FEBC reopened in the New Year with a day of prayer as usual. On Monday January 4, 2021, Faculty, Board, staff and students returned to school and spent the morning at the FEBC Hall to get spiritually right before classes go into full swing.
FEBC has a new banner with the college logo and theme verse hung over the pulpit to remind all of the College’s purpose—to hold fast the Faithful Word (Tit 1:9). For the Word to be faithful, it must necessarily be preserved. Indeed, the Lord has not only inspired His Word but also preserved it (Ps 12:6–7, Matt 5:18). And if we are to be students and teachers of His Word, we must be faithful to believe in that Faithful Word which He has verbally and plenarily inspired and preserved (“every book, every chapter, every verse, every word, every syllable, every letter” according to Dean Burgon, and “kept pure in all ages” by His singular care and providence as stated in the Westminster Confession).
Word from the Principal
The Principal spoke from James 1:2–4 on why God sends trials and testings into our lives, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that thetrying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” He shared three trials that God sent to FEBC to try us in our faith. The first was in 2005 when the authorities required private colleges including Bible colleges to be Casetrust accredited in order to enroll foreign students. With much effort, FEBC achieved Casetrust for Education accreditation, the first Bible College to do so.
The second was the lawsuit by Life BPC to evict FEBC (2008–2015). The Board of Directors had to defend the charitable purpose trust impressed upon the properties at Gilstead Road. The Court of Appeal ruled that FEBC has every right to occupy the land. The Court even declared that the Verbal Plenary Preservation (VPP) of Scripture was not a deviant doctrine as claimed by Life BPC, but a doctrine that is in line with the Westminster Confession of Faith to which the College subscribes. God used the Court to promote His truth and protect His school—a clear case of divine providence at work!
The third was the Covid-19 pandemic last year. Thank God for helping us through the nine months of challenges and hardships, to cope with the lockdown, travel restrictions, online studies, etc. This trial of faith is still ongoing for all—both staff and students. Despite the restrictions and setbacks, the college stepped up to offer distance learning courses to students free of charge during the lockdown, from May 11 to July 5. A total of 818 students from 136 churches enrolled. This is a record. God’s people could spend their time and energy wisely by engaging in an intensive, systematic study of God’s Word.
Number of Students
Total enrolment this semester (Jan–Apr 2021) is 633—29 fulltime residential students and 604 part-time students (day classes 223, night classes 219, distance learning 162)—from 13 countries: Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
We welcome three full-time students: Cheow Teong Kean (DipTh programme), Jose Trinipil Lagapa II aka Biboy (CertBS programme), and Samuel Sim (CertRK programme). Biboy is the son of the Rev Dr Jose Lagapa, and Samuel is the son of Dr Sim Tiong Peng and Dr Suzanne Lim. Biboy just completed High School and Samuel his National Service. Both chose to spend time studying God’s Word to prepare themselves for the next chapter of their lives—a wise decision!
Courses On-Campus and Online
Twelve day and night courses are being offered online this semester—nine are livestreamed (Acts of the Apostates, Names of God, 2 Thessalonians, Titus, Contemporary Theology II, Women in the Bible II, 1 Chronicles, Systematic Theology IV, Systematic Theology II in Chinese), and three are video-screened (Heresies and Orthodoxy, Numbers, Calvinism Old and New).
The lecturers/tutors (and courses) this semester are: Rev Dr Jeffrey Khoo (Life of Christ II, Heresies & Orthodoxy), Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew (Hebrew Reading II, Homiletics, 1 Chronicles, Numbers), Rev Dr Prabhudas Koshy (Systematic Theology IV: Eschatology, Names of God), Rev Stephen Khoo (Survey of Revelation), Rev Dr Koa Keng Woo (Bible Geography IV, Church Music II), Rev Tan Kian Sing (2 Thessalonians, Titus), Mrs Jemima Khoo (Sacred Music Through the Ages, Beginner Pianoforte), Miss Carol Lee (Adult Christian Education, Women in the Bible II), Rev Dr Jose Lagapa (Acts of the Apostates), Rev Clement Chew (Hebrew Elementary II), Rev Zhu Jianwei (Systematic Theology II: Anthropology [Chinese]), Pr Samuel Joseph (Greek Reading II), Pr Joshua Yong (Contemporary Theology II), Pr Ko Ling Kang (Calvinism Old & New), Mrs Irene Lim (English Intermediate II), and Mrs Patricia Joseph (English Advanced II).
Joshua Yong, tutor in Contemporary Theology, has enrolled as a ThD student at FEBC. Zhu Jianwei, tutor in Systematic Theology (Chinese) has been ordained as a minister of the gospel at True Life BPC on January 3, 2021.
Why I am a Student at FEBC
Jose Trinipil Lagapa II (Biboy)
I thank God that I was born into a family that has been grounded well in the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. Since young, God’s Word has always been taught to me day-in, and day-out. In the morning, I would read a psalm from the Bible. Throughout the day, hymns were played from the radio of Foundations Bible College as I did my homeschooling. In the evening, my father would read a chapter from 365 Read-Aloud Bedtime Bible Stories and pray with my siblings and I before we dozed off to sleep. On Sundays and Wednesdays, Rev. Kluttz, whom we call endearingly, Grandpa Bob, and his daughter, Aunty Karen, would teach us straight from God’s Word. This was the routine for me for the 2 years I spent in Japan. These activities did not mean that I was saved. However, they were the catalysts that God not only used to lead me to Himself; He also used the King James Bible to teach me the English language.
I only truly understood the Gospel and the evil of my sin when I was 8-years-old. Before, I would only go with the flow. I didn’t want to disobey my parents, or be caught doing so, because of the consequences that would strike my backside. I did not perceive that I was a sinner and needed Jesus’ blood to cleanse me from my sins. It was only when I was lying on my bed that one night and could not fall asleep. I started thinking of death and hell. Depictions of hell from tracts and visual aids re-entered my mind. The pained and anguished facial expressions that screamed in silence haunted me. Sleep was thrown out the window and I started calling for my father in the dead of the night.
It was then that my father retold to me the Gospel. He reminded me that I am a sinner and cannot save myself. He explained why Jesus had to die such a painful death on the cross. He did it in order to save my soul and to pay the penalty for my sins. Not only did Jesus die on the cross, but He also rose on the third day to conquer death and secure eternal life for His children. Only then did I fully grasp the true meaning of salvation. I thank God for His salvation so rich and free!
Things did not stop there. I still had much physical and spiritual growing to do. I thank God for my Sunday school teachers and especially my parents who continued to teach me and reprove me when I turned aside. This was also one of the things I had to learn: becoming a child of God did not mean perfection. I still had to struggle with the desire to sin. It was through these experiences that I came through my life verse, John 8:10–11, “When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” This verse gave me the strength not to wallow in my sin and self-pity, but to repent and ask for the Lord’s help to live a life pleasing unto Him.
Despite not being called into full-time service, I am entering FEBC for one year in order to ground myself in the fundamental doctrines of the Christian Faith. I know that even though I have been listening to preachers and teachers of the Bible since young, I still have so many lessons to learn and misconceptions to unlearn. I pray that I will be humble to receive the teachings from God’s Word and apply them into my life. I pray also that the Lord may reveal to me what He wants me to do in my life after my time here in FEBC. To God be the glory!
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