Thesis (MTh)

You are welcome to peruse these theses. They may be cited, but please observe standard academic protocol for doing so. If you wish to contact the author(s), email your request to

Melanie Lim Xin Min (2022), MTh (Theology)

Supervisor: Dr. William P. Brooks

Reimagining Church: A Theological Reflection and Response to Malaysian Millennials’ Church Paradigm

This thesis aims to reveal the struggles faithful millennial Christians have with churches in Malaysia, and to discern their creative and constructive potentials for ecclesial renewal. This thesis argues that for the millennials, ‘church’ extends beyond the institutional boundary and is primarily about loving relationships, and proposes to liberate church from identification with a particular structure or function by reconceiving church relationally on the axis of communities. This study also reflects theologically on the divergences in the millennials’ church paradigms by bringing them into conversation with literature that deals with contemporary struggles in the area of ecclesial conceptions. The Malaysian millennials are not unique in their perspectives. In fact, their struggles illumine and reflect many of the current ecclesiological controversies: on structures and communities, on practices and relationships, on ecclesial identity and narrative, on the shape of individual and communal embodiments of faith in life, and on the gulf between church and mission. 

If you would like to read a copy of the thesis, please contact Melanie directly:

Sam Goh Chin Lian (2021), MTh (Theology)

Supervisor: Dr. George Capaque

Be perfect: A dialogue with Dallas Willard towards a theology of spiritual formation for young Singaporean Chinese Christians [PDF]

Discipleship and spiritual formation of young Singaporean Chinese Christians (YSCCs) aged 13 to 35 have been compromised by a reductionist view of personhood defined by achievements. Using a qualitative, conceptual approach that engages YSCCs’ experiences and context with Dallas Willard’s writings, this thesis proposes a theology and practice of spiritual formation for YSCCs comprising four aspects: an identity anchored on their relationship with God, achievement as cooperating with God’s power, a holistic model of self and its formation, and spiritual disciplines of abstinence and engagement. This theology follows from the finding that Singapore’s pragmatism, meritocracy and cultural Confucianism, mediated by the education system, shaped YSCCs’ achievement-based identity. A study of Willard’s ideas on spiritual formation yielded the four aspects of formation with priority given to reforming YSCCs’ thoughts of God alongside their feelings, will, body, social context and soul.

Wong Siew Cheong (2016), MTh (Education)

Supervisor: Phillips Koh

An investigation into the continuing learning experiences of Borneo Evangelical Mission pastors in Miri, Sarawak, with particular reference to their use of heutagogy [PDF]

Heutagogy, defined as self-determined learning, was established by Hase and Kenyon at the turn of the millennium. Heutagogy is well established in higher educational institutions of developed countries in Europe, North America and Australasia, but it is a new concept in Malaysia and in particular the Christian faith communities in the state of Sarawak. Church pastors need to continue learning the truths in their relationship with God, self, church and those outside the church in order to enhance their personal spiritual development.

In order to investigate church pastors’ continuing learning and the extent of their use of heutagogy for personal spiritual development, this research used hermeneutic phenomenology methodology to discover the phenomenon of the lived experiences of four Malaysia Bible Seminary graduates who were pastoring Borneo Evangelical Mission churches in Miri, Sarawak. The pastors were interviewed on how they continued their learning. The interviews were transcribed and analysed to explicate the essential themes of the participants’ heutagogical learning.

The findings indicate that the participants learned through formal, non-formal and informal settings, and that they used heutagogy extensively. The participants learned heutagogically through their interactions with people when they received feedback and critiques. They also learned heutagogically when they made reflections on their reading of books, and when they filtered and analysed Website information. Other findings pertaining to the participants’ use of heutagogy include topics such as: challenging system thinking, contextualising to local culture, evaluating from a Biblical perspective, depending on self-motivation, management of time, passion in learning, depending on God, and involvement in their everyday life matters. These essential themes will be discussed with reference to secular academic literature in order to infuse this literature with biblical and theological reflections. The implications of heutagogical learning for pastors will be considered at the end of the research.

Karen Hoisington (2010), MTh (Education)

Supervisor: Matt Rawlins

Asking Questions: A Vital Approach for Faith Formation in a Singapore Chinese Community of Faith [PDF]

Singapore Chinese churches, with their roots in Confucian heritage cultures, tend to comprise people who prefer learning approaches that are teacher-centric, book-orientated, and rote, with an emphasis on knowledge acquiring. If the purpose of local churches is understood in terms of ministry to God, to believers and to the world, then the educational approaches must nurture believers to become better thinkers and practitioners of their faith. This research explored the extent to which asking questions is a vital learning approach for faith formation in a Singapore Chinese church, and the extent to which this approach could be developed. Shari Tishman’s thinking classroom model provided the criterion for asking questions in church-based adult educational settings.

Chuah Seong Peng (2009), MTh (Education)

Supervisor: David Burke

The Role of Critical Theological Reflection in Training Lay Leaders [PDF]

This thesis arose from a need in the local church for an effective leadership training programme which facilitates transformational learning. It proposes critical theological reflection as a suitable method to facilitate such learning. To show critical theological reflection as an evangelical approach to theological reflection that brings about transformational learning, the epistemological, biblical and theological understanding involved in its process were presented, and its importance is demonstrated in its role in helping the leaders face the challenges of postmodernism and the emerging church movement. The feasibility and the challenges of introducing such learning method in the Asian context were also investigated. Finally, a working outline and format of a lay leaders’ training programme that incorporates critical theological reflection is presented.

Chia Wei Wenn (2020), MTh (Theology)

Supervisor: Dr. Mark Love

The Gospel and Our Vocation: Theologizing the Gospel through and for the Millennial Generation of Malaysia

With the Malaysian millennials, there is often a felt disconnect between the gospel of penal substitutionary atonement and real life, as this gospel—frequently presented as abstract propositional statements—neither addresses the existential issues of the Malaysian millennials nor engages their epistemology. So the goal of this thesis is to theologize the gospel for the Malaysian millennials in a way which addresses this felt disconnect.

This thesis argues that a biblically faithful and culturally resonant way to theologize the gospel for the Malaysian millennials, is by reflecting on the good news of the historical narrative of Jesus the Christ through the contingent theme of vocation, in a way which is communally embodied, situationally appropriated and calls for a personal response. So in this manner, the narrative of John 20:19–29 is read. The understanding of vocation which emerges therefrom is that vocation is a gift of grace from God, that for the sake of others and ultimately for God’s eschatological purposes for the world, that wherein lie our purpose and identity, and that fulfilled through total submission to God. 

The gospel as theologized through the theme of vocation in the manner above is potentially transformative as it calls the Malaysian millennials to a posture of anticipation and active submission in obeying God’s call to participate in His ongoing work of redemption in the world, in historically located ways, in Malaysia.

If you would like to read a copy of the thesis, please contact Wei Wenn directly:

Boey Shee Lye, Leona (2020), MTh (Theology)

Supervisor: Dr. Tan Seng Kong

An examination of Kierkegaard’s concept of the biblical duty to love your neighbour as yourself in the context of modern Singapore

The command to love God with all of one’s heart and to love the neighbour as oneself is said by Jesus to be the summation of the revealed will of God (Mt 22:36–40). In the context of a multiracial, multireligious and economically diverse society such as Singapore, what does it mean for Protestant Christians to love our neighbour as ourselves? This thesis first examines significant Asian “neighbourology” theologies and proposes an interpretation of the parable of the Samaritan (Lk 10:25–37). Next, the thesis describes historical and contemporary forces shaping the definition of “neighbour” in 21st century Singapore, before proposing that the deliberations of the Danish thinker Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) on a distinctly Christian love, centred on the schema “I-God-You”, offer a robust basis for Singaporean Protestant Christians to relate to “others” (outside the Church) in true Christian love.

If you would like to read a copy of the thesis, please contact Leona Boey directly at:

Lee Chooi Luen, Lianne (2019), MTh (Theology)

Supervisor: Dr. Ong Meng Chai

Rethinking attractional worship: A theological evaluation from the perspective of the church as the community of the Kingdom of God.

The Seeker-Sensitive/Attractional Worship (SSAW) is an attractional approach to corporate worship which also exhibits features of seeker-sensitivity. This thesis evaluates the theological soundness of the SSAW style by employing a theology of corporate worship based upon ecclesiology. Firstly, it is argued that corporate worship is not just an “activity” or “function” of the church, but that it is an inherent characteristic of the church’s own nature.

Secondly, the nature of the church, particularly as a community of the Kingdom of God, is explored together with its theological implications for the church’s corporate worship. We discover that the worship of the Kingdom community is to be God-centred, communal, life-transforming and participative.

Finally, these theological criteria are used to evaluate the worship practices of two well-known megachurches, specifically in the areas of prayer, singing, music, preaching and the worship space/atmosphere.

If you would like to read a copy of the thesis, please contact Lianne Lee directly:

Neil Watkinson (2017), MTh (Theology)

Supervisor: Dr. Peter Adam

Contextualised expository preaching: a defence [PDF]

Evangelicals believe in the authority of Scripture for both belief and behaviour. Is the practice of preaching, however, an area in which this authority is overlooked? Preaching in the Majority world is predominantly ‘topical’ or ‘textual’ rather than expository. This thesis addresses the critique of expository preaching as culturally-determined, but also considers how preaching is more than ‘teaching the Bible’. Drawing on scholarship in the areas of biblical theology, systematic theology and contextual theology within Scripture, it proposes that responsible Christian preaching should be both expository and contextualised. Beginning with the central place of the words of God in both God’s creation and God’s covenant with his people, it traces how the giving, recording, preserving, learning, passing on and contextualisation of these vital words of God has been an essential part of biblical faith throughout the OT and NT.

Hiew Hoong Cheong (2015), MTh (Theology)

Supervisor: Ong Meng Chai

The significance of a theology of place in the Malaysian emigration debate

If you would like to read a copy of the thesis, please contact Hoong Cheong directly:

This thesis explores the theology of place and how this may contribute to the Malaysian Christian’s response to the ongoing emigration debate. My contention is that God’s idea of place and specifically ‘place as home’ is more important than has been generally recognised and must be taken into account before one considers emigration. The implications are applicable not only for Malaysian Christians but for all Malaysians and potential emigrants.

This research began with a discussion of the Malaysian emigration debate – how Malaysians have been concerned with the rate of skilled emigration abroad which has led to a crisis of ‘brain drain’. The Malaysian church has not been spared when young Malaysian Christians and their families emigrate, leaving the Malaysian church bereft of a new generation of leaders. A survey of the importance of place introduced three approaches to a theology of place, followed by an exploration of how a special place called ‘home’ may interact with emigration; and an examination of how Christ dealt with the tension between emplacement and emigration. Consideration of how memory and imagination play a part in homecoming and homemaking was followed by proposing three ways in which Christians can be homemakers in Malaysia.

This thesis concluded that emigration would lead to a loss of a sense of place with all its accompanying effects which would dehumanise us. What is needed then, is not emigration but faith, to trust God that he has a purpose in emplacing Christians where we are.

Justus Moni (2008), MTh (Theology)

Supervisor: Siga Arles

Changing world order and the Islamic Jurisprudence: A study of the Judicial Provisions of Islam and their applications in Global Multi religious Community with special reference to Hyderabad, India [PDF]

Well known for its religious plurality and communal harmony, Hyderabad has become a victim of communal intolerance, violence and terrorism. This study is an attempt to understand how the scriptural law of Islam is interpreted to the community in Hyderabad, specifically in the concept of jihad (holy war). Islamic jurisprudence is defined, and details given of the technical interpretations of the concept of jihad. The range of interpretations of the Qur`anic references that are often quoted for jihad, peace and relationship with non Muslims are studied. A comparison is made between biblical hermeneutics and Muslim interpretation in relation to war and peace. The key finding of this study is that peaceful coexistence is advocated sufficiently in the Qur`anic texts so that those who advocate jihad could focus instead on working for communal harmony.