Greek Goes On in Davao City

One of the things Sora and I sought to do in Davao was to labor in such a way that what we did would not cease with our departure. Knowing that our term in the Philippines was likely to be limited to three years, we wanted to leverage our gifts so that they would be multiplied and continue to have effects for years after we left.

The power of missionary work is in the formation of relationships. And in the Internet age, these can continue to be effective. 

One of my Greek students, Wayne Dimaano, is teaching a Greek class via his church’s Bible institute. He keeps in touch by FB messenger with questions about grammar:


As you can see from the mention of Quizlet, we also share flashcards and other teaching materials. 

Pastor Wayne forwarded this photo of the large number of students who showed up for his first Greek class:


(I recall a similar huge turnout for my first Greek class. There will always be some attrition when it becomes clear that  there is no royal road to the knowledge of Greek, but with that many students, Wayne will surely have a good number left.)

Wayne and I continue to share books and discuss exegetical questions and theology. Now that I’m in the same time zone (in Singapore and soon in Indonesia), I can respond quickly while we are both awake.

Final Essays for Bandung

Before leaving STT St. Paul’s in Bandung, Indonesia, I left the students some essay questions, which were then translated into Bahasa Indonesia by the Rev. Yopie B.  I reproduce them here for our readers’ enjoyment.
(Recommended sources: R. Hays, Reading Backward; N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God; R. Bauckham, Jesus and the God of Israel.)

Essays:

In 10 pages or less, answer ONE of these questions:

1. Explain how the NT epistles and the book of Revelation identify Jesus as divine while still holding to monotheism.
2. Explain how Jesus Himself and the authors of the four canonical gospels use the Old Testament to make the claim that Jesus is identified with the God of Israel.
3. List and explain five main ways that the OT asserts monotheism and show how the NT used those ways to say that Jesus is included in the identity of Israel’s God.

Colvins in Bandung

If our kids are looking more colorful than usual, it is because they’re wearing batik to their first Indonesian worship service.   
It has been a mixed visit so far. For me, a fruitful week of ministry. For Sora and the kids, a painful time fighting the sort of digestive tract illness that we thought we would not experience, since we were coming already from the Philippines.

I preached on Psalm 42 & 43 for GAI St. Paul’s in Bandung, Indonesia this morning. Many thanks to Pr. Denny Kussoy for translating my sermon. 

  
Matt preaching with Pr. Denny Kussoy translating. 

The congregation on Sunday included many students from my week-long intensive class at the Bible College.

 
Above: Students at STT St Paul’s Bible College during Matt’s class. 

At lunch on Sunday, Rev. Yopie Buyung explained that he believes Biblical theology (in the technical sense) is greatly needed in Indonesian churches. I believe it. The delighted looks of the students as I explained how the New Testament claims Jesus to be God made it clear that they had not heard it put this (Jewish, Old Testamentish) way before, and that they will be USING these arguments in their own conversations with those who do not know the Lord, or deny that we should worship Him, or who think that “it is far from God’s glory to beget a son”.

Here are the essay assignment questions that I left for the students to write. (Pak Yopie translated them into Bahasa Indonesia.)

Essays:

In 10 pages or less, answer ONE of these questions:

1. Explain how the NT epistles and the book of Revelation identify Jesus as divine while still holding to monotheism.

2. Explain how Jesus and the four gospels use the Old Testament to claim that Jesus is identified with the God of Israel.

3. List and explain five main ways that the OT asserts monotheism and show how the NT used those ways to say that Jesus is included in the identity of Israel’s God.

Unfortunately, our family has been dealing with some sickness. Three kids came with me to church, wearing their new batik clothing. Sora stayed back at the guest house with Naomi, who is still recovering. Later, Isaiah and Hosanna also lost their lunches. Everyone is on the mend, however.

We have one more day in Bandung. Rev. Yopie and his wife Hertina and younger son Rexa have been taking very good care of us. Indonesian hospitality is justly famous, and Pak Yopie’s family has been amazing in that respect. 

Tuesday, we head to Jakarta for four days, then to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, en route to meet with our SAMS directors and other SAMS missionary families at a retreat in Kep.
Pray that:

– Our kids will recover quickly, and that we will have no more illness on this trip. 

– We may have a pleasant and uneventful train ride full of beautiful scenery from Bandung to Jakarta.

– The STT St. Paul’s students will continue to pursue the Biblical approaches to Christology and theology that I introduced them to in the lectures this week, and that the Lord may bless those methods with good fruit. 

– That our kids will continue to be good ambassadors for our family and the REC and ACNA. The boys especially have done a good job so far, even though they don’t like being the center of attention. (Hosanna on the other hand, loves being the center of attention, and is apparently in her element being greeted and photographed, whether by Filipinos or Indonesians.)

   
   Thanks to Natalina H for the pictures!

Radio Show

Thanks to my friendship with Pastor Vic Bernales, I was introduced this afternoon to Rev. Michael Hong, the owner and proprietor of Mango Radio, which broadcasts evangelical radio programs in Zamboanga and here in Davao City. Pastor Hong has a heart for bringing the gospel to Muslims here on the island of Mindanao by using radio. 

It was a fruitful discussion, and the result was that I will be starting a live one-hour radio show on June 1st. There will then be a four week break while our family is in Indonesia and Cambodia in June, and I will resume broadcasting after June 28. We hope to air the show at rush hour, but Mango is currently still trying to obtain a frequency for broadcasting in Davao. It will also be broadcast via the Internet. 

The show will be devoted to explaining Scripture, using history and the original languages and the Jewish background. I’ll be trying to make these things clear and accessible — something I have striven to do for many years in my high school classes. 

I need a name for the show. Any suggestions?

  
Above: Matt and Pr. Michael Hong in the Mango Radio studio.

Pray that the show will be a success and a blessing both to Filipino Christians and to those who do not yet own Christ as the world’s Lord.