Tell me more

Good day! My name is Elliot and I’m a Pastor at GracePoint Presbyterian Church.

Thank you for taking a few minutes to visit my website. I hope you’ll find the posts here helpful and inspiring.

The world is full of stories because as a famous author once said, humans are story telling beings. I believe that is particularly true because humans are also part of a greater story, and that story is about God’s relationship with the world.

You’ll find traces of this story throughout this blog and I hope that gives you a bit more insight into my beliefs and worldview. But here’s a little more about myself to give you an idea of who I am and what I do. None of this are in particular order so you can either read it as it is presented or even in reverse!

Firstly, I am a Malaysian-born Chinese living in Australia. That means I can speak a few languages but none of them well, I understand a number of cultures but none of them completely, and I constantly struggle to answer the question: ‘what nationality are you?’ because my passport tells me I’m Australian, my childhood memories tell me I’m Malaysian, but my mother tells me I’m Chinese. So like some of you, I’m an embodiment of multiculturalism at best and a confused individual at worst.

Second, I am a Christian. That may sound absolutely crazy in this day and age (as some of my friends tell me) but its true, and this is not because my Asian parents tell me that is someone I should be. Instead, I had an existential and philosophical crisis during my teenage years, and in that period of struggling to understand my place in the world, I saw the God of the Bible and the Christian worldview as the most intellectually credible and existentially satisfying (borrowing the words of one of my favourite authors, Tim Keller). So it even struck me as surprising that my existential and philosophical queries found their solutions in theological answers, which ultimately led me to the Creator God.

Elliot snapshot 3-2-2

As such, thirdly, I love theology. Again, this may sound absurd in an age of rapid scientific development, yet I wonder if the great astronomer and physicist Robert Jastrow was onto something when he said ‘for the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries’. I am personally not a scientist because I couldn’t quite get past being fascinated with setting things on fire with a bunsen burner, but he is and I have other friends who are and they tell me that scientific query is possible and meaningful because an intelligent, intentional, and Creator God exists. Whether or not that is true is probably best for them to decide, but without a doubt, I love theology because it is a great tool through which to understand the great God of the universe. It tells us that God created this world and humans are sinful but Christ has come to redeem us to himself and is coming back again to renew everything in a future that is soon to come. As such, this great God is ready to restore all who put their trust in him and ready to give true meaning, purpose, and life to all who confess him as Lord.

Fourthly, I also love history. I am fascinated with ‘how things came to be’, and proper historical inquiry is an aid towards that end! History tells the beautiful (yet broken) story of the world that we live in. It tells us that humans often repeat the same mistakes and shows us that a deep examination of our past can help shape our future. Or as R. Albert Mohler Jr puts it, ‘to cut ourselves off from the past is to rob ourselves from understanding the present’. So history teaches us how to live rightly in our time and it teaches us how to ground our beliefs in sound sources rather than being swayed by prose or persuasion.

Consequently, fifthly, I am passionate about historical theology. This merges the two disciplines (theology and history) and forms an entirely new one that paints God’s unfolding plan for the world, teaches us theology through historical figures and events, and informs us how contemporary Christians can live today. I am of the belief that much of what we’re experiencing now are repackages of issues of the past (though there are contemporary challenges that we need to examine carefully with fresh eyes especially in regards to issues of gender and sexuality), so Christians all over the world will benefit from picking up something written by Augustine or Calvin rather than having to reinvent the wheel.

Sixthly, I am a trained high school teacher. I hold a B.A with a major in History and a minor in Advanced Chinese Studies along with a B.Ed in History and English education from the University of New South Wales, and I have also done some additional graduate studies in Early Christian and Jewish History at Macquarie University. I’ve spent some time teaching these subjects (though I occasionally digress and teach my students about the history of coffee) in schools, coaching centres, and in small scale tutoring contexts, and I think every high school student should enrol in Ancient or Modern history (or even better, both!) after year 10. Junior high history may seem incredibly boring, but persevere through it because year 11-12 is when you begin to dig into the what I call ‘super awesome’ material like the Greco-Roman history, the French Revolution, WWI and WWII, the Cultural Revolution, and everything in between. Someone once said ‘no history, no self; know history, know self’ – while I think that is overstating the value of history (because I think it is perhaps more proper to say ‘know God, know self’), there is certainly a sense in which knowing where we have come from will inform us about who we are.

Seventhly and lastly (and because 7 is the perfect number), I am married to the beautiful Sherilyn. She is a wonderful companion who is not only beautiful, but is also intelligent, supportive, capable, with an incredible love for Christ. God has brought us on an incredible journey so far in teaching us more about him and about each other, and we’re excited about a lifetime of service to him and contributing to his kingdom. We believe that true human flourishing is found in Jesus Christ, so we endeavour to make our lives about proclaiming that truth to anyone who is willing to hear.

Sherilyn and Elliot EShoot Hi Res-080.JPG

Quick final note: I’m relatively new to this ‘blogging business’ so the quality and quantity of the posts will vary. The content of blog posts will range between updates for my ministry supporters, theological reflections, and general updates about life.  The frequency of posts will also depend on the time of the year, so this website will most likely resemble a desert during college/seminary periods and a crowded marketplace during semester breaks.

But to give you an idea, here are some examples of what I enjoy writing about:

  1. The Value of Theological Education
  2. Humble Leadership
  3. Why Internship?
  4. My New Tattoo
  5. Back to BaSiCs

Hope you enjoy your time around! God bless!