Monday, July 18, 2011

From the Protestant Pope: Daniel Chew's Transition

Note: Since the Protestant Pope has recanted of his blog, I will re-post some of his best works in systematic theology.

So I was informed by an anonymous reader and from comments over at Antithesis' blog that Daniel Chew is going to USA to pursue a seminary degree. He has since written a post entitled "A Transition"

I have quote in full (replacing a portion of Scripture that he quoted with a link) and made comments in italics:

Observant readers of mine may have noticed that I have seen that my city of residence have been changed, although that would not actually take effect until about one week's time. The fact of the matter is that I am going for theological studies in a solid Reformed seminary over there.

Anyway, here is a short sharing which I have prepared for a dinner with some of my extended family last night. It has undergone major revisions since the script was not fully thought-out at that time. Anyway, here it is.

I do not know if his extended family include a number of saved people, but the subsequent "sharing" would make little sense to the unsaved. There was no clear Gospel message, although the opportunity was there. A little advice to the new seminary student/would-be pastor: when the opportunity arise to proclaim the good news, take it.

Is. 48:2-11

In just a couple of days time, I would be flying off to the USA for theological studies. Why have I decided to do that?

Being saved by the grace of God, I desire to know Him more and to live for Him, giving my all (Rom. 12:1) to the one who saved me purely out of His own free choice to do so. As I grow in my walk, I became burdened with the shocking biblical illiteracy even among Christians who are ignorant of basic biblical doctrines, which coupled with an attitude of anti-intellectualism results in failure to function as the salt and light of the world. Instead, we have epitomized the reality of Eph. 4:14 – being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, and in this we glory in our shame, boasting to everyone of our ignorance by claiming to have “no creed but Christ”.

Those are not valid reasons to constitute a "call to the ministry". Does Daniel Chew expect to study for a MDiv/MTh and return to Singapore and deal with all the "Shocking biblical illiteracy" among Christians in Singapore?

Does one need to have a MDiv/MTh in order to function as salt and light of the world? Or to stop others from being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine?

Daniel, have you discern within yourself if you have the "internal" call to the ministry?

In the past three years, I have felt the calling to serve God full-time. Yet the call of God is not something that is emotion but that is of the Spirit. Through prayer and awaiting God’s timing, I am convinced of God’s guidance into this area and my giftings in this area have also been noted by fellow Christians. It is therefore my desire to learn more about God’s Word so as to be able to teach it properly for the building up of God’s people.

Yes, Daniel, but how do you know? Growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ is for every Christian, some grow faster than others. That does not constitute a "calling to serve God full-time".

How is Daniel convinced of God's guidance? Is his church recognising his gifts and calling? Has his pastor discern this as well? Have they given their hearty approval thereby providing Daniel with his "external" call? My guess is NO! That is probably a reason why he gave no indication of that.

His claim of "giftings" being "noted by fellow Christians" is questionable. Is that the church? His pastor? Or the 4-5 well-meaning friends who encouraged him along in his ambitions? Do his well-meaning friends themselves understand the Christian Ministry?

Yet in all this I must take note of the fact that service is ultimately not about me. God is totally sovereign and He does not need anyone to do His will. God does not need me or anyone else for that matter to do His work, for His arm is powerful to do all that He desires (Dan. 4:35). God can make a great nation from Moses without the need for the Israelites if He so chooses to (Ex. 32:10), and He can raise up children of Abraham from inanimate rocks and stones (Mt. 3:9, Lk. 3:8). No matter the need, God is always in control and lacks nothing from us.

We must not therefore think that God needs our services otherwise His plan will fail. Rather, God condescends to use us for His own glory, and it is our privilege to joyfully submit to Him and do His will for us.

God’s will is ultimately for His glory – for His name’s sake (Is. 48:2-11). God’s glory is of supreme importance to Himself, and it is because of His glory that He saves us, just like He promises to saves the rebellious Jews during the time of Isaiah. I must therefore also remember that the goal of all service is that God be supremely glorified, not about how much service I have rendered to God or how many people may benefit from what God may do through me. The prophet Jeremiah has little to show for His labor, yet He glorified God by proclaiming His Word as judgment against Judah for their rejection of God’s authority and His Law. Likewise, all that we do must be centered on God and His glory, not the needs of men, the Church or the World. What matters is faithfulness, not results.

So (1) God does not need me, and (2) God does not treasure what I can do (as if apart from the Lord I can do anything anyway). Yet it is my privilege to follow and offer my life up to this great God and my Savior, knowing that He will use this flawed life for His purpose, and that His purposes will stand. Amen.

The remainder of his post is rather abstract. No connection with the crux of the matter. Several questions just came off the top of my head:

  1. On what grounds is he studying at WSCal? Because he is an "informed Christian layman"? Or is it the fact that he is an "Apologist, Author, Watchman" (his infamous name-card post is now off his blog, but I think the name-card is still in existence)?
  2. On what grounds did WSCal accept his application?
  3. Did his pastor provide a reference, and if so, on what basis? Daniel's (real or imaginary) calling to the ministry? Or did his pastor just wrote a reference to say that Daniel is capable of studying theology?
  4. What about character reference? Who provided that? Is Daniel's character one that exemplifies 1 Tim 3, Titus 1?
  5. Has Daniel proven to himself (not just to others) that he has the gifts AND graces to enter (and stay in) the ministry?
  6. Has he (on an informal basis) taught the members of his church the doctrines of Scripture?
  7. Has the church given their hearty approval to those gifts and graces?
  8. Has God's Providence opened doors to him to preach/teach?
I am afraid Daniel Chew is heading in the direction of where many men who imagined a call to the ministry has gone:
1) seminary studies (Which isn't cheap!);
2) wait for years for a church to call him as pastor;
3) if no calling, study to become a RE teacher in a school


3) if a calling a available...
a) pastor for few years, dry up (i.e. no more materials)... move onto next pastorate
b) pastor for few years, split church several times
c) pastor for few years, introduce modern gimmicks
d) people fed-up with poor spiritual preaching...leave
e) etc...

Daniel needs to realise that a MDiv/MTh is no guarantee that he will be a pastor, let alone a GOOD & FAITHFUL pastor. There is a lot more in the Christian Ministry than just trying to obtain a seminary degree.

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