Dr Robert K MacEwen: Exposition of Matthew & More

Pic 1: Family Pic of Dr Rob & Dr Lisa MacEwen & their daughter Lydia, Pic 2: Exposition of Matthew Class Pic


EAST was very honoured to have Dr Robert K MacEwen return as an Adjunct Faculty to teach an intensive course on the Exposition of Matthew from 22 November to 1 December which just ended last week. Dr Rob had travelled from The Netherlands with his wife Dr Lisa in the midst of a busy term time from Tyndale Theological Seminary where he is the Academic Dean to serve the students at EAST. EAST News caught up with him on a short interview below and his student Letitia wrote a short reflection on what she had learnt from the class.

Below are some interview questions for our website readers to get to know Dr Robert K MacEwen better.

1. What were the years you taught at EAST, what subjects did you teach, and what are some favourite memories you have of EAST?

I taught at EAST as a resident faculty member from 2010 through 2016, a time when EAST was at the Dorset Road campus. Since then I have been back a few times to teach module courses as an adjunct faculty member. The courses I’ve taught at EAST have included New Testament Narratives, New Testament Epistles and Revelation, New Testament Apologetics, Exposition of the Gospel of Matthew, Interpreting the Synoptic Gospels, Greek, Greek Exegesis, and Exegesis of 1 & 2 Thessalonians.

My favourite memories of EAST include community events in which the whole school pulled together, including days of prayer, days of outreach, school cleaning days, chapels, intercollegiate game days, and graduation. I also look back fondly on good times with my mentoring groups, including mission weekends, eating out together, and playing ping-pong together. I also remember enjoying cans of coconut juice from the drink machine in the courtyard on many mornings. Of course, I enjoyed teaching, especially when it was clear that students were learning and thinking about the implications of New Testament passages for their lives and ministries.

2. When you compare EAST with Tyndale Theological Seminary (which you are currently the Academic Dean), what are the similarities and differences?

Similarities: EAST and Tyndale (in the Netherlands) are both international, English-speaking seminaries with students from many countries. Both schools are mission-focused, with lecturers/professors who raise their own support in order to serve.

Differences: Tyndale puts a somewhat greater emphasis on the biblical languages than does EAST, as Tyndale requires six semesters of Greek and four semesters of Hebrew. Unlike EAST, Tyndale does not currently have any extension centers in other countries, though Tyndale’s new president wants to start some. Unlike EAST, Tyndale has a student hostel on campus that houses most of its international students. While EAST has strong ties to mainly one mission agency (Cru), professors at Tyndale are sent by many different mission agencies. While the majority of EAST’s faculty are Singaporeans, the majority of Tyndale’s full-time faculty are Americans. While most of EAST’s international students who are married bring their families to Singapore, Tyndale’s married international students usually come to the Netherlands by themselves.

3. What is a possible future course you would like to teach as an intensive class at EAST and why?

I’ll mention two, one that I have already taught at EAST and one that I have not: (1) New Testament Apologetics (already taught, but would like to teach again), because, although skeptical scholars have undermined people’s confidence in the reliability of the New Testament, there are many good reasons for trusting the historical and theological truthfulness of the New Testament documents. (2) Exposition of Revelation (not yet taught), because it is a very interesting and encouraging book, yet it is often interpreted incorrectly, or with excessive dogmatism, or with emphasis on the wrong things.

4. What are some uniqueness about EAST that stands out to you?

EAST is blessed to have a strong, skilled, committed team of administrative staff, many of whom have been faithfully serving the school for a very long time. EAST’s leadership is innovative, creative, and adaptable, always seeking to make changes to better carry out the school’s mission and better serve the church and the mission field. EAST’s faculty members are ministry practitioners whose experience enhances their academic knowledge and who love their students.

5. Share some prayer requests for yourself, your family and ministry.

  • Please pray that I will have wisdom and strength to serve Tyndale Seminary well in my roles as Academic Dean and professor.
  • Please pray for God’s abundant provision for the financial needs of Tyndale.
  • Please pray for improved health for Lisa, as she suffers from fibromyalgia.
  • Please pray for our daughter Lydia, a nursing student in a university in the US, to grow in her faith, develop good friendships, and do well in her studies.


Reflection by Letitia Z (Graduate Diploma in Christian Ministry):

I am grateful for Dr Rob’s flight from Holland to Singapore. I learned the comparison of the four gospels based on Matthew as the main theme. The differences helped me see that Matthew was written for the Jews – it is usually brief and hits on the points of its content. The similarities enabled me to see how Matthew borrowed from the contents of Mark and Luke. And sometimes, it has its unique passages different from other Gospels. Through the specific studies, the discipleship principles can also be found in different chapters. Matthew’s theology is also being revealed from the synopsis of the four gospels.

I am thankful I had the chance to study Matthew, it has given me the whole picture of the life of Jesus. To compare the words used differently by Matthew, Mark and Luke and the stories’ orders differently arranged by each of them, I could understand each story more objectively. It enabled me to understand the parable’s meaning accurately from the four gospels. I now understand that Jesus brought the gospel not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles. It also helped me to understand the miracles in Jesus’ time. Those miracles could also happen today, but the most important thing is having a better understanding of Jesus’ teaching.

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