30 Orange Grove Road, down Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore 258352
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)
|“The LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep SILENCE before him.”|
The founding of Far Eastern Bible College and Its Occupation of 9A Gilstead Road as told by Dr SH Tow
I shared a very close bond with Rev. Timothy Tow and he often confided in me on many matters. Amongst the thoughts Rev. Timothy Tow shared with me were his visions for the founding of a Bible college to train Christian workers who would preach the Gospel throughout the Far East. Although Rev. Timothy Tow held this idea since 1954, it was not until 1960 that the opportunity to implement his vision presented itself.
On 13 September 1960, Rev. Philip Clark arrived in Singapore as ambassador of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions to meet with the Presbytery of Bible-Presbyterian Churches in Singapore (the “Presbytery”). The Presbytery then consisted of the joint Sessions of Life Bible-Presbyterian Church (LBPC), Zion Bible-Presbyterian Church (ZBPC), Faith Bible-Presbyterian Church (FBPC) and Galilee Bible-Presbyterian Church (GBPC). The Presbytery hosted a dinner for Rev. Philip Clark. I was one of LBPC’s representatives present at this dinner. At the dinner, members of the Presbytery discussed the launching of a Bible college in Singapore. Rev. Philip Clark said that the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions would lend its assistance to such a project if the Presbytery was intending to implement such a project. This stoked the enthusiasm among members of the Presbytery to establish a Bible college.
Shortly thereafter, on 19 September 1960, a meeting of the Presbytery was convened. At this meeting, it was decided that a Bible college would be established. The Presbytery also settled on a name for this Bible college—“Far Eastern Bible College”. I was present at this meeting and it was I who had suggested that this name be adopted. Rev. Timothy Tow’s vision of founding a Bible college to train workers to spread the Faith through the Far East was the inspiration behind this name for the Bible college.
At this meeting, there were extensive discussions on the status of FEBC and the role it was to play. The Presbytery decided that FEBC would be constituted as an institution independent of and distinct from (though within the fellowship of) the Bible-Presbyterian Churches in Singapore and that it would occupy the premises on the Land. Rev. Timothy Tow was very much the person leading the discussions at this meeting and it was he who suggested that FEBC be housed on the Land alongside LBPC.
An interim 3-man committee was also elected by the Presbytery to draft the constitution and prospectus for FEBC and to serve as liaison between the joint church Sessions and the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. The members of the 3-man committee were Rev. Timothy Tow, Rev. Quek Kiok Chiang and myself. The aforesaid matters have been recorded for posterity in The Bible-Presbyterian Church of Singapore and Malaysia 1950–1971, a 1971 publication by LBPC commemorating the 21st anniversary of the founding of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore.
Shortly after the meeting of the Presbytery on 19 September 1960, the decision to set up FEBC and build its premises on the Land was announced to the congregations of LBPC, ZBPC, FBPC, GBPC. We (i.e. the 3-man committee) also issued a written statement which announced the following: “With regard to the management of [FEBC], it was proposed that [FEBC] should be constituted an independent institution within the fellowship of our Bible-Presbyterian Churches. A Board of Directors should be elected from men of faith and wisdom within our churches and from our co-operating missionaries. This would become the administrative body to execute the business of the college, such as the promotion and control of its finance and the appointment of the teaching faculty. It was also suggested that a Board of Referees consisting of Church leaders both local and abroad be invited to sponsor the work of the College.”
I, together with Rev. Timothy Tow and Rev. Quek Kok Chiang, worked on the constitution for FEBC. We met several times and, following numerous drafts, we agreed on the wording to be adopted for FEBC’s constitution (the “Constitution”). The Constitution was formulated principally on the basis of the matters discussed at the Presbytery meeting on 19 September 1960 as well as feedback from the joint church Sessions and the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. The Constitution sets out important directions regarding the status of FEBC and its functions, and the way in which it was to be managed and governed.
Sometime in November 1961, FEBC’s Board of Directors was formed. Rev. Timothy Tow was appointed President of the Board of Directors and Principal of FEBC. FEBC’s Board of Directors consisted of members from LBPC as well as members from other churches within the Presbytery and others not connected to the Presbytery. Shortly thereafter, FEBC’s Board of Directors unanimously adopted the Constitution drafted by the 3-man Committee.
On 10 March 1962, it was stated in the Malaysia Christian, a weekly publication of the Bible-Presbyterian Church of Singapore and Malaya: “[FEBC] is not a denominational institution under the control of the Bible-Presbyterian Church of Malaya. It is an independent school whose Board of Directors includes non-Bible-Presbyterians…
“The College, being an independent agency, must look to God and His children for support. Praise the Lord, from the increasing number of donations received, there is now started a new movement of supporters of the College whom we respectfully call ‘Fellowhelpers to the Truth.’ Contributions for [FEBC] should be sent to the Treasurer…”. This again clearly emphasised FEBC’s non-denominational and independent status since it had to source for its own funds.
After the formation of FEBC’s Board of Directors, the next step was for FEBC to move onto the Land and to commence its first academic term. This happened in September 1962. On 28 April 1962, the foundation stone of the L-Annex was laid and the following words were inscribed on the foundation stone: “THIS STONE WAS LAID FOR THE FOUNDING OF A BIBLE COLLEGE FOR THE WORD OF GOD AND FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST IN THE FAR EAST ON THE 28TH DAY OF APRIL IN THE 1962ND YEAR OF OUR LORD”. On 17 September 1962, FEBC formally opened at the Land.
[Extract from affidavit of evidence-in-chief of Dr Tow Siang Hwa presented to the High Court of the Republic of Singapore in Life Bible-Presbyterian Church v Khoo Eng Teck Jeffrey and others and another suit (2010) SGHC 187.]
SERVING THE LORD IN BCEA
A Newsletter by Rev Dr Mark Kim
Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I apologize that it has been a long time since I sent my last letter. I hope and trust that you are well in the Lord. Here is the latest news from the field, especially regarding the ministry of Bible College of East Africa (BCEA), which now comprises three campuses.
Please be in prayer for the students who are studying at BCEA. In January, a new academic year began on each campus, and we were joined by several new students: in Kenya, 24 new first-year and 1 third-year were added to make a total of 81 students; in Tanzania, 9 first-year for a total of 24; in Rwanda, 24 first-year for a total of 65. A third year of study was added for the first time on our Rwanda campus. We pray, Lord willing, that the campus will produce its first batch of fourth-year students next year. It is our fervent prayer that all the students will be trained as faithful ministers of the Gospel, equipped for rightly dividing the word of truth and used by the Lord for the progress of the Gospel on this continent.
We are in the process of gathering books for the Bible College libraries. Books, especially second-hand theology books, are being collected at two locations in the US. Please be in prayer for many books to be collected, and for the moving processes to be without hindrance. In particular, a proper library on the Rwanda campus is being set up for the first time, and we aim to collect the minimum necessary for accreditation (10,000). Pictures below are from the Kigali Sunday School and Campus church at a February service.
We ask for your special prayer for lecturers, particularly for the Kigali and Nairobi campuses, which are shorthanded. We pray for those who are called and qualified to teach and faithful in service. Please be in prayer for our daughter, Hayoung, who is in her final stage of doctoral study.
Thank you for your prayer and support. May the Lord bless your work in Him. I will write again.
[The Rev Dr Mark Kim is a DRE graduate of FEBC, and Principal of BCEA (Kenya). He will be visiting us next month, April 7 (DV). Pray also for Dr Park Seung Kyu who is Principal of BCEA (Tanzania], for wife & daughters now studying at FEBC.]
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