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|“The LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep SILENCE before him.”|
I thank the Lord for the opportunity to visit Hokkaido recently (June 26–July 4, 2018). It was my first time to Japan.
Hokkaido Bible Centre
My main purpose in Hokkaido was to see a veteran American missionary to Japan—Dr Robert Kluttz, pastor of Hokkaido Bible Centre, and a good friend of Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC). Dr Kluttz is now 92 years old and suffers from prostate cancer. Nevertheless, he continues to preach at the Hokkaido Bible Centre and evangelise the students at the University. He rides around the University on his bicycle which he calls his “trusty old horse”.
By the grace of God, Dr Kluttz’s ministry has produced good fruits, not a few. Among them Jose Lagapa (PhD, Hokkaido University) and his family (wife Celeste & children Theya, Thessa, Biboy), all converted under his ministry; likewise Tadahito Yamazaki now in his third year at FEBC.
I must not forget to talk about Hokkaido University. Dr Kluttz was a sensei (professor) of English at the University. Dr Kluttz shared with us the interesting beginnings of Hokkaido University. He brought us to the university museum where the history is told. It was a pleasant surprise to know that Hokkaido University was founded by an American missionary named William S Clark (1826–1886). In a farewell speech to his students, Clark said, “Boys, be ambitious! Be ambitious not for money or for selfish aggrandizement, not for that evanescent thing which men call fame. Be ambitious for knowledge, for righteousness, and for the uplift of your people. Be ambitious for the attainment of all that a man ought to be.” “Boys, Be Ambitious” became the motto of Hokkaido University. Indeed, selfish ambition for gain and fame is vanity: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). And where does true knowledge and righteousness come from? No less from God and His Word: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” (Ps 119:9).
We had a blessed time of worship with Dr Kluttz on the Lord’s Day of July 1st. The worship service was held at the “Ambition Pavilion” in the University grounds. It was an international gathering—we had people from America, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore. Besides Dr Lagapa and his family, and mine (Jemima & May Lynn), we had three Japanese men Yamazaki-san, Kuwabata-san and Gotoh-san, a Filipino university student named Irish, and Hannah Tan from Calvary Jaya (KL, Malaysia). The service was Brethren in style, quite spontaneous but nonetheless reverent and spiritual. Dr Kluttz led in the singing of good old hymns and spoke about Faith from Romans chapter one: (1) The Historic Christian Faith (v5), (2) Our Personal Faith (v8), and (3) Mutual Faith (v12). He then gave a list of golden verses for us to memorise in the following order: Acts 16:21, Rom 10:9–10, Matt 6:33, Ps 1, Ps 119:9–11, Rom 12:1–2, John 2:16–17, Jas 4:4, Col 3:2, Eph 5:11, 2 Cor 6:14–18, Eccl 11:9, 12:1, 12–14, 1 Cor 6:19–20, and 1 Cor 3:23. Dr Kluttz said these precious verses will help us know the will of God.
Dr Kluttz regards highly our founding pastor—the Rev Dr Timothy Tow. He mentioned Pastor Tow many times in his conversation with us, and shared how he appreciated Pastor Tow’s ministry of the Word and his ministry of hospitality. He recommended Dr Lagapa and Yamazaki-san to FEBC when they decided to give their lives to full-time ministry. Not only did Dr Kluttz support FEBC morally, he also supported FEBC financially.
Dr Kluttz shared that he had good fellowship with American Bible Presbyterians like Dr Victor Hall (pioneering leader of the Bible College of East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya) and Dr Malcolm Frehn (missionary to Japan). He was of the same spirit as Dr Carl McIntire, and took part in the International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC). Although he is Baptist, he says he is not a “rabid” Baptist. He values the friendship and fellowship of Bible-Presbyterians who take a strong stand for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ. This was the spirit of Pastor Tow as well. Under Pastor Tow’s leadership, Bible-Presbyterians in Singapore gave to the building of three Baptist churches in the Philippines, even a Baptist college. Both Pastor Tow and his brother Dr S H Tow helped raise funds for fundamental Baptist missionary Dan Ebert III to build a Bible College on a hilltop in Antipolo, Philippines. As True Lifers, we continue to support Baptist pastors and preachers especially in Mindanao under the oversight of the Rev Renato Cortez and Dr Jose Lagapa.
Dr Robert Kluttz is a special servant of God. He is among the special ones like the Rev Dr Timothy Tow, Dr Arthur Steele, Dr Raymond Saxe, Dr D A Waite, Dr John Whitcomb—all of whom I had the blessed privilege of knowing. The first three the Lord had already called home; the last two are still active but well into their 90s. There are very few such special servants today. May the Lord be pleased to raise up more of such men in our generation and the next for the sake of His Church.
Here’s a letter from Dr Kluttz to us in Singapore (carefully typed out from a manual typewriter without any use of blanco):
3 July 2018
Dear Singaporean Brethren,
Many thanks for your generous gift for continuation of the ministry in Hokkaido. We don’t get many like that—so all the more appreciated. Not able to get out and around as before (publicly and house-to-house), but mostly limited to personal witness on a one-to-one basis with daily contacts here in the city. Nevertheless, God always provides some precious soul that I can still witness to, and be a testimony for Christ.
It was good to see brother Yamazaki again, with Dr. Lagapa, Dr. Khoo, and their respective families, but I’m afraid that I was in no physical condition to do them justice and show them proper hospitality in welcoming and guiding them along their journey. Please understand and forgive.
I’ve never been in Singapore, except at the airport one hour in and the next hour out—and that is not Singapore! But I do have the fondest memories of fellowship in correspondence with our beloved Dr. Timothy Tow and other precious brethren who hold fast THE historic BIBLICAL-FUNDAMENTAL-SEPARATIST stand “…for the Word of God, and for the Testimony of our Lord Jesus (THE) Christ”!
Thank you for any possible remembrances in prayer. The dear brethren returning to you will explain. The will of God be done, as always (Phil 1.21).
May our gracious God continue to bless you with His love, mercy, protection, and truth. “Hold fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown…and having done all…STAND!”
A brother in Christ, (bk)
Abashiri Christ Gospel Assembly
I was very glad to be able to visit and share a word in Abashiri Christ Gospel Assembly (Brethren). The scenic city of Abashiri is located at the northeastern coast of Hokkaido, about five hours’ drive from Sapporo. Our brother Tadahito Yamazaki is well known in this church, having worshipped and served in this church for a number of years before he came to Singapore. The Abashiri Church is led by Nakano-san, and the members are mostly his relatives—his wife, eight children (and their spouses), 16 grandchildren, and six great grandchildren. I spoke from John 14:1–3 about our Lord’s soon return and our heavenly home. Tadahito was my able interpreter. After the service, we had a nice bento-box lunch and lively fellowship with the children, especially Shuto. We enjoyed our time in Abashiri and appreciate the warm hospitality of the brethren there.
Sapporo Bible House Church
Another church we visited was the Sapporo Bible House Church pastored by Suzuki-san. The Church is located in a suburban area just outside Sapporo. Suzuki-san and his wife were converted under the ministry of Dr Kluttz when they were students in Hokkaido University. Besides serving as pastor, Suzuki-san also works as an English teacher in a Japanese school. We had a pleasant time of fellowship, singing hymns and sharing our testimonies. Suzuki-san shared a heartfelt word from Psalm 23 which the Lord had used to encourage his heart during times of hardship and difficulty. The Lord assured him that he was not alone in facing trying times. He shared that he experienced the Lord drawing closer and closer to him as he meditated upon this comforting psalm. I was personally ministered to by his testimony, having gone through a bit of a trying time myself before leaving for Hokkaido. The Lord is our Good Shepherd indeed! JK
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