

III. The practical theology of John Calvin

Oct 23rd Fook Seong Ten, Calvin's Institutes and the Practices of Piety (Response: PaiChan Yong)

Oct 26th David Cheng,Calvin's Law and Grace (Response: Jason Loh)

Oct 28th Jason Loh, Calvin’s View on the Cultural Mandate (Response: Benjamin Ho)

Our new contributors are: Rev.Dr.David Cheng (Calvin's Law and Grace), Pastor Timothy Peng (Reformed View of Music) and Jason Loh (Calvin’s View on the Cultural Mandate). Reviewers include Junhao Yang, Benjamin Ho and Jason Loh. A short biography of the people involved can be found here (to be updated later)

Our advisor for this conference Rev.Dr.Stephen Chan will give a final conclusion and exhortation at the end of this conference. Finally, for our celebration of Reformation Day on the 30th-31st of Oct, we would like to invite all our contributors and readers to write a short note or message in celebration.

May this conference contribute, no matter how small, to the goal of helping the Chinese churches know more about John Calvin and Reformed theology, and thus achieve unity in the truth. Amen.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009




文章及回应文的英译工作将由赵惠聪(Daniel Chew)负责,郑天鸣牧师(Jonah Tang)与邹泉源(Amos Chaw)则负责汉译,以方便双语的读者群。会议的第二部分「改教时代的加尔文」,其中有三篇是后来加入的文章,因此我们已将时间调整为10月3-28日。时间表如下:

PART II:改教时代的加尔文(10月2-28日)

I. 加尔文的历史遗产

Oct 3rd陈佐人,加尔文的双城记(Response: 郑哲民)

Oct 5th Jack Sin,The Spiritual Influence and Legacy of John Calvin to The Modern World (Response: Lim Soon Beng)

Oct 7th Daniel Chew, New Evangelical Calvinism: An analysis of the Calvinist Resurgence (Response: Edward Sim)

II. 加尔文的主权神学

Oct 9th Ang Lai Hoe, Biblical Consistency of Calvin’s Work on Election(Response: Lemuel Hii)

Oct 12nd David Chen,Has Turretin been faithful to John Calvin’s Doctrine of Election?(Response: Alex Tseng)

Oct 14th Alex Tseng, Karl Barth Doctrine of Election (Response: Joel Tay)

III. 加尔文的崇拜神学

Oct 16th王志勇,加尔文与诗篇:唱耶和华的歌 (Response: 陈亦君)

Oct 19th陈亦君,加尔文崇拜本质的探求:灵火焚心, 负爱一生-走出仪文的敬拜 (Response: 高爱军)

Oct 21st Timothy Peng, Reformed View of Music (Response: 杨峻豪)

IV. 加尔文的实践神学

Oct 23rd邓福祥,从加尔文<基督教要义>论敬虔操练 (Response: 杨百川)

Oct 26th郑哲民,加尔文论律法和恩典 (Response: Jason Loh)

Oct 28th Jason Loh, Calvin’s View on the Cultural Mandate (Response: Benjamin Ho)

此次新加入的贡献者包括:郑哲民牧师(加尔文论律法和恩典), Timothy Peng(Reformed View of Music), Jason Loh(Calvin’s View on the Cultural Mandate)。回应者包括杨峻豪, Benjamin Ho, Jason Loh。 以上参与者的简历可以参考这里(迟些会补上)。


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tsun En Lu on Christians and the Pluralistic Society

How do Christians live in their engagement with society in the public square, especially with those of other persuasion and those in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society? In this paper, Pastor Tsun-En Lu interacts with John Rawls's idea of Justice as Fairness and criticize his views from a Christian viewpoint. An excerpt:

罗尔斯 (John Rawls) 的〈正义论〉 (A Theology of Justice) 复兴了自由主义的哲学传统,重新定义民权,不但启发了廿世纪末的宪法理论研究,并且持续地在廿一世纪影响美国的宪政精神与大众的舆论文化 之中。罗尔斯的理论对基督教产生相当的冲击,因为它以平等为名,把基督教的信仰命题相对化,并尝试跨越传统的政教分离原则,为政府和教会的传统权威中划出 一条属于自由主义的新界线,进而排斥了基督教在公众论述中诠释公义概念的机会。

[Unfortunately, this paper is in Chinese and has not been translanted yet, so sorry to English readers].

Dave Chong responds to it here.

In an increasingly pluralistic society in America, Pastor Lu’s critique of Rawlsian conception of ‘justice as fairness’ is a much-needed contribution to the ongoing dialogue on Christian engagement in the public square. How do multi-religious, multi-ethnic societies today carve out a civil space that safeguards the liberty, equity and rights for all? This burning issue is further fueled by sometimes strident attempts by secularists to keep religious faith as a private choice that has no room in the realm of politics.

This paper and review are now open for comments.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Linus Chua: Reformation and Education

Today, we would be having Pastor Linus Chua on the topic of Reformation and Education. Does the Reformed faith has anything to say about the issue of education? In this short article of his, Pastor Linus briefly discuss what the Reformation gave to the education enterprise, and the lessons we can learn and applications we can make from them to the issue of education today.

An excerpt:

History shows that there was an intimate relationship between the Reformation and education. Wherever the Reformation went, it carried the school with it and gave a strong impulse to the education of the masses. Lorraine Boettner wrote, “Wherever Calvinism has gone, there knowledge and learning have been encouraged and there a sturdy race of thinkers has been trained. Calvinists have not been the builders of great cathedrals, but they have been the builders of schools, colleges, and universities.”

The Reformers and those who followed after them recognized that true saving faith involved sound knowledge (Hebrews 11), that sanctification was through the truth of God’s word (John 17:17) and that Christians are called to love God with all their minds (Matt 22:37, Deut 6:1-9, Rom 12:1-2).

In the same document, David Chen reviews Linus' article. An excerpt:

It is indeed true that the Reformation places an emphasis on education. They did so with two convictions: 1) to bring the Word of God to all – they are convinced the Bible is not only Authoritative and Sufficient, but the Bible is also clear and the wisdom of salvation is accessible by all who are willing to read it by faith. However, a second conviction drives the education movement: to understand the world and all of its wisdom is another channel to understand God and His nature, commonly known as natural revelation.

The paper can be found here, and both Linus' paper and David Chen's review are open for discussion.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Daniel Chew on Recapturing The Vision of The Centrality of The Gospel

Rick Warren, a megachurch pastor and philanthropist in Saddleback Valley, who is courted by political and church leaders worldwide, says he thinks Christianity needs a "Second Reformation" that would steer the church away from divisive politics and be "about deeds not creeds". Here is one of the expert diagnosis which concern over Warren's treatment of Scripture in his "Purpose Driven books" and the "Forty Days Program". I can hear the author's voice from it's crying heart in this paper. Daniel Chew, who is the co-organizer of this blog conference, and the author of Driven Away By Purpose, his paper can be accessed here. An Excerpt:

Within Evangelicalism, many churches have for various reasons embraced in part or the whole of the Purpose Driven paradigm within the life of the Church. As Christians, we are to evaluate everything according to the Word of God (Acts 17: 11-12; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Jn. 4:1), so how does this paradigm measure up to Scripture? More importantly, since Christianity is about Christ and the Gospel, how does the Purpose Driven paradigm measure up to Scripture in this respect?

Rev. Peter Wong, graduate from London Reformed Baptist Seminary, whom is currently a minister of Brunei Reformed Baptist Churh. His review can be read here.

Dr Rick Warren renowned , popular Pastor and author of Purpose Driven Church 1995 and the subsequent devotional book Purpose Driven life 1994 , has created quite another wave of new ways of looking at church growth and Christian life since the 1960s modern church growth movement.

[This paper is now opened for discussion.]

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Benjamin Ho On Francis Schaeffer and Reformation

It is said that, Schaeffer was more into "practice" rather than "method" at which he had differences with Van Til. So once again, if apologetics has cash value in practice outside the classroom, what does Schaeffer's view of apologetic says of defense against secularism in his times? Benjamin Ho, whom working in the Singapore government service as a policy analyst had addressed the good stuff that reminds us of the remarkable man here. An Exerpt:

“What we need is a presentation of the Bible’s historical truth in such a waythat it is acceptable to today’s intellectuals…it is irrational to think thatwatertight doors exist between religion and intellectual thinking. A step of faith is no step in the dark” (Francis Schaeffer, Time Magazine, 11 Jan 1960)

Mejlina Tjoa's review here.

As elaborated in the paper, Francis Schaeffer has left a lasting impact on his generation and beyond. He demonstrated that the robust framework of reformed theology has its relevance beyond classroom theological discussions and nostalgia of former glories.

[This paper is now opened for discussion.]

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Andrew Teo on Reclaiming the Biblical Care of Souls in The Body of Christ

This is another excellent piece and worthwhile reflection of the Nouthetic Counseling, which clearly identifies the issue at stake, which resists the temptation to engage with the Psychology, and which at key point keeps a continuity with the Reformation spirit of Sola Scriptura and Solo Christus in line with the modern counseling reformer Jay Adam. The paper was written by a pastor whom currently serve at Ann Arbor Chinese Christian Church in Michigan, Rev. Dr. Andrew Teo. His paper can be accessed here. An Excerpt:

The Reformation was a turning point in church history. Two great teachings of the Reformation are Sola Scriptura and the Priesthood of all believers. Sola Scriptura meansby Scripture alone. The Priesthood of all believers means that believers, guided by theWord and empowered by the Holy Spirit, are equipped and called to counsel one another in the Body of Christ.

Gideon Teo whom is now licensed in the PCA, his responds to this paper here.

The work of Jay Adams is undeniably groundbreaking. As the Father of Nouthetic counseling, Adams is arguably the Luther who began our modern Counseling Reformation. Acentral theme of Nouthetic Counseling, as presented by Pastor Andrew's essay, is that the use of Secular Psychology for biblical counseling is contrary to the principles of Sola Scriptura; therefore, Psychology must be utterly rejected.

[This paper are now opened for discussion.]

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gideon Teo on The Tradition of Counseling and Physiology through the eye of Richard Baxter and Archibald Alexander

Anyone who thinks that the Biblical/Nouthetic counseling should not be engaged with the psychology, you would definitely get some light by reading Gideon's paper here. Gideon Teo the 4th year student of Counseling in Westminster Philadelphia and Rev. Dr. Andrew Teo the Whitefield College Phd candidate(Jay Adam's school of thought) , as an academic outsider to their exchange it has been illuminating. Plus, it's encouraging to see sharp conversation handled so cordially, much to chew on... An Excerpt:

Is the Reformed faith relevant to human physiology? Harvard professor Charles Rosenberg argues, “We are no more willing, many of us, to suffer the pain of depression oranxiety than that of some more readily localized and meliorable physical ailment; in our society, neither stoicism nor traditional religious viewpoints seem ordinary to provide a context ofmeaningfulness for such ills of the soul.”

Our reviewer Rev. Dr. Andrew, is currently doing parsonage in Ann Arbor chinese church while taking his 2nd Phd in Whitefield College under Prof. Jay Adam, his review can be see here.

I am not sure where Richard Baxter and Archibald Alexander derived the word and the concept of “Melancholy” from. Since both historical figures agreed that individuals may have a unique set of traits that favors the development of Melancholy and the development of this trait was due to “black bile.” I suspect they learned this term from the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates (460-377 B.C) or physicians of their time.

And Gideon's defense here.

I appreciate Pastor Andrew's well researched response to my paper. He has given a good account of the history of medieval physiology while mentioning several important evils of modern psychology, such as “taking medication for medication.”By doing so, Pastor Andrew warns us against blindly accepting worldviews that are presented in this fallen world.

[Gideon's paper and Andrew's review are now opened for discussion.]

Sunday, September 13, 2009

David Chong on Evaluate the “New Perspective” on Paul’s exposition of the doctrine of justification by faith alone

The current debates regarding justification reflect a readiness to explore new perspectives that hold the promise for ecumenical convergence or even consensus. The importance of these contemporary discussions of justification can hardly be exaggerated. This paper was written by David Chong in attempt to sort out the daunting task of the contemporary state of theological discussion regarding justification here. An Excerpt:

Since the groundbreaking work in E. P. Sanders’ monograph, “Paul and Palestinian Judaism”, a paradigm shift had taken place within New Testament scholarship with regards to the center of Pauline theology. Although by no means a monolithic movement, the New Perspective represents a fundamental rethinking of what the gospel really means. The present paper sought to analyze and evaluate New Perspective views on the doctrine of justification sola fide primarily through interaction with major proponents.

Our reviewer Pastor Lu Tsun En of the Westminster graduate, his review in chinese here, and the newly[4/10] english translated version by Daniel Chew here. Excerpt:

随着英国圣公会Durham主教与首席新约学者汤姆‧赖特(N.T.Wright)的作品陆续被翻译为中文,例如校园出版的〈再思保罗神学争议〉,近年来英美神学界「新观点派」(New Perspectives)的神学观点逐渐受到华人教会的注意。David Chong弟兄用非常简洁而流畅的文字摘要了新观点派的特色...

[This paper is now opened for discussion]

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Daniel Wong on An Analysis and Critique of Signs and Wonders


灵恩神学并没有正确解释神迹奇事。John Wimber因着错误延用Ladd的神国的神学,脱离救赎历史角度去理解神迹奇事,相信今天的基督徒依然能如耶稣基督和使徒时代,在传道时能继续以神迹奇事的配合来印证福音的大能。

Our reviewer is Daniel Chew, and his review can be read in english here.

Rev. Wong critiques various aspects of the Signs and Wonder movement which are at variance from the teachings of Scripture. In preparation for further analysis of the issue, Rev. Wong gave a brief overview of the biblical teachings of the Covenants and the relationship between the Old and New Covenants/ Testaments.

[This paper are now opened for discussion in both chinese and english.]

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

JJ Lim on the place and necessity of Creeds and Confessions

Are Creeds and Confessions necessary? What is their role and place in the life of a Church? In our second paper, Rev. J.J. Lim of Pilgrim Covenant Church attempts to answer the question in his paper here. An excerpt:

In this short article therefore, we would like to examine, as the questions: Is there a Biblical Basis for Creeds and Confessions? What are the Uses of Creed and Confessions in the Church? To what extend should Creed or Confession be binding to members?

Many modern evangelical Christians are quick to say that they believe in no creeds but the Bible. But this statement is in itself a creedal statement, and therefore makes it self-contradictory.


David Chang responds to this paper here.

[This paper is now opened for discussion]

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Mejlina on Scripture and Tradition

The first paper for our blog conference was done by Mejlina Tjoa. What is the relationship of Scripture to tradition. Is tradition something that Christians should abhor as being of the letter and not of the Spirit (cf 2 Cor. 3:6)? In her paper entitled Scripture and Tradition, Mejlina tackles this issue and puts forward her case for the Reformed stance on this issue, which could be accessed here. An excerpt:

Sola Scriptura is the hallmark of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. It acknowledges the Scripture as sole infallible and supreme authority over all matters of faith and life, in contrast to the Roman Catholic conviction which accepts both Scripture and church tradition as the highest authority. Protestantism does not disregard and in fact still emphasizes the importance of church tradition. However it adopts quite a different view of the role of tradition from Roman Catholicism.

This paper attempts to introduce various views pertaining to the relationship between Scripture and tradition, especially how appealing to the authority of church tradition fits in with the Protestant concept of Sola Scriptura. Further, this paper will also study the role of the Holy Spirit in the students of the Scriptures, on how the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, and an appeal to church tradition or church heritage with regards Bible interpretation, are harmonized. Finally, the limitation of tradition will be briefly explored for further thought.


Our reviewer is Rev. Jonah Tang, and his reviews can be read in the original Chinese here, or English here.

In her paper Scripture and Tradition, Mejlina properly analyzes the place and role of tradition in the early catholic (small ‘c’) churches, as well as explicate the point of contention between the 16th century Reformation and Roman Catholicism on this topic. The view of the Reformation is not about the rejection of tradition, but about defending the truth of Sola Scriptura and in so doing vigorously contend for the Truth, circumventing the control of papal Traditionalism. ...

Mejlina's paper and Jonah Tang's response are now opened for discussion.

Opening of the CREDO500 blog conference

It is the 7th September 2009, and together with my co-organizer Jonah Tang, we hereby declare the CREDO500 blog conference open. Before the first paper is published, I would like to post some basic rules for this conference, in order to facilitate the discussions:

1) Commenting is to be done in the name of Christian truth and love. All comments thus are expected to reflect the calling of a Christian. Therefore, character assassinations and slander/libel are not permitted here.

2) All comments are welcome. However, please post with regards to the content of the paper and try not to digress into other topics. Spam comments when discovered will be deleted.

3) Do not feed the trolls. Please ignore those who come in for the sake of being disagreeable.

That will be all, and once again, we welcome all to participate in the blog conference, for the edification of the Church.

Biography of contributors for the CREDO500 blog conference

After much effort, the biography of our contributors have been more or less traslated into English, as follows:


Mejlina Tjoa

Mejlina graduated from NUS with B. Eng in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and is currently a Melbourne University MBA student, A member of GRII (Reformed Evangelical Indonesian Church), she is currently teaching children Sunday classes in Melbourne. She also regularly does (unofficial) transcripts of Rev Tong's weekly sermons, and occasionally writes / edits Christian articles as requested.

Rev. J.J. Lim

Pastor J.J. is the senior pastor of Pilgrim Covenant Church in Singapore, a church that practices the singing of Psalms. He has edited many works, including writing annotations for the Westminster Confession of Faith.

王俊才牧师 (Rev. Daniel Wong)

Formerly from a Penang Baptist church, he is now in the process of organizing the Christianity and the 21st century Reformed Bible School. He is currently the senior pastor of Kuching Grace Baptist Church and is the founder of Kuching Reformed Fellowship. He is also helping out in starting the Kuala Lumpur Reformed Evangelical Church as her founding pastor.

David Chong

David studies part time at Malaysia Bible Seminary, works in an IT consulting firm and blogs at He worships at City Discipleship Presbyterian church and often gives talks to student and adult groups on cultural mandate, contemporary issues and marketplace theology. He is married to Grace and expecting his first child in July 2009.

Gideon Teo

Gideon is currently a 4th year M.Div. (Counseling emphasis) student at Westminster Theological Seminary and serves as a quarter-time youth pastor at China Grace Christian Church. He received his B.A. in Family Studies from the University of British Columbia (Canada) while being an active member and student vice-president of Campus Crusade for Christ. Gideon is a Pastor's Kid and is extremely thankful for the example set by his father-pastor. Gideon loves the outdoors and has worked as an adventure experiential educator as well as a horse wrangler in Wisconsin.

Rev. Dr. Andrew Teo (张顺牧师,博士)

Rev. Andrew Teo studied biochemistry in Murdoch University in Western Australia, following which he went to England for his masters at Birmingham Theological Seminary, getting his doctorate at San Francisco Theological Seminary in the USA. He is currently a Phd candidate in Whitefield College where he studied under Prof. Jay Adam. Meanwhile, he is the main pastor at Ann Arbor Chinese Christian Church in Michigan, USA.

Benjamin Ho

Benjamin is currently working in the Singapore government service as a policy analyst. He holds a Bachelors' degree (Honors) in journalism and is also pursuing his Masters' degree in International Relations. His academic interests include postmodernism, international politics, Islam and mass media studies. He is currently serving at the Family of Grace Evangelical Free Church as a youth ministry leader as well as in the worship ministry. In his free time, he enjoys listening to classical music, singing, reading and swimming.

Daniel Chew (赵惠聪)

Daniel Chew is an avid blogger and author of the book Driven Away by Purpose. He holds a BSc (Hon) in Life Sciences from the National University of Singapore and is currently working in a biological research lab. He currently worships at Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church and stays with his parents and younger brother in their home country of Singapore. He is the co-organizer of this blog conference.

Ps Linus Chua

Linus Chua is a member of Pilgrim Covenant Church in Singapore and a full-time ministerial student under the care of the Church Session. He was born in Singapore and is married to Shan Shan. They have three young children – Rebekah, Euan and Luke. After graduating from Imperial College London (UK) in 1999 with a M. Eng in Aeronautical Engineering, Linus worked as an aeronautical engineer for five and a half years at DSO National Laboratories. He is currently pursuing a M.Div with Whitefield Theological Seminary in preparation for the pastoral ministry.Linus has written a book Catechism in Conversation in which he gives a brief introduction to the Westminster Shorter Catechism in conversational style

Ps Tsun-En Lu (陆尊恩传道)

Tsun-En is the pastor of Faith and Fellowship Chinese Presbyterian Church in Taipei, Taiwan. He holds an M.Div from Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia.

陈佐人牧师,博士 (Rev. Dr. Stephen Chan)

Rev.Dr.Stephen Chan, Phd Chicago University, is Associate Professor of Seattle University. He is also Acting Principal of the Reformed Institute for Christianity and 21st Century, and senior pastor of Bay Area Reformed Evanglical church, meanwhile is academic committee member of the Sino-Christian Studies.

Rev. Dr. Jack Sin

Dr. Jack Sin was a professor at the Pensacola Theological Seminary in Florida, USA. He is the founder and principal of the Emmanuel Reformed Bible Lectures and the senior pastor of Maranatha Bible-Presbyterian Church. He has also served many years at Far Eastern Bible College.

Ps Alex Tseng (曾劭恺)

Alex studied physics at the University of Columbia, after which he went to Reagent College for his M. Div, and then to Princeton Theological Seminary for his Th. M. He is the preacher at North American Chinese Faith Baptist Church, and directs the student and English ministries.

Ps. Dr. Lai Hoe Ang

Dr. Ang is a forestry professor in Malaysia, an IUFRO officer, and engages in research work. He is also a preacher at Kuala Kubu Chapel (Reformed Baptist) church.

Rev. David Chen

Rev. David Chen has an M.Div from Westminster Theological Seminary, and is the pastor of the Faith, Hope, Love Church in Philadelphia, USA.

邓福祥传道 (Ps Fook Seong Teng)

Pastor Teng graduated with an B.Div from Methodist Theological School, and will be ordained as pastor under the Methodist Sabah Chinese Annual Conference.

王志勇牧师,博士 (Rev. Dr. Zhi Yong Wang)

Dr. Wang holds a Masters in Law from Beijing University. He is the theology professor at Calvin Seminary, and loves shepherding, translation, academic research and preaching through the Internet.

郑哲民牧师,博士 (Rev.Dr.David Cheng)

Dr. David Cheng possesses expertise in Law, Business, Christianity research, Politics and Economics. He is currently an MDiv student in Taipei Reformed Theological Seminary. His resume includes being a law school professor, a legal researcher, businessman, government legal counsel, pastor, evangelist, and vice president and director of a seminary. He is also currently involved in ministry in mainland China in the area of teaching, guidance, arranging and nurturing the Reformed movement there.

陈亦君 (Cathy Tan)

Cahty Tan has a Master of Music from California States University, Los Angeles. She is a part-time music ministry advisor for Jubilee Presbyterian Church Singapore, a choral conductor, a music educator, and a speaker and writer on music and worship issues.

Ps Timothy Peng (彭加荣)

Pastor Timothy Peng has a BDiv from Pensacola College, a MTS (major in Systematic Theology) from Calvin College, and is currently at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary studying for his MTh (major in Historical theology). His interests include Puritanism and Scholasticism, and he was once an English pastor for the Baton Rouge Chinese Church.

Jason Loh

Jason Loh works at INPUMA in Malaysia as an research analyst. His interests include politics, government, law, economics, higher education, international relations and strategic studies. He is a lay member and assistant legal advisor of the Anglican church who confesses the Classical Protestant and Evangelical Lutheran (Ausburg Confession) position.


郑天鸣牧师 (Rev. Jonah Tang)

Jonah Tang has a B. Div from Sibu Methodist Theological School. He is now a pastor under the Masland Church in the Methodist Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference(SCAC). He is the founder of this blog conference.

David Chang (张仲骐)

David Chang obtained his PhD at the University of Sydney, and is currently studying for an M. Div. from the Taipei Chinese Evangelical Seminary.

Rev. Peter Wong

Rev. Peter Wong was graduated in London Reformed Baptist Seminary, and is currently a minister of Brunei Reformed Baptist Churh.

Lim Soon Beng

Soon Beng is one of a rare breed: a Calvinistic Methodist. He currently worships and serves at Christalite Methodist Chapel. He works as a doctor (General Practitioner) and is blessed with a lovely wife and two children.

Edward Sim (沈骏)

Edward holds a Masters of Software Engineering from Imperial College, London and S.M. in Computer Science from the Singapore-MIT Alliance, National University of Singapore. He is currently pursuing PhD. Candidature in Computer Science at National University of Singapore. A member of Covenant Evangelical Free Church (CEFC), he is currently serving in the Chinese ministry in areas of worship and occasional preaching. He runs a seldom updated blog at He's also married and a proud new father of a recently born daughter.

Joel Tay

Joel graduated from a BSc. of Life Science from the University of Queensland, and is now studying for his M. Div. at Trinity Theological College in Singapore.

许如辉传道 (Ps Lemuel Hii)

Pastor Lemuel has the B.Th from Methodist Theological School in Sibu, and is currently ministering the Lord's Grace Preaching Point under the Methodist Sarawak Chinese Annual Conferene(SCAC)

杨百川 (Pai Chan Yong)

Pai Chan Yong is studying engineering at Chung Yuan Christian University, and worships at Taiwan Longtan Baptist Church

高爱军牧师 (Rev. Paul Gao)

Pastor Paul Gao is a pastor of a reformed church in Shanghai.



郑哲民牧师,博士 (Rev. Dr. David Cheng)

Dr. David Cheng possesses expertise in Law, Business, Christianity research, Politics and Economics. He is currently an MDiv student in Taipei Reformed Theological Seminary. His resume includes being a law school professor, a legal researcher, businessman, government legal counsel, pastor, evangelist, and vice president and director of a seminary. He is also currently involved in ministry in mainland China in the area of teaching, guidance, arranging and nurturing the Reformed movement there.

Ps Timothy Peng (彭加荣)

Pastor Timothy Peng has a BDiv from Pensacola College, a MTS (major in Systematic Theology) from Calvin College, and is currently at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary studying for his ThM (major in Historical theology). His interests include Puritanism and Scholasticism, and he was once an English pastor for the Baton Rouge Chinese Church.

Jason Loh

Jason Loh is a law graduate from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He was invited to join the Church of England (Continuing) in 2000 and appointed assistant legal advisor in 2003. He is also a member of the Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore (LCMS). He is currently pursuing an academic career in the humanities and social sciences, doing his Master in Public Policy while working as a Research Analyst in the International Institute of Public Policy and Management (INPUMA), University of Malaya.


杨峻豪 (Jun Hao Yoong)

Jun Hao has a B.Eng. in Chemical Engineering, from Putra University, Malaysia. He is currently an Engineer, and worships and serves in Kuala Lumpur Reformed Evangelical Church. He is also a choir member in Malaysia’s Yin Qi Choir.

Friday, September 4, 2009

CREDO500 Blog Conference introduction

My co-organizer Pastor Jonah Tang has recently posted the introduction for the CREDO 500 blog conference, which is a mere three days away. (Hint: to those who have *yet* to hand in their reviews. Please do so ASAP as I require time to check them!) Here is the translation of the introduction for all who are either not fluent enough in Chinese, those who prefer to read it in English, and those who do not read Chinese.


Knowing and glorifying God, whom John Calvin served

by Jonah Tang

trans. by Daniel Chew

Name and beginning

On July the 10th 2009, Christians in the Reformed tradition around the world gathered in the city of Geneva, Switzerland, to commemorate the 500th anniversary (1509-2009) of the birth of the French Reformer John Calvin, breathing new life into the embers in this once thriving spiritual center of the Reformation. Although not everyone had the opportunity to attend this ceremony, churches around the world have resounded with various events to be held in remembrance of this iconic figure of the Reformation era.

The CREDO 500 blog conference is initiated by this present author and co-organized together with brother Daniel Chew, with Dr. Stephen Chan (陈佐人), Dr. Zhi Yong Wang (王志勇) and Dr. Keng Ann Lee (李健安) graciously agreeing to be the project’s guides and advisers. On the one hand, the weak faith of many suffer from the onslaught of postmodernism and the rapid growth of all manner of heresies, while on the other, the 21st century is witnessing the rapid increase in the Church as many ethnic Chinese are coming to the Lord . In order to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas in light of these facts, and in the hope of continuing the proclamation and development of Calvinist theology and the rich heritage of the Reformed tradition, this conference has been organized.

The original meaning of the word in the Latin, “Credo”, is “I believe”. “CREDO 500” get its meaning from the first five centuries of the early church, linked together with the Reformation and Post-Reformation era of the recent five centuries to make up a pair of two five centuries of faith, which can be termed as the “ecumenical Reformed faith and tradition”. At this blog, the CREDO motif is developed further as the acronym for “Chinese Reformed Evangelical Discussion Online”, with the goal of planting the Reformed faith in the new generation of Chinese Evangelicals. It is hoped that the strict confessionalism and godly piety of the 16th and 17th century Reformers and the English Puritans, together with the faithful witness of the Apostles and the believers of all ages, will find new adherents. Utilizing the ability of the Internet to flatten the world, believers are enabled to interact and learn together this Christian historical orthodox faith. For unless we know and understand the Reformation and its necessity and beginning, we will never be able to be one substantive household of faith founded on the Truth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Objective and Purpose

This author strongly believes that the influence of Calvin did not end with the Modern and Western world, but continues to impact and transform the Post-modern and Chinese-speaking world. We are honored to be able to invite Christians around the world from different denominations and backgrounds: be they scholars, pastors, researchers and theologians, to contribute to this blog conference and engage in interaction and mutual guidance on various technical topics. The conference would be done in the following format: Every other day a paper would be uploaded together with its attendant response, after which all and sundry are invited to actively participate in the discussions on that paper. All are invited to affirm, ask for further clarification or suggest points for more thought and reflection, with regards to the content and manner of writing of any of the papers. We eagerly anticipate creative engagements and constructive responses, to aid the authors in correcting and improving their articles.

In principle, all discussions are to be purely factual and objective. However, all attendees are to abide by the proper attitude of glorifying God. In expressing one’s thoughts and opinions, one is not to compromise on the foundational truths, but also to respect differences of opinions over minor points of doctrine. In all things, we are to be loving and speak words of edification to build up others. In this light, this author desires and exhorts the practice of the following beliefs and principles of Reformed orthodoxy: 1) To be based on the Bible, 2) To be Christ-centered, 3) with the sole aim of glorifying the triune God, 4) to be done for the good of the Church. These are also the desired result for the conference: that through studying the legacy of John Calvin, we may glorify God, whom Calvin served.

The theme of this blog conference is “Calvin to the modern Chinese Churches” 「从加尔文看今日华人教会」. We have collected a total of 20 papers to be spit into two sections, the first being “The legacy of Reformed Theology” and the second being “The Reformation and John Calvin”. Lord willing, we plan to publish the results of this conference in a volume, which is to be separately published in English and Chinese. Listed below in the next section are the short biographies of the authors and reviewers of the papers for this conference.

Lastly, we would like to express our appreciation to all who have contributed to this conference in one way or another. We look forward to this historical blog conference, and hope it will provoke thought to edify the Chinese churches, to bring about a unity between the intellect and the spirit, and to narrow the distance we have from our Reformed forefathers such that we are connected to our past. Amen.

[NOTE: I have not included the bio in this post because I have not translated them. I will include that in a later post]