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In Touch May 2006

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PRINTED MATTERIf undelivered, please return to Asian Theological Seminary QCCPO BOX 1454-1154 1102 Quezon City Philippines

he Second Annual Theological Forum of Asian Theological Seminary, Naming the Unknown God, was a huge success! Consider: Almost 800 people attended. Attendees enjoyed thirty-five different presentations. Presenters represented more than ten countries of origin, and at least ten different graduate schools and universities. Attendees learned how to minister to Muslims, to Hindus, to unbelievers, and to many others not yet ready to join the Christian church. Students and staff who helped to organize the forum presented ATS with a 400,000 peso check at chapel on Wednesday, March 8. The check represented the amount of money Forum-related events raised, after expenses.

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VOL 27 NO 3 SY 2005-2006

SECOND THEOLOGICAL

Forum Reaps SuccessThe mood in the hallways and fellowship hall, over lunch and coffee, was up beat. The buzz of conversation and laughter was ample evidence that the spirit at the Forum was very warm and loving. As such, the Forum helped bind attendees from many different church backgrounds together. Three plenary speakers delivered keynote lectures. Dr. Hwa Yung, a bishop in the Methodist church of Malaysia and an acclaimed author, spoke of the need for Asian theology to be truly Asian and biblical. Dr. Manfred Kohl is a vice-president of the Overseas Council, an organization devoted to strengthening evangelical seminaries throughout the world. He made an impassioned plea to Asian

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umbers like these only scratch the surface of the Forums success, however. The near unanimous report of the participants was that they enjoyed the wide variety of topics covered, that they learned much, and best of all, they were able to experience Christian fellowship with pastors, students and scholars they might otherwise never see. I love hearing from speakers who belonged to many different denominations, said ATS student Victor G. Bitoon.

seminaries to meet the real needs of Asian churches, and to discern those needs by listening carefully to alumni and churches themselves. Prof. Emo Yango of Koinonia Seminary in Davao made the case of doing theology with deep love and concern for the underside of societythe poor, the alienated, those of other faiths, and the marginalized. ATS faculty members, board members, and students gave almost half of the lectures. Some of their lectures were on very tough, often ignored, topics. For example, Bitoon also noted that, Professor Boy Bautista taught me the importance of self-awareness and intimacy from the Song of Songs.FORUM>>>

First Semester SY 2006-07Registration: June 15-17 (Thursday-Saturday) Classes Begin: June 19 (Monday) For more information, please call 928-6717 or visit us at 54 Scout Madrian St., South Triangle, Quezon City

FOR NEW STUDENTS Entrance Exam Dates: May 8, 29 and June 3 Entrance Exam Fee: Php500.00 Requirements: Transcript of Records (Certified True Copy) Passed the entrance exam Tuition aid is also available.

International G Students in Dialoguewas born and raised in a Christian family. I spent most of my time with Christians. When I became more serious with my relationship with God, I spent much time with Christian friends. It was only about eight years ago that I began to be involved with the work among people of other faiths. A missionary helped me to see that I should give more time in witnessing to people from other faiths. It was then that I began to realize how little I knew about other faiths outside of Christianity. But the most fascinating thing was yet to happen. I became more aware of my own faith in Jesus. I found out how little I really knew about Him after I made friends with non-Christians. For me, this is one of the most wonderful blessings I have received along the journey of my faith. When I came to ATS I was afraid that I may become a narrow-minded Christian. I was afraid also that I would be a dogmatist type. But I was wrong. Instead I have been much encouraged and equipped on how I can be more contextual in witnessing to others. ATS cultivates a sense of respect, appreciation and true love for people from other faithsa real human encounter. In ATS I learned a genuine friendship among the bearers of Gods image. I was taught to give true love from one who has been saved by His Savior. This was even more vivid during the Theological Forum. I was thrilled about this fundamental way of seeing other people. ATS does not narrow my mind, in fact, I have been a lot expanded. I really thank God for this. I am very excited to return to my country and serve my people with a changed paradigm, and most importantly, with a renewed spirita spirit of learning from other people and total dependence on the grace of God in every work I do. ATS is special!

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od is a God of surprise. And one of the biggest surprises that I experienced is being able to study at ATS. This is my first time to study abroad in a seminary. Three years ago, before I came here from Indonesia, I asked God to give me a chance to study in one of the best seminary in Asia. I thought it would likely be my first and last chance to study at a seminary. I am very grateful to Him because these three years have been fruitful for my academic as well as spiritual formation. One of the best things I learned is to become more open minded, humble and loving to other Christian denominations including Catholic as well as to people from other faiths.

Also I became more aware that the unity of the Bible is not without diversity. The diversity of the Bible is used by God to reveal His manifold dimensions to humankind. Keeping this in mind, we have to celebrate and affirm it instead of diminishing the diversity among us. Diversity is not something that should divide as much as unite us. The Annual Theological Forum enabled us to engage in dialogue with people from other denominations and faiths in a more generous and elegant way, not to win them for our own kingdom but for Gods only. I am convinced that it should be pursued and sustained. Finally, I would like to thank all of my professors, supporters, ATS staff and my classmates. With your support and prayers, I and my wife are able to finish our studies this March 2006. - Triawan Wicaksono N. Kho, Indonesian M.Div. in Intercultural and Urban Studies

International Students in DialogueAn alumna told me about ATS. I was very eager to study in a seminary. But when I was applying for a visa, the Philippine immigration office lost my original documents. I was so discouraged and thought of ending my desire to enroll at ATS or any seminary because I couldnt bear it anymore. But my sister-in-law encouraged me to trust in the Lord. We prayed and after one week I was informed that the immigration office in the Philippines found my documents. In a few days I got my visa and I was able to travel to the Philippines. Although the process was hard, the Lord didnt leave me alone. During that period, I learned many new things that were beneficial to my spiritual growth. God helped me to enroll here in ATS. This is my first time to leave my home and country. In Pakistan, it is very hard for girls to go to another country and study about Christian theology. This is my first semester. I learned many new things from my counseling class. I have a lot of expectations from ATS, one of which is writing good theological papers. For the first time in my life, I had a chance to attend a theological forum. I really enjoyed listening to the presentations of papers about naming the unknown God. I learned many new things from my teachers and senior students. I observed that people were very anxious to know about Muslim teachings. I was encouraged and I hope that someday, I will be able also to present my paper about Muslim teachings. - Neena Edwin, Pakistani Master of Divinity in Biblical Studies

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- Effendy Aritonang, Indonesian M.Div. in Intercultural and Urban Studies

was born in a Christian family. In 1985, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior in one of the crusades in our place. From then on, I became involved in ladies ministry among Christians and Muslims. My work is to arrange seminars, camps and fellowships among Muslim ladies and visit them in their houses. There were times when some ladies asked difficult questions about the Bible. Sometimes I am able to answer them, but, occasionally, I failed. I still remember the time when I debated with a member of the Jehovahs Witness. I tried my best to answer him from the Bible but I felt inadequate. I believe I needed to learn more about the Word of God.

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y parents were ancestor worshippers. On special days, they would offer food to our dead ancestors. They would open the gates and wait until midnight for the spirits to come and eat the food, believing that with these offerings, the spirits would protect them from harm. But the Lord has been good to me. I became a Christian at the early age of six. I grew up as a Christian without thinking about the people of other faiths. I used to disregard non-believers to the point of being arrogant towards them. The Theological Forum broadened my view about other faiths. It elevated my knowledge about other beliefs, and taught me tools on how to reach out to others. I have realized that I can learn from others especially on relating to and sharing my faith with them. At the Forum, the unity of the participating churches, theological schools, and mission organizations was very impressive. I had never witnessed this kind of united effort among Korean Christians. As a Korean, I am inclined towards the spiritual. But ATS taught me to be more holistic in my thinking and ministry. When I return to my country, I will be open to learn from others and cooperate with themwhether they belong to religious or se