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Engaging Society: The Christian in Tomorrow’s Singapore

Editor: Michael Nai-Chiu Poon

Pages: xii+165

Publication Year: 2013

ISBN 13: 978-981-07-6343-5



This collection of essays by eleven social scientists, theologians and pastors aims to help Christians think about their public witness and social responsibility in Singapore.  The book is written amid huge anxiety on priorities and direction, as the intense public discussion on the 2013 Population White Paper “A Sustainable Population for a Dynamic Singapore” highlights. Two central and complementary questions stand out amid the various pressing issues: How can Singapore ensure continuing success and survival in a globalising and intensely competitive setting? And for Christians, what particular insight can they contribute toward public discussion on Singapore’s future?

From the Foreword
The volume intends to nudge Christians to think about their social responsibility in a changing world. . . . If this volume stimulates some thinking, and better yet, positive engagement on the part of the faithful with Singapore society and community, then it would have done its part in making Singapore a better place: a more liveable city and a more humane society. -- Lily Kong, Professor, National University of Singapore

From the Preface 
What will the future be like and how will it impact the Christian is a pressing question that calls for deep reflection. . . . Can our Christian outlook stand up to the threats of modern secular culture? These are some of the deeper questions we must face now so that we can better prepare our future generations. . . . I hope this book will spark off a series of serious Christian reflection on more specific issues facing the Church of the future.  -- Tan Gee Paw, Chair, Public Utilities Board, Singapore

Cover illustration
The red and white colours embody Singapore’s values: universal brotherhood and equality of man; pervading and everlasting purity and virtue. The lyrics express the Church’s mission of love and service: “O Lord, that they may live” (John 10:10). They are from the episcopal anthem composed by Archbishop William Goh and Sir Dr Peter Low on the archbishop’s episcopal ordination on 22 February 2013, and are reproduced by permission.


Foreword: Lily Kong


Preface: Tan Gee Paw

Introduction  Engaging Society: The Christian in Tomorrow’s Singapore – Michael Poon

Part I: Singapore connecting – Global, national and communal
Chapter 1 Cultural Icons, Global City and National Identity – Lily Kong
Chapter 2 Migration and ‘Divercities’: Challenges and Possibilities in Global-City Singapore – Brenda S. A. Yeoh and Theodora Lam

Part II: Resourcing the Christian mind
Chapter 3 Catholic Social Teaching: Abiding Yet Progressive – Kenson Koh
Chapter 4 Narcissistic Spirituality and Its Impact on Christian Public Engagement – Mark Chan
Chapter 5 The Church in Singapore and the Judgement of God – Leow Theng Huat

Part III: Engaging society
Chapter 6 Middle Axioms and Social Engagement in a Plural Society – Daniel Koh
Chapter 7 Christian Witness in the Public Square: Retrospection and Prospection – Roland Chia

Next steps
Chapter 8 Our Pledge: Let Hope and Charity Flourish in this Land – Ngoei Foong Nghian
Afterword: "That they may live" – Michael Poon
Appendix  For Further Reading


This book is remarkable – it shows vital and meaningful ways in which Christians can serve Christ by helping to build a nation that is not only prepared for tomorrow but outlasts tomorrow because of its sound and enduring values. This book fleshes out the call. I highly commend it!  -- Rennis Ponniah, Bishop, Diocese of Singapore

Two thumbs up for this book. It is relevant, thought-provoking and challenges us to think about our roles and responsibilities to our nation.  --Terry Kee, Bishop, Lutheran Church in Singapore

This publication is long overdue. Christians in Singapore have long been actively engaging various communities through practical deeds. Moving forward, we need to explore holistically our contribution to the larger society. This book is a pull in the right direction.  -- Wee Boon Hup, Bishop, The Methodist Church in Singapore

Like Jesus, who came that people might have life and have it to the full, the Church needs to connect with people and be a blessing to them. The authors of this book encourage us to do just that. They challenge us to reflect on biblical truths that should shape how we think and act in a fast evolving society.  -- Leow Khee Fatt, Moderator, The Presbyterian Church in Singapore

This is a badly needed book. At a time when Singaporeans are pondering on the direction the nation should take, this book encourages Christians to think through their social responsibility. These articles by leading churchmen, academics and pastors should stir our hearts, inform our minds and motivate us to move forward, together with others, to a better Singapore.  -- Bobby E.K. Sng, former president of the Bible Society of Singapore

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