Academy for Christian Thought - ACT

Academy for Christian Thought - ACT THINKING THINGS THROUGH...IN A THEOLOGICAL SAFE SPACE ACT is a non-profit organization based in New York City. We provide a climate of inquiry within a sanctuary of doubt that we call a theological safe-space (TSS) for people of good will to encounter the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

1.
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Invite Christians to consider the reasons for and the implications of their belief and skeptics to consider what their reasonable objections are.

2. Address the challenges of the sciences and the religious pluralism. What is the role of the sciences in making sense of reality? What is Christianity's relationship to other religions and what can we learn from the wisdom of other faith traditions a

Invite Christians to consider the reasons for and the implications of their belief and skeptics to consider what their reasonable objections are.

2. Address the challenges of the sciences and the religious pluralism. What is the role of the sciences in making sense of reality? What is Christianity's relationship to other religions and what can we learn from the wisdom of other faith traditions a

Operating as usual

Recommendation for Ron Choong's "World's Oldest Bible - Science and the Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls" bookI highly ...
08/01/2021

Recommendation for Ron Choong's "World's Oldest Bible - Science and the Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls" book

I highly recommend Ron Choong's "World's Oldest Bible" quite simply, because it comes from Ron Choong. This is not just because we are friends even though we are. I have inhabited the world of academic theology for more than twenty-five years and Ron Choong stands out as an anomaly.

Let me explain.

Ron Choong is a Christian theologian of a particular variety. To use John Cobb's definition of theology, it is "Christian reflection on anything important."

This implies three things.

First, this becomes a Christian imperative to understand all of God's world. We cannot optimally help bring redemption unless we first understand the world that God has created and loves. This naturally assumes that there is no subject that can avoid or escape proper investigation.

Second, it must by definition be interdisciplinary. Truth is not limited to one discipline. Ron is Hegelian in a sense of understanding truth as the "whole" with each discipline, connected to others, mutually giving clarity to the whole and each interconnected discipline. Only in light of the whole does the significance of each discipline make fuller sense.

Third, it is constructive and open-ended. As new information arises, inherited traditions and interpretations are reevaluated and revised. Even then, new interpretations are held tentatively and open to correction. Clearly, this is not for the faint of heart or for those endowed with lesser cognitive firepower.

Ron's interdisciplinary range and scope of his investigations are staggering. It is easy to dismiss Ron as a dabbler but his academic bona fides in the Ivy Leagues dispel that designation. Having nailed down an impressive theological resumé, unlike amateur sleuths, Ron immerses himself in different disciplines and takes the trouble to cozy alongside the pioneers and authorities of those areas (along with travels to some frightful places) to gain access to as close to primary sources as possible.

What then stands out is Ron's uncanny ability to connect the different dots in ways that are endlessly illuminating, perpetually paradigm-shifting and disarmingly charming.

What is less obvious but no less significant is that Ron does this as a personal quest.

I cannot overemphasize this. He has pursued truths in ways that have been detrimental to his own income and survival.

Most professional academics (and pastors) practice survival by not crossing certain ideological lines in order to protect their financial support and income. Ron has blazed past these lines numerous times and has paid a costly price because of the integrity of his personal quest for truth.

All of that to say that Ron is clearly a random genetic mutation in a world of intellectuals and a gift to those genuinely searching for verifiable truth and sapientia (wisdom).

Back to World's Oldest Bible. I can say one thing - there is no other book out there that simplifies the complex world of Bibliology (the science and history of how the Bible came together) and the place of the Dead Sea Scroll (DSS) in that discipline the way the World's Oldest Bible does. The fascinating history of how the DSS finally saw the light of day and the scientific contributions stand out. I highly recommend this book and the upcoming one on Mesopotamia, Science and the Bible.

Dr. Andre Ong
Professor of Theology and Ethics (Bethel University, MN)
Board Chair, Pacific Theological Seminary (San Diego, CA)

Link to buy: https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/actlulu

Recommendation for Ron Choong's "World's Oldest Bible - Science and the Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls" book

I highly recommend Ron Choong's "World's Oldest Bible" quite simply, because it comes from Ron Choong. This is not just because we are friends even though we are. I have inhabited the world of academic theology for more than twenty-five years and Ron Choong stands out as an anomaly.

Let me explain.

Ron Choong is a Christian theologian of a particular variety. To use John Cobb's definition of theology, it is "Christian reflection on anything important."

This implies three things.

First, this becomes a Christian imperative to understand all of God's world. We cannot optimally help bring redemption unless we first understand the world that God has created and loves. This naturally assumes that there is no subject that can avoid or escape proper investigation.

Second, it must by definition be interdisciplinary. Truth is not limited to one discipline. Ron is Hegelian in a sense of understanding truth as the "whole" with each discipline, connected to others, mutually giving clarity to the whole and each interconnected discipline. Only in light of the whole does the significance of each discipline make fuller sense.

Third, it is constructive and open-ended. As new information arises, inherited traditions and interpretations are reevaluated and revised. Even then, new interpretations are held tentatively and open to correction. Clearly, this is not for the faint of heart or for those endowed with lesser cognitive firepower.

Ron's interdisciplinary range and scope of his investigations are staggering. It is easy to dismiss Ron as a dabbler but his academic bona fides in the Ivy Leagues dispel that designation. Having nailed down an impressive theological resumé, unlike amateur sleuths, Ron immerses himself in different disciplines and takes the trouble to cozy alongside the pioneers and authorities of those areas (along with travels to some frightful places) to gain access to as close to primary sources as possible.

What then stands out is Ron's uncanny ability to connect the different dots in ways that are endlessly illuminating, perpetually paradigm-shifting and disarmingly charming.

What is less obvious but no less significant is that Ron does this as a personal quest.

I cannot overemphasize this. He has pursued truths in ways that have been detrimental to his own income and survival.

Most professional academics (and pastors) practice survival by not crossing certain ideological lines in order to protect their financial support and income. Ron has blazed past these lines numerous times and has paid a costly price because of the integrity of his personal quest for truth.

All of that to say that Ron is clearly a random genetic mutation in a world of intellectuals and a gift to those genuinely searching for verifiable truth and sapientia (wisdom).

Back to World's Oldest Bible. I can say one thing - there is no other book out there that simplifies the complex world of Bibliology (the science and history of how the Bible came together) and the place of the Dead Sea Scroll (DSS) in that discipline the way the World's Oldest Bible does. The fascinating history of how the DSS finally saw the light of day and the scientific contributions stand out. I highly recommend this book and the upcoming one on Mesopotamia, Science and the Bible.

Dr. Andre Ong
Professor of Theology and Ethics (Bethel University, MN)
Board Chair, Pacific Theological Seminary (San Diego, CA)

Link to buy: https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/actlulu

Hi, I'm Christine Leong, the Director of Design Experience and creator of the cover art and infographics of ACT's upcomi...
07/25/2021

Hi, I'm Christine Leong, the Director of Design Experience and creator of the cover art and infographics of ACT's upcoming book.

We had just finalized the cover for the next book. Here are some notes on the design inspiration behind the cover:

- The book was inspired by the Ancient Near East (Mesopotamia) artifacts with direct relevance to Bible at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
- The colours selected are the same Pantone # as The Met. We wanted to convey a modern look and feel towards history, archaeology and science.
- We chose to use a sans serif font instead of serif to be consistent with the modern feel.
- An incantation bowl with Aramaic inscription around a demon (Southern Mesopotamia, circa 6-7 century CE) is included to give a glimpse of religious practice used during that era by YHWH worshippers to bless or curse with the power of written words.

Hope you're as excited as we are! Stay tuned for the book release!

Hi, I'm Christine Leong, the Director of Design Experience and creator of the cover art and infographics of ACT's upcoming book.

We had just finalized the cover for the next book. Here are some notes on the design inspiration behind the cover:

- The book was inspired by the Ancient Near East (Mesopotamia) artifacts with direct relevance to Bible at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
- The colours selected are the same Pantone # as The Met. We wanted to convey a modern look and feel towards history, archaeology and science.
- We chose to use a sans serif font instead of serif to be consistent with the modern feel.
- An incantation bowl with Aramaic inscription around a demon (Southern Mesopotamia, circa 6-7 century CE) is included to give a glimpse of religious practice used during that era by YHWH worshippers to bless or curse with the power of written words.

Hope you're as excited as we are! Stay tuned for the book release!

The Burgess Lectureship at Luther Seminary, 2018.Three years ago, Dr Ron Choong was named the 2018 lecturer for this ann...
07/21/2021
Ron Choong, 2018 Burgess Lecture

The Burgess Lectureship at Luther Seminary, 2018.

Three years ago, Dr Ron Choong was named the 2018 lecturer for this annual lecture at Luther Senivary in Minneapolis, MN. In attendance were four bishops of the denomination and faculty of the seminary along with participants for this annual gathering.

He spoke on “Religious Encounters along Chinese and Indian Silk Roads: Reflections on the Spiritual and Inter-Religious Issues in Christian Missions" at the Andrew S. Burgess Lecture in Global Mission in 2018.

“One of the most formative contexts for the emergence of Christian apologetics was the Old Silk Road between Venice and X’ian via Central Asia, a route that dates from Roman times to the 17th century. Here, traders from Christian, Buddhist, and Islamic backgrounds encountered each other and exchanged ideas, which resulted in the development of new theological and cultural paradigms.

In this engaging lecture, Choong will bring together his interdisciplinary approach to apologetics using the Old Silk Road as a springboard for putting history, cognitive neuroscience, human origins, inter-religious engagement, and theology in conversation with one another. He added bits of reflections on the implications of AI and robotics for the doctrinal interpretation of humans being human.

The result will be insights into Choong’s spiritual quest for God’s presence in the world by detecting the fingerprints of God in the beauty and abundance of created nature.”

The Burgess Lecture is made possible by a fund established in honor of the life and work of Andrew S. Burgess, former missionary, missionary executive and professor of missions at Luther Seminary.

Source: https://www.luthersem.edu/news/2018/01/12/hear-ron-choong-at-the-andrew-s-burgess-lecture-in-global-mission/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOUe-rpGgNg

"Religious Encounters Along Chinese and Silk Roads -- Reflections on the Spiritual and Inter-Religious Issues in Christian Missions," by Dr. Ron Choong, Ph.D...

BOOK REVIEW by Yen Yee Chong (UK)This is a short book, but a heavyweight paperback in all forms. Reading it, there was n...
07/19/2021

BOOK REVIEW by Yen Yee Chong (UK)

This is a short book, but a heavyweight paperback in all forms. Reading it, there was never going to be anything lightweight about the status of the Christian Bible after the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS). The validity of the Bible and what it means to modern religious worship has been stuck for centuries. Sure, Martin Luther and the Protestant-Catholic schism certainly shook things up in Vatican City, But, discovery of what is considered the world’s oldest written form of the Bible in a Qumran cave in 1947 has long-reaching implications.

Science has changed and improved considerably in the past century. Carbon-14 dating in particular has filtered out forever the fakes and detritus that masquerade as ancient scripts and statues sold to museums and collectors. But, DSS challenges the way we view the Christian Bible and how we worship God. All old documents and scriptures are interpreted and re-interpreted: time - history, self-interests and politics ensure that the Dead Sea Scrolls will be consequently read and relabelled according to one's beliefs. Believing in God is not essential to read this book, although many of us initially inherit a Christian-type education in school. Modern scientific scholars like Ron Choong can believe in God - but also seek more objective and science-based knowledge to back up his view of the world. While modern Earth Creationists believe and promote their religious fiat of the world created by God c. 6,700 years ago, Choong is more wedded to the truth as espoused by Newton, Charles Darwin and Einstein. While you don't need to be a globe-trotting archaelogist like Choong, a scientific background helps. Understanding palaentology, Biblical history in the Holy Land; atoms / bacteria / viruses in biology; sub-atomic particles in quantum physics - all help us to read the book. Added on top an examination of other religions such as Muslim and Buddhist beliefs, and wider linguistic knowledge about old and current languages and how they evolved and translated others - it's all grist to the mill for Choong.

Creating new life from sub-atomic particles and from resequencing DNA are briefly analysed in this book; while COVID-19 and Higg's boson are also brief dramatis personae (Latin). So, while this book is not a technology geek's sthick, you do need some form of scientific foundation to unlock some of the wealth in the text. Because archaeological excavations unearth much data in old and obscure Aramaic (Jesus' language), then you also need to understand the evolution of modern verbal and written communication. The Bible was continually re-interpreted and reformed by many authors and scholars through millennia.

After unearthing the DSS, these show that scriptures and religious recording were imprecise skills of how scholars saw "the Truth". The biblical scholars ( or "oligos" - the few as my Classics teacher expounded to me) continually claim to write the best version of God’s messages to mere humans. But as Choong elucidates, we need to distinguish the historical/ political/ ethnic self-interests that guided their interpretation of the Bible’s message. In the world of instant Internet-based media, Choong propounds that we must not accept what is offered on a plate to us as God's gospel, but we must ask the right questions along the way. It is this scientific rationalization process that Choong wishes to pursue with alacrity and integrity. So, wish him well on this journey and read his book.

Author: Ron Choong; Artwork by: Christine Leong
Link to buy:https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/actlulu

BOOK REVIEW by Yen Yee Chong (UK)

This is a short book, but a heavyweight paperback in all forms. Reading it, there was never going to be anything lightweight about the status of the Christian Bible after the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS). The validity of the Bible and what it means to modern religious worship has been stuck for centuries. Sure, Martin Luther and the Protestant-Catholic schism certainly shook things up in Vatican City, But, discovery of what is considered the world’s oldest written form of the Bible in a Qumran cave in 1947 has long-reaching implications.

Science has changed and improved considerably in the past century. Carbon-14 dating in particular has filtered out forever the fakes and detritus that masquerade as ancient scripts and statues sold to museums and collectors. But, DSS challenges the way we view the Christian Bible and how we worship God. All old documents and scriptures are interpreted and re-interpreted: time - history, self-interests and politics ensure that the Dead Sea Scrolls will be consequently read and relabelled according to one's beliefs. Believing in God is not essential to read this book, although many of us initially inherit a Christian-type education in school. Modern scientific scholars like Ron Choong can believe in God - but also seek more objective and science-based knowledge to back up his view of the world. While modern Earth Creationists believe and promote their religious fiat of the world created by God c. 6,700 years ago, Choong is more wedded to the truth as espoused by Newton, Charles Darwin and Einstein. While you don't need to be a globe-trotting archaelogist like Choong, a scientific background helps. Understanding palaentology, Biblical history in the Holy Land; atoms / bacteria / viruses in biology; sub-atomic particles in quantum physics - all help us to read the book. Added on top an examination of other religions such as Muslim and Buddhist beliefs, and wider linguistic knowledge about old and current languages and how they evolved and translated others - it's all grist to the mill for Choong.

Creating new life from sub-atomic particles and from resequencing DNA are briefly analysed in this book; while COVID-19 and Higg's boson are also brief dramatis personae (Latin). So, while this book is not a technology geek's sthick, you do need some form of scientific foundation to unlock some of the wealth in the text. Because archaeological excavations unearth much data in old and obscure Aramaic (Jesus' language), then you also need to understand the evolution of modern verbal and written communication. The Bible was continually re-interpreted and reformed by many authors and scholars through millennia.

After unearthing the DSS, these show that scriptures and religious recording were imprecise skills of how scholars saw "the Truth". The biblical scholars ( or "oligos" - the few as my Classics teacher expounded to me) continually claim to write the best version of God’s messages to mere humans. But as Choong elucidates, we need to distinguish the historical/ political/ ethnic self-interests that guided their interpretation of the Bible’s message. In the world of instant Internet-based media, Choong propounds that we must not accept what is offered on a plate to us as God's gospel, but we must ask the right questions along the way. It is this scientific rationalization process that Choong wishes to pursue with alacrity and integrity. So, wish him well on this journey and read his book.

Author: Ron Choong; Artwork by: Christine Leong
Link to buy:https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/actlulu

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