Learnings from an Interview with Prof. Lawrence Chia

Interview of Prof. Lawrence Chia, by Joshua Sim // 9 September 2020

OCF alumni Joshua Sim and John Kiew made a little trip down to visit Prof. Lawrence Chia’s home on 2 September 2020. Joshua Sim was from OCF Perth (known as OCF UWA now) in 2006 to 2010. John Kiew was from OCF AU 2012 to 2016.

In this mini-series, they share their learnings from their conversation with Prof. Lawrence Chia. Here’s Part 3 of our posts, featuring John Kiew’s learning points.

We had an interview with Professor Lawrence Chia to hear him give an account of his experience with OCF during his time. It struck me how different of a Christian background he came from. Christianity was more of a religion than a relationship with God to many Christians, with reverence placed onto physical things such as the Bible itself, rather than the having a faith that is born of deep understanding of the Word of God. 

It was very stark how God used IVF as well as OCF to increase exposure of evangelical Christianity to Prof Lawrence and how it was so convicting and life changing for him. Being able to study the Bible in depth and be driven by that to develop a passion to reach out to the lost was something so foundational to an overseas Christian experience. 

God has His way of using the strengths of different individuals to pave the way forward for OCF organizationally. The account that Prof Lawrence gave of the OCF Sydney President then, one of the foundational pioneers of OCF, pushed hard for the gathering of overseas Christians together in a convention, while others such as Edward and Prof Lawrence provided the balance of having the local Australian church come on board to give OCF a boost. Despite the many differences and conflicts that was apparent in Prof Lawrence’s account, albeit it coming from one perspective, was testament that God was sovereign and orchestrating the birth of OCF through the strengths and weaknesses of each individual. 

Prof Lawrence also talked in depth about how the returning OCFers were instrumental in shaping the Christianity of Singapore as it is. The many connections that he developed as a student was built up when he came back, leading to unity amongst the Christian leaders in Singapore. A strong point that was revisited and emphasized many times was the link between OCF and OMF. The many lessons and exposure of Christians studying in Australia and returning to apply what they learnt about inter-denominational and cross-cultural concepts were used by God to further the expansion of God’s kingdom in Singapore.