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Vol. XIX No. 17
23 January 2022

PROVIDENCE IN THE CATECHISMS

The Belgic Confession (1561)

Article 13. The Doctrine of God’s Providence: We believe that this good God, after creating all things, did not abandon them to chance or fortune but leads and governs them according to His holy will, in such a way that nothing happens in this world without God’s orderly arrangement.

Heidelberg Catechism (1563)

Question 27. What do you understand by the providence of God? Answer. The almighty, everywhere-present power of God, whereby, as it were by His hand, He still upholds heaven and earth with all creatures, and so governs them that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, indeed, all things come not by chance, but by His fatherly hand.

Westminster Larger Catechism (1648)

Question 18. What are the works of providence? Answer. God’s works of providence are His most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures; ordering them, and all their actions, to His own glory.

Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 5: Of Providence

Section 1. God the great Creator of all things doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

Section 2. Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, He ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.

Section 3. God, in His ordinary providence, maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at His pleasure.

Section 4. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in His providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men, and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to His own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God; who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.

Section 5. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave, for a season, His own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.

Section 6. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous judge, for former sins, doth blind and harden, from them He not only withholdeth His grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had, and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasions of sin; and, withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan, whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others.

Section 7. As the providence of God doth, in general, reach to all creatures; so after a most special manner, it taketh care of His Church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof.

“COME LOW UNTO US”
A Review by Jose Lagapa II (Biboy)

Thank God for another opportunity to watch the film about the “Blind Korean Pastor” once more after about 6–7 times. The previous times, I have only watched this film when they were being shown during church camps, prayer meetings, or special church meetings. This is the first time I get to write a review of it.

The film titled “Come Low unto Us” shows the life of John An (An Yohan), widely known as the “Blind Korean Pastor”, whom I had the opportunity of seeing in person years back during one of the prayer meetings of True Life BPC in 2013 when he came by for a visit. I still remember him always having a bright smile on his face. Like the woman suffering from tuberculosis that he met at the waterfall, I wondered how he could have such joy emanating from his person despite having no sight. However, after watching the film made about his life throughout my youth, I now know the reason why the Blind Korean Pastor has a smile on his face—it is the providence of God. Without it, he would have no reason to be joyful. God’s gracious providence can be seen vividly in the movie.

One main lesson that I took away from the film was the definition of providence which we also just learned in the first lesson of the course on the Doctrine of Providence: “God is on the throne, and He is in control.” If God has a plan for your life, He will make sure to see it through till the end. This is what exactly happened in John An’s life. No matter how hard he tried to run away from God’s will, God moved the circumstances in his life to guide him back to Himself.

Just when he finally thought that he could say goodbye to his father’s prayers and pursue his own ambitions and dreams, he was struck with blindness. When he lost all hope after completely losing his sight and his wife and daughter leaving him, he decided to take matters into his own hands and tried to take his own life. But God’s will was not for him to end his life at that point in time. Therefore, the attempt was futile and led to his remembrance of the Word of God in Joshua 1:5b, “as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” It was there and then that he surrendered his life to the Lord and let Him take the reins of his life.

This was the major turning point of John’s life; however, life was not going to be easy. He met with many trials and disappointments, but the encouragement from God’s Word and his trust in God’s gentle guiding hand kept him going till he graduated from learning the Scriptures in the seminary. It did not stop there. God still had many more things for John to fulfill in his life. John continued to follow his Heavenly Father’s leading. I pray that I may be able to see God’s will and leading in my life, and to obey it willingly and faithfully and not wait for His chastisement before I turn to Him.

HELL’S MUSEUM @ HAW PAR VILLA
A Review by Han Weiwei

Haw Par Villa is an iconic heritage park with more than 1,000 sculptures and dioramas full of Asian culture, history, philosophy and religion. Hell’s Museum in the park is the first museum of hell in the world. Hell’s Museum provides a deeper understanding of Haw Par Villa’s infamous Ten Courts of Hell. The Ten Courts of Hell give the Chinese concept of sin and punishment in the afterlife through graphic representations.

Different religions have different concepts of death and the afterlife. In the religions of the world, there are two main views concerning life and death—the linear and the cyclical. The Ten Courts of Hell show the cyclical view of life and death. Hell here is not eternal, but temporary. After a man dies, the soul will go through all the ten courts of hell and will be judged by the king of that court. There are different terrible punishments for different sins. After a soul goes through all these courts, it will be determined whether he would reincarnate as a human being or as an animal. Life and death take turns to come again and again unless he or she is good enough to become immortal or a god in order to escape reincarnation.

Hell’s Museum gives people a visual depiction of death and the afterlife. Horrifying images of punishments scare people and remind them to be good. Religions in the world tell man that he can only be saved by his own good works. It is a religion without a Saviour. Man must work hard to save himself. But the problem is how can a man save himself from sin without help? The world’s religions tell people not to sin but do not provide the way to get them out of sin since man is totally depraved—there is nothing good in man. Therefore, there is no hope for man to escape from endless reincarnations in the Buddhist-Taoist religious system. What’s more, the standards for being good enough to become immortal are not clear. How much good must a man do to be good enough? In reality, it does not help to solve any problem for man. Man still lives in sin and dies in sin.

The only way to be saved from sin and punishment is to believe in Jesus Christ, the only Saviour of the world. In order to be reconciled with our Creator God, we need a Mediator. We can only be saved by the grace of God, not by our own works. It is the precious blood of Jesus shed on the cross that can wash away our sins. Death and the punishment that comes after death are eternal for those who do not believe in Jesus. The only thing sinful man can do is to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24).

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