ACT - Ron Choong



The KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA: BEHIND THE VEIL is now available for purchase.

Buy the book here:

About the book:
"What is the planet’s most secretive country like?

The Arabian Peninsula is the home of civilizations older than Rome and was once the shadow capital of Babylonia’s last king some 2500 years ago.

The Bible tells us that in their moments of escape and renewal, Moses of the Hebrew Bible and Saint Paul of the New Testament called Arabia home

In the Pre-Islamic Age, archaeological research has identified several important trading kingdoms at the crossroads of Africa, Asia and Europe.

The modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was established in 1932 and continues to be ruled by a single family whose founder expanded an emirate in Riyadh and conquered two other emirates to form a kingdom of desert tribes. Finally, in 2019, just before Covid hit, the KSA issued its first tourist visas.

Today, it is possible to visit this fabled land to see for yourself the diversity of land and peoples, to separate fact from fiction, and to discover the prehistoric sites where mysterious standing stones, rock-carvings and inscriptions dot this ancient subcontinent.

The KSA is a new country in an ancient land that is changing rapidly as it embraces the 21st century fueled by huge economic resources.

My journey across this crossroads of antiquity answered many questions about the connections between the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires." - Ron Choong

🎧NEW PODCAST EPISODE: A Tribute to My Teacher: Samuel H. MoffettThis episode features a tribute to one of Ron Choong's m...

🎧NEW PODCAST EPISODE: A Tribute to My Teacher: Samuel H. Moffett

This episode features a tribute to one of Ron Choong's mentors, Samuel H. Moffett of Princeton. Moffett was born inPyongyang, Korea to a missionary family. He was a pioneer in documenting the story of Christianity east of Jerusalem, in Asia. Sam passed away in 2015 at the age of 99.

This 10-minute episode captures Sam Moffett’s influence on Ron’s thought.

Listen on your favourite podcast app.




This episode features a tribute to one of Ron’s mentors, Samuel H. Moffett of Princeton. Moffett was born inPyongyang, Korea to a missionary family. He was a pioneer in documenting the story of Christianity east of Jerusalem, in Asia. Sam passed away in 2015 at the age of 99. This 10-minute episod...

Thank you for joining Ron Choong and I to reveal the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Behind the Veil book.We are finalizing the...

Thank you for joining Ron Choong and I to reveal the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Behind the Veil book.

We are finalizing the details of the book and will be announcing the sale of the book soon.

We hope that you've found today informational and would love to hear your thoughts on how it went!

Join us TODAY for a Q&A session to learn about Ron Choong's latest book: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Behind the VeilTime: 1...

Join us TODAY for a Q&A session to learn about Ron Choong's latest book: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Behind the Veil

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The Biblical accounts of Adam and Eve refer to spiritually modern humans (SMH). Theologically, Adam was called Man or human (not necessarily human being) because “he” was made in the image of God. There is no Biblical warrant for Man to be synonymous

Proud to be an MBS Old Boy

Proud to be an MBS Old Boy

RELIGIONS OF MY ANCESTORSI am a lifelong Christian. But my ancestors embraced and practiced the 3 major religions of Asi...


I am a lifelong Christian.

But my ancestors embraced and practiced the 3 major religions of Asia: Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam in all their various forms.

I am writing this post with a single finger on my phone in bed at a hotel in Thamel, Kathmandu at 5.25am.

Let me recount how my Christian family is inextricably linked to the other religions of Asian. Yes, you heard that right … Christianity is also an Asian religion (more later).

a) Malaya was firstly a land of Hindus long before the Buddha, Jesus or Muhammad was born. Archaeological evidence in Kedah Tua (Old Kedah) dates remains of habitation back to the 8th century BC with peripheral indications of Hindic presence. Hindu civilizations dot all of South East Asia from Bujang in Malaysia to Prabanam in Indonesia to Angkor in Kampuchea and many more. One line of my ancestors came from China as pirates, sailors and tradesmen (PST) to settle in Malaya, married mostly local Muslim women, and my Baba-Nyonya Hokkien mother tongue is peppered with Malay vocabulary, which I once thought were Chinese terms loaned to the Malay language ☺️.

b) Buddhism began in Nepal but expanded to cover modern Bangladesh and ruled over Bhutan and Tibet. It was a local philosophy based on the thoughts of a Hindu prince who might have embraced Jainism on his journey to the Middle Path, the seed that King Ashoka adopted and spread throughout the Indian subcontinent as Buddhism. Theravada thrived in that delightful island jewel of Lanka, which the Greeks called Taprobana. It reached the Siamese land of Ayuthia we call Thailand, via Annam and Champa, precursors to Vietnam and eventually to Malaya. Ashoka’s embrace of the dhamma, attributed to Siddharta Gautama, also went westward to Gandhara and Bactria, modern Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, before making its way to China, where most of my ancestors lived. A new branch of Buddhism emerged - Mahayana. I suspect that when the Apostle Thomas of his twin crossed the Karakoram mountains on his journey from Jerusalem to Gujarat, he would have met Buddhist monks at Taxila, near modern Islamabad. Who knows what incredible conversations they had. Hinduism and Buddhism would not have been unknown to the Palestinian Jews of Israel. Jesus himself might have been aware of the tradesmen from the East who practiced Buddhist philosophy before it became a religion. Back in China, Marco Polo’s encounter with Kublai Khaan gave us historical evidence of Persian Christianity’s deep presence in Mongolia, where Chinggis Khaan’s daughter in law was the formidable Kerait Christian, Sorkartani. All 3 of her sons became Mongolian emperors. The warring popes in Europe failed to send Kublai’s request for 100 Christian teaching monks, and Yuan dynasty China went on to solidify its Buddhist-Confucian-Daoist beliefs into its cultural identification.

c) As for Islam, their arrival via Arab traders was one of several waves among which was the arrival of Muslim-influenced Chinese to Malaya. The Mongol rulers of Cathay (northern China) remembered their illiterate ancestors who derived a new script from the Uighurs of Eastern Turkmenistan (modern Xinjiang) and Kublai called upon Muslim Persian accountants and other civil administrators to migrate to his land for work. Most of them married local Chinese women and their religions influenced each other. In time, as the Yuan fell to the Ming dynasty, Muslims were less welcome and coupled with poverty, peoples from the maritime states sailed to strange new lands to settle. In Malaya, a new hybrid culture began to take shape, influenced by Portuguese serani (Eurasians), Dutch settlers and British rulers who left their seeds on the peninsula. Into this Baba-Nyonya/Peranakan culture came American Christian missionaries who met Malay-speaking Chinese wearing Portuguese lace and hailed Queen Victoria. My own family include Ceylonese-Malay Muslims in Buddhist Sri Lanka.

****Such is the great mix of religions and cultures that my personal sense of faith has surely been enriched by such encounters. It is inconceivable to think that I have no Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim ancestors.


This realization many years ago as I embarked on Christian theological prompted me to visit the cauldron of Himalayan communities, each steeped in religious identities not my own, to better understand my ancestors’ beliefs that shaped their faiths.

Yet none of us inherit, adopt and adapt spiritual beliefs in splendid isolation.

Our geohistorical contexts shape the range of opportunities and possibilities that pave the way for our preferences - we think we make choices based on comprehensive and absolute knowledge but we don’t. We are creatures of our communities. We drink in the beliefs, practices and rituals of our families and observe those of others, but we make decisions and conversions based on incomplete knowledge.

Reading, travel and learning from others have taught me to hold on to doctrines lightly as none are eternal and every teaching has a history with moments when they did not exist, yet claim to represent the mind of God eternal.

Two insights 20 years apart gripped my heart as I continue to join the dots of the human spiritual experience.

1) My friend, the late Professor Samuel Moffett wrote in his first book that Jesus was Asian. Christianity is an Eastern religion and was not born in the Middle West but in the Middle East. My faith is not one that began in the West. The British colonial assumptions that untutored Asians should be converted to the preferred religion of the West for their own good was shattered by Moffett’s magnum opus on the history of Christianity in Asia. Born in China to Anerican missionaries who also served in Pyongyang, Sam spoke and read both Mandarin and Korean. He studied at Yale and taught at Princeton before passing on at the great age of 99. He was one of my 7 mentors.

2) On a visit to Hereford Cathedral to view the world’s oldest map, the Mappa Mundi, identified by cartographers and historians as a theological rather than a geographical map, I read about the consuming predisposition of communities to demonize and designate the ‘others’ as dangerous, unreliable and a threat to themselves. My own research shows that the great circumnavigators of the 16th to 18th centuries discovered this reality when Magellan, ElCano, Drake and Cook encountered the ‘others’ who did not comport to European Christendom’s teachings about the common integrity of humanity who did not share the spiritual spaces of Portugal, Spain, and England.

In the past weeks, my travels and observations in Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal form the basis of my continuing research into the history of beliefs, faiths and religions, as commitments to confessional convictions (CCC) lay the foundations of doctrines and dogma.

I am grateful for the thought-provoking conversations with local guides in these intensively religious lands, with Buddhist scholars here in Kathmandu and with a Christian theologian in Thimphu. As I come to the close of my spiritual expedition, my thoughts are fragmentary but fresh. I post these provisional thoughts before returning to the hustle and bustle of New Amsterdam.

The scientific quest - theology at its finest. My thanks to Pax Tan for introducing me to Kwong Wah - the best. Chendol/...

The scientific quest - theology at its finest.

My thanks to Pax Tan for introducing me to Kwong Wah - the best. Chendol/ABC Place in the Solar System.

Angels weep when they realize what they miss by being non-material. Cherubim & Seraphim ponder the tradeoffs of being non-human.

Even Singaporeans gnash their teeth to think that this Indian-import landed on the shores of Tanah Melayu first.

My thanks to scientist-theologian and fellow Princeton alumnus Melissa Chan for treating me to ABC at this not so secret hideaway at Happy Mansions.

We discussed the history of biology & medicine in relation to Christian through and West African Voudon beliefs, Francis Bacon’s quest to develop the experimental basis for knowledge and the medieval quest to regain “Adam’s Encyclopedia” - the belief that the pre-Fall Adam was created with perfect knowledge so that no illness could persist against Adam’s healing powers of botanical pharmacology. European Christendom’s scientific quest was in aid of bringing relief to the multitudes of suffering peoples. It’s philosophical basis was the assumption that a creator-God baked into nature’s creation the uniformity of regularity, the regularity of uniformity, and the universality of both. The scientific quest was therefore an expression of theology at its finest.

This is an example of spirituality at its best: where religion, rationality and hope alleviated the pain and suffering of humanity.

Only the classic desserts of the “Golden Peninsula” (named by the 2nd century Alexandrian geographer, Claudius Ptolemy) could have inspired such exchange of ideas.

Majullah Malaysia

    14 Nov 2005The Star Malaysia

14 Nov 2005
The Star Malaysia

ACADEMY FOR CHRISTIAN THOUGHT - YEAR END REPORT 2022I wish to register my grateful thanks to all our financial supporter...


I wish to register my grateful thanks to all our financial supporters who helped keep this ministry afloat under such dire circumstances for independent ministries like ACT. With no promotional budget and a mandate that can trigger deep emotional discomfort, I stand amazed this time each year when I gratefully acknowledge the faithful remnant of donors.

You all know one thing about me: I am relentless in my quest for data, knowledge and truth. I do not worry about popularity or detractors. But I am interested in what ACT Friends such as you think – your feedback, constructive criticisms and yes, your appreciation, is of great encouragement to me personally.

I wish to also thank the various volunteers in the ministry, who shall remain nameless, to protect their privacy. Some of you have stood with me for decades, while others pop in and out, and still others, such as our ministry interns, join ACT for a season of hothousing, making important contributions as ACT serves to leave a permanent legacy of information that will be around long after I am gone.

Here is a summary of ACT in 2022:

In 2022 the reopening of the Covid lockdown in several locations permitted my field research at site visits and museums to collect information. More importantly, it provided opportunities to “join the dots” of God’s revelation through scripture, religious practice, science, literature and the human engagement with God.

1. The Semenggung Orangutan Research Center, to document the behavior of the Red Ape, one of the three primates which share over 95% of their genome with modern humans.
2. The Borneo Cultures Museum in Sarawak, North Borneo, as well as the Asian Civilizations Museum of Singapore, to research the ubiquitous role of religion in every their civilizations.
3. The Mappa Mundi at Hereford Cathedral, UK.
4. Moses’ Midian, The Moses Trail, The Nabatean Civilization and the Rise of Islam in Saudi Arabia.
5. The Magellan-ElCano Circumnavigation of the World (1519-1522) and Charles Darwin’s Voyage of HMS Beagle (1831-36) in Patagonia’s Magellan Straits.

The three landmark events to celebrate are:
1. The publication of Ancient Near East in the Bible
2. The launch of the Thinking Things Through Podcast
3. The Moses Trail in Arabia webinar on Zoom, where I presented my expedition to explore the Judeo-Chrstian presence in pre-Islamic Arabia.

Will you support us? Zoom and social media allowed me to reach a wider geographical footprint. However, Covid-19 has significantly affected our funding, which constrains our ability to keep up with new opportunities. This seriously impacted our mission to produce lasting resources for future generations.

You can help. If you have been blessed by this ministry, would you consider a one-time donation or commit to a monthly contribution and be our financial partner?

Click here to donate:

In Christ’s name,
Ron Choong
Executive Director, ACT

Merry ChristmasAs this year draws to a close and we look forward to 2023, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas indeed. ...

Merry Christmas

As this year draws to a close and we look forward to 2023, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas indeed. Memories of my childhood in Malaysia flood through at this time of the year, with door-to-door carol singing, then to the Christmas Eve midnight service, candles on hand to welcome the 25th of December, and the excitement of presents by the fake tree.

Yes, these are all rituals and yes, many of these celebrations reflect cultural norms created over time and may not be historically accurate. But they all refer, however imperfectly, to a much more important reality. That God exists and is present in our lives even if we do not always sense it.

My wish for you is that you will seek and find God in various ways and detect God’s presence especially in moments when you need it most.


It was delight to see new faces among those who joined us for the Zoom Webinar on Sunday. The topic was "The Moses Trail in Arabia," where I shared my reflections on my recent expedition to explore the Christian presence in pre-Islamic Arabia.

To my surprise, I learned more about the recent archaeological evidence of Moses in Arabia, which remains largely untapped and await future discoveries. I concluded the session with my view regarding the relationship between truth claims, knowledge and belief (CKB) with reference to our faith in God.


In my travels, I have had the pleasure of celebrating Christmas in different countries, among different Christian traditions and languages. Many of them are very different from the Anglo-Saxon styles of worship that I grew up with that it reminds me that God is Lord of the Universe, of the planet Earth and of all the inhabitants rich or poor, of whatever color and creed.

Each Christian Christmas around the world reflects the local cultural associations, from the familiar Christmas trees, candles and Santa Claus to the less familiar:

Austria’s Bad Santa:
'Krampus', the evil accomplice of St Nicholas, is said to wander the streets in search of badly behaved children.

Bhutan is officially Buddhist, but Christmas is observed with shops filled with miniature Santa Clauses. I hope to visit this nation of Thunderbolt Buddhism one way to learn about the people’s view of God.

Catalonia’s Christmas Pooper and Pooping Dog:
Catalans observe two poo-based Christmas traditions. The ‘caganer’ or ‘p**per’ is a figurine of a pants-less peasant laying a cable that’s snuck into nativity scenes alongside Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The ‘cage tió or the ‘p**ping log’is a small stick with a smile on its face that lives on the dinner table in December, is ‘fed’ every day with nuts and sweets and kept warm with a blanket, then gets beaten with sticks on Christmas Eve to p**p out presents (in reality, the kids duck out to pray for pressies while relatives pop the gifts under the blanket).

Dutch Fireplace Shoes:
Children eagerly place their shoes by the fire in the days leading up to Christmas in the hope that Sinterklaas will fill them with small gifts and treats in the night. Carrots are left in the shoes for Sinterklaas' white horse named Amerigo. In the past, naughty children would receive a potato in lieu of gifts – no longer so today.

Ethiopia's Christmas Genna:
On January 7 in accordance with the Ethiopian Orthodox Calendar, mass begins with a special candelit procession, in which participants wear a thin white shawl called a Netela and process around the church three times before the service begins.

Finland’s Christmas sauna:
On Christmas Eve, it's customary to strip naked and take a long and respectful stint in the sauna, which become sacred spaces associated with long dead ancestors and home to the legendary sauna 'elf'. After the sauna session, many Finns head out to the evening celebrations - while spirits of those ancestors take their place in the bubbling water.

Iceland’s Yule Cat:
A giant cat is said to roam the snowy countryside at Christmas time. Traditionally, farmers would use the Yule Cat as an incentive for their workers - those who worked hard would receive a new set of clothes, but those who did not would be devoured by the gigantic cat-like beast.

Iraq declared Christmas an official state holiday in 2018, reflecting its ancient Christian past. That very year, I visited the oldest operating Christian monastery in the world, which began in the year 363.

Italy’s Belfana the Witch:
According to folklore, an old woman named Belfana visits all the children of Italy to fill their stockings with candy and leave them presents if they've been good. Belfana enters through the chimney and is left treats by the children who live there - typically wine and local delicacies.

Mexico’s Piñata Parties:
In Mexico, as well as many other Latinx and Hispanic countries, families celebrate Nochebuena on Christmas Eve. That includes a huge feast, singing and dancing - and often a piñata for the kids. More religious observers may attend midnight Mass.

Norway’s Flying Witches:
On Christmas Eve, mischievous spirits and witches take to the skies for mischief and general tomfoolery. Norwegian families hide away any sweeping sticks where the witches won't be able to find them to use as flying broomsticks.

South Africa’s Fried Caterpillars:
The Pine Tree Emperor Moth, or Christmas caterpillar, is fried and anyone who swallows them will get a little extra luck in the coming year.

Ukraine's Christmas spiders:
In an old folktale, a poor widow who could not afford to decorate a tree for her children. Spiders in the house took pity on the family, and spun beautiful webs all over the tree, which the children awoke to find on Christmas morning. Today, many homes feature decorations that mimic the natural formation of spider webs shimmering with dew.

I am sure you know of more interesting ways in which different cultures celebrate Christmas.

However, you celebrate Christmas, may the rituals you observe remind you of the birth of Jesus who became the Christ for all nations and all peoples, and of God the Father who is creator of the universe.


I thank my sponsors for their faithful financial support to make the research ministry of ACT possible, as we continue to build resources for the Church and for future generations. We rely on your donations to create intellectually engaging content such as the Thinking Things Through with Ron Choong podcast and as well as upcoming books.

As with many independent ministries with no endowments, ACT was hit very hard by the sudden appearance of the Covid-19

ACT books are available at

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Join Dr. Ron Choong on Dec 18 for a Zoom session for his reflections of a recent trip to the KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA)

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MOSES with RON CHOONGJoin Dr. Ron Choong for a Zoom session for his reflections of a recent trip to ...


Join Dr. Ron Choong for a Zoom session for his reflections of a recent trip to the KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA)

Dr. Ron Choong recently visited the biblical land of Midian in Saudi Arabia. This is where, according to the Bible, Moses met his wife and his father-in-law, Jethro. Local Saudi traditions in this region refer to the Springs of Moses and the cave of Elijah,Jabal Maqla (Burnt Mountain) at the al-Lawz range as the real Mount Sinai, the Golden Calf site (Aaron and Golden Calf worship), with the petroglyphs of cow worship, and to the 12 pillars of Israel's tribes.

In the Old Testament, Exodus 15:27 states that Moses led his people “... to Elim, where there were 12 springs and 70 palm trees, and they camped there near the water.”

Join us to learn more about this and more. Zoom link will be sent to your email upon registering.

Date: Dec 18, 2022
Time: 6:00pm - 6:30pm ET

Join Dr. Ron Choong on Dec 18 for a Zoom session for his reflections of a recent trip to the KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA (KSA)

Does science question your faith in God?This is the most common personal question I get, after three decades exploring a...

Does science question your faith in God?

This is the most common personal question I get, after three decades exploring and investigating the worlds of science and faith. I am too selfish to continue doing something I do not believe in. Life is short and opportunities to live it well are precious. Science has indeed strengthened my faith and purified my motives for believing in God. Philosophy and history have further humbled my assumptions about my own station in life.

In Acts 17:10-12, St. Paul famously declared the people of Berea to be of noble character because they checked the facts of the scriptures to see if Paul’s preaching were so. The received and examined before they believed the truth. This became my license to investigate my own faith – my doctrines of belief.

In my upcoming book, a personal account of my spiritual journey, I will share moments of discovery, insights and realizations - a candid account of my life in exploration and investigation of my faith. For an academic like me, this is a rare opportunity to be free from tedious footnotes and quotations. I can speak my mind in an intellectual autobiography and in some strange way, get to know myself.

I will answer such questions as:

1. Does science hinder your faith?
2. How did you come to believe what you believe about God?
3. Do I need to be an explorer-investigator with degrees in theology?
4. Do the many Church scandals not faze you?
5. Why are you still a Christian?

My scientific, legal and theological studies, each of which was shaped by history and philosophy, enhanced my spiritual convictions. Each field of inquiry strengthened the others. I traded the potential of fame and fortune for time, to study and learn. There are no shortcuts to knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. One involves collecting data, the other, analyzing them, and the third, applying knowledgeable understanding.

In the pre-internet age, my knowledge and beliefs were inherited, adopted and adapted truth claims. Why did I become a Christian? Because I grew up in a Christian household, attended Christian schools and Christian churches. My intellectual journey began as a law student in London, where ad fontes (to the source) of any claim to truth was a constant motif. Today, safe international travel and the internet have opened the world to most of us.

Three events in the 1990s prompted me to embark on a life of exploration and investigation as a model of ministry – the fall of the Soviet Union, the invention of the www. and the freedom of the skies. I became an explorer-investigator. The explorer’s boots-on-the-ground observation and the investigator’s academic study both keep the other honest.

In this infographic, I laid out 16 doctrines of the Christian faith. Each generation of Christians identify themselves and what they believed were the nonnegotiable based on doctrines that emerged, evolved and adopted over time. The book will discuss the issue of theological credibility in an age of information, when most doctrinal claims can be checked, tested and verified because of science.

Scientific discoveries are based on observation and analyses, which fuel technological innovations. Law harnesses the power of logic and language to master the manipulation of thought. These two stunning achievements of the human mind are embedded in theology, perhaps the most demanding field of inquiry when done properly, as the Queen of the Sciences according to Thomas Aquinas. It requires basic knowledge of modern and ancient languages, geography, history, literature, philosophy, economics and the natural sciences to complement the study of the Bible, a massive tome of some 800,000 words written by dozens of authors in three ancient languages.

After all that I have explored and investigated, I remain a Christian, a more confident one. Let me tell you why. Join me on my journey to discover the Fingerprints of God in nature. Stay tuned for the book release.

In Christ’s name,
Ron Choong

Reflection on Chapter 10 of WOB by Isabel Gonzalez, ACT Summer 2022 InternThe final chapter of World’s Oldest Bible depi...

Reflection on Chapter 10 of WOB by Isabel Gonzalez, ACT Summer 2022 Intern

The final chapter of World’s Oldest Bible depicts divine revelation as part of cyclical process where understanding is “retold, reinterpreted, and rewritten” based on new knowledge that’s discovered (97). This concept suggests that God is revealed through the “media” of a specific era, context, and geohisory. These factors shape the interpretations that arise and are validated by particular communities.

In response to the notion that evolving revelation is untrustworthy, Dr. Choong argues that “none of these rewritings or retellings diminish God’s message if we know how to distinguish them from the media (vocabulary) used” (122). As Dr. Choong suggests, it is through our human lens that we encounter God. This lens comes with biases that color our perception and understanding of truth. Rather than pretend like any human being can access all of God’s revelation, it is better to accept our limitedness and approach divine discovery with humility.

In this work, Dr. Choong elevates science, history, mathematics as reliable sources of divine revelation. This can be challenging for those who understand these disciplines as opponents to theology. Personally, it was refreshing and enlightening for me to engage a paradigm that held both science and theology as sources of divine understanding. I am reminded of God’s role as creator and how that is expounded on through science.

As Dr. Choong writes “the sciences influence what we understand of the Bible and believe about God today” (121). Perhaps you read that sentence and wonder: How? What does science have to do with faith? Considering how both disciplines attempt to discover what is predominantly unseen to the naked eye, I would argue that both science and theology require faith. In this regard, one can relate to the humanity behind both scientific and theological discovery. Each discipline is reflective of humanity's curious desire to comprehend the incomprehensible. It is ultimately through these attempts that we can catch a glimpse of God’s truth and revelation to us all.



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Which came first, the Church or the Bible?

Did you know that the Christian Bible is shaped by the contributions from 7 civilizations expressed in 3 distinct ancient languages? Considered the most widely-read book in the world, you might wonder which came first, the Book of the People, or the People of the Book?

Have you ever wanted to read a summary of the Bible without having to read a book? I have posted two short articles at Medium. Click on these links to read more.

A Bird's Eye View of the Bible:

The Bible of Christianity & Christianity of the Bible:

These two articles are drawn from my earlier books called The Bible You Thought You Knew (3 volumes) that formed a series of earlier workshops called Project Timothy. I plan to update the books in the near future.

My articles provide the foundational framework to understand the relationship between Christianity and the Bible:

1. The Bible is a collection of texts written by multiple writers in different places and ages, using different vocabularies.
2. Christianity inherited, adopted and adapted earlier religious practices and beliefs of the Ancient Near East.
3. Belief in the God of Israel was also transformed by the geohistory of economics and politics from Mesopotamia (Abraham) to Egypt (Moses) to Israel (David) to Rome (Constantine) over the span of more than 2000 years.

Read the articles on Medium to discover whether the church formed the Bible or vice-versa. The importance of this determines how we use the Bible as our witness to God rather than God as witness to the Bible.

In Christ’s name,
Ron Choong
Ancient Near East in the Bible: Treasures from the MET Museum by Dr. Ron Choong
REFLECTIONS by the cover artist of Ancient Near East in the Bible - Treasures from The Met Museum book

When I was asked to design the cover of the Ancient Near East in the Bible book, I looked for inspiration from the Ancient Near East itself and decided to include three significant elements that represented the geohistory of this region, i.e. writing, religion, and colours. Each signifies the socio-cultural relationship of the people.

An incantation bowl, also known as a demon bowl, devil-trap bowl, or magic bowl, is a form of early protective magic found in the Ancient Near East. Most are inscribed in Jewish Babylonian Aramaic. The bowls were buried face down and were meant to capture demons. They were commonly placed under the threshold, courtyards, in the corner of the homes of the recently deceased and in cemeteries. Aramaic incantation bowls from Sasanian Mesopotamia are an important source for studying the everyday beliefs of Jews, Christians, Mandaeans, Manichaeans, Zoroastrians and pagans on the eve of the early Muslim conquests.

Literacy is one of the most defining characteristics of the Mesopotamian civilization. Writing had been invented to serve the bureaucratic needs of the time. From the 3rd millennium BCE, cuneiform was widely used outside of Mesopotamia where it was employed for the Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian languages. A unique system of cuneiform that combined the Canaanite (Phoenician) alphabet with the Mesopotamian system of writing with a stylus on clay, transcribing the consonantal alphabet by means of cuneiform writing. This script was used for religious, literary and administrative texts. The scribes and writers during biblical times would have used some form of cuneiform script in their writings.

Also known as Phoenician red, Phoenician purple, royal purple, imperial purple, or imperial dye,Tyrian purple is a reddish-purple natural dye; the name Tyrian refers to Tyre, Lebanon. This dye is a secretion produced by several species of predatory sea snails in the family Muricidae, rock snails originally known by the name 'Murex'. In ancient times, extracting this dye involved tens of thousands of snails and substantial labor, and as a result, the dye was highly valued. This colour was chosen to represent the Phoenicians who are Semitic-speaking people. They lived in the cities of Byblos, Sidon and Tyre. Their prized natural resources were the cedars of Lebanon and murex shells. Production of Tyrian purple for use as a fabric dye was started by the Phoenicians and was continued by the Greeks and Romans. The pigment was expensive and complex to produce, and items coloured with it became associated with power and wealth. It has been suggested that the name Phoenicia itself means ‘land of purple’.

The ANE book is more than a photobook of the biblical artifacts from The Met. The author, Dr. Ron Choong skillfully explained the history and significance of wider Ancient Near East culture and how the museum’s artifacts relate to the Bible. The charts, maps, infographics and the author’s personal photos taken in this region illustrate and explain the geohistory of the ANE in the book.
- Christine Leong

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ACT books are now available on Amazon (US, Canada, UK and Australia) and Barnes & Noble (US) along with Lulu (Global).

World's Oldest Bible: Science and the Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls
This is a great time to get a copy of this book because we are launching a series of podcasts to guide you through the book.

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Ancient Near East in the Bible: Treasures from the Met Museum
This coffee table volume (8.5" x 11") is an addition to my current research on biblical archaeology. Stay tuned for our launch party!

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This book serves as a virtual guide to the rich items on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Ancient Near East Gallery that relates to the Bible. I have carefully curated items to show how much the Christian faith is connected geohistorically to the Cradle of Civilization. Although Christianity is often seen as a European religion that began 2000 years ago, it in fact began as a Jewish religion in the Roman province of Palestine. St. Paul drew on his pedigree as a Roman citizen trained in the art of rhetoric to argue his points, leveraging Hellenistic philosophy and logic. This was because before General Pompey conquered the region in 63 BCE, Palestine was ruled by the Hellenistic Seleucid dynasty who succeeded Alexander of Macedon. Prior to this, the region was ruled by the Achaemenid Persians who liberated them from Babylonian rule, which itself replaced the Assyrians who conquered the region from as far back as the 8th century BCE.

With this book, anyone living anywhere in the world can appreciate the artifacts of the museum in living color without making the trip to New York City. The charts, maps, photographs and comments, alongside four introductory chapters describing the history of museums, illustrate and explain the geohistory of the Ancient Near East, the beliefs and gods of the Canaanites, and the remarkable impact of the Ugaritic Library upon modern interpretations of the Bible. Full-color plates of illustrations and photographs are included to enhance the reading experience.

As this is first and foremost, a biblical guide, every artifact will be introduced within a biblical context. It is also related to the wider Ancient Near Eastern culture, which includes Canaanite and Israelite religious thought. Finally, this book reflects the 30-year ministry of the author. His method of investigating his inherited beliefs with candor, transparency, spiritual conviction and intellectual integrity includes research, teaching and publishing for non-technical reader. His unique interdisciplinary, boots-on-the-ground method of investigation includes comparative religion approach that delves into the history of each doctrinal belief, how it evolved under economic, political and scientific pressures, as well as its reception through the ages.
If you could ask God just one question ...

This reminds me of a time when I asked my students "If you could ask God one question, what would it be?" at a seminar on "Funding the Fingerprints of God in Nature."

The students were missionaries, pastors and ministers from Nigeria, Togo, Uganda, South Korea, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Pakistan on furlough at the Overseas Ministries Study Center (OMSC). Almost every question to God concerned the nature of knowledge. They wanted be sure that their interpretations of the Bible were correct, since every Christian denomination revised their views over time.
Here are some of their questions.

1) How can I reconcile paleontology with the biblical teaching regarding the origin of Man.
2) Will those who haven’t heard about Jesus go to hell?
3) Will those who commit su***de due to the mental illness go to hell?
4) Why did you allow Satan in the universe?
5) Did you plan you save humans before or after the creation of the earth?
6) How did you become God?
7) Do you permit worship in other religions?
8) Where is the Garden of Eden?
9) When in the Bible did dinosaurs exist? My son asks me and I don’t know the answer.
10) Was it your plan that I marry my husband?

Do you share any of their concerns? Most are related to issues of faith and science, except for the woman’s question about her husband.

One of these missionaries serving in a deeply Buddhist nation commented, “Your teaching is very interesting. I have never heard of this kind of lecture in my Seminary. All Seminaries must have this lecture, then we can approach people in the world to share the Gospel with more confidence.”

Although it appears that science and faith are incompatible, in reality, our questions to God are often raised by our increasing scientific knowledge. Science can be harnessed to strengthen our faith by providing more clarity and certainty about our stated beliefs.

This Summer, at Cambridge, I will be researching into medieval beliefs as well as the assumptions and implications of world-views, which led to the emergence of experimental science - the science we use today in everyday life. Knowing how Christian beliefs evolved from AD 500-1500, we can trace the evolution of current beliefs about who God is and how we might respond in worship.

- Ron Choong