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Mailing Address: 1 Goldhill Plaza, #03-35, Singapore 308899
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.truelifebpc.org.sg
(Ring Pastor Jeffrey Khoo 62561189 Anytime)
|“BLESS the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name”|
Mindanao Missions Trip Report by Dr Jose Lagapa
The 2016 year-end missions trip to the Philippines from December 11–22 was anchored on the Apostle Paul’s exhortation in 2 Timothy 2:2, “…the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
Two ministries were conducted for pastors/teachers and youth leaders of churches in Mindanao island, the second largest in the Philippines. The Lord is good to use True Life Bible-Presbyterian Church to support these ministries. Two Singaporean youths (Tai Cae Ryn and Tai Dae Ern) joined the missions trip and contributed much to the encouragement of both the local pastors and young people. Indeed, God’s work done in God’s way never lacks God’s supply, not only financially but also in work force!
The first ministry was the Bible Equipping Seminar and Training (BEST) program for pastors and teachers. This is a Bible-centered, thus a Christ-centered, program which seeks to equip those who are serving pastoral roles in churches but have not undergone any formal theological training from any Bible College, School or Seminary. Many of these so-called “lay pastors” have no sound theological stand due to their lack of opportunities to learn. They become easy prey to charismatic confusions, ecumenical deceptions and other modernistic church seductions.
This is true in most protestant churches in the Philippines. A report of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), the umbrella organization of most evangelical and Protestant churches in the Philippines, showed that almost 86% of the evangelical churches have a membership of less than 100 worshippers. It was estimated that almost 20,000 churches have a membership of less than 30 people. It was reported that most of these “small churches” are under the leadership of pastors with no formal training in ministry because of the difficulty of paying a full-time and trained pastor. Another study showed that these pastors have the desire to improve their preaching, biblical interpretation, leadership and administration skills if given opportunities.
With this in mind, the BEST program was conducted in Central Mindanao University, Musuan, Bukidnon, Philippines last year 2016 from December 13 to 16. It was an in-house seminar/training for three days and three nights with a total of 15 hours of lectures and a one-hour examination. The lectures covered the first half of the subject on Theism. The medium of instruction was Cebuano, a local dialect among Filipinos in the central and southern part of the Philippines. A one-page testimony and a reading of pages 1–34 of Tow and Khoo’s book—Theology for Every Christian—was required. A daily morning Chapel Hour started the day’s activities.
Twenty-eight (28) “lay pastors” with ages ranging from 24 to 68 years old registered for the BEST program. They had widely differing educational qualifications. Some did not finish primary school. Some had college or university degrees. Some had a year or two of the Bible College studies but were not able to finish. As to their experience as pastors, most of them have been in the pastorate for at least three years.
Praise God for the pastors’ interests. Out of 28 who registered, 24 persevered up till the examination day. Although some had difficulty, they all passed the test with scores above 50%. The pastors were very thankful for the opportunity to learn the Word of God in a systematic manner. There was heated exchange of views and arguments during the discussion on the twin doctrines of Verbal Plenary Inspiration and Verbal Plenary Preservation. We thank the Lord that we have all settled to receive the said doctrines and endeavoured to find a Cebuano version translated from the preserved texts or at least from the King James Version.
This semester (Jan–Apr 2017) FEBC has a total enrolment of 571 students: 107 day students (fulltime: 54, part-time: 53), 288 students in the Basic Theology for Everyone (BTFE) night classes, and 176 distance learning students. The students come from 14 countries: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.
This semester saw the official launch of FEBC’s online in-ministry programme for the Bachelor of Ministry, Master of Ministry, and Doctor of Religious Education degrees. Here are our pioneer students: BMin: Park Jung Il; MMin: Romeo Faustino Larano, Rajan Shrestha, Tann Heng; DRE: Michael Koech, Jonathan Langat, Nguyen Gia Hien, Park Jong Gyoo, Nelson Were. All are in active fulltime ministry in their respective countries and churches.
The lecturers/tutors and courses offered this semester are: Rev Dr Jeffrey Khoo: Systematic Theology IV (Eschatology), Greek Exegesis II; Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew: Genesis, Contemporary Theology II, Hebrew Reading II; Rev Dr Prabhudas Koshy: Homiletics, Isaiah; Rev Stephen Khoo: Church History I; Rev Dr Koa Keng Woo: Bible Geography I and Cults I; Rev Tan Kian Sing: 1 Timothy; Mrs Ivy Tow: Greek Elementary II; Mrs Jemima Khoo: The Christian School, Beginner Pianoforte; Miss Carol Lee: Adult Christian Education, Thinking and Study Skills, Women in Church History; Dr Jose Lagapa: Book of Acts; Mr Clement Chew: Hebrew Elementary II; Mr Dennis Kabingue: Greek Reading II; Miss Joycelyn Chng: Hymnology I; Mrs Anne Lim: English Intensive II; Mrs Irene Lim: English Intermediate II; and Eld Han Soon Juan: English Advanced II.
Testimony by Eric Luis R Deliña
When I was a member of the Evangelical Free Church of the Philippines, I thought that Charismatism was only about music, their practice. I thought there must be something wrong but I could not tell what. I inquired from several of my pastors but the answer was just general statements without clear teaching. I was confused. The Lord said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos 4:6). I was confused not only by the practices of the Charismatics, but also disturbed by its infiltration into my church. When I questioned my pastors, they simply replied, “What’s wrong in adopting their music?” Since there was no clear teaching, I could not answer them and they found me a nuisance, and adopted and implemented the praise and worship style of the Charismatics. Thus, looking at all these things, I was hopeless because the Bible colleges in Cebu are dead, and the missionaries who came from the United States had a social life that was different from what they preached.
Confused and hopeless, I decided to bring my family to the capital city hopefully to find a sound church. But, to my dismay, the many churches sang the same Charismatic songs and preached the same Charismatic message. Vexed in the spirit, I decided not to attend church anymore. I kept asking myself, “What’s wrong with the religion?” I also lost confidence in the Bible
Truly the Lord was so gracious. He directed my path to Singapore and here I found the remnants of the true faith. I found out that there was nothing wrong with the Scriptures, but that it had to do with the translation I was using. Truly, the people are destroyed for lack of knowledge for “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). So many are walking in darkness. The Charismatics make the doctrines very confusing and unclear. Charismatism appeals to pastors who think that its promise of prosperity and success would bring more people to church, and more people means more tithes and offerings, and so they can demand for more pay. What a way to do business by using the religion for their own material gain.
So in the course on Charismatism at FEBC, I was so blessed and refreshed. I was taught that Scripture must be interpreted according to its historical-grammatical context and the context of Scripture as a whole. This should be the uncompromising method of interpreting Scripture.
Furthermore, the lecturer highlighted that it was not miracles but the pure preaching of the Word and the convicting work of the Holy Spirit that caused sinners to repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ. How Dr Khoo explained John 14:12–13 has clarified my understanding with regard to the “greater works”. It was one question I had no answer to in those days. The Charismatics emphasised that what Jesus meant by “greater works” was greater or more miracles. Although I was not convinced, I had no answer. But now I understand and am able to refute their erroneous view. Clearly, a pure teaching of the Word according to its context will remove the cloudy and mouldy teachings of the Charismatics.
Charismatism Q&A: Biblical Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the Charismatic Phenomenon by Jeffrey Khoo (Singapore: FEBC Press, 1998).
Endorsements: “Dr Khoo has brought the subject under closest examination…by a meticulous, exegetical study of the relevant Scripture passages. An unbiased student…cannot help but come to the same conclusion as the author.” (Rev Dr Timothy Tow). “Helpful to any who have an open mind on the subject…a fine piece of work.” (Dr Homer A Kent). “This book should be of great help to people around the world seeking guidance on this subject. It is strong and plain, yet written with care, concern, and compassion.” (Dr Gary Cohen).
Free download: http://www.febc.edu.sg/v15/publications/febc_press.
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