The Theological and Pastoral Wisdom of the Rev Dr Timothy Tow
Christians are exhorted to “remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” (Heb 13:7). It is important to remember the faith and teachings of godly men who have gone before us so that the pure Word of God may continually be held in high regard. This is why a selection of the Rev Dr Timothy Tow’s writings from Life Bible-Presbyterian Church (LBPC) Weekly (Life Weekly) and True Life Bible-Presbyterian Church (TLBPC) Weekly (True Life Weekly) has been compiled in order that the sound and biblical teachings be not lost. Through his writings, he addresses theology that covers various topics such as Theism (the study of God), Anthropology (the study of Man), Soteriology (the study of Salvation) and Eschatology (the study of the End Times). Furthermore, Rev Tow held missions and evangelism close to his heart and often stressed the need for more work to be done in fulfilment of the Great Commission. His writings cover reports of missions work he was engaged in and his vision for future work in God’s harvest field.
In addition, as Pastor of LBPC and TLBPC, he writes devotionally and counsels his church members on practical issues surrounding the Christian faith in daily life, worship and service. He often emphasised the Christian’s duty to be good stewards of God’s resources and time. In numerous articles, Rev Tow made use of illustrations like stories or testimonies to communicate God’s truth to the reader. His writings are never dull but are full of vibrancy as he recounts his personal experiences of God’s working in His life. As he shared of God’s goodness and providence in his life, readers are reminded of God’s sovereignty, grace and mercy.
As founder of the Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC) and Pastor of LBPC at the same time, Rev Tow often spoke of these two entities with great fondness. He counseled the students in the FEBC and the members of LBPC with fatherly care. As both the FEBC and LBPC reside on the same premises in 9A and 10 Gilstead Road, Rev Tow often stressed the importance of living charitably with one another in an economical and frugal way. He also emphasised the importance of thanking God for every blessing and deliverance upon Church and College, and summed it up with the Chinese saying, “When you drink water, think about its source.”
May all who read these writings be richly blessed and built up in the Lord.
Importance of Theology
The Rev Timothy Tow discussed the Christian Faith with pastorly warmth and counsel. The importance of studying Theology is emphasised in order that the Christian may be well equipped to fight spiritual battles. Theology refers to the doctrine and study of God and we learn of God through the Holy Scriptures that are inspired and perfectly preserved through the ages (2 Tim 3:16, Matt 5:18). Understanding the various attributes of God brings comfort, peace and encouragement to souls that are afflicted and having a deep understanding of doctrine gives guidance in daily life. Rev Tow wrote devotionally as he pondered upon the brevity of life and urged Christians to give their lives to serve God fulltime in light of Christ’s soon-coming return. To those who are seeking an answer to life’s questions, Rev Tow pointed them to the Saviour—Jesus Christ, who is willing to save and grant peace forevermore.
Rev Tow professed that Theology is the “Queen of sciences” as it brings its students to a more intimate knowledge and understanding of who God is. It is highly effective and powerful in saving the lost, convicting men of sin, and healing them from the wounds of sin. He likens Doctrine to the “Prescription of a doctor” that must be “strictly and accurately dispensed” without the slightest subtraction. Like what the Apostle Paul advised young Timothy, Rev Tow advised the young, to give attention to the study of theology. By being informed and equipped with the Word of God, Christians are more ready and able to contend for the faith intelligently.
Sovereignty of God
God’s Sovereignty is a vital attribute that we must never forget. Rev Tow recognised this and often reminds his readers to find comfort in the knowledge that God is in control over every event and happening in life. To overcome the fear of men, Christians are urged to trust in God instead. It is impossible to satisfy all men, thus we are not to put our confidence in men, but seek to please God in every small thing. When we fear God, we will “shrink from the terrors of men.” When disheartened and downcast, Christians can look to creation as a form of comfort. Rev Tow drew comfort from King David’s observation of creation. It was by looking at the creation around us and above us that King David went beyond to find “God-awareness.” David sings, “When I consider thy heavens, the work ofthy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man,that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Ps 8:3, 4). Truly, when we look at nature, we are reminded of how puny we are and how awesome the Lord is. Readers are reminded that all things work out for good and nothing happens by chance. The thought of God’s sovereignty brings ease to every heart that trusts in Him.
Providence of God
Furthermore, Rev Tow testifies of how God is our Great Provider. When we encounter difficulties and dangers, the Lord is ever willing to deliver us. Christ always seeks to do us good. When we are in need of daily necessities, the Lord is swift to supply. Rev Tow rightfully proclaimed, “We owe to God the day-to-day supply of the four fundamentals (according to Chinese idiom) of our livelihood, viz. clothing, makan, housing and transport.”
In light of God’s Providence, Christians are exhorted to be grateful to the Lord for His manifold blessings and to remember the poor and needy (Gal 2:10). A common problem believers face is to fear that God will not provide for their needs. Instead of fearing their own lack of faithfulness to the Lord, they fear that He will fail. This ought not to be, and readers are exhorted to “learn well that providing for our wants is God’s business, not ours. We have nothing at all to do with it. But we have everything to do with our own duty, our allotted work, the doing of God’s will… if we do them with fidelity, God will care for us.” Let us never forget to be faithful in our duties to the Lord as He does the work of providing for our needs!
The Bible and Its Doctrines
Rev Tow often wrote about the Holy Bible—God’s written and given Word to Man. He likens the Bible to a “diamond of truth with many facets” that teaches man how he came into existence and why he is living in this present world that is filled with misery. The Bible reveals the way of salvation and also provides divine wisdom and instruction on how to live a happy and successful life in the Lord. It records the law of God and promises blessings upon those who obey it and cursing upon those who disobey. Jesus Christ remains the central theme throughout the Bible.
Regretfully, there are many modernists and Bible scholars who undermine and take a very low view of God’s Word. This has given rise to the production of multiple versions of the Bible that give an inaccurate translation and reproduction of the original Scripture. In addition, vital doctrines like the doctrine of Christ and of creation have been sabotaged. Rev Tow refuted the bold claims of these scholars who take a low view of Scripture and took the time to carefully examine disputed Bible verses and passages in light of the original languages. He faithfully claimed that “The Bible, God’s Holy Word, is inerrant, i.e., has no error; and infallible, i.e., cannot make any mistake (Matt 5:18), is the Gibraltar of our faith!” Young FEBC students are warned not to fall into the “well of scholarship” that tempts one to approach Scripture without faith and belief. No one is able to speak anything against the truth but for the truth, and every jot and tittle remains perfect and preserved (Matt 5:18). JK/KML
FEBC’S END-OF-TERM THANKSGIVING
How we thank God for another successful semester despite the hardships and restrictions due to the pandemic. As Psalm 91:3 says, “Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.”
The College family had a blessed thanksgiving dinner and service on Friday April 29 at the College premises. We could enjoy once again a dinner buffet out in the garden under the evening sky. After dinner was the thanksgiving service at the FEBC Hall. Praise items were presented by students from the different countries, and graduands gave their testimonies. The Rev Clement Chew spoke on the topic “Labourers Together with God” (1 Cor 3:5–9).
The Daily Vacation Bible College (DVBC) from May 2 to 7 was open to the public to attend physically now that restrictions due to the pandemic have been lifted. Biblical Separation was taught by the Principal.
Tonight will see 32 graduating with their hard earned certificates and degrees. The graduation service will be held at Calvary Pandan BPC, 6pm. In conjunction with FEBC’s 60th anniversary, a special edition of The Burning Bush featuring the pastoral and theological wisdom of FEBC’s founding Principal—the Rev Dr Timothy Tow—from his Weekly writings will be given out. Do come and rejoice with the College. JK
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