Over 600 participants turned up to attend internationallyrenowned USA speaker Thomas Smith’s presentation of the Bible.
I DON’T know about you but I never knew that the 10 plagues of Egypt were significant because each of them publicly shamed an Egyptian god such as Hapi, the spirit of the Nile, (when the Nile was turned to blood) and Heyt, the frog-headed goddess of fertility, (who most certainly did not have control over the fertility of the frogs!)
Discovering this bible tidbit along with me were 600 other participants who attended the Great Adventure Bible Seminar titled “A God Who Speaks” from 24-26 July.
Thomas Smith, an internationally renowned speaker from the USA, conducted the seminar which was organised by St Mary’s youth and young adult bible apostolate ????? (‘logos’).
Starting from the book of Genesis, Smith weaved a captivating and humorous narrative of salvation history. Smith explained that the significance of Genesis was about the ‘who’ rather than the ‘how’ of creation.
At a time when nature was worshipped as deities, the story of creation showed that there was only one God who created the sun and the moon and all the creatures on earth, and that human beings were the crown of God’s creation.
Having co-written a whole Great Adventure study on Revelation, Smith also enthralled the many participants who were interested in the prophecy books of the Bible. Through explaining the linguistic, historical and cultural contexts of the ancient Israelites, Smith also demonstrated, in scripture, the evidence of God’s love for His people and deepened the audience’s appreciation and understanding of the books in the bible.
Fr John-Paul fetes the seminar as an opportunity for more Catholics to appreciate the bible in its historical and cultural contexts which brings meaning and depth to the Word of God in their lives.
Henry Hoo, a former Protestant who converted to the Catholic faith in 2000, described the seminar as “mindblowing” and commented that the talks not only made scripture come alive for him but also made him realise how rich his Catholic faith is.
Response for the seminar was so overwhelming that a second hall had to be opened and video-linked for participants who could not fit into the main hall.
“There were so many people… who came up to me… to tell us what a great job they thought we were doing and how much they really appreciated our efforts. That really kept us going…” said Don Basil Kannangara, cohead of ?????.
As the seminar powerfully demonstrated, the knowledge that Catholics need to gain of scripture is not merely a familiarity with what is written but tools that would help them understand the beauty of the message.
This is an area of faith formation that could be made more widely available in many of Singapore’s parishes.
“I have been a Catholic for 24 years and I never learned as much about the bible in that entire time as I did this weekend!” Joseph Yeong, a seminar participant, commented.
The hunger for greater understanding of the bible has certainly been stoked. Kannangara stated that participants indicated they would like ????? to give their particulars to their respective parishes’ bible study groups.
Thomas Smith (Left) international presenter of the Great Adventure Bible Timeline
Thomas Smith was born and raised a Mormon and was deeply involved in proselytising people to follow Mormonism through doorstep visits from when he was 19. But after visits to a lady who shared “a living, loving, life-giving” relationship with God and an anti-Mormon Baptist minister, Smith had doubts about Mormonism and left to become a Baptist minister.
A friendship with a devout Catholic kept him searching for the truth he longed for. Amazed by how “rooted in Scripture the Mass is”, Smith was convinced of the validity of the Church’s teachings and entered RCIA. He converted to Catholicism in 1996.
Smith has since co-written Adventures in Revelation: The Kingdom Yet to Come, taught as an adjunct professor at the St Francis School of Theology in Denver and was the former Director of the Denver Catholic Biblical School and the Denver Catechetical School. As an international presenter for the Great Adventure Bible Timeline, he wishes “to unearth for Catholics the richness and beauty of their faith”.
As Smith urges: “Learn the Bible well. It’s Catholics who wrote the Bible, protected and preserved it.”
by ann yeong edited by lilynne seah
SMOTA: Tomorrow- Sep 09