In the New Year 2022, FEBC reopened with a Day of Prayer on Monday, January 3. Faculty, staff, and students assembled at the FEBC Hall for a time of Bible meditation, testimonies, and prayer.
The Principal spoke from Ecclesiastes 3:1–11, in particular verse 11 which says, “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” It is the Romans 8:28 of the Old Testament. Times are ugly for those without God, but when we have God in our minds and hearts, life and circumstances can be beautiful because God’s plan and purpose for His people are always good and will result in His glory.
The Principal also brought to the attention of the college family that the year 2022 is FEBC’s 60th year (Diamond Jubilee). Throughout the six decades, FEBC has seen changes to its personnel, premises, and programmes, but its position in terms of doctrine can never and must never change. FEBC must remain a Reformed, Premillennial, Separatist Bible College by upholding the Verbal Plenary Inspiration (VPI) and Verbal Plenary Preservation (VPP) of the Bible, its consequent infallibility and inerrancy in the original languages, and its sole, supreme and final authority for faith and practice.
The lecturers/tutors (and courses) for the January–April 2022 semester are: Rev Dr Jeffrey Khoo (Doctrine of Providence), Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew (Old Testament Poetry, Homiletics, Hebrew Reading II), Rev Dr Prabhudas Koshy (Proverbs), Rev Dr Koa Keng Woo (Bible Geography II, Church Music IV), Rev Stephen Khoo (Esther), Rev Tan Kian Sing (2 Timothy & Philemon), Rev Dr Jose Lagapa (Church History I), Rev Clement Chew (Hebrew Elementary II, Haggai & Zechariah), Miss Carol Lee (Theological Research and Writing), Rev Zhu Jianwei (Systematic Theology IV: Eschatology [Chinese]), Joshua Yong (Contemporary Theology IV), Joycelyn Chng (Introduction to Christian Education), Cornelius Koshy (Greek Elementary II), Samuel Joseph (Greek Exegesis II), Khoo May Lynn (Pianoforte), Mrs Patricia Joseph (English Intensive II), and Eld Han Soon Juan (English Advanced II).
Eleven Basic Theology for Everyone courses are offered online to the public this semester—nine are livestreamed (Doctrine of Providence, Old Testament Poetry, Proverbs, Esther, 2 Timothy & Philemon, Church History I, Haggai & Zechariah, Contemporary Theology IV, Systematic Theology IV in Chinese), and two are video-screened (Systematic Theology II, 1 Chronicles).
Total enrolment in the January–April 2022 semester was 623: 30 fulltime residential students and 593 part-time students from 12 countries (Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sierra Leone, South Korea, Thailand). There were three new students: Andrew Abecendario Adolacion and Florante Campos Cabanas from the Philippines, and Lee Hasom from South Korea.
THE ISSUE OF THE BIBLICAL TEXT
Rev Jonathan Langat
The issue of the Biblical text was foreign to this writer and to most people of his background. No translation of the Kalenjin Bible has ever been done from the original languages. Nevertheless, by the grace of God, many Kalenjin Christians sincerely believe the Word of God and all the fundamental doctrines in it. It was not until this writer had joined Bomet Bible Institute (BBI) that he got a glimpse of the issue of the Biblical text. More light was shed when he enrolled at Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC) in Singapore. This place gave him a wholesome understanding of God and His Word. The ethos and pathos of the College was in honor and praise of the Almighty God. At the start, it was strange to him to see the spirit and the wisdom in which the lecturers taught God’s Word. This inflamed his heart for the Lord. However, controversy arose when some doubted the Word of God and questioned its preservation. The controversy brought the best out of those who taught and defended the Verbal Plenary Preservation (VPP) of the Word of God.
Truth will out. VPP was debated. The exchanges revealed the fallacy of those who denied VPP. The controversy eventually culminated in the antagonists seeking to oust the College from its premises. Persecution is an expression of humiliation and defeat; it is never a point of argument. For instance, when the antagonists of Christianity could not resist the spirit and wisdom of Stephen, they resorted to persecution and murder. “Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” (Act 6:9–10). Stephen was a man of Scripture and of eloquence too. His foes could not stand the truth which he presented so clearly. The truth stirred them but instead of repenting, they hit back at him as they had done to Jesus Christ. “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.” (Acts 7:54). “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:12–13).
The defence of the twin doctrines of Verbal Plenary Inspiration (VPI) and VPP stirred the hearts of doubting Thomases. The presentation of these doctrines was as cold water to a thirsty wayfaring man but to others it was all gall and wormwood. This writer witnessed an influx of evening part-time students to the College in those days. Although classes were scheduled to begin at 7.30 pm, students were present in the College premises as early as 6 pm. The regular full-time students were motivated by them. These students came from across all the Bible-Presbyterian Churches and beyond. FEBC’s witness angered those who opposed VPP. It was strange indeed that some opponents resorted to vulgar language to express their anger and opposition. So, it was in the Bible times – “And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.” (Acts 13:44–45). Since this writer had never witnessed that before in his Christian life until then, it was disturbing indeed. Now he knows why there should be vigorous contention for the faith which was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). Despite the opposition and persecution that followed, the Lord stood with FEBC and gave victory to His faithful servants by vindicating the twin doctrines of VPI and VPP through a court of law in the land as a testimony to them.
Now that the light of understanding has dawned on him and on so many Christians of his background, it behoved that this truth be discussed and presented to all. The twin doctrines of VPI and VPP lead to a faithful and perfect Bible that brings to God’s people God’s Word. This work seeks to direct many Christians to know the truth so that the truth might make them free from sin and heresy. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31–32). The truth shall not only make one free, but it also makes one see. “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” (Ephesians 3:8–12).
The study of theology is not only for scholarship’s sake but also for the enabling of faithful scholars to make the saints see the mysteries in the Word and to have fellowship thereof. That indeed is the fundamental objective. “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (1 Timothy 4:15–16).
There is an urgent need to have a Kalenjin Bible translation based on the Traditional and Received Text of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. The Kalenjin Bible (1969) was translated from the Revised Standard Version (RSV) which is a product of the United Bible Societies based on corrupted texts. There is a need for a better Kalenjin Bible translation. Some scholars claim that the variants among texts do not affect fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. The claim is not true. Christian doctrines are built upon every word of Scripture. Doctrines have been affected greatly by the corruptions. The current Kalenjin Bible must be evaluated in the light of the Traditional and Received Text published by the Trinitarian Bible Society (TBS). The analysis will show why a better translation of the Kalenjin Bible is warranted.
[The Rev Jonathan Langat graduated cum laude from FEBC with his BTh in 2001 and MDiv in 2003. He is a pastor in the Africa Gospel Unity Church and the Academic Dean of Bomet Bible Institute in Kenya. He is currently a Doctor of Religious Education (DRE) candidate of FEBC and writing his dissertation on the need for the Kalenjin Bible to be translated from the traditional Hebrew Masoretic Text.]
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