Pastoral 2015

GBI-Online Update

Written by Samson Hutagalung Sunday, 02 August 2015

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We thank the Lord for GBIOnline that has been on a partial trial run for the last few months. Currently, 37 students from 4 countries (Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Australia) have signed up for the two subjects that have been offered, namely ‘the Book of Jonah’ and ‘the Names of God’. The next stage, God willing, will be in full swing, with more subjects being made available for students to choose from.

Three more series of lessons will soon be ready for all onlineregistered students.

  1. “Systematic Theology I: Theism”. This was recently taught by Pastor as a series of Wednesday night lectures (29 January – 13 May);
  2. “Systematic Theology II: Bibliology”. This will be the new series of lectures to be taught by Pastor next semester;
  3. A live webcast of “Theology of Prayer”. This will be taught at the Bible Witness Bookroom during the lunch-hour Bible Study on every Wednesday at 1.00 pm, starting on 5th August. Incidentally, we have been informed by Eld Richard Tiu that the students of GBI (Cebu) will take part in this live webcast. All onlineregistered students can also attend this live lecture. They will be notified duly of their quizzes and final exam, which are required for the completion of this course. In any case, those who cannot join the live webcast of this series of lessons will have subsequent opportunities to partake of them, as the recorded lectures will be uploaded to the GBI-Online website.

Let us continue to pray for GBIOnline, that the Lord may use it for the equipping of our church members, believers from around the world, as well as the students of our Bible Institutes in our mission stations in Ethiopia and the Philippines.

Brethren, please do not miss this excellent opportunity to engage in an in-depth study of God’s Word! If you cannot attend the Wednesday night class, you can always sign up for the online course. Visit our GBIOnline website (www.gbi-online. com), and register yourself to study His excellent Word.

Testimony
David Tan

I would like to thank God for enabling me to attend GBI-Online Wednesday Night Lectures on System Theology (Theism). Though I was having a very busy schedule at work, the Lord enabled me to attend the GBI classes without fail. The course has provided me with deeper knowledge of God and also equipped me with clearer spiritual understanding.

When this course was first announced in the church, I was hesitant to sign up as I was worried that I would not understand the lessons. But thank God that He has granted me wisdom to learn and grow in the knowledge of Him. Nevertheless, the lessons certainly required both mental and spiritual disciplines. I found myself praying constantly for His guidance and help to study His Word. The Lord helped me to yield in humility and prayer to the learning of the Word, and I soon find joy in exercising my mind to receive His truth.

Though this course, I learned that we are not able to fully understand God; only when He reveals Himself to us through the Holy Spirit and the Word can we grow in the knowledge of Him. Otherwise, our imperfect and ignorant thoughts about God will lead us to false worship. Concerning the Holy Trinity, I learned that there is only one God, but three distinct Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All three are co-eternal and co-equal in essence and substance.

I also learned that our Almighty God is self-existent, sovereign, self-sufficient, eternal, incomprehensible, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, immutable, loving, gracious, merciful, holy and just. God existed even before heaven and earth came into existence. He is independent in His being and causes everything that He created to depend on Him. God is not dependent on us. God reigns supreme on His throne over all His creation after the counsel of His own will. He is without beginning and end. He is not limited by time, but He controls time.

Our God is all-powerful and has unlimited authority and influence. He has the ability to do whatever His will dictates and He is present everywhere, all the time. God is all-wise and all-knowing. He is the source of wisdom and He knows even our secrets. God is unchangeable and he cannot change, for He is always perfect. God loves His people and His love is unmerited. His grace is directed towards our debt and need, while His mercy is directed towards our guilt and misery.

Through this series of study, I also learned about the decrees of God and how God executes them. God’s decrees are His eternal purposes, according to the counsel of His will, for His own glory. He has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass. God has already planned everything even before His creation of all things and all things are executed according to His plan. Nothing takes God by surprise. Nothing is outside His knowledge. He knows everything. His decree is totally free of any external influence. God controls all things – even evil – to fulfil His plans and purposes for His glory. He never does evil and is never to be blamed for evil. It is His creatures that are guilty of the evil they do. This course made me realise that God executes his decrees through His works of creation and providence. He made all things very good, out of nothing by His Word within the space of six days. God made all things through Christ, with the Holy Spirit also at work in the creation. He cares for all creatures and provides them with all that they need. God also governs, preserves and sustains all His creation according to His eternal decrees, and He rules over His creation forever!

Furthermore, the study of Christology helped me understand Christ better. The Deity of Christ teaches me that our Lord Jesus Christ is the second Person of the Trinity, who is God eternal who pre-existed even before the creation. Christ is of equal substance with God, the Father. The Humanity of Christ teaches me that He became man by the Virgin Birth. He took upon a human body when He came to this world and He continues to exist forever in His human form in heaven. He has a human soul, and hence possesses thoughts and emotions as well. However, he is without sin. Christ is one Person with two natures, fully God and fully man. His natures are distinct and not mixed, yet not separated.

Through all the knowledge that I have gained from this course on “Theism”, I am better equipped to live my Christian life with fear and love for God. Now I am happy that I can also explain these truths to my family when I lead them in the reading of the Scriptures. I thank God for His goodness that has sustained me throughout the course.