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Asia Institute of Calvin Studies Report
By Rev Kim Tan - Executive Secretary
Jun 2015

Asia Institute of Calvin Studies (AICS) - Two Summary Reports:

1. Course: 2015 Gereja Presbyterian Malaysia (GPM) Trainers' Course for Elders (2 - 4 Apr 2015)

GPM Moderator Rev Dr Yeo Sim Sek invited AICS vice chairman Rev Tan Tiong Ann to Malacca to conduct the "2015 Gereja Presbyterian Malaysia (GPM) Trainers' Course for Elders". The course syllabus consisted of 7 topics:

  • Calvin's Reform of the 16th Century Geneva Church
  • Brief Introduction to the Theology of Presbyterianism
  • Presbyterian Confession of Faith and Constitution
  • Redefining Church and Worship
  • Presbyterian Polity and Organization
  • Renewal of Faith and Sacrament
  • Shepherding the Presbyterian Church and its Inspiration on the Contemporary Church
GPM selected 21 ministers to attend the course, with the pastor and leader of the Presbyterian Church Melaka who audited the course, making it a total of 23 in attendance. The various churches had a combined total of about 500 members. Amongst the participants were pastors who drove 7 hours from Terengganu, and those who took an hour's flight from Penang and Kelantan to attend the course. They came from afar for the purpose of learning and then returning to teach their own church leaders, as most of the leaders were not familiar with the Presbyterian tradition.

Participants shared that the course had widened their horizon and was enlightening. The only difficulty was to translate some of the concepts to teach them to their leaders. Therefore after this course, pastors, grouped according to regions, took responsibility to sort out and work together to compile the materials for the "Understanding Presbyterianism Course" handbook for instructors and students.

Rev Tan Tiong Ann found the participants to be reflective and excellent learners. Rev Dr Yeo found the interaction between PCS and GPM pastors to be invaluable. Both of them looked forward to more opportunities in the future for pastors to learn from one another and to have fellowship together.

2. Seminar: John Calvin's Understanding of Temporary faith - Interpretation of King Saul (12/5/15)

To help our co-workers understand Calvin from various angles, AICS invited Rev Dr Bernard Koh from the Theological College of Asia to speak on "John Calvin's Understanding of Temporary Faith - Interpretation of King Saul" for the second seminar. To facilitate the participation of elders and deacons, the course was conducted in the evening at 7:00pm at Jubilee Presbyterian Church. There were a total of 24 participants with leaders from 8 churches and students from 2 Bible Colleges.

Rev Dr Koh felt that Calvin's understanding of King Saul is a typical case study describing Calvin's interpretation of faith. Through his discourse on "Christian Doctrine", he illustrated the positive relationship between faith and salvation, thereby clarifying the helpful role played by the understanding of faith in pastoral ministry. Rev Dr Koh earnestly entreated participants to personally read "Christian Doctrine" rather than relying solely on scholars for learning.


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