Pastor Jeffrey Khoo
Hebrews 13:7, “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.”
We are to remember our spiritual leaders, especially those who preached and taught us the Word of God, “considering the end of their conversation.” The word “end” can mean “purpose”. Here, the word “end” means “exit”. Remember their “exit”. It talks about their home-going. They have completed their race here on earth, they have fought the good fight, they have completed their task and the Lord has called them home. “Conversation” here speaks of their conduct, their manner of life. So, remember your pastors and teachers who have fed you with God’s Word, who have taught you. Remember them for their faithful ministry of the Word, their faithfulness until the end. Remember their good teaching.
I thank God that we had a good pastor and teacher in our late founding pastor, the Rev Dr Timothy Tow. I was privileged to have been his student at FEBC and I must remember him. I remember not just him, but also all that he had taught me, and even how he had set a good example for me to follow—his conversation, his manner of life, “whose faith follow”—his teaching. I thank God for the Reformed and Premillennial Faith I had received from him.
When I entered FEBC I was not Bible-Presbyterian, I was more Brethren, dispensational, and against infant baptism. But I thank God that I was taught the good old faith by him. The biblical faith, covenant theology, the unity of the Scriptures, and the imminent return of Jesus Christ. This theology is so consistent, so beautiful and so glorifying to God. By and by, my eyes opened. I was one of those in class that challenged because I was against infant baptism: “How can you baptise infants when they cannot even confess faith?” Rev Tow was very gentle with me, “Study some more.” I was just a junior student. I thought I knew, but actually I knew very little. Slowly, as I began to study more of theology and read Reformed books on theology, searching the Scriptures, I began to understand why infant baptism is not Roman Catholic but biblical because our God is not just a God of the individual but also of the family. That is why Peter and Silas were able to say “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31). They did not go on to explain what “the house” meant; it was understood. The people there and then understood what it meant. It meant “thy family”. Why? It goes back to God’s covenant in the Old Testament. Covenant theology—your faith, your family, your children—how God wants to bless the family as a unit, and what baptism entails, what it means. Then my eyes opened. I thank God for Rev Tow’s very patient and loving teaching. He showed brotherly love (philadelphia) in his teaching of the Scriptures, and I began more and more to see. I thank God for his wisdom. I thank God for his insights into theology and God’s Word. I thank God for the Reformed and Premillennial Faith.
I pray you know your faith and how to express or articulate it when people ask you, “You are Bible-Presbyterian—what do you believe?” I pray you’ll know how to explain your faith and give a reason for your faith. And if you know that what you believe is very good for you and not only for you but also for others because others may be seeking the truth, and they may be confused or lost, they don’t know what to think or believe and they come asking you a question—“Who is God? What is God? What is this all about?”—you can explain to them. When they know the truth, they see and are set free; that is how you show your love to them. You release them of their blindness and bondage with the truth.
I thank God for Rev Tow not only for his doctrine but also for his humility. He is someone who can change, who can correct himself. Rev Tow followed Buswell who said that the days of Genesis were figurative days, not literal 24-hr days. Rev Tow held to that view. But he said, “I don’t believe that the days are eons (meaning long long periods of time, millions or billions of years), I reject that, because that would be the falsehood of evolution, the world is not that old, the universe is not that old. But I cannot say that they are literal 24-hour days. So, if you ask me what are the days, they are not man-days but God-days. Only God knows how long He took, but not millions and billions of years.”
Later on, when Dr John Whitcomb from Grace Seminary, one of the leaders of the creationist movement, was invited to preach and teach in our midst, he expounded the Word very powerfully—Genesis 1, how the days must be literal 24-hour days. Why? Because of the Hebrew word yom—the numerical adjective—first, second and third. Always, when the word yom or “day” is used with the numerical adjective in the Old Testament, it always means a 24-hour day. Also, the phrase “evening and morning” speaks of the 24-hour cycle. Also, the Sabbath commandment, “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work” (Exod 20:9–10). In other words, “Pattern your work week after mine.” This must mean literal 24-hour days.
Rev Tow one day told me, “I have changed my view, I now believe that the creation days are literal 24-hour days.” He was someone who was so humble. Why? Because he was able to submit himself to the sole, supreme and final authority of the Scriptures. So, I have learned this from him. And when we can remember in a good way—our teachers—then we will know how to show this kind of love, philadelphia.
I thank the Lord again for Rev Tow’s humility, because when he was teaching Systematic Theology, he taught Verbal Plenary Inspiration, and that inerrancy is in the autographs. No mention of the apographs—the Scriptures we have in our hands today. Well, the autographs we do not have anymore. But the inspiration and inerrancy only in the autographs? There is this big blank space concerning the present Scriptures—what kind of Scriptures do we have in our hands today? Thankfully, he was also able to correct himself. Rather, not correct—we believe in the Verbal Plenary Inspiration of the Scriptures in the autographs—but improve: “Yes, in the past, I only talked about the inerrancy in the autographs, but surely there is something more than that—the preservation. How can inspiration be without the preservation?” “Inspiration without preservation”, he said, “is illogical”. They are twin doctrines. So when I began to teach on the Verbal Plenary Preservation of Scriptures, he said amen to it. He was also gripped and convicted by the doctrine, and took a strong stand for it. His wisdom, his humility!
Let us remember our pastors and teachers of days gone by, their good teaching and godly example in the Lord. Thank God for them.
Dr Theodore P Letis’ booklet, which was first published as A New Hearing for the Authorized Version in 1978, is now republished as Today’s Christian & the Church’s Bible: A Time to Return to the Authorized Version by The Greater Christian Heritage to be released in July 2023. Here is the publisher’s introduction:
“Christians today have access to a wide variety of Bible translations suited to any temperament. However, the competing textual theories of various specialists, and the pragmatic concerns of the Bible marketing industry have left many overwhelmed by choice as they seek a reliable version of God’s Word.
“In this informative booklet (formerly titled A New Hearing for the AV), the late ecclesiastical historian Dr. Theodore P. Letis helps those lost among an overabundance of Bible translations return to the reliability and trustworthiness of Christendom’s most celebrated and accepted Bible—the Authorized Version, also known as the King James Version.
“His study highlights the superiority of the Authorized Version’s underlying text, translation technique, and English usage. He also shows its link with our past and how it is a unifying factor for the present as he cuts a compelling case for its continued use in homes, churches, and schools.
“For those seeking discernment in such matters, Dr. Letis’ teachings are a fresh call directing young pilgrims, as well as seasoned saints, back to the “old paths” of biblical Christianity.”
I heartily recommend this booklet. Here is my blurb printed at the back cover:
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). Today’s Christian & the Church’s Bible upholds the AV/KJV as the Word of God due to its superior underlying text (the Ecclesiastical Text) and method of translation (Formal Equivalency) which is in keeping with the verbal and plenary inspiration and preservation of the Holy Scriptures. This primer is worth your time and attention. Tolle Lege.” —Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Khoo (BTh, MDiv, STM, PhD), Principal, Far Eastern Bible College, Singapore.
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