ACT - Ron Choong


Operating as usual

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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In the Footsteps of Moses with Ron Choong
In the Footsteps of Moses with Ron Choong

In the Footsteps of Moses with Ron Choong

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 ...
In the Footsteps of Moses with Ron Choong


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.


Reflection on Chapter 9 by Isabel Gonzalez Stories are central to articulating the human experience. Stories can be used...

Reflection on Chapter 9 by Isabel Gonzalez

Stories are central to articulating the human experience. Stories can be used to entertain, to instruct, to recount, etc. As children, many of us were introduced to the world through story. Stories help us identify the communities we come from. They shape our sense of self and perception of the world. The beauty of story is that, while they can follow a particular narrative, they ultimately evolve based on the unique experiences and beliefs of the listener. The Bible is no different. For scripture also encapsulates stories that have been passed down through generations and evolved over time.

Dr. Choong touches on this concept in Chapter 9 “Science and the Dead Sea Scrolls: From Stories to Scriptures.” In this chapter, he explains how Oral traditions evolved into “sacred speech” that grounded the biblical canons present in Christianity today. As he notes, spiritual authority and communal validation were central to determining which stories became sacred texts. The process of biblical canonization and scriptural authority speaks to the relational nature of Christian development. It dismantles the notion that Scriptural formation and belief are void of human involvement. As Dr. Choong explains, the “Bible began as testimonials used in worship” (81). Stories are essential to the establishment of Christianity and religion in general because it is the primary way that human beings relate to one another. It is instinctual to trust the words of a storyteller. Therefore, it is through this means that Christianity grew at the rate that it did.

And yet, it is impossible to engage a story without interpreting it. This is where the “Biology of Belief” comes into play. As Dr. Choong writes “the biological brain is the filter by which we interpret the stimuli on our senses” (89). These senses are engaged through diverse religious practices and rituals. It is through humanities biological, cultural, and geohistorical experiences that hermeneutics take shape and evolve. With this in mind, Dr. Choong explains how the Dead Sea Scrolls provide evidence to the historical evolution of Judaism to the Jesus Movement to Christianity. Ultimately, it is when we acknowledge the factors that influence Christian faith that we can engage and interpret it more responsibly.


Reflection by Isabel Gonzalez, ACT Summer 2022 InternIn chapter 8 of the World's Oldest Bible book - “IMPLICATIONS: For ...

Reflection by Isabel Gonzalez, ACT Summer 2022 Intern

In chapter 8 of the World's Oldest Bible book - “IMPLICATIONS: For Christianity and the Bible,” Dr. Choong describes how crucial the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) are to understanding how Israelites lived under Hellenistic, Hasmonean, and Roman rule. Unlike rabbinic literature, that was written approximately 200 after Jesus, the DSS provide scriptural resources that illustrate what the geohistorical era of Christ looked like. With this information, scholars can evaluate what biblical translations are closest to those that existed during the time of Jesus. They can also distinguish how doctrines reflect the geohistorical background of biblical authors. With this in mind, Dr. Choong writes that “doctrines are not part of God’s message but are part of the media by which God’s message is conveyed to us”.

This claim leads me to the ask: If doctrines are the medium by which people encounter God’s message, how are we to know what God’s message is apart from them? Is separating doctrine from God’s message the goal? Or only part of a strenuous epistemological process?...

One thing that Dr. Choong emphasizes throughout his work is that pursuing divine revelation can never be done with a posture of arrogance. Rather, it is only through intellectual humility that one can hope to attain some level of truth. This reality is challenging for anyone who bases their sense of identity and morality on faith. So while God’s message is larger than human doctrine, it is only through these attempts that God is encountered.

The Bible we have today has passed through generations of human beings who perceived God through a particular geohistorical lens. While some may view this diversity as a discredit to the work we have now, it can actually be understood as a strength. It speaks to the way God meets everyone in their particular context and location. May this truth invite to perceive God’s revelation in both yourself and those around you.

Reflection by Isabel Gonzalez, ACT Summer 2022 InternIn “Chapter 6 of the World's Oldest Bible -  TEXTS: Economics, Poli...

Reflection by Isabel Gonzalez, ACT Summer 2022 Intern

In “Chapter 6 of the World's Oldest Bible - TEXTS: Economics, Politics, Interpretation and Authority” Dr. Choong explains the political and economic factors that led to the first organized writings of the Old and New Testaments. As he observes, these factors played an important role important roles in the “religious authorization of the Bible.” This ultimately led to the concept of biblical inerrancy that was fully developed by the 16th century and continues in many Christian churches today.

Growing up in a church context that affirmed biblical inerrancy, it was very challenging for me to engage scholarship that challenged this perspective at first. I couldn’t help but wonder what source of authority I would base my understanding of God if not scripture alone. It was both helpful and difficult to learn that “none of Jesus’ followers, including his apostles had the NT, just as neither Abraham nor Moses had the OT”. This reality urges me to reconsider where true spiritual authority and revelation stem from. Rather than relate to scripture in a way that assumes immediate understanding of divine truth, I am inspired to pursue revelation with intellectual humility and openness; allowing myself to perceive divine truth from both scripture and the world around me.

🎙A new episode of "Thinking Things Through with Ron Choong" podcast is now available.Authors' Spotlight - Ancient Near E...

🎙A new episode of "Thinking Things Through with Ron Choong" podcast is now available.

Authors' Spotlight - Ancient Near East in the Bible: Treasure from The Metropolitan Museum

The Bible is often seen as a Jewish book from Israel. In fact, its origins have as much to do with the Ancient Near East. The Bible would not exist without the emergence of writing, a signal achievement of the Babylonians.

In this episode, Ron introduces his latest book, Ancient Near East in the Bible: Treasures from the Metropolitan Museum with Danny Lee and Christine Leong. In the book, he connects the dots to show the significance of ancient religious beliefs through biblically relevant artifacts from the Met Museum.

Listen to the conversation.

- The book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and
- The podcast is also available on Google Podcast now.

Christine Leong
Director of Experience Design, ACT





New York, NY


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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

Get your copy here:
Amazon -
Barnes & Noble -
Lulu (use WELCOME15 for 15% discount) -

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.

Barnes & Noble:
Lulu (use WELCOME15 for 15% discount):

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!

Barnes & Noble:
Lulu (use WELCOME15 for 15% discount):

Info about the ANE book:

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

Other Museums in New York (show all)

Suzanne Randolph Fine Arts The American lgbtq+ Museum Drawing Center American Numismatic Society Museum of Chinese in the Americas Museum of Chinese in America Pulitzer Building Park Theater, Manhattan Park Theatre (Manhattan, New York) The International Freedom Center Children's Museum of the Arts Museum at Eldridge Street New Museum of Contemporary Art Sperone Westwater Tenement Building at 97 Orchard Street