Bible-Presbyterian churches (Singapore)

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Bible-Presbyterian Church
ClassificationProtestant
OrientationPresbyterian, Fundamentalist, Evangelical
Origin1955 (64 years ago) (1955)
Singapore
Separated fromPresbyterian Church in Singapore and Malaysia
Defunct1988 (31 years ago) (1988)
Congregations32
Members20,000

The Bible-Presbyterian Church ("BPC") was a conservative reformed denomination in Singapore.[1] It existed from 1955 to 1988. Since that time, Bible-Presbyterian ("B-P" or "BP") churches have continued to exist separately. The movement grew out of the Bible Presbyterian Church in the United States. As of 2009, there were 20,000 members in 32 B-P churches.[2]

Roland Chia suggests that the BPC was noted for a belief in literal six-day creation and a preference for the King James Version ("KJV").[3]

Contents

History[edit]

The BPC was founded in 1955 by Timothy Tow. Tow had been influenced first by John Sung, and later by Carl McIntire. He was strongly opposed to liberal theology and ecumenism, and the Chinese Presbyterian Synod was connected to the World Council of Churches. A conflict ensued, and a number of churches left the Synod. Tow had been the pastor of the Life Church English Service at Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church, and left to form Life Bible-Presbyterian Church ("Life B-P Church").[4]

In 1988, after experiencing a period of significant dissension, the Synod of the BPC voted to dissolve itself.[5] According to Roland Chia, it was "mainly due to strong differences in interpreting the Doctrine of Biblical Separation, Fundamentalism, and Neo-Evangelicalism"[3]—as in the statement issued by the BPC on 30 October 1988 describing the dissolution.[6]

Divisions[edit]

Fundamentalist and Evangelical[edit]

The B-P churches are essentially divided into two factions. One group of churches subscribes to the fundamentalist stance of the founders; the other considers itself to be evangelical. This latter group of churches is denounced by the former to be "neo-evangelical" or "liberal", and are often called "the new B-Ps" because of a different interpretation on the doctrine of "Biblical Separation".[7] The evangelical branch of B-P churches embraces the fellowship of any church and seminary that professes evangelical Protestant Christianity and extends cooperation with para-church organizations like Campus Crusade for Christ International. Thus, many aspiring ministers prefer an evangelical seminary (such as Fuller Theological Seminary, Temple Baptist Seminary, Singapore Bible College, Trinity Theological College, Singapore or University of Nottingham) over the B-P's own seminary, Far Eastern Bible College ("FEBC"), which is fundamentalist.[8][9][10][11][12][13]

Verbal Plenary Preservation[edit]

Genesis of Debate[edit]

In the early 2000s, following the publication of Jeffrey Khoo's Kept Pure In All Ages: Recapturing the Authorised Version and the Doctrine of Providential Preservation,[14] there was a debate in the denomination over Verbal Plenary Preservation ("VPP"), which argues that the bible is 100% preserved to "jot and tittle" perfection based on Jesus' promise that "[t]ill heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" in Matthew 5:18, the proof text cited by the Westminster divines to support the doctrine of the divine preservation of God's Word in Chapter 1, Article 8 of the Westminster Confession of Faith.[14][15]

Another book, One Bible Only? – Examining Exclusive Claims for the King James Bible (Roy E. Beacham and Kevin T. Bauder, General Editors)"[16] was promoted by Lim Teck Chye among leaders in Life B-P Church and culminated in him distributing a paper entitled "Preserving Our Godly Path" (endorsed by 21 leaders) when he spoke at the Adult Sunday School on 1 December 2002.[17] The copy of this paper currently on Life B-P Church's website is undated,[18] and the copy accessed by Khoo on 1 June 2006 had been amended from the original which was first distributed to the church's Sunday School on 1 December 2002[19] when Tow, who did not endorse the paper, was still the pastor of the church.[20] Khoo, who was in attendance at the Sunday School on 1 December 2002, raised his hand to clarify matters at the end of Lim's speech but was not given a chance to respond; however, Khoo published in January 2003 in The Burning Bush (Vol 9 No 1) his article "A Plea for a Perfect Bible,"[21] first presented on 3 October 2002 at his Soteriology Class at the FEBC.[22]

New Division[edit]

The fundamentalist faction supported VPP and, from there, claimed that the Greek Textus Receptus ("TR")/Majority Text and the Hebrew Masoretic Text underlying the King James Bible were the supernaturally, perfectly preserved texts since they were made available throughout church history without corruption, unlike the older texts underlying the modern versions. They point out how God would preserve his truth throughout all ages without needing his followers to excavate for them and thus, the Byzantine Text and the Masoretic Text which were made available to Christians throughout church history were to be favoured.

On the other hand, the evangelical camp denounced VPP and felt that in reinforcing KJV-Onlyism, it is unscriptural. The camp views VPP proponents as erroneously combining the doctrine of the inspiration of scripture and divine preservation of only one particular type of text. The fundamentalist's conclusion is that all New Testament and Old Testament manuscripts are corrupted, except for the perfectly preserved text that underlies the KJV. But the accuracy over the TR underlying the KJV is doubted, since there are close to 2,000 areas whereby Erasmus's TR differs from the Majority Text (the text which he compiled from) and 52 variations have been found within just two verses within the Majority Text.[citation needed] Therefore, the Evangelicals conclude that the TR is seen to be not the perfect copy of the original autograph.

Misconception and Clarification[edit]

The fundamentalist camp did not err, as viewed by the evangelical camp, as they believe that God has preserved His inspired words in the Traditional/Byzantine/Majority Text. However, as this has more than 5,000 Greek manuscripts, they do not deny that God allowed copyist errors or variations to enter into the transmission process through the pen of fallible scribes.[23] They also believe that God's providential hand kept the inspired words of Scripture from being lost or corrupted so that in the fullness of time – in the most opportune of time of the Reformation when the true church separated from the false, when the study of the original languages was emphasized, and the printing press invented (which meant that no longer would there be any need to handcopy the Scriptures thereby ensuring a uniform text) – God restored from out of a pure stream of preserved Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, the purest Hebrew and Greek Text of all—the Text that underlies the KJV—that accurately reflects the original Scriptures.[21]

Why the TR Underlying the KJV?[edit]

Although there were other TRs – which were also compiled from manuscripts in the Traditional/Byzantine/Majority Text and from which were translated other excellent Bibles[24] such as Luther's German Bible, the Spanish Reina Valera, the Polish Biblia Gdanska and the French Martin Bible – the TR underlying the KJV was a corporate effort of 57 of the most outstanding biblical-theological, and more importantly, Bible-believing scholars of their day. Consistent with Prov 11:14 that "in a multitude of counsellors there is safety," the KJV translators – who had all the various editions of the TR to refer to – were providentially guided by the Holy Spirit to make the right textual decisions. No one should play textual critic and be a judge of God's Word today as God is His own Textual Critic ("Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar" (Romans 3:4)).[21][25]

On the issue of why the TR underlying the KJV – and not Luther's German Bible, or the Spanish Reina Valera, or the Polish Biblia Gdanska, or the French Martin Bible, or some other language Bible – is chosen (while VPP proponents do not deny such Bibles to be faithful and reliable versions that are accurately translated and based on the TR), God's stamp of approval is clear from the fruits (Matthew 7:17–20). Helped along by the course of history (under the control of God) which has made English a worldwide language used by at least 300 million people who have English as their native tongue and by many more millions whose second language is English, the KJV is known the world over and more widely read than any other translation of the holy scriptures and it has been used by many missionaries (not proficient in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek) as a basis and guide for their own translation work into other foreign languages to reach converts who know no English.[21]

On the evangelical camp's objection that there is no Scripture verse pointing to the Greek Text underlying the KJV being an exact copy of the original Scriptures, VPP proponents can point them to the canonisation of Scriptures (which consist of 66 books (39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament)) at the Council of Carthage in AD 397 being also not supported by any Scripture verse.[21]

What is the TR Underlying the KJV?[edit]

The TR underlying the KJV is not completely Erasmus's, Stephen's, or Beza's but a new edition of the TR, which is purest and reflects the textual decisions of the KJV translators as they prayerfully studied and compared the manuscripts in the preserved Traditional/Byzantine/Majority Text before them. And according to the Trinitarian Bible Society, "The editions of Beza, particularly that of 1598, and the two last editions of Stephens, were the chief sources used for the English Authorised Version of 1611. ... The present edition of the Textus Receptus underlying the English Authorised Version of 1611 follows the text of Beza's 1598 edition as the primary authority, and corresponds with 'The New Testament in the Original Greek according to the text followed in the Authorised Version,' edited by F H A Scrivener."[21]

The B-P Churches Today[edit]

The Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore ("BPCIS")[edit]

Started by Zion-Carmel faction[edit]

With the denomination divided following the dissolution of the Synod in 1988 and the VPP issue in 2002/2003, Tan Eng Boo in "A Very Sad State of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore Today" posed the question, "Who is the original B-P Church?" and followed up immediately with another, "Are we not the ones?"[26][27] Tan's 2009 article, which first appeared in the weekly of his church Grace Bible-Presbyterian Church ("Grace B-P Church"), was posted on a blog[28] that was started in 2008 but removed in November 2016. The blog resurfaced in January 2017 on a new site with the title "Far Eastern Bible College" (previously "Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC) and Bible-Presbyterian Churches"). It contains many articles, including Tan's 2009 article,[27] critical of FEBC re-posted on the new blogspot.

Tan attended the 3rd annual retreat of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore ("BPICS") on 11–12 July 2016. Although his church Grace B-P Church is not yet a member of the BPCIS, he spoke and lamented about churches in the old BPC (Synod), which dissolved in 1988, "fighting over demon-possession, bible versions, charismatic issues, and the use of instruments for worship" all of which he considered to be non-essentials.[29]

The BPCIS was started by the Zion-Carmel faction whose stand of "tongues being ecstatic utterances which have not ceased" was one of the issues which had caused the dissolution of the B-P Synod in 1988.[30]

New Book (2018) with controversial claims on B-P Heritage[edit]

General overview[edit]

The Zion-Carmel faction published in October 2018 a book Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore (2018) edited by General Editor Chua Choon Lan (CL Chua) and Editors Quek Swee Hwa (SH Quek), David Wong and Daniel Chua.[31] This book is an attempt to rewrite and redefine The Singapore B-P Church Story (1995) written by Timothy Tow, the founding pastor of the Singapore B-P Church. Chia Kim Chwee, in the Foreword to Tow's book, wrote: "He [Tow] completes the book powerfully telling his readers clearly what he wants them to know. He wants them to be in no doubt what a B-P Church is and what it was founded for. He wants all to know that 'it is the duty of all true churches of the Lord Jesus Christ to make a clear testimony of their faith in Him, especially in these darkening days of apostasy in many professing churches ....'"[32] Chia is currently a non-ruling elder in Zion-Serangoon BP Church[33]

As heritage is, by definition, that which is inherited or transmitted from ancestors,[34] then the BP heritage which SH Quek (b 1941 and ordained 1970) and the three younger leaders in the Zion-Carmel faction attempt to pass on as BP legacy cannot be the original heritage of the founding pastor Timothy Tow (b 1920 and ordained 1950).

While Surgeon Chua Choon Lan wrote the most number of articles as General Editor, the key leaders in the Zion-Carmel faction are SH Quek and David Wong. SH Quek wrote the entire Chapter 2 (six articles) on "Presbyterian Heritage and Distinctives" while David Wong wrote four of the seven articles in Chapter 10 on "Controversies and Issues In The BP Church," in addition to an article entitled "Cultivating Partnerships & Avoiding Patronage" in Chapter 8 and "Afterword" at the end. Both SH Quek and David Wong answered the questions put up by the Editors in the round-table discussion in "5. Making Sense Of Synod Resolution" in Chapter 10. Daniel Chua, a graduate of the Singapore Bible College and the current Pastor-at-large of Mount Carmel BP Church, wrote the four articles in Chapter 12 on "Re-forming Of Presbytery."

In saying that Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore "records the 'wonders' the Lord had done and the 'evil' we should avoid," it is clear that the book has been written to show the alleged 'evil' of certain pioneers, chiefly Timothy Tow and his younger brother Tow Siang Hwa (SH Tow), had done to the BP Church.[35] It is unfortunate that the book, published 23 years after Timothy Tow's The Singapore B-P Church Story (1995) and almost 10 years after Tow's passing on 20 April 2009, gives Tow no opportunity to confirm or contradict many of the accounts and events involving him, as well as other events known to him. SH Tow (born 1925) was also too old (and weak) at 93 at the time of release of the book in October 2018 to do so for events involving or known to him;[36] he passed away on 8 March 2019.[37]

While the book is said to be a "bold attempt to explain and analyse the different voices, splits and controversies surrounding the BP Church in Singapore" and it claims to be objective, Jeffrey Khoo says it is not.[38] Khoo points to the misleading "moderate churches" label which the book's editors favourably claim for themselves to look appealing and "balanced," but Khoo says that the pastors and professors in the Southern Baptist Convention who deny the fundamentals of the faith also call themselves "moderates."[39]

Inconsistencies of key leaders[edit]

Despite SH Quek saying on page 443 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore that it is the Christian way to turn the other cheek which was why he had kept his peace for 30 years, he has now contradicted himself by breaking that peace. Alleging on page 429 that Timothy Tow "would not let the matter rest as he was fixed in his mind," SH Quek is now doing what he apparently did not want Tow to do. And on page 445, SH Quek says, "At Zion BP Church, we also believe in being true to biblical separation ... " However, there is no mention of biblical separation being a B-P distinctive and practice when Quek writes "Bible-Presbyterian Distinctives and Practices" on pages 71–82 of the book.

David Wong is also not without contradictions, inconsistencies and/or inaccuracies. Before the Editorial Board set up the questions for the round-table discussion in the book for David Wong and SH Quek to answer, the editors said that they hope to "[give] readers another side of the story hitherto untold, or at least not widely known."[40] If David Wong and SH Quek's side of the story had hitherto been untold, then it could not have been known at all – not "at least not widely known." In writing "Disintegration Of A Denomination, Events Leading To Dissolution of BP Synod" on pages 394–416, Wong on page 394 said, "I cannot guarantee that I will be totally objective, though I shall try to be." On the same page, he likened Life BP Church (pastored by Tow) to be "[t]he mother ... [dismissing] her children who had grown up in the same household but could no longer live in peace." However, on page 408, Wong writes, "The [Mount Carmel] leaders, having deliberated the matter carefully and prayerfully, decided that expulsion was preferred over withdrawal (as Calvary BPC had done) ..."

The matter that was deliberated on were, according to Mount Carmel (David Wong's church at that time), the "clear terms of biblical separation" but the terms such as "practise [separation] as we understand it," "determine our own association or dissociation on a case-by-case basis" and "allow the use of sound versions alongside the KJV for public reading" were imprecise.[41]

In addition, David Wong also attempts to change or distort historical facts. For example, on page 419, he states that the two founding pastors of the Bible-Presbyterian Church were Timothy Tow and Quek Kiok Chiang (KC Quek), who was the father of SH Quek. However, at the founding in January 1955 of the BP Church movement, as well as at the earlier inauguration on 20 October 1950 of the English service of Say Mia Tng or Life Church, KC Quek was only an elder.[42] But, after he was ordained on 12 August 1956, he became the founding pastor of Zion BP Church on its inception in June 1957.[43]

David Wong on pages 403-4 wrote that "[t]he BP Church was encumbered by many difficulties, bogged down for the past two years and a half [since 28 December 1987] with deep issues which were both spiritual and doctrinal in nature." But on page 445 in the round-table discussion for SH Quek and him to answer the questions set up by the Editorial Board, David Wong's answer to Q17 is: "On hindsight, 30 years on, I believe that the issues that broke up the BP Church were not doctrinal or theological."

Issue of Tongues[edit]
David Wong's position on tongues[edit]

On the controversial issue of tongues, Mount Carmel said on page 408 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore that they "take the position that [tongues] have ceased with the passing of the apostles." However, despite this, SH Tow was taken to task by David Wong for deleting the words "as signs" in "tongues as signs have ceased" as Tow had wanted to make the statement "water-tight."[44] Wong even asked in the book, "How could we know that these words ("as signs") held such power to disrupt fellowship, fuel suspicions, strain relationships, and eventually tear apart a denomination?" but including "as signs" in the phrase means that tongues have not ceased, only tongues as signs have ceased.[45] Wong also did not categorically deny SH Tow's charge that he [Wong] had, in his sermon of 4 October 1987, declared that "genuine tongues have not ceased ..."[46]

SH Quek's position on tongues[edit]

SH Quek's position on tongues is also not unambiguous. On page 432, he said "tongues historically had ceased" and "the issue for [Apostle] Paul and for us is not whether or not tongues have ceased but rather that even if they were used, they are not to be stressed and have no ongoing validity or importance" despite also saying that he is "prepared to side with the cessationist view." However, his position is still uncertain since he also says that the cessationist view "is attested by the virtual absence of tongue-speaking from apostolic times to the mid-nineteenth century." (underlining added to show discrepancies: (i) there were still some tongue-speaking from apostolic times to the mid-nineteenth century since "virtual" means " in effect, though not in fact"[34] or "[a]lmost or nearly as described, but not completely or according to strict definition"[47]; (ii) does tongue-speaking occur more frequently after the mid-nineteenth century?; and (iii) SH Quek's "cessationist" view, despite the term used, does not mean that tongue-speaking had ceased).[48]

Tow Brothers' position on tongues[edit]

Notwithstanding the "yes" and "no" answers of SH Quek and David Wong, the two Tow brothers (Timothy Tow and SH Tow) were accused of changing their position on tongues. SH Tow was alleged to have "said at the church camp just before the BP conference in Cameron Highlands from 7 to 11 September 1987 that if a person wants to speak in tongues, he could do so in private as that was his own business." And Timothy Tow, by answering queries about tongue-speaking with "I had rather speak five words with my understanding ... than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue (1 Corinthians 14:19)" was construed as implicitly saying that tongues have not ceased but only less desirable.[49]

Even if SH Tow had said what was claimed at the church camp just before the BP conference in Cameron Highlands, he cannot be faulted as what a person wants to do in private (rightly or wrongly) is indeed his own business. For Timothy Tow, it is not wrong to answer directly someone (who is convinced that tongue-speaking has not ceased) from God's Word, "I had rather speak five words with my understanding ... than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue (1 Corinthians 14:19)" as it is for argument's sake regarding which is preferable and not acknowledging that tongues have not ceased.[50] In an earlier book In John Sung's Steps – the Story of Lim Puay Hian published in 1976, Timothy Tow had related Lim Puay Hian's answer to Question 17 on whether the tongues-speaking at Corinth had last long thus: "No. After a while, the tongues ceased, even to this day. Apart from Pentecostals, the Church does not advocate speaking in tongues again. Tongues are a matter of the past."[51]

John Sung's position on tongues– CL Chua v Timothy Tow[edit]

CL Chua was also guilty of inaccuracy when on page 128 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore, he suggested that Timothy Tow who "sat under [Sung's] preaching and teaching for literally several hundred hours ... seemed to regard Sung as his spiritual master in the traditional oriental sense – for at times during deliberations on the practices, he would simply refer to his shifu (师父) to settle the issue." Chua used as reference page 252 of Tow's book, John Sung, My Teacher (1985).[52] However, a check of page 252 in Tow's book reveals that Chua's assertion is without any basis as there is no reference on this page by Tow to Sung to settle any issue. Instead, Tow wrote that he "learnt some good music and homilectics" from Sung but the "greatest lesson is not the academic, but as Dr Sung has stressed, that which comes from God, infusing new life and new devotion in every sincere servant of God."[53]

Continuing to page 253, Tow wrote that "[c]haracter and morality are pre-requisites to Christian service far greater than knowledge learned from books" and "while we do not discount the great works of spiritual men, both commentaries and treatises, John Sung has taught us to read the Bible much more than we ever will." On character, Tow went on to say that "we have not only his [Sung's] warning against money, sex, and self-will, but he was a paragon of meticulous holiness, selflessness and obedience." Tow then went on to lament about "ministers of the Gospel ... becoming more and more professional, measuring themselves in dollars and cents, so much so it is observed by the congregation that as far as so and so is concerned it is with this calculation: 'More pay, more preach. No pay, no preach'" but "[i]n the case of Dr Sung, we see that wherever he went he never wasted a minute in service."[54]

Rationale for CL Chua's representation of John Sung's position[edit]

One can understand why CL Chua made his assertion as he was probably keen or desperate to make his point from purported John Sung's personal diary records that Sung accepted tongue-speaking during his China meetings and that he [Sung] himself even experienced speaking in tongues during a prayer meeting at Bethel Mission (in Shanghai) on 28 February 1932 – so as to refute Timothy Tow's declaration that "the phenomenon of tongues-speaking was wholly unknown" in John Sung's revival meetings held in 1935 in the auditorium of Telok Ayer Church in Singapore.[55] By portraying Tow as regarding Sung as his spiritual master, Chua apparently hopes to convey to his readers that Tow would also accept this alleged practice of Sung without question. Even if (for argument's sake) the purported diary records are accurate, the assertion is baseless as Tow did not follow Sung blindly: Tow was a Calvinist[56] while Sung was an Arminian.[57]

John Sung in Shanghai[edit]

But contrary to what Chua wrote in his book, Tow in John Sung My Teacher in fact wrote that at the same Bethel Mission in Shanghai where three hundred people were slain by John Sung's message, these people went forward in deep sorrow of their sins without anyone speaking in tongues and the only tongue present ... was praise and singing with choruses of "Chey Mei Tze, Chey Mei Tze" = Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord! in Shanghainese."[58]

John Sung in Nanchang and other parts of China[edit]

Earlier, in March 1931, in the Nanchang Pentecost at a prayer meeting when the Holy Spirit fell on everybody and all began to pray at once, William E. Schubert (the host to John Sung and chief supporter of the Nanchang Campaign) reported: "There was no rushing wind, and there were no tongues that I knew of."[59]

John Sung's meetings and encounters at other Chinese cities and towns like Tsingtao (Qingdao), Tahsingting, Tsinan (Jinan), Shihkiachwang (Shijiazhuang) in Hopeh (Hebei) are also at odds with CL Chua's account of Sung accepting and experiencing tongue-speaking.[60] In fact, at Tsinan, Sung repudiated the "tongues" group which accosted and claimed him to be a charismatic.[61]

Tongues – State of Carmel-Zion bloc of churches today[edit]

David Wong said that they "never turned charismatic" despite all the suspicions and fears about the Carmel-Zion bloc of churches.[62] However, it is possible that this could have been due to the restraining influences of other leaders and the fiery debate or dispute on Charismatism within the BP Church described in Calvary's Bulletin of 8 November 1987 (printed on page 403 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore) as: "We have by God's grace (and the '95 theses') broken the 'tongues impasse.'" However, according to Harold Lindsell writing in Battle for the Bible, it may take five to fifty years for an institution to depart from the fundamentals of the faith as "any weakness regarding inerrancy would leave an opening through which liberalism would inevitably rush in;" as such, it may be too early to tell.[63]

Issue of Separation[edit]

The more serious controversy appears to be the issue of separation as this concerns the foundational basis of the BP denomination.[64]

No separation at the outset or just going independent?[edit]

CL Chua on p 113 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore attempts to paint the picture that Life BP Church probably did not break away or separate from the mother church Say Mia Tng at Prinsep Street but simply went 'independent' with its blessings. He went on to say on the same page that "17 years after the BP Church was formed, the founding pastor still called Say Mia Tng our own Mother-Church." However, this is not strange as even when a child leaves home or separates from his mother (to wed even a girl she does not like), that child can still call his mother "Mother." In the case of Say Mia Tng, she was willing to leave the Ecumenical Movement and had even allowed Timothy Tow, KC Quek and Hsu Chiang Tai – dubbed the Three Musketeers – to represent her as her Commissioners for a number of years to argue and vote for the withdrawal of the Chinese Synod from the Malayan Christian Council (MCC) which was linked to the Ecumenical Movement and World Council of Churches.[65]

Formation of Life BP Church in January 1955 after separation[edit]

Life BP Church was formed in January 1955 after the last unsuccessful battle for the Faith was fought by the Three Musketeers in Muar at the Trinity Presbyterian Church. In the same month, according to the Life Church Weekly Chronicler, "The Interim Committee decides to make our Church [Life Church (English service)] fully constituted and to sever connections with the Synod on account of modernism."[65] After 1955, Say Mia Tng or the Life Church (Chinese Service) could still continue the annual battle to petition the Chinese Synod to leave the MCC (just as Say Mia Tng had been doing through the Three Musketeers), but she would need to appoint new commissioners to represent her. Just because Life BP Church continued to use the premises of Say Mia Tng and had some of her members form the 85-member choir to perform at the FECCC General Assembly in 1956 did not mean that there was no separation by Life BP Church or that there was no prospect of Say Mia Tng joining Life BP Church in leaving the Chinese Synod, especially since the FECCC (Far Eastern Council of Christian Churches) Conference held the following year in Prinsep Street would allow her members to see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears what the fight for the Faith was all about.[66]

Separation confirmed by founding pastor and founding elder[edit]

In The Singapore B-P Church Story, Timothy Tow wrote that the BP Church founded by him was to bear the torch of the separatist stand and of the 20th Century Reformation Movement.[67] KC Quek, the father of SH Quek, in The Bible-Presbyterian Church of Singapore and Malaysia 1950-1971 concurred when he wrote that the second fold of the three-fold cord of the BP Church Movement was "the determination to separate from all entanglements with the apostasy" before going on to write, "If, as we started out in 1950, we had not taken this Scriptural position of separation (2 Cor. 6:14–18) and joined hands with the International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC) to 'contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints' (Jude 3), but had chosen organisationally not to cut the link, even indirectly, with the apostate Ecumenical Movement, we certainly would have been guilty of disobedience to the Word of God" (underlining added for emphasis).[68]

Other than the two articles in Chapter 9, "BP Welfare Services in Singapore" and "BPWS Missions To Kampuchea," Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore is conspicuous by the absence of any article on contending for the faith written by KC Quek prior to mid-1985 as he, like Timothy Tow, was an ardent follower of McIntire in the ICCC in contending earnestly for the faith and in separating from all entanglements with apostasy.[69] KC Quek was the editor of Far Eastern Beacon, an 8-page monthly newsletter launched in 1968.[70] He was the General Secretary of the ICCC after J C Maris retired in 1998 (per page 452 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore) and held the post until 2005 when his son SH Quek succeeded him. (See International Council of Christian Churches.)

Non-founding pastor Daniel Chua restates original BP position on Separation[edit]

Notwithstanding that KC Quek had stated that the BP Church at its founding took the Scriptural position of separation, Daniel Chua argues that the "Original Constitution" of the BP Church dating back to 1959 and 1971 says "nothing specific" about biblical separation.[71] Jeffrey Khoo, writing in the True Life weekly of 4 November 2018, says Chua's thinking is simplistic; and he then goes on to say that notwithstanding the absence of Article 6 "Principle and Practice of Biblical Separation" as found in the present constitution of certain BP churches (but absent in the Mount Carmel group of BP churches), there are specific statements that speak of or allude to separation as defined by the BP church's confession, history and ethos before going on to illustrate. Khoo sees in Chua saying that the doctrine of separation has become "our Achilles' heel when certain strong-minded personalities in the US, International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC) and here in Singapore extend the separation stand to a wider and wider range of issues and causes," that he (Chua) "wants a weak and regressive separation" and "thinks separation should stand still in time and make no headway as though there are no new heresies and falsehoods (or "fake news") to contend with." According to Khoo, "Chua is either naïve or does not get what biblical separation is all about" as his view "is not separation redux but separation reduced."[38]

Among the allegedly "wider and wider range of issues and causes" that Daniel Chua has in mind about separation being extended to is Timothy Tow taking a stand against the New Evangelicalism of Billy Graham and his co-operative evangelism as Chua writes that "[t]he Life Church Session and the Presbytery did not agree with Rev Timothy Tow" on this.[72] However, Timothy Tow's account in Disciples of McIntire is different in that "[h]itherto [1950-1968], the witness of separation from modernistic unbelief and ecumenical apostasy had received full support of the Church" and "amidst the historic position of the Life Church and of the Bible-Presbyterian Church movement" taken against Billy Graham for fraternising with apostate ecclesiastical powers in "co-operative evangelism" exposed in the Far Eastern Beacon serialising J.A. Johnson's book Billy Graham – the Jehoshaphat of our Generation, one or two dissenters in the Life Church Session against the pastor increased to several when he published two newsreports in the same Far Eastern Beacon, November and December 1968 on the Billy Graham-sponsored Asia-South Pacific Congress of Evangelism, Singapore, 5 to 13 November 1968.[73]

Separation from Billy Graham's Cooperative Evangelism[edit]

The non-participation of the BP churches in the Billy Graham Crusade (BCG) in 1978 was also reported by David Wong on page 419 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore as standing out since most of the churches (237 out of 265 Protestant congregations) in Singapore participated. SH Tow, who had opposed Timothy Tow in 1968 on Billy Graham but changed subsequently when he realised he had erred,[74] waxed eloquent against Billy Graham in Graham's city-wide campaign in Singapore in 1978.[75] SH Tow was invited to deliver an address on the compromise of New Evangelicalism at the Ninth Plenary Congress of the ICCC in Cape May in 1979 and he flew there simply for the delivery.[76]

Billy Graham's Crusade v John Sung's Campaign[edit]

Timothy Tow contrasted the crusades in the BGC held for five nights at the Singapore National Stadium in 1978 with the genuine Pentecostal Revival in 1935 when John Sung visited Singapore in terms of the million dollars spent and the colossal preparations (training of 5,500 counsellors, raising of a 4,500-strong choir, 3,000 ushers and 1,800 follow-up leaders) in the BGC compared to the John Sung Campaign which had not one dollar spent to lay the groundwork for Sung's coming, no organising committees, no advertisements, no counsellors, no choirs and no ushers but the results were enduring as the Preaching Bands left behind by John Sung went preaching and establishing churches in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia and "remain a viable group to this day."[77]

McIntire, Separation and New Evangelicalism[edit]

Daniel Chua on page 506 in drawing attention to Carl McIntire's address to the ministers and elders of the Bible Presbyterian Church in the U.S. on 7 September 1944 apparently attempts to paint the Singapore BP Church as out of step with McIntire on separation or McIntire changed from his original position later. But McIntire was not endorsing non-separation from Billy Graham or New Evangelicalism in the address. New Evangelicalism was not yet known or recognised in 1944 as the term was born in 1948 when Harold Ockenga gave a convocation address in the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena.[78] Billy Graham's cooperative evangelism started in 1957.[79]

The American Council of Christian Churches (ACCC), the U.S. regional body of the ICCC associated with McIntire until 1968, passed unanimously at its 26th Convention held on 24–26 October 1967 at Santa Monica a resolution on the dangers of New Evangelicalism which recognizes not only the danger of participating in the apostate ecumenical movement, but also the repudiation of the historic fundamentalist movement by the New Evangelicals, so that identification of the New Evangelicals becomes essential in order to warn Bible believers against unknowing involvement in apostate ecumenical programs. In the resolution, Billy Graham was named as the best known New Evangelical who on the mass level was the spokesman of the convictions and ideals of the New Evangelicalism of Harold Ockenga, and Fuller Theological Seminary was named as a seminary fully committed to New Evangelicalism. The ACCC recommended the purchase, reading and distribution of the new book, Outside The Gate, by McIntire as an authoritative source of information on the dangers of New Evangelicalism.[80] If McIntire had changed from his position in 1944, it was clearly in response to the emergence of new dangers. The editors of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore portray the changes of McIntire (and the Tow brothers) generally as bad or inconsistent, while they view their changes with favour as being necessary "to confront challenges vastly different."[81]

New Evangelicals and Their Objectives[edit]

David Wong seems concerned about being called a "new evangelical."[82] He refers to page 7 of Charles Woodbridge's book The New Evangelicalism that "new evangelicalism is a theological and moral compromise of the deadliest sort"[83] to make his point that such name-calling is indiscriminate or unfair on anyone "associating with any church or organisation not considered not separatist by the BP senior leaders."[84] But Woodbridge also points to the need for warning the flock as the apostle Paul had warned against "grievous wolves" which would enter in among them and men among themselves would arise and speak "perverse things" (Acts 20:29, 30).[85]

Jeffrey Khoo wrote in the True Life BP Church weekly of 11 November 2018 that "[i]t is no surprise that the editors of the book [Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore] want to recapture the [BP] denominational leadership by forming a new presbytery" even as Ockenga had said, "Neo-evangelicals emphasized ... the recapture of denominational leadership, and the re-examination of theological problems such as the antiquity of man, the universality of the Flood, God's method of creation, and others." Khoo also wrote that it is no surprise that "co-editor Quek Swee Hwa was open to the possibility of the Genesis "years" being "months" and not literally "years," and questioned the universality of the Genesis Flood," and "co-editor David Wong had no qualms getting his DMin from Fuller Seminary (flagship seminary of neo-evangelicalism) and working with Haggai Institute (an evangelical institution which cooperates with liberals, Catholics, and charismatics)." Khoo went on to write, "When neo-evangelicals speak of separation and say they are for it when they are actually not, they invariably contradict the Bible and themselves."[39]

No Degrees in Separation[edit]

In the same weekly, Khoo pointed out that "the neo-evangelical ethos of the editors show [sic] extreme prejudice against biblical and true separation as practised by Timothy Tow the founding pastor of the BP Church and other BPs who are true to the BP faith and practice." Khoo also pointed out that the "second degree separation" that Daniel Chua speaks about is not found in the 1956 and 1971 constitutions, neither in the post-1986 constitution, and "degrees" of separation is not found in the Bible as "[s]eparation is separation and has the holiness of God as its premise" and "the holiness of God does not come in degrees, neither does separation." Khoo then pointed to Chua as having been pre-empted by Charles Seet, the current pastor of Life BP Church, who has an article on "Secondary Separation" published in The Burning Bush in January 1996.[39] In that article, Seet wrote: "The question is sometimes asked whether a distinction should be maintained between primary and secondary separation. Instead of doing that, it is suggested that we simplify both into just one category, namely, biblical separation."[86]

Separation from identified New Evangelicals[edit]

A paper titled "The Stand and Code of Ethics of the BP Church of Singapore" presented by SH Tow on behalf of a commission (whose other members were KC Quek, Timothy Tow, Philip Heng, Charlie Tan, Bobby Phee and Joshua Lim) was adopted at the Synod meeting of 1 May 1987. As indicated on page 399 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore, the paper began with a historical review reminding that "[t]he BP Church was founded from the outset as a fundamentalist evangelical and separated body of Jesus Christ, to bear witness to the truth and to stand against error and apostasy in the Church" and a paragraph in the section on "New Evangelical and Non-Separatist Groups" read: "While the BP Church has adopted a clearly separatist stand, which stand has been repudiated by the New Evangelicals, it is therefore not in the spirit of our BP stand to be associated or identified with such groups." Similar to the ACCC resolution passed in October 1967 at Santa Monica, the Singapore Bible College (SBC) and the Varsity Christian Fellowship (VCF) were identified as New Evangelical bodies and any association identified with them must be discontinued.[87]

However, at the Synod meeting on 21 October 1987, there was "a one-and-a-half-hour heated discussion" on SH Quek's involvement with Operation Mobilisation (OM) with SH Tow maintaining strenuously that "it is incompatible that any BP church be involved in any way with OM" and proposing that any church which had not rectified its affiliation with OM by 31 December 2017 should automatically come under review. In support of his overture, SH Tow produced a handbill entitled "Becoming Partners in World Evangelism" with New Evangelicals Luis Palau, John Stott and Billy Graham commending OM's work. SH Quek, however, defended his association with OM and explained that his church Zion was not organisationally linked with OM which he did not think would take the separatist stand but nonetheless had individuals who admired the BP stand and could be reached and won over. He asked "whether we are not allowed to bear witness at all of our separatist stand to groups that are outside our movement."[88]

The NY Times report of 9 July 2015 reported that Billy Graham "became a mentor of [Luis Palau] a half-century ago" (underlining added) and "Mr Palau worked as an interpreter for [Billy Graham] before founding his own ministry with [Graham's] help."[89] And Charles Woodbridge's The New Evangelicalism (1969), referred to by David Wong on page 435 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore, states on page 37 that John Stott was seated prominently at a meeting of the World Council (of Churches) at Uppsala in 1968.[90] The information begs the question of why SH Quek was intransigent and had engaged in a one-and-a-half-hour of heated arguments with SH Tow since the facts were known in 1987 that all three persons were New Evangelicals and he (SH Quek) was prepared to opt out of speaking at OM meetings for the peace of the BP Church, as claimed by him.

KC Quek, on page 400, in his role as Moderator of the Synod in asserting that "there was nothing in our Constitution to prohibit attempts by BP personnel to 'pull out of the fire those who are caught in situations of compromise'" clearly defended his son's association with OM in the process. But SH Quek on page 441 said, "My father has never approved my going on the Doulos. He has been misunderstood and unfairly criticised and with such strong words! Dr Tow, such strong words from a younger man like yourself hurt." Was there no implicit approval on the part of KC Quek on his son going on the OM's Doulos with his nothing-in-the-Constitution argument and reluctance to act as Moderator? If the words from the younger SH Tow to his older father KC Quek hurt, what about SH Quek's strong words to Timothy Tow and SH Tow – both older than him?

While SH Tow, on page 432, was disparaged as "show[ing] no inclination to discuss or resolve the issue [of tongues] through Biblical exegesis," KC Quek was not singled out for not using the same approach despite the constitution of the B-P Church prescribing the Word of God (the Bible) to be the supreme and final authority in faith and life and KC Quek's words "pull out of the fire" came from Jude 23: "And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh."

KC Quek's call to BP churches in the Singapore Council of Christian Churches in 2006[edit]

KC Quek, based on reference 55 (on page 154 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore) on 'My Thanksgiving Testimonies' printed in the Far Eastern Beacon (2010), 481, was reported on page 149 to have delivered at the golden jubilee of the Singapore Council of Christian Churches in 2006 a message recommending that going forward, the member churches should continue to "separate from the Ecumenical movement." The next sentence, "However, they sought to 'unite with Christian Churches and Christian brethren of like precious faith ... to stem the fast-advancing tide of apostasy', rather than to attempt to witness to them from within, or remain indifferent" (underlining added) is confusing. It seems to suggest that the churches in continuing to separate from the Ecumenical movement, sought instead to unite with Christian churches and Christian brethren of like precious faith (linked to the Ecumenical movement?) to stem the fast-advancing tide of apostasy. If they united instead of separated, would they not be attempting to witness to these churches from within or remain indifferent? But "rather" seems to suggest that they did not attempt to witness to those churches from within, or remain indifferent. So, did they unite or separate – which is which?

Peter Masters and Metropolitan Tabernacle on Separation[edit]

Dev Menon makes separation rather complex and confusing on page 147 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore on where the line of separation should be drawn by asking various questions including the number of degrees to be practised in separation (but see above on "No Degrees in Separation") and expressing his view that most churches in Singapore practise primary separation as Machen had allegedly practised (see "Machen and Separation" below), and not secondary separation as taught by McIntire (see "McIntire, Separation and New Evangelicalism" above), or third degree separation that "[s]ome indicate ... was taught by Peter Masters of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, UK."

But Masters in an article "Secondary Separation – When to Stand Apart from Biblical Error"[91] says "[i] recent times, the claim has been made that secondary separation is extremism" and he [Masters] has been "named as going much further than Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899–1981), the famous minister of Westminster Chapel, who made a call to evangelicals to leave apostate denominations." However, before doing this, Masters says in the article: "It should not be forgotten that the duty of separation, whether primary or secondary, is laid upon us in the Bible by the infinite kindness of God. Far from being loveless, it is a Gospel-preserving and a church-protecting duty. It is designed for our blessing and power. It is to keep us from a thousand snares and heartaches."

On Lloyd-Jones, Masters goes on to say that "[i]t is claimed that Dr Lloyd-Jones opposed secondary separation saying, 'If I am convinced that a man is my brother I am going to bear with him. I am not going to divide from him ... We are born again by the same Spirit into the same family ... I do not separate from my brother' (Unity in Truth pp 120–121)." However, Masters clarifies that Lloyd Jones "was not speaking about secondary separation in that quotation, but about unity between evangelicals who had left apostate denominations." According to Masters, Lloyd-Jones' "dream and hope was that all British evangelicals would separate from error and join together in a new denomination" but "[n]ot all were enthusiastic, some saying to him, 'We are Baptists, and we could not join with paedo-baptists,' while others said, 'We are Calvinists and could not join with Arminians.'" Masters explains that "Dr Lloyd-Jones was appealing to these and said that he would not separate from his brother and nor should they" and "[h]e was not talking about separating from evangelicals who cooperate with non-evangelicals in their denominations, for he advocated such separation" but "was appealing for unity among those who had separated" as "[h]e felt they should set aside their convictions on baptism and the doctrines of grace, and so on, for the sake of unity."

On Lloyd Jones and Billy Graham, Masters says Lloyd-Jones' refusal to work with Billy Graham "is a significant example of secondary separation." In 1963 the evangelist had asked Lloyd-Jones to chair the first World Congress on Evangelism (eventually held in Berlin in 1966; predecessor to Lausanne), but Lloyd-Jones told Billy Graham that if he would stop having liberals and Roman Catholics on his platform and drop the invitation system he would support and chair the Congress. As Billy Graham would not change his views, Lloyd-Jones declined to endorse or commend or work with him. Lloyd-Jones adopted the same attitude to Billy Graham's London crusades as "[h]e took the view, and stated it publicly, that to have visible unity with those who are opposed to essential matters of salvation was sinful." (Lloyd-Jones also believed the invitation system was a source of mass-delusion and harm to churches.)

Masters further remarks: "Despite Billy Graham's high standing with most British evangelicals, the enthusiastic support he received from the secular media, the fact that his name was a household word, and despite the significant place in world evangelicalism that he was offering to Dr Lloyd-Jones, the latter stood by his biblical principle, and declined all the overtures. He would not commend or work with Dr Billy Graham. This is true loyalty to God's Word, and protectiveness of one's congregation." Masters goes on to say that he is aware he goes no further in his view of secondary separation than Lloyd-Jones (although he does not share Lloyd Jones' latter day enthusiasm for a new evangelical denomination).

Masters points also to a famous sermon in which C H Spurgeon expressed the very same position in these words: 'That I might not stultify my testimony I have cut myself clear of those who err from the faith, and even from those who associate with them' (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 1888, No. 2047). Lloyd-Jones and Spurgeon were thus of the same mind on separation.

In another article entitled "Doctrine of Biblical Separation", Masters explains why Metropolitan Tabernacle seceded a second time in 1971 from the Baptist Union after rejoining it in 1955. Like the BP Church in Singapore in 1955 seceding from the Chinese Presbyterian Synod linked with the ecumenism of the World Council of Churches, Metropolitan Tabernacle did so [in 1971] for the same reason. Masters also mentioned that Spurgeon withdrew Metropolitan Tabernacle from the Union [in 1887] "when he discovered that there was no basis of faith strong enough to restrict membership to evangelical believers."[92]

Machen and Separation[edit]

Dev Menon's claim that John Gresham Machen practised only first degree separation is dubious. Charles Woodbridge in New Evangelicalism declares, "The time has come to restate and to clarify the Biblical principles for which Dr Machen and his associates contended." One of the principles or issues "for which they fought was the everlastingly inerrant, infallible authority of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments." [93]

Jeffrey Khoo in his book Biblical Separation – Doctrine of Church Purification and Preservation says that Machen lived in a different time when "modernism was at its height" and "[h]e [Machen] could not but react against the modernists who attacked the Bible and his Lord;" Khoo also adds that "Machen was so vehement in his attack on modernism that he was charged with bitterness, intolerance, and bigotry." Khoo's remarks agree with those mentioned by Menon on page 142 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore that George Marsden in Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism (2000) had described Machen "as a strong personality with 'a flaring temper and a propensity to make remarks about individuals with whom he disagreed.'" Menon, however, also adds (on page 142 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore), by using Quek Tze-Ming's 'The Origin of J. Gresham Machen's Religion,' The Quek Swee Hwa Festschrift (2011), 3–15, that Machen did try to act "gentlemanly in most respects" to temper the earlier remarks on Machen's flaring temper in his (Menon's) attempt to apparently support his point (on page 147) that Machen practised only primary separation. Daniel Chua uses the same strategy by posing the question on page 505 on whether Machen would have urged separation or dissociation from "moderate" BP leaders and churches if he were alive today.

Menon and Chua seem to cite with approval on pages 148–9 and 505 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore Jeffrey Khoo's position on separation, with Menon stating on page 148 that "Khoo specifically quoted Machen's example as one to be followed" as Khoo's agreement with them that Machen practised first degree separation. But Khoo disagrees with them as he wrote recently on 11 November 2018 that "[t]he holiness of God does not come in degrees, neither does separation." Khoo also says: "When neo-evangelicals speak of separation ... they invariably contradict the Bible and themselves. This is very telling of the book's neo-evangelical slant and its lack of objectivity and utter biasness. The neo-evangelical ethos of the editors show [sic] extreme prejudice against biblical and true separation as practised by Timothy Tow the founding pastor of the BP Church and other BPs who are true to the BP faith and practice."[94]

Jeffrey Khoo points out in Biblical Separation – Doctrine of Church Purification and Preservation the testimony of The Rev T H Lipscomb on Machen: "We recall, as we think of him [Machen], Bunyan's Valiant for Truth ... For, let me add that Dr. Machen is a humble saint, as well as a rare scholar, not a 'saint of the world,' who stands for nothing and against nothing, but a saint of God who loves truth, seeks truth, finds truth, and upholds truth against all adversaries, however mighty. ..." Khoo also points out Ned B. Stonehouse's remarks in J Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir (1977): "It was, however, [the modernists'] presence in churches constitutionally committed to the very historic Christianity which they were repudiating which compelled Machen to conclude that a most fundamental issue of the controversy was that of dishonesty" as "[s]uch hypocrisy and deception Machen could not tolerate" and "[h]e made it a point to expose them so that the church might be alerted to the dangers of their double-talk."[95]

Menon claims (on page 142) that Machen's goal in forming organisations such as the Presbyterian Church of America "was to return to the Reformed Calvinist basis of the Presbyterian Church, not the popular fundamentalist positions." But Charles Woodbridge, who was taught by Machen at the old Princeton Theological Seminary and who was one of the three ecclesiastical lawyers at Machen's "trial" before the Judicial Commission of the New Brunswick Presbytery, wrote that Edward Carnell, former professor and past president of Fuller Theological Seminary, flagship seminary of neo-evangelicalism, ridiculed Machen as "a friend of the fundamentalist mentality" and "sought to prove this ... by castigating Dr Machen's determination to have no fellowship with apostasy."[96] It is also doubtful that the fundamental positions, per Menon's claim, were popular. Bob Jones in the Foreword to Woodbridge's New Evangelicalism wrote: "That the New Evangelical position is a popular one today affects Dr. Woodbridge not at all."

There was no Billy Graham's cooperative evangelism, or no secondary separation issue (based on Menon's and Chua's view of separating separation into primary and secondary), during Machen's lifetime. When Machen deceased on 1 January 1937, Billy Graham had yet to embark on his evangelistic campaign or preach his first sermon (as a student) around Easter of that year[97] Even though "borderline" friends in the message entitled "Fringe Friends" of Harold Ockenga (who first coined new evangelicalism in 1948) was not heard of in Machen's time, Woodbridge in pointing out that Jesus Christ "loved righteousness, and hated iniquity" (Heb 1:9) also remarked: "God's people are called to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, strength and mind. God is truth. How can the New Evangelicals join forces, in the name of love, with those who deny the full truthfulness of His Holy Word?"[98]

Mount Carmel expressed concern about separation statement in BP church's constitution[edit]

While Daniel Chua on page 518 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore acknowledges "[t]hat the BP Church was founded on the call for separation is beyond doubt," his remarks that "it was [only] a call to separate from liberal Christianity and the ecumenical movement, from attempts to foster unity and relationship among Eastern Orthodox Church, Roman Catholics and Protestants of all shades and denominations" are ambiguous or misleading. Jeffrey Khoo has commented that "[n]owhere does the original constitution state that we are to separate from 'Protestants of all shades and persuasions'" as he sees Daniel Chua as attempting to "[make] the original BPs look like isolationists and extremists when [they] are biblical and true to the doctrine and practice of separation."[99] In fact, the original BP Church founded by Timothy Tow "for the defence of the faith once delivered unto the saints" was at the outset linked to the ICCC which in 1950 had 42 denominations and in 1954 had 54 denominations, separate and distinct from churches in the World Council of Churches: see ICCC and McIntire's message "The Redeemed of the Lord Say So" at the 50th Anniversary (1948–1998) of the ICCC[100]

Daniel Chua states on page 519 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore that the constitution of some individual BP churches incorporated a section on biblical separation only in 1986 when the Singapore government introduced regulations requiring religious groups to register with the Registrar of Societies (ROS). According to Chua, "Article 6 Principle and Practice of Biblical Separation" was in the sample church constitution circulated by the BP Synod for individual churches to adopt as a common template. Chua says that Mt Carmel BP Church was concerned about adopting Article 6 so that at an Extraordinary General Meeting on 13 October 1985 its members unanimously passed a resolution "[t]o approve a mandate to have the Church Session handle this matter henceforth" with the Session requested "to seek the views and counsel of other church leaders, whenever considered necessary" and a caveat added that "the adoption of the finalised constitution will however be made at a General Meeting of members."

Among the comments raised by Mount Carmel on "Article 6 Principle and Practice of Biblical Separation" is its assertion that the statement "contains no biblical references except for Rev 17 and 18" compared to "Article 7 Main Practices of the Church" which Chua says "is supported by no less than 38 Scriptural verses or paragraphs." (Article 7 would be Article 6 if "Principle and Practice of Biblical Separation" was not adopted as Article 6 in the constitution.) However, a copy of the constitution of Shalom BP Church on its website has "Article 6 Principle and Practice of Biblical Separation" with 25 or more than 40 Scriptural verses (depending on how the count is made) cited as support.[101] Except for minor typographical differences, Shalom BPC's constitution (identified as a certified true copy [filed at the ROS]) is identical to that of Life BPC printed in its 50th Anniversary magazine.[102] Daniel Chua mentions on page 521 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore that the constitutions of the Mountain churches – Carmel, Hermon, Horeb and Gerizim – "did not incorporate the statement on separation as these groups considered the wordings not well-conceived."

Mount Carmel BPC, however, was not involved in any registration with the ROS in 1986 as it was not registered under the Societies Act (Cap. 311) but incorporated and registered as Mount Carmel BP Church Ltd (Unique Entity Number (UEN): 198202752E) in 1982 under the Companies Act (Cap. 50). The other three Mountain churches above, registered under the Societies Act, were also not registered in 1986 but on the following dates: Mount Hermon BP Church (UEN: S88SS00035H) on 20 June 1988, Mount Gerizim (S95SS0058E) on 20 July 1995 and Mount Horeb BP Church (UEN: T05SS0204K) on 23 September 2005.

BP churches registered in 1986 likely to have article on separation[edit]

While Daniel Chua remarked on page 520 that the proposals by SH Tow on Principle and Practice of Biblical Separation never materialised at Synod level because it was never tabled for a vote due to the dissolution of the Synod [on 30 October 1988], the fourteen (possibly fifteen as S86SS062? is apparently no longer registered or dissolved) BP churches registered in 1986 with their new constitutions with the ROS can only mean – based on the provisions in the constitutions of the individual churches as well as the Constitution of the (now-dissolved) Bible-Presbyterian Church of Singapore – that Article 6 Principle and Practice of Separation (if incorporated in the churches' constitutions) had been adopted or advised to be in order by the Synod or the Bible-Presbyterian Church of Singapore before the individual churches applied to the Registrar of Societies for registration. The following churches were registered as a society each on 17 November 1986:[103]

Daniel Chua reports on page 519 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore that Galilee BPC "has 10 paragraphs devoted to biblical separation in Article 6 of her Constitution" although he is silent on the status of the same article in the constitutions of the other 12 BP churches, including Emmanuel BP Church (currently pastored by SH Quek) and Zion BP Church (pastored in 1986 by SH Quek). However, as all the above fourteen churches were registered on the same date with successive registration numbers from S86SS0050-S86SS0061 and S86SS0063 (with S86SS0062 apparently no longer on the register) issued by the ROS, it is likely that all their constitutions have the same Article 6 (as that of Life, Shalom and Galilee) especially if the registrations were submitted or coordinated by a single person. Even if the constitution of Zion BPC (Serangoon) does not have Article 6, its doctrine in abbreviated form on its website has the same 12 chief tenets as those of Shalom BPC's and Life BPC's Article 4.2.

Separation and doctrinal statements of Mount Carmel and other Mountain churches[edit]

On the other hand, there are only 10 chief tenets in the doctrine of Mount Carmel BP Church on its website after "In abbreviation from [sic]...,"[104] with 4.2.6 ("We believe in the bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His ascension into Heaven, and in His exaltation at the right hand of God, where He intercedes for us as our High Priest and Advocate") and 4.2.9 ("We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and to convict and regenerate the sinner, and indwell, guide, instruct and empower the believer for Godly living and service"), as in Life BPC's constitution[105] and Shalom BPC's constitution,[101] omitted.

The ten chief tenets in Mount Carmel's abbreviated form of doctrine are, however, identical to ten of the eleven chief tenets in the abbreviated form of doctrine in the Constitution of the (now-dissolved) Bible-Presbyterian Church of Singapore which contained 4.2.6 but omitted 4.2.9[106] Notwithstanding, it does not mean that the Presbyterian Church of Singapore did not believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit or Mount Carmel did/does not believe in the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the resurrection, ascension and exaltation of Christ and His intercessory work since both constitutions are clear that their system of doctrine is in accordance with the "Reformed Faith" as expressed in the Westminster Confession, together with the Larger and Shorter catechisms of the historic Westminster Assembly before the statements in the abbreviated form of doctrine are laid out. If Daniel Chua's reasoning on page 519 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore that the articles in the Constitution of the Bible-Presbyterian Church of Singapore and Malaysia and the 1959 Constitution of Life BP "contained nothing specific" about separation means that the Church did not subscribe to separation or second degree separation (in his view), then the absence in Mount Carmel's constitution of Article 4.2.6 (as found in Life BP Church's or Shalom BP Church's constitutions) should also be interpreted as Mount Carmel not believing in the bodily resurrection, ascension and exaltation of Christ and His intercessory work – this would then make Mount Carmel BPC apostate for "if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain."1 Corinthians 15:14

The chief tenets of Mount Hermon's doctrine in abbreviated form per information in "Our Beliefs" on its website [107] consist of eleven statements. Omitted is 4.2.7 ("We believe in the personal, visible and premillennial return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to judge this world and bring peace to the nations") found in the constitutions of Life BP Church and Shalom BP Church (see above). The omission here seems deliberate as Mount Hermon probably does not embrace the premillennial position of the Singapore BP Church, now considered a non-essential by the recently-registered BPCIS of which Mount Hermon is now a member (see below).

As Mount Hermon was registered as a society on 20 June 1988, before the B-P Synod dissolved on 30 October 1988, it is clear that any advice or decision of the Synod with regard to Article 6 Principle and Practice of Separation – which was likely to have been made prior to the registration of the 14 churches on 17 November 1986 – would be ignored by it. It is also clear that Mount Hermon or any of the Mountain churches had never embraced Biblical separation as practised by the BP Church since Mount Hermon's last or eleventh statement omits the words which are hereby underlined at the end of Article 4.2.12 in Life BPC's or Shalom BPC's constitution: "We believe in the real, spiritual unity in Christ of all redeemed by His precious blood and the necessity of faithfully maintaining the purity of the Church in doctrine and life according to the Word of God, and the principle and practice of biblical separation from the apostasy of the day being spearheaded by the Ecumenical Movement (2 Cor 6:14–18, Rev 18:4)." The underlined words reflect the link at the outset of the Singapore BP Church with the ICCC in its battle against ecumenism and the World Council of Churches (see above).

As Mount Carmel and the Mountain churches accept the ten or eleven tenets in their Doctrinal Statements with no Scripture verses cited as support, it does not seem that a key reason, as cited by Daniel Chua on page 520 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore, for not accepting Article 6 Principle and Practice of Biblical Separation because of a lack of Bible references is valid since Article 6 in the constitutions of Life BPC and Shalom BPC submitted for their ROS registration has many supporting Scripture verses and Mount Hermon could have adopted the same template if it had wanted to do so .

Daniel Chua on page 521 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore indicates that "Mount Hebron BP Church does have a Constitutional article which steers away from second-degree separation: '... we believe that ecclesiastical separation involves rejecting any fellowship with organisations which deny the cardinal truths of Scripture in word or deed ....'" Mount Hebron BP Church (UEN: S91SS0008D) was registered with the ROS on 23 October 1991.[103] The wording on separation here follows that in the Theological Position of the Biblical Graduate School of Theology (BGST) founded by SH Quek:

 "We believe in the principle of biblical separation which calls the individual and the church to holiness, being separated to God and from the world. We believe that ecclesiastical separation involves rejecting any fellowship with organizations which deny the cardinal truths of Scripture in word or deed, which cardinal truths are represented in the statements of this Theological Position."[108]

The above does not mean much as Dr Philip Satterthwaite, who succeeded SH Quek as principal of BGST on 1 January 2011, questioned the literalness and historicity of certain Old Testament narratives and events. In an article "Commands to Kill Canaanites Not Literally Meant?" in the Christian Post, Singapore edition, Edmond Chua, ed., February 2012, Satterthwaite was quoted as saying, "In other words, 'the commands in Deuteronomy were not intended to be taken literally, and perhaps never were,'" and adding that "the narratives in Joshua were not meant as a factual account of what happened to the Canaanites, but as a warning to the Israelites to beware of Canaanite religion." He remains as principal to this day even though BGST affirms Biblical inerrancy in its Theological Position.[109]

Although BGST has its roots in Bible-Presbyterianism and the BP Church of Singapore is a member of the ICCC, which is opposed to the one-world church movement of the WCC, BGST is apparently indifferent to Satterthwaite being a member of the Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church (PSPC) and his occasional preaching from its pulpit.[110] PSPC is a member of the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS)[111] which in turn is a member of the World Council of Churches.[112] SH Quek, who held the office of General Secretary of ICCC from 2005 until recently, does not seem concerned. Despite having separation statements in its Theological Position, BGST is in fact a non-separatist school.[113]

The above, even though it relates only to BGST, lends credence to SH Tow's allegation, as pointed out by David Wong on page 441 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore, that "Zion BPC [SH Quek] and Mount Carmel BPC [David Wong] were indulging in the 'deception of double talk"' by their strategy of claiming "[they] are for Biblical separation" but "[they] are also for associating with non-separatists, new evangelicals, ecumenicals." The Mount Carmel 50th Anniversary magazine reports BGST to be founded by Zion and Mount Carmel.[114] Both churches also do not follow the resolution of the ICCC passed at Jerusalem in 1998 "[urging] all Bible-believing churches worldwide to use only the Authorized KING JAMES VERSION in their services and in their teaching ministry" (see below) as they use modern Bible versions such as the NIV and the ESV.

Separation and doctrinal statement of Zion churches[edit]

Zion BPC, which registered on 17 November 1986 (see above), has on its website the chief tenets of the doctrine of the Church listed as twelve statements identical to the twelve statements in Article 4 of the constitutions of Life BPC and Shalom BPC; however Zion's 3.12, compared to 4.2.12 of Life BPC and Shalom BPC, has "(or other such movements)" added at the end thus: "We believe in the real, spiritual unity in Christ of all redeemed by His precious blood and the necessity of faithfully maintaining the purity of the Church in doctrine and life according to the Word of God and the principle and practice of biblical separation from the apostasy of the day being spearheaded by the Ecumenical Movement (or other such movements) (2 Cor 6:14 18; Rev 18:4) (underlining added).[115]

Zion Bishan, which operated as a branch of Zion Serangoon until its own registration as a society on 4 February 2010, has an identical twelfth statement (not numbered) as Zion-Serangoon's 3.12 in its Statement of Faith on its website[116] even though David Wong joined the pastorate of Zion Bishan in 2007.[117] As David Wong became the pastor of Zion Bishan only in 2007, he could not have handled the registration of Zion (Serangoon) in 1986; it is likely that Zion Bishan subsequently used the same doctrinal statement as Zion Serangoon when it (Zion Bishan) registered in 2010, since it had followed the same constitution as Zion (Serangoon) when it operated as the Serangoon Zion's branch.

If David Wong had handled the constitutions of the two Zion churches in their registration, their position would likely be the same as that of the Mountain churches since Wong had an unfavourable view of the BP separation stand and a favourable disposition towards Billy Graham.[118] SH Quek's position on separation is likely to be the same as David Wong's, or rather David Wong's position is lock, stock and barrel that of SH Quek's as David Wong seems to regard SH Quek as his spiritual master (师父) in the traditional oriental sense, a picture that CL Chua attempts to (unsuccessfully) paint of Timothy Tow and John Sung on page 128 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore. In an outside post David Wong said, "I owe Dr Quek a debt which will take too long to enunerate [sic]. Suffice to say he was my favourite teacher in Bible College, my supervisory pastor when I started in ministry, the one who brought me to the mission field, and the senior pastor who stepped aside for me in the church he founded."[119]

In KC Quek's report as ICCC General Secretary dated 9 June 2005 delivered to the ICCC's 17th World Congress, KC Quek revealed that he had been persuaded by McIntire in 1969 to retire from the Singapore government service to man the Far Eastern Office of the ICCC and he had been serving since "not only completely in an honorary capacity, but also on the giving end, thanks in particular to the Zion and Faith Bible-Presbyterian Churches and the Singapore Council of Christian Churches for their generous, ongoing support."

SH Quek had also been involved in endeavours with a seemingly different and opposite trajectory to that of the ICCC's cause while serving in the ICCC. For example, Quek's BGST and Regent College have an established agreement on the transfer of BGST credits to Regent.[120]  While such an arrangement and collaboration is not unusual between schools and colleges, Regent's professor of Theology  James I Packer was among those who had signed in 1994 an ecumenical document Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) in which the Evangelicals declared to the world that "a) the antagonism and separation of over four centuries is over; b) doctrinal differences which used to divide are of no real consequence;   c) evangelicals, Catholics are Christians, brothers and sisters of one common faith."  By implication, the Declaration "demolishes all further ground for division between Christians, between 'conservatives' and 'liberals,' between 'evangelicals' and 'Catholics.'"[121]

Fuller Theological Seminary, where David Wong (currently Pastor (Mentoring) at Zion-Bishan) obtained his Doctor in Ministry, was also a signatory to the ECT in 1994.

Dissolution of Synod[edit]
Synod deliberations and moratorium[edit]

SH Quek and David Wong were not happy that Synod deliberations spilled into the open although the names of the BP pastors alleged to have ties and alliances with those in the new-evangelical camps were not mentioned in the publications in Life BP Church except for the "Open Letter" of SH Tow of 25 October 1987 posted on the Calvary Church door, described mockingly by David Wong as a "melodramatic attempt to mimic the "Ninety-Five Theses" posted by Martin Luther on the door of Castle Church in 1517."[122]

More Synod meetings followed and a moratorium was called by the Synod on 20 March 1988 but this was followed by calls from the elders of Galilee BP Church on 21 March 1988 and a group consisting of 11 ordained pastors, 17 elders and 2 ordinands on 23 March 1988 for the moratorium to be lifted. Although the moratorium meant that no Synod meetings would be held until October 1988, letters were written and overtures made during the moratorium on the two issues yet to be resolved: "Have biblical tongues ceased?" and "Are BPs fully persuaded of their biblical separation?"[123]

Dissolution as final solution[edit]

On 9 October 1988, at an extraordinary meeting of the Synod Standing Committee, attended by all ordained ministers, each overture submitted to the Synod Moderator was mentioned and a few discussed, but none met with any acceptable resolution. Several pastors spoke up. David Wong said that "in the interest of the kingdom of God, it would be better to part as friends than to stay as enemies." Charlie Tan "expressed concern about the defamatory nature of the charges brought against the pastors but doubted if the BP Synod has the requisite mutually-acceptable disinterested members to adjudicate the alleged offences in a BP Court of Discipline." Tan Choon Seng proposed that "all ordained ministers meet to discuss and resolve the theological issues" but his proposal was rejected. Patrick Tan asked those who could not agree with the original stand of the BP Church to quietly withdraw" and for Timothy Tow to "be made Synod Moderator to lead the BP Church back to the original stand" but the incumbent KC Quek "challenged him to bring the appropriate charges and substantiate his proposal for Timothy Tow to be made the Synod Moderator" to which Patrick Tan then withdrew his proposal. To break the impasse, Timothy Tow then moved for dissolution of the Synod and the B-P Church of Singapore as "final solution."[124]

And so at the 38th and last General Meeting of the BP Synod held on 30 October 1988, the recommendation for dissolution was accepted.[125]

Could dissolution have been avoided?[edit]

Before the dissolution, at the Synod Meeting on 20 March 1988, the Meeting heard that the Calvary BP Church Session, headed by SH Tow, had already decided to pull out of the Synod on 3 March 1988 and planned to table it for congregational approval.[126] On the other hand, David Wong wrote that his group of "Mountain Churches" had, on the suggestion of some within their midst, thought of leaving the BP Church since they could not agree on many issues but they did not do so as most of their leaders felt they had as much right to be Bible-Presbyterians as anyone since they had never contravened any biblically-based injunctions and had rights of their own founded on the Biblical right of conscience enshrined in the B-P constitution.[127]

But why did David Wong and his group stay on as Bible-Presbyterians if they cannot agree with the original stand of the B-P Church and then try to redefine Bible-Presbyterianism by attempting now to form the new BP Presbytery? The words of Thomas Molnar published on page 61 in The Bible-Presbyterian Church of Singapore and Malaysia 1950–1971 seem prescient:[128]

                                                         THEY BORE FROM WITHIN
 I have little patience with those who do not believe in the organizations to which they belong, and I detest those who remain in an organization with which they are in disagreement so that they may change the institution into something different from what it is and has been.
 
 Such men have no respect for the past and in their arrogance, claim the validity of their insights is so superior to others, that they are free to do what they will. If they were honorable men, they would leave the institutions in which they do not believe and join one of which they approve or found a new organization, gaining disciples by the importance and clarity of their faith.  
 
 Add, therefore, to the sin of arrogance that of cowardice, for the revolutionaries are not possessed of the courage to blaze new trails. Instead of leaving time-hallowed institutions to those who believe in them, they bore from within to destroy the faith. 
                                                                                                THOMAS MOLNAR 
                                                                                         Ecumenism or New Reformation

Why ignore the Apostle Paul's injunction in Romans 15:20 "lest I build upon another man's foundation?"

After the dissolution Bethany Bible-Presbyterian Church, an offshoot of Zion BP Church, became Bethany Independent Presbyterian Church.[129] SH Quek notes that it now "has a flourishing ministry with mission work in India, Australia and Myanmar, and has enabled more than 100 churches to be planted overseas."[130] Why did SH Quek and David Wong not follow in the footsteps of Charlie Tan of Bethany and avoid a dissolution of the BP Synod?

Issues on the Bible[edit]

While the statement issued on 30 October 1988 describing the dissolution of the Singapore B-P Church or the B-P Synod declared "the issues centred mainly on strong differences in interpreting the Doctrine of Biblical Separation, Fundamentalism, and Neo-Evangelicalism," the Editors of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore point on page 425 of their book to the disagreements within the BP churches as "a tussle between Fundamentalism and New Evangelicalism." The Editors point to Timothy Tow in the Life BP Church weekly of 15 October 1995 when launching his book The Singapore B-P Church Story writing that the reader will discover "the cause not only over the doctrine of separatism, but also over the doctrine of tongues" and "[m]ore seriously, ... the doctrine of the Bible (pp. 219–220) which erupted as early as 1974" to be the cause of the B-P Synod split.[131]

Tow went on to write in the weekly about the need "[to] pray that both Life Church and her faithful daughter churches and FEBC might be preserved – from the tides of modernism and liberalism, compromise and the ravages of charismatic forces of a third wave ... [with] all the slaying of the spirit, all the unholy laughter, all the animalistic sounds, all the bogus healings attributed to the Holy Spirit." He also wrote that "[i]t is one thing to give lip service to the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture" and "[i]t is another thing to defend it when it is attacked," although he did not name any person giving lip service and not defending Scripture's infallibility and inerrancy when it was attacked.[132]

Issue with SH Quek on plain Bible truths[edit]

The Editors on pages 425–426 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore reprinted as Q1 the part in pages 219–220 of The Singapore B-P Church Story (1995) which Timothy Tow said were "deviations from plain Bible truths" in the Focus (1974) notes of SH Quek with Tow's comments as follows:[133]

Quote A: "Some of the OT accounts have parallels in other literatures. These in no way detract from the truth of the OT account because it was most likely the true one."
Comment (by Timothy Tow): The Bible's absolute inerrancy is destroyed by the words "most likely the true one."
Quote B:  ". . . there must be some other explanation for 'years' in Genesis. eg if years = months, then Noah's 950 years were in fact 950 months."
Comment (by Timothy Tow): God's Word said "years," but FOCUS says "months." Who is speaking the truth?
Quote C:  "There are some matters which cannot be ascertained because we have no way of determining the facts of the case ... was the Flood over the whole world or only on a part of it?"
Comment (by Timothy Tow): Genesis Chapters 6, 7, 9 stated the "facts of the case" ten times and more, in words which even a child understands, allowing no room for doubt.  Further read 2 Pet 3:1–13 whose inspired commentary on the Flood, is it not in cosmic dimensions?  FOCUS has undermined the clear record of God's Word and evidently had not read 2 Peter 3:1–13!

The above plus (i) SH Quek's teaching of the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida, (ii) his FEBC course on "Biblical Authority" and (iii) his interpretation of Genesis 1:2 at a cathechism class were issues claimed, on pages 428–9 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore, as called into question by Timothy Tow.

In quoting on page 436 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore a well-known saying, "A lie told often enough becomes the truth," which is often attributed to Vladimir Lenin, SH Quek seemed to want to sow in the readers' minds that Timothy Tow was lying but then walked back immediately by saying that he would be charitable to him and would not go so far as to say so. But SH Quek did not deny the allegations made by Timothy Tow (even where SH Quek was not named); in fact Quek now acknowledges that the quotes in the Focus notes on page 426 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore (see above) repeated (as indicated on page 425) in Timothy Tow's books – The Singapore B-P Church Story (1995), The Story of My Bible-Presbyterian Faith (1999) and Son of a Mother's Vow (2001) relating to him (Quek) – are all true.

Claim that issues with SH Quek on the Bible had been resolved[edit]

The issues were said on pages 428–9 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore to have been resolved at the B-P Conference on 5 September 1984 at Port Dickson where Peter Masters, the guest speaker, was the arbitrator and Timothy Tow was said to have agreed that the problem was over after SH Quek had been "acquitted" by Masters. SH Quek also said, on page 428, that upon return to Singapore, Timothy Tow revived the issue in 16 September 1984 issue of Life BP Weekly by his writing of Satan's "three-prong attack."[134]

In the Life BP Weekly of 16 September 1984, Timothy Tow said he had been thrilled by Masters' timely exposition of a text "Hath God Said?" that he (Tow) often used at FEBC to show his students the fatality of questioning the Bible and to tell B-P leaders the deadliness of teachings of this nature. Masters had used two brief texts "Faithful Unto Death" and "Hath God Said?" to contrast the old Evangelicals with the new Evangelicals at the Spurgeon Lecture II delivered at the Singapore WTC [World Trade Centre] on the night of 11 September 1984. Tow wrote "Satan's Three-Prong Attack" from studying Genesis 3:1–4 closely and identified Satan's tactics as: (1) saying "yea" to agree with a person to disarm his suspicion; (ii) injecting doubt by questioning, "Hath (has) God said?" after a person has been taken in unaware; and (iii) saying "no" to trick and lead a person to death (as when he hoodwinked Eve by assuring her that she would not die so that she then drank in all his poison). He likened a liberal teacher to be one masquerading as a Bible believer, spreading a doubt in a person's mind to engender in him an unholy attitude towards Scripture so that when he reads the Bible with the toxic lodged in his system, he begins to ask more questions and, like Eve, questioning God's Word then leads to death.[135]

Tow then went on to write in the same weekly chat about (i) the way of Balaam in Numbers 22 cautioning that "when we keep on wanting to do it our way despite warnings, God will let us do it, but to our own destruction ... [which is] the punitive will of God"; (ii) a theological teacher courting death in presenting to his class various views of denials of the faith and then concluding what is taught in the Bible but leaving it to the students' choice; (iii) FEBC adopting monologue instead of dialogue by soundly rebuking with "thus saith the Lord" since it believes in dogmatic teaching, (iv) when the Bible says God's Spirit moved upon the face of the waters [which is Genesis 1:2] it is to be reverently believed instead of asking, "Did He literally move upon the waters?" or "Do you believe He really moved upon the waters," as questioning God's Word is death; and (v) the new-fangled teaching or theology of Billy Graham that "[t]hose who have not heard of Christ, but have a seeking heart, are saved" – this contradicts John 14:6 – lately seeping into the B-P Church and the warning/curse in Gal 1:8–10 of preaching any other gospel. SH Quek's name, however, was never mentioned in the entire weekly.[135]

SH Quek also claimed he had been 'cleared' or 'acquitted' at various times between 1974 and 1984 and it was Timothy Tow who had changed his position, as well as SH Tow who was said to have revived the attack in 1988 of Focus.[136]

SH Quek's Focus Notes[edit]

On Quote A in Focus, SH Quek said he had withdrawn the term 'most likely' as "it was not used with the same kind of exactitude that has been described" and he then asked, "Are we not permitted to withdraw them?" As SH Quek, in criticising SH Tow, had said on page 437 of the book, "Wrong or loose use of a theological term may be tolerated in a layperson," should he not expect a person like himself with a PhD in theological studies and not a layperson to be tolerated for any errors or imprecision in his guide notes which were prepared not for general circulation (where errors or imprecision could be more easily spotted with a larger audience) but for a small group of persons in the leaders in Zion BP Church, as stated on page 426 of the book, who could then impart what they learned to others?

On Quote B in Focus on "years" in Genesis being construed as "months," Quek explained that he was quoting the view of Henry Halley's Pocket Bible Handbook and that view was not his. On Quote C in Focus on Noah's flood, he said that his personal position is that it was a universal flood and he was referring to godly, sound Bible scholars – one of whom he claimed was a respected teacher of Timothy Tow – who are open to the possibility of a local flood. Again, as these quoted words were in written notes, they beg the question on why his views were not printed at the outset on the notes to clearly state his positions.

While Timothy Tow can no longer answer SH Quek, he had in his book The Story of My Bible-Presbyterian Faith (1999) added the following before commenting on Quote B (in Focus):

"There is the story of the Monkey god who can change himself into something else 72 times. But he could not keep his tail still, so he was easily discovered.  As the saying goes, 'Truth will out.'" [137]

In respect of Quote B, SH Quek on page 427 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore said: "Between brethren, if something is in doubt and is eventually clarified, true Christian charity means that one's word should be accepted as binding from then on. Yet Rev Tow refuses to accept any clarification. This is revealing of his attitude of personal vendetta: He is in fact, saying, "I have made up my mind and I do not want to be confused by the facts."

But the Bible never teaches us to trust man 100%, only God: Proverbs 3:5; see also Micah 7:5, Psalm 118:8–9 and Numbers 23:19. Timothy Tow could have accepted Quek's explanation initially but changed his mind later for reasons known to him, which we cannot now ascertain. Tow was certainly more charitable by using the Monkey god story instead of 2 Corinthians 11:14 to make his point that SH Quek "changed" his position but did not actually change from what he first wrote in the Focus notes since the Monkey god can be likened to Satan transforming himself into an angel of light, and the preceding verse (v 13) speaks of false apostles and the succeeding verse (v 15) speaks of Satan's ministers transformed as the ministers of righteousness. Tow's use of the Monkey god story could be due to his preference for an "easy flowing, easy-to-read, yet spirit-moving and heart-inspiring style" of writing, as remarked by Chia Kim Chwee in the Foreword of The Singapore B-P Church Story.[138] Or he did not think he was ready to call SH Quek a false apostle or a minister of Satan. We will not be able to know this now as Tow has passed on. Tow was also charitable in not naming SH Quek as the author of the quotes even though in so doing, he was not following Romans 16:17.[139]

At the time of release of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore in October 2018, SH Tow was too weak to respond. However, SH Tow could also have changed his view or position in 1988 with regard to SH Quek's explanation in Focus following subsequent events (like their debate or argument on tongues and Quek's involvement with OM (see "Separation from identified New Evangelicals" above) after Quek claimed to have been "cleared" in 1984 (at Port Dickson), as SH Tow's principle of standing on the truth had not changed even though his position on Billy Graham, modern Bible versions and New Evangelicalism (being initially on the side of SH Quek) changed upon subsequently becoming fully aware of the issues and enlightened in his understanding.[140] In the convocation message "Gospel Message For The New Millennium" delivered at the 25th Graduation Service of the FEBC on 14 May 2000, SH Tow called on the graduates to be faithful watchmen for God.[141] In an article entitled "Renewing Our B-P Faith" written a decade later, SH Tow pointed out the need "for the Church of Jesus Christ to have vigilant and fearless watchmen."[142] He would probably consider himself to be neglectful if he did not sound, rightly or wrongly, the warnings on SH Quek's Focus Notes in light of God's Word in such verses as 2 Peter 2:1-3 and Acts 20:29–31.

Healing the blind man in John 9:6[edit]

SH Quek on page 427 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore explained that when he spoke at the chapel service in 1974 on Jesus using saliva in healing the blind man in John 9:6, he was "merely dramatizing a likely reaction by the blind man, but the student who reported this to the Principal was irresponsible and malicious in not reporting also that [he] followed this up with a statement that it was Jesus' right to use whatever method He chose." Timothy Tow's account of the incident in the True Life BP Weekly of 2 January 2005 was that a modern professor of theology (name not revealed) had in regard to Jesus making clay with spittle to anoint the eyes of the blind man asked his students a "progressive" question, "Is this compatible with modern hygiene?" Even if it was Jesus' right to use whatever method He chose, SH Quek's account omits the question even though his remarks on page 428, "It turned out that such rhetorical questioning was unacceptable," corroborate Tow's account of the question that was asked. To Tow, the obvious response to the rhetorical question asked "speak[s] disparagingly of our Lord's work" and this, to him, "is as deadly as the old serpent's sting" as "[w]e cannot question our Lord whether using spittle measures up to modern hygiene" and "[w]e can only submit to any "prescription" our Lord uses, as a dying man needing an operation is put into a surgeon's hands." Tow wrote that "when this classroom attack on our Lord was related to a Christian doctor, he replied with a twinkle in his eyes, "From a medical standpoint, our saliva contains certain enzymes that kill germs." So a doctor of theology should have learnt a little medicine before he spoke outside of his field of knowledge."[143] While acknowledging that he was indeed rebutted by SH Tow's "it was common medical knowledge that saliva contains enzymes which had useful functions," SH Quek said he left it at that (only to revive it now).

Like in the Focus notes, the Tows were concerned about SH Quek's position on the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture even though Quek had tried to explain or clarify the three quotes in the Focus notes by saying that the words in Quote A "[were] not used with the same kind of exactitude that has been described" and he had withdrawn them, while Quotes B and C were explained as not his personal views but the views of others. On Jesus using saliva in healing the blind man in John 9:6, it begs the question of why Quek would ask whether this was compatible with modern hygiene and cast doubt on the method used if it was his view that it was Jesus' right to use whatever method He chose. Timothy Tow was concerned about questioning or casting doubt on God's Word when he wrote "Satan's Three-Prong Attack" (see above).

SH Quek should not be unduly irked since he takes the view, as expressed on page 443 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore, that "[t]he truth will emerge and people will not be so easily fooled by the half-truths and insinuations."

Concern about the influence of F. F. Bruce on SH Quek and David Wong[edit]

Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore on page 437 reports the concern of SH Tow over SH Quek's training at the University of Manchester's Faculty of Theology under Professor F. F. Bruce as contributing to "[Quek's] new evangelical and liberal colouring which gradually showed through his fundamental veneer." While SHTow remarked that "Bruce denies biblical inerrancy and opposes the fundamentalist position of separation in favour of ecumenical cooperation," Quek (on page 438 of the book) defended Bruce as an outstanding evangelical scholar and regarded the seven years he (Quek) had spent at the University of Manchester translating and analysing the Bible text gave him "a strong foundation ... needed to rise to a higher level of exegetical skill" and the ability to think independently and holistically. Despite this claim, SH Quek has written very few books[144] compared to Timothy Tow who wrote more than 50 books[145]

David Wong said he "spent two years studying under Prof F. F. Bruce, and he never heard him once say anything doubtful or disparaging about the Bible (as many liberal scholars of his time had done)." According to Wong, Bruce was widely considered "conservative" but disliked the label and did not call himself a "conservative evangelical" even though he held many views which are termed "conservative." However, Bruce's colleague at Manchester, James Barr, another prominent scholar who turned liberal while teaching at Manchester, considered Bruce a "conservative liberal."[146] A conservative author observes that in Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free Bruce "presents Paul's teaching as the developing thought of an apostle, formed out of his exceptional experience of Christ, rather than as the inspired truth of God. Whilst for the most part reaching conservative conclusions, he appears to proceed on largely liberal assumptions."[citation needed]

Although not every pupil will turn out to have the same views as his teacher, SH Tow's concern about SH Quek being influenced by F. F. Bruce is not misplaced as can be seen in the late Clark Pinnock (b. 1937) who began his doctoral studies in New Testament under Bruce at the University of Manchester. Profoundly influenced as a child and youth by his grandparents, who were deeply pious, evangelical missionaries in Africa, Pinnock experienced conversion to Christ in 1950 and became, by his own admission, a fundamentalist. However, later, in his life with nurturing along the way by radio preachers such as Charles Fuller, Billy Graham and Donald Grey Barnhouse, and Christian authors such as C.S. Lewis and John R Stott, and involvement in Youth for Christ, Keswick, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and L'Abri retreat and movement, he "reconsidered the issue of salvation and discovered a 'wilderness in God's mercy' that stops short of universal salvation but requires embrace of 'inclusivism.'" And in A Wilderness of God's Mercy: The Finality of Jesus Christ in a World of Religions, Pinnock "threw out the traditional evangelical pessimism about the possibility of salvation for the unevangelized and argued in favour of an "optimism of salvation" in Christ for those who never had a chance to hear about the Saviour of the world." He also "became involved in a charismatic Bible study and prayer meeting in the 1970s and then in the Vineyard Movement in Canada," considering himself as "part of the Third Wave of the Holy Spirit (the first being Pentecostalism, the second the Charismatic movement) associated with the ministry of John Wimber and his followers.[147]

Pinnock was "a pivotal figure in the shifting view among some evangelicals regarding inerrancy" and was thought to be a champion of the orthodox view by his first major work on the topic, A Defense of Biblical Infallibility (1967). In later years, he shifted his position and the admissions in his last will and testament include, inter alia, the following: (i) continuing to reject what he calls "the strict views of inerrancy;" (ii) reaffirming his Barthian-like view that the Bible itself is not a revelation of God but only "a witness to the life-giving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ);" (iii) admitting holding what he calls a "neo-evangelical" view of inerrancy; (iv) accepting what he calls the F. F. Bruce's broader and more "bottom-up irenic" position which "actively opposes" strict and "unqualified biblical inerrancy;" (v) acknowledging that his view involves "a broadening use of the term 'inerrancy';" (vi) claiming that "the view of the perfect errorlessness of non-existent autographs was an abstraction that had died a death by a thousand qualifications;" and (vii) describing his own view as changed from the traditional unlimited inerrancy position to a limited-inerrancy view, saying "By 1978 [it] had become my own." On the question, "Does the New Testament, did Jesus teach the perfect errorlessness of the Scriptures?" his answer was "No, not in plain terms." He then went on to say, "Although the New Testament does not teach a strict doctrine of inerrancy, it might be said to encourage a trusting attitude, which inerrancy in a more lenient definition does signify. The fact is that inerrancy is a very flexible term in and of itself."[148]

SH Quek said, "I have affirmed my acceptance of the inerrancy of the Bible time and again" (page 427 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore) and "On the subject of Biblical inerrancy, I have always held it, taught it, preached it ..." (page 429). However, in light of Pinnock's shift in his view on inerrancy and his remarks about the flexibility of the term after his shift, SH Tow's concern cannot be taken lightly too. When SH Tow (also on page 429) said he gave up using SU [Scripture Union] Notes after supporting SU for over 30 years because one Daily Bread writer had rejected the literal six-day creation, SH Quek remarked, "You cannot take that as a test of orthodoxy."

SH Quek said on page 437 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore that he wrote a six-page rebuttal of SH Tow's circular titled "Of Tree and Fruit," but the book has neither his rebuttal nor SH Tow's circular, which the Editors of the book disparagingly remarked as one "which he [SH Tow] touted as a theological analysis," to let the readers judge for themselves if Quek had effectively rebutted Tow since Quek also said on page 432, "One of the fundamental rules of criticism is that the critic must represent his opponent correctly." Also, on page 437, SH Quek mockingly remarked, "It is laughable that he [SH Tow] displays his ignorance of what liberalism is" and belittled Tow's status as "a church leader who has spoken authoritatively on issues outside his sphere of formal studies ..." However Martyn Lloyd-Jones, like SH Tow, was a medical doctor and was "ordained into the Presbyterian Church of Wales (The Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church) ministry without any formal theological education."[149] The University of London, where Lloyd-Jones had earned his medical research degree and where they also "set the courses and determine the syllabus that evangelical ministerial students were to follow," was considered by Lloyd-Jones "to be entirely inappropriate" because "allowing the curriculum to be determined by [their] liberal outlook" was a "fatal mistake."[150] In light of Lloyd-Jones commentary on the state of theological education in the U.K., SH Tow's concern about the University of Manchester, where both Quek and Pinnock obtained their doctorate degrees, is not unfounded. Although not as well-known as Lloyd-Jones, SH Tow was not without any credentials as he was Contributing Editor of The Defined King James Bible[151] and author of several books, including Beyond Versions: A Biblical Perspective of Modern English Bibles (1998),[152] in addition to founding the RPG (Read, Pray and Grow) Daily Bible Reading Guide in 1982.[153]

SH Quek a fundamentalist or a neo-evangelical?[edit]

Despite saying on page 452 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore that "[w]e should be circumspect to consider both sides of the story whenever there is a disagreement," the Editors went ahead to publish a letter from Dr J C Maris dated 23 November 1988 on pages 447–452 of the book replying a letter dated 9 November 1988 from an ordained minister whose name was omitted by the Editors even though it is clear from the contents of Maris' letter who had written to him. Even if this not clear, it could only have been one of two persons: SH Tow or Timothy Tow. Maris' letter of 23 November 1988 is in the BP Synod archives but not the letter of 9 November 1988, as stated by the Editors. However, as the Synod dissolved on 30 October 1988, it is strange that Maris' letter in his own personal name and not in the name of the ICCC replying to a private person had landed in the archived files of the Singapore BP Synod. The claim that the letter had come from an independent commentator must be doubtful.

In his letter, Maris said "whenever I have been asked to give an opinion on a certain conflict, I have always insisted to hear each of the parties separately, and thereupon in each other's presence, so as to confront them with their mutual accusations and claims" and if this is not done, as here, it "limits the value of my remarks." It does not seem that Maris was the right person to deal with the issue since he said that the term "fundamentalism" was practically unknown and "evangelical" was never used in his country (Holland) "to denote Protestant Christians" and the Dutch were also "not so familiar with the contraposition fundamentalism-neo-evangelicalism." The Billy Graham campaigns were viewed usually as "not characterised by questioning biblical authority, but rather by a superficial, emotional, and freewill presentation of the Gospel" and their "standpoint ... is basically Barthian ... [o]n the whole ... they are no Calvinists." Presented with evidence of SH Quek quoting extensively the views of non-orthodox theologians and liberal scholars like Bengel, Hooke, Dodd, Manson, and Reid for his study, Maris failed to see any issue with the quotations as his view was that future pastors should have insights into liberal views and SH Quek was merely exposing (presenting) such views and not endorsing them (page 450 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore) and he (Maris) had "never heard of any student that was led astray by quotations from [liberal] theologians," with SH Quek's aim (according to Maris) being to teach his students "how to think for [themselves]" (page 449).

Maris seemed reluctant to judge the matter as he said (on page 451 of the book), "You have asked me to react to your study. For lack of time I cannot go into every detail" even though he also said: "[W]hen I began to read your document, I expected to find proof of serious aberrations on the part of Dr Quek. In the above I had to express the opposite is clearly showing itself." While Maris did not think that he could have been prejudiced, the fact that Timothy Tow ceased presiding in the Eastern Hemisphere of the ICCC movement (he was President of the Far Eastern Council of Christian Churches from 1968–1988) after the dissolution of the Synod in October 1988 meant that Maris was left only with the Queks continuing in the ICCC and working with him.[154]

SH Quek was linked with ICCC as far back as 1960 as he was on the staff of ICCC in the summer of that year shortly after International Christian Youth (ICY), formed for people of ages 15–30, was established in 1958.[155] However, despite Quek's involvement with ICY as early as 1960, Maris (General Secretary of ICCC from 1948-1998) said (on page 451), "I hardly know Dr Quek though I must add that I am inclined to think well of a man, unless the opposite is clearly showing itself."

Even if Maris was indeed impartial and independent, he could still be wrong in his judgment as the learned High Court Judge Judith Prakash, who is now a Judge of Appeal, had erred in her judgement in the High Court in the lawsuit between Life Church and FEBC as she was over-ruled by the three Judges of Appeal in the appeal before the Court of Appeal (see below). It is interesting to note that after Maris' retirement in 1998, the ICCC passed two excellent resolutions: one at Amsterdam in 1998 "[urging] all Bible-believing churches worldwide to use only the Authorized KING JAMES VERSION in their services and in their teaching ministry" and another at Jerusalem in 2000 affirming the council's belief that the King James Version in English has been faithfully translated from the God-preserved Masoretic text for the O.T. and the Textus Receptus for the N.T., which texts combined gave the complete Word of God, the Holy Scripture, the originals fully inspired and without errors preserved in all ages for all eternity as the Westminster Confession of Faith standard says – "the O.T. in Hebrew and the N.T. in Greek ... being immediately inspired by God and by His singular care and providence kept pure in all ages are therefore authentical ...."[156] Timothy Tow noted that "[w]hen the NIV appeared in 1978, Dr. McIntire wanted to expose its dastardly character, but being surrounded by "fifth columnists" in the ICCC, his voice was stifled" and "[t]he KJB's supremacy was snatched by the NIV within one generation" until the resolution was passed in Amsterdam in August 1998 urging Bible-believing churches worldwide to use only the KJB.[157] It is unlikely that Timothy Tow regarded Maris as a fifth columnist since Tow had held him in very high regard.[158] However, the very amiable and trusting nature of Maris' character could have been taken advantage of by fifth columnists to help their cause in stifling McIntire.

Choi Kwang Jae (KJ Choi), who succeeded McIntire as President, on the demise of Timothy Tow praised the latter's legacy and warned about removing the landmark and undermining the foundations that he had carefully laid thus:[159]

 "The ICCC receives with great sorrow the news of Rev Dr Timothy Tow's going home to be with the Lord. We are joined in our grief by many who have known him as teacher, mentor, and fellow labourer for the cause of Christ. We have lost a faithful servant of the Lord. 

 It is with deep respect and praise that we reflect on his life and legacy. In this day of apostasy and compromise, he boldly and unswervingly stood for the primacy of God's Word, Biblical separation, and fundamentalism. His pioneering of the Bible Presbyterian movement by the founding of Life B-P Church and the Bible College movement through the Far Eastern Bible College continues to impact Singapore and other communities around the world. It was during Rev Dr Tow's time as President of FECCC that ICCC was strongest and united in spirit. We praise God for his faithful life, made possible by his response to God's abundant grace.
 
 Those who remain must not remove the landmark that he has set (Prov 22:28); they must not undermine the foundations that he carefully laid. He is no longer with us, but his conviction, spirit, and love for God's Word will be carried on by his many disciples in Asia, Africa, and in the far corners of the world." 

While KJ Choi was clearly not a fifth columnist himself, the continuing decline of the ICCC suggests that it continued to be surrounded by fifth columnists when Choi became President. SH Quek was General Secretary when Choi was President but he (SH Quek) seemed to be unenthusiastic or non-supportive of the ICCC's cause (see "Separation and doctrinal statements of Mount Carmel and other Mountain Churches" and "Separation and doctrinal statement of Zion churches" above). This is not inconsistent as SH Quek was also not in agreement with the stand of Timothy Tow but chose to have his churches remain B-P. SH Tow in the Annual Record of Calvary Pandan B-P Church (1994) on "What's A 'B-P'?" wrote as follows: [160]

 "Six years after their Biblical fundamentalist moorings were cut, some B-P ships are sailing with the New Evangelical current into the ecumenical mainstream – an inevitable "sea change" for those of a different spirit. 
   
 We see, then, the emergence of a different brand of B-Ps, perhaps best called "New B-Ps" who continue to wear the B-P name but play the New Evangelical game.
 
 Unless these new players have altered their Constitution Article on Biblical Separation, they are playing a double game."
The VPP Controversy[edit]
The VPP Issue[edit]

According to Jeffrey Khoo, "one telling sign of the book's lack of objectivity and charity is its biasness against and one-sided treatment of the Verbal Plenary Preservation (VPP) controversy." He goes on to point out that "the editors devoted one whole chapter on it but published only Life Church's statements against VPP without publishing the responses by Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC)." Noting that "it is all too obvious" that the writers "are unable to grasp the truth of VPP," Khoo then writes that "[t]hey cannot see that Satan who in the past had attacked Verbal Plenary Inspiration (VPI) and lost that battle is today attacking the Bible from behind by attacking its preservation (VPP)" and "they cannot see that the Bible is not only infallible and inerrant in the past when it was first given (in the autographs) but is equally infallible and inerrant today (in the apographs) (Ps 12:6–7, Matt 5:18, 24:35)."

Khoo also writes: "They say they are "Reformed" but their view on the Bible proves otherwise. What is more is that the Rev Dr Bob Phee in his lead article not only undermines VPP by speaking out of context on certain matters, but also maligns its adherents by inaccurate reporting, parroting others without getting his facts straight." Further down the article, Khoo points out that Phee had written and distributed a paper titled "Neo-Evangelicalism in the Bible-Presbyterian Church" back in October 1988 detailing the alleged neo-evangelicalism of Quek Swee Hwa" and "[i]t appears that Phee has made a U-turn."[39] Phee was a lecturer in the FEBC from 1977–2001 and taught Christian Ethics at the Basic Theology for Everyone night classes, opened to the public, in 1994.[161]

Phee, on page 459 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore, wrote: "Increasingly G. A. Riplinger (a Ruckmanite and anti-Calvinist) was frequently mentioned by [FEBC] as a scholar and as a person who had done research." He cited a portion of a purported chapel message preached by Timothy Tow at the FEBC in August 1998 to support his claim. But Tow had, in his message to the 62nd Synod of the Bible-Presbyterian Church, Lakeland, Florida, USA, 7 August 1998, and to the ICCC 50th Anniversary, English Reformed Church, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 13 August 1998, said: "Though G A Riplinger has been questioned for accuracy here or there in the exposure of Westcott and Hort in her book New Age Versions, she has done yeoman service in ripping off the masks of Westcott and Hort (Riplinger's book has sold 100,000 copies)." [162] Riplinger was cited by Tow for upholding the KJV and exposing Westcott and Hort, not for upholding VPP, which Phee ignores. Phee also ignores that the FEBC rejects the "inspired version," "advanced revelation," and "super superiority" position of Peter Ruckman and Gail Riplinger as it (FEBC) confidently holds up the Authorized Version of 1611 as "the WORD OF GOD" even though it realizes that in some verses it must go back to the underlying original language Texts (i.e., the Traditional Masoretic Hebrew Text and the Traditional Received Greek Text) for complete clarity, and compares Scripture with Scripture.[163]

The VPP lawsuit[edit]

Included in Chapter 11 is an article entitled "Should Churches Settle Disputes in Civil Courts?" which the Contents (page v) of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore lists misleadingly as written by FEBC and Life BPC but the error is rectified at the end of the article (on page 492) with "Compiled by the Editorial Board."[164]

Before presenting FEBC's perspective from "The Bible College, The High Court and The Charitable Purpose Trust" and Life Church's perspective from "The Lawsuit: A Blemish Amidst the Blessings? – A Concise Perspective Report By the Board of Elders," the Editorial Board wrote (on page 488) about many Christians wondering if Life B-P Church and FEBC should have followed the injunction in 1 Corinthians 6:1–8. While apparently directed at both parties, it is clear later (see below) that the message is probably directed at FEBC.

FEBC's reasons for fighting lawsuit omitted by Editorial Board[edit]

The version of FEBC's perspective in "The Bible, The High Court and The Charitable Purpose Trust" as abridged by the Editorial Board on pages 488–490 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore omits the reasons why FEBC went on to defend the lawsuit commenced by Life BP Church (or filed its Originating Summons later after the Attorney-General had given his consent):[165]

(i) FEBC did so "out of love for God, His Word, and His people as FEBC affirms and upholds not just the past but also the present perfection of the Bible, and by the logic of faith, based on the twin doctrines of Verbal Plenary Inspiration and Verbal Plenary Preservation, identifies where the infallible and inerrant words of God are so that God's people might subject their faith and practice to the sole, supreme and final authority of a sure and certain Scripture which is readily available and easily accessible" and "[s]urely such a biblical conviction and confession is good for the Church and all Bible-believers (Ps 19:7–14);" and
(ii) "FEBC was duty bound to protect the beneficiaries of the charitable purpose trust"[which are FEBC and Life BP Church] and  "FEBC did not seek the eviction of LBPC but LBPC sought to deprive FEBC of her heritage and home."
Information added by Editorial Board to "change" plaintiffs in Suit 648[edit]

On the other hand, the Editorial Board added information not found in "The Lawsuit: A Blemish Amidst the Blessings? – A Concise Perspective Report By The Board of Elders" published in Life BP Church's 60th anniversary magazine 2010 (a copy of which, however, can no longer be viewed on the internet). The Board added the events of 10 July 2008, 19 August 2008, 15 September 2008 and 8 October 2008, while omitting other relevant events, to present a timeline to push its inference that "FEBC had indeed initiated the legal suit." A different inference would ensue if a more complete listing of events (with the omitted ones in italics) is presented as follows:[166][167]

June 25, 2008: Contractors from LBPC knocked out the old handles and locks of the doors to the FEBC Hall without giving prior information to the FEBC about this.
July 2, 2008:  Letter from FEBC to Life BPC expressing FEBC's hardships and its intent to engage counsel to appeal to the government for protection while remaining open to a conciliatory meeting with LBPC.  Letter from LBPC to FEBC saying that it has no lawful status nor any right to remain on the Church Premises and are therefore trespassers, and the Church will commence [legal] action to recover possession of the part of the Premises used by FEBC, if it fails to peaceably vacate the Premises forthwith.
July 10, 2008: Lawyers for FEBC sent a letter informing LBPC that FEBC would be applying to the High Court "to seek a declaration, amongst others, that the buildings situated at 9 and 9A Gilstead Road are held on trust for [FEBC] to use as a Bible College" and requesting that LBPC maintain the status quo pending the Court's determination.
August 19, 2008:  Lawyers for FEBC wrote to the Attorney-General requesting him to institute a suit or to grant consent to the three named FEBC directors to do so in the High Court for a declaration that the registered proprietors of 9, 9A and 10 Gilstead Road hold such properties on a charitable trust for the benefit and use of a Bible College administered by the Board of Directors of FEBC.
September 15, 2008:   Life BPC commenced Suit 648 through its lawyers against the FEBC directors to restrain FEBC from occupying, possessing or otherwise using the Gilstead Road premises to operate the college.
September 18, 2008:  Lawyers for Life BPC wrote to the Attorney-General to dissuade him from commencing proceedings or giving consent to FEBC's Board of Directors to commence proceedings.
October 2, 2008: Lawyers for Life BPC wrote a follow-up letter to the Attorney-General giving reasons why he should not commence proceedings or grant consent to the directors of FEBC to commence proceedings.
October 8, 2008: The Attorney-General gave his consent to the 3 FEBC directors to institute a suit in the High Court for a declaration that the registered proprietors of the Gilstead Road properties hold them on a charitable purpose trust for the benefit and use of the FEBC.
January 6, 2009 – the three FEBC directors filed Originating Summons OS 6 of 2009.

(As the Editorial Board took the FEBC's perspective from The Burning Bush Volume 21 No. 2 (July 2015), it could not have missed the note at the head of page 91: "For Part I, please see "The Battle for the Bible Between Far Eastern Bible College and Life Bible-Presbyterian Church: Chronology of Events," The Burning Bush 18 (July 2012): 86–108, or To Magnify His Word, Golden Jubilee Yearbook of Far Eastern Bible College (1962–2012), 244–263." Both publications listing the events are available on the internet.)

As FEBC filed its Originating Summons on 6 January 2009 and Life BP Church filed its Writ of Summons on 15 September 2008, it cannot be that that FEBC's later filing had initiated or commenced the legal suit between the parties since a civil action is commenced only when a writ of summons or an originating summons is filed and processed by the Court.[168] (See also the information at the link: Civil Litigation in Singapore.) Although FEBC had on 10 July 2008 through its lawyers notified Life BP Church that FEBC would be applying to the High Court to seek a declaration that the buildings at Gilstead Road are held on trust for FEBC to use as a Bible College, FEBC could fail to obtain the consent needed from the Attorney-General or he could commence legal proceedings in his own name, and no action would then be commenced by FEBC. Life BP Church was clearly aware of this as its lawyers wrote to the Attorney-General on 18 September 2008 and 2 October 2008 to dissuade him from granting consent or refrain from instituting the legal suit in his name to seek the determination of the High Court on the matter so that Suit 648 filed on 15 September 2008 by Life BP Church would proceed according to its initiative as plaintiffs.

Explanation of delay in FEBC's filing its Originating Summons[edit]

The Editorial Board resorted to distorting the law to "make" its point that Life BP Church filing its Writ of Summons in Suit 648 of 2008 earlier than the Originating Summons OS 6 of 2009 filed later by FEBC was due to FEBC being not a legal entity at the relevant time and had to wait while Life BP Church did not have to do so because it was a registered legal entity. High Court judge, Prakash J had in [69] of the High Court Judgement pointed out that Life Church's pleaded case was "founded in the law of trespass and is an exercise of its proprietary right to evict persons who it alleges to be trespassers from the Premises ... [and it was] not trying to enforce a charitable trust" but it was the defendants [FEBC] who were "trying to enforce a charitable purpose trust by contending that the existence of such a trust in their favour gives them the right to continue to occupy the Premises" when she ruled that consent was required only of the FEBC but not of Life Church.[169]

Section 9(1) of the Government Proceedings Act (Chapter 121) provides that "[i]n the case of any alleged breach of any express or constructive trust for public, religious, social or charitable purposes, or where the direction of the court is deemed necessary for the administration of any such trust, the Attorney-General or two or more persons having an interest in the trust and having obtained the consent in writing of the Attorney-General, may institute a suit or be joined as a party in any existing suit on behalf of the Government or the public for the purpose of — (a) asserting any interest or right in the trust property; ... (h) settling a scheme; and (i) obtaining such further or other relief as the nature of the case may require" and section 9(2) provides that "[n]o suit claiming any of the reliefs specified in subsection (1) shall be instituted in respect of any such trust as is therein referred to except in conformity with that subsection."[170] The Government Proceedings Act here applied only to the FEBC, and not Life B-P Church, based on the ruling of the learned High Court Judge (see above). As the OS when filed on January 6, 2009 was in the names of the three individual directors, and not in the name of FEBC, the Editorial Board's argument that FEBC had to wait before it could file the OS as it was not a legal entity at the relevant time makes no sense.[171]

There was also no "re-registration" of the FEBC as a charity, as indicated on page 486 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore.[172]

While the Editorial Board attempt to whitewash Life BPC and paint FEBC (or its directors) as the villains or "plaintiffs" in Suit 648 by distorting both the law and the facts, Life Church's second lawsuit against the FEBC in DC1956/2013R commenced on 27 June 2013 in the Subordinate Courts of Singapore (later renamed the State Courts of Singapore) nullifies their efforts (see below). Wong cannot be unaware of this lawsuit as he mentions on page 417 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore "two high-profile court cases involving two BP churches and the Bible College founded by the mother church, Life BPC" and "one case remain [sic] unresolved" at the time of Tow's passing. Wong's facts, however, are either intentionally or unintentionally mixed-up as both the court cases involving FEBC – Suit 648 and DC1956/2013R – were between Life BP Church (just one BP church only) as plaintiffs and FEBC as defendants. Even if Wong would want to say that he had in mind Suit 648 and the appeal for the case as two separate cases instead of one, there was only one BP church (i.e. Life BP Church) involved and not two. At the time of Tow's passing in 2009, the only case known was Suit 648 and it was heard in the High Court on 25–29 January 2010; the appeal was not in view until after the High Court rendered its decision on 30 June 2010, more than a year after Tow's passing in April 2009.

Right target for 1 Cor 6:1–9[edit]

If David Wong & company's intent is to preach that Christians should not sue other Christians based on 1 Cor 6:1–9, then their target should be Life BP Church. Instead, they attempt to "change" Life BP Church's status as plaintiffs in Suit 648 and then apparently act confused with regard to Suit DC1956/2013R in which Life BP Church were also the plaintiffs (see above). However, Life BP Church's current pastor, Charles Seet, had already preached in 2004 a sermon titled "Can Christians Sue One Another?" based on 1 Cor 6:1–8 and published it as an article in the Life BPC weekly of 23 May 2004 and his answer was: "Obviously not. Following our Lord's example, we should absorb whatever grief or loss caused to us."[173] As such, Life B-P Church do not need David Wong & company to interpret 1 Cor 6:1–8 to them as their problem lies in not practising what they preached.[174]

Editorial Board failed to exercise discretion to be objective[edit]

The Editorial Board omitted Life Church's assertion in its perspective "The Lawsuit: A Blemish Amidst the Blessings? – A Concise Perspective Report By the Board of Elders" that "[t]he Court was rightly not asked to determine whether the VPP was a correct doctrine but instead, whether the 8-member Board of Directors have become trespassers operating a new Bible College instead of the original FEBC because of the change in doctrine." This was done apparently to save Life Church from being embarrassed as the Court of Appeal Judgment deals substantially with doctrine and its conclusion was VPP is not deviant or heretical (see below).

On the other hand, the Editorial Board amended Life Church's perspective by adding in the Board's own words in the last paragraph on page 492 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore that "Life Church remained conciliatory and accommodating" and "[u]p till December 2010, the Church Session continued to extend the hand of Christian love and benevolence" when the status quo was maintained pending resolution of the matter by the Court of Appeal.

The Editorial Board also on the same page added "Instead, it [FEBC] proceeded to appeal against the High Court decision" to unfairly portray the FEBC Board of Directors as rejecting Life Church's overture and refusing to enter into any discussion despite the declaration by the leadership of Life BP Church that it shall "remain committed to continue with the ministry of the original FEBC and has gone on record that Life Church remain ready and willing to arrive at an amicable and God-honouring resolution to the problems." But Life Church could not have been sincere in wanting to arrive at an amicable and God-honouring resolution to the problems as it had on 25 June 2008 engaged contractors to knock out the old handles and locks of the doors to the FEBC Hall without informing FEBC and then rejected FEBC's letter of 2 July 2008 for a conciliatory meeting (see above). As the High Court Judgment did not appear to be solidly sound – a fact now confirmed by the Court of Appeal judgement – there was no reason for the FEBC directors to give up their right of appeal against opponents who were more interested in making the right sounds than performing the right acts and who could also be worried about the appeal since they had even wondered if the case would be "a blemish amidst the blessings."

Writing with hindsight and knowledge in 2018 of what actually happened, the Editorial Board could have omitted the entire last paragraph on page 492 – as they did with the omission relating to Life BP Church claiming to be right in not asking the Court to determine if the VPP doctrine was correct because the Court of Appeal found that "the College, in adopting the VPP doctrine, has not deviated from the fundamental principles which guide and inform the work of the College right from the inception," and "[i]t is not inconsistent for a Christian who believes fully in the principles contained within the Westminster Confession (and the VPI doctrine) to also subscribe to the VPP doctrine." Despite the decision of the Court of Appeal on 26 April 2011 ruling that the original FEBC remains and the Appellants are members of its Board, Life Church as prime mover started Emmanuel Reformed Bible College (ERBC) on 6 January 2017 (see below) even though its reasons for going to court had been invalidated by the Court of Appeal's decision. As Life BP Church's 60th anniversary magazine 2010 is no longer available on the internet for public viewing, the "on record" claim or offer in "The Lawsuit: A Blemish Amidst the Blessings? – A Concise Perspective Report By The Board of Elders" must be dubious or questionable.

Compilation of Court of Appeal's Decision[edit]

The Editorial Board also presents its compilation of the Court of Appeal's Decision on the Life BPC-FEBC Dispute (Khoo Jeffrey and others v Life Bible-Presbyterian Church and others) on pages 484–487 of their book with a lot biases and distortions. Although the Editorial Board publishes (unfairly without publishing the responses from FEBC) on pages 470–472 and 479–483 Life BP Church's statements which allege VPP to be heresy, and this had been found to be without any basis by the Judges of Appeal, the Editorial Board again falls woefully short of being objective in merely stating that "[t]he Judges concluded that the Church failed to prove that the FEBC's adoption of VPP doctrine was inconsistent with the fundamental doctrines of the College."

Court of Appeal's conclusions on the VPP Doctrine[edit]

The Editorial Board omits mentioning that the Judges of Appeal had looked into Article VIII Ch 1 (or 1.8) of the Westminster Confession of Faith (which was reproduced in full in para 91 of their judgment) before delivering the following in [94], [95] and [98] with regard to the VPP doctrine:[175]

(i) "the VPP doctrine is actually closely related to the VPI doctrine which both parties [i.e., FEBC and Life BPC] adhere to," (rejecting LBPC's contention in [59] of the Court of Appeal Judgement that it is "an entirely different creature from the VPI doctrine");"
(ii)  "the College, in adopting the VPP doctrine, has not deviated from the fundamental principles which guide and inform the work of the College right from its inception, and as expressed in the Westminster Confession;"
(iii) "[i]t is not inconsistent for a Christian who believes fully in the principles contained within the Westminster Confession (and the VPI doctrine) to also subscribe to the VPP doctrine;" and
 (iv) "[i]n the absence of anything in the Westminster Confession that deals with the status of the apographs, we [the Court] hesitate to find that the VPP doctrine is a deviation from the principles contained within the Westminster Confession."

(Incidentally, there is no mention of WCF 1.8 in Lai Park Wah's "The Holy Scripture"(on pages 9–10) in Chapter 1 "The Reformed Faith & Theology," pages 2–20, Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore even though an overview of the WCF on page 7 makes a brief mention of WCF 1.8–9 to be an approach still valued by contemporary Protestants that a doctrinal statement must be based "on a careful exegesis of the Scriptures in their original languages" without indicating that the original language Scriptures in Hebrew and Greek were "immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages" as in WCF1.8. Lai serves as a deacon in Mount Carmel BP Church which claims to "uphold the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible in its autographs" without claiming the same in the apographs[176] He is also Vice Principal and Lecturer in Church History and Historical Theology at the Biblical Graduate School of Theology (BGST) which makes no mention on its website that the WCF is the basis of BGST's Theological Position.[177] Despite claiming its roots to be in Singapore Bible-Presbyterianism, BGST's Theological Position does not have the same doctrinal statement of a typical Singapore Bible-Presbyterian church in expressing belief in "the personal, visible and premillennial return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (underlining added) as BGST's Theological Position replaces "premillennial" with "imminent."[178])

Attempt to inflate over-ruled High Court decision[edit]

Although the High Court judgment was unanimously over-ruled by the three-judge Court of Appeal, the Editorial Board seem more interested on pages 484–5 of their book Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore to point out what they view to be the five key points of the Court of Appeal Judgement and the correctness of the High Court Judge's ruling in four of the points. In the fifth of their key points, the Editorial Board states that "[a]lthough the question of whether the Appellants are the current members of the Board was only cursorily raised and argued by the respective parties during the trial, the High Court Judge ruled that they were not the College directors because they failed to prove their status" while, in the paragraph immediately below the fifth key point, the Editorial states that "[t]he Court of Appeal ruled that despite the informal manner in which the Board had been operating, and based on the testimonies of the witnesses, the Appellants were indeed members of the Board and had discharged that burden" (underlining added to show difference and bias).

On "the issue which was only cursorily raised and argued by the respective parties during the trial," the Judges of Appeal state that "[t]he [High Court] Judge merely held at [81] of the GD [Grounds of Decision] that '[t]hey [the Appellants] have not shown that they are the directors of the College'" (underlining added for emphasis). Although the High Court Judge did not state how she arrived at her ruling at [81], the Judges of Appeal went on to state her decision as: "Essentially, the Judge decided this issue by treating it as a matter of burden of proof which the Appellants had failed to discharge."[179]

Was the College Board dissolved in 1989?[edit]

The issue of whether the Appellants are the current directors of the College was only cursorily raised and discussed as Life Church's counsel only raised and argued this during the trial, based on a statement in the minutes of Life Church's Session meeting of 20 December 1989 that the Board had dissolved following the resignation of SH Tow as President (underlining added for emphasis). However, based on the testimonial evidence of SH Tow, the College Board did not dissolve and this was also the evidence adduced during the cross-examination of Life Church's witness Khoo Peng Kiat (PK Khoo) who testified that "[t]he board continues" and that "he had been a director of the College for 24 years from 1979 to 2003 and that the College's Board had never been dissolved."[180]

Although PK Khoo gave a different version of events upon re-examination by the Church's counsel (in an attempt to repair the damage in PK Khoo's testimony under cross-examination), the Judges of Appeal thought that the difference between PK Khoo and Life Church's counsel stemmed from the different senses in which the word "dissolve" was used – in the formal sense by counsel in that "the Board was legally dissolved in accordance with the College's Constitution such that thereafter the Board no longer existed" and by PK Khoo "in a loose manner to describe a situation where, following the resignation of Tow Siang Hwa, many of the board members resigned and new members had to be appointed/elected to replace them." The Judges of Appeal were fortified in their "perception of the situation by the further fact that the [College] Constitution does not have any provision for the dissolution of the Board" and "[u]der the Constitution, the Board was intended to be a self-perpetuating body whereby the current members would elect new members to fill any vacancies on the Board."[181]

"Given that since 1989 new members have been elected to replace retiring members or members who had resigned, and given further that there is no provision in the Constitution which permit the dissolution of the Board" plus the "incontrovertible fact is that the Church had always regarded the Board as being in existence until 2002/2003 when the differences in doctrine surfaced," the Judges of Appeal found that "the Board was not dissolved, and continued to exist with the election of new members, following the resignation of Mr Tow Siang Hwa as president in 1989."[182] In the High Court judgment, the Judge had said: "It is difficult to give much weight to the statement recorded in the minutes [of the Life Church Session's meeting] that the [FEBC] board had been dissolved especially since there is no specific provision in the original constitution for such an occurrence. In any case, there is nothing in the minutes to show that after receiving this information, the Session took steps to reconstitute the board or put in any other system to govern the College while the board was defunct."[183]

Is there sufficient evidence to show that the Appellants are the current members of the Board?[edit]

At the trial, Life Church's counsel pointed to the Appellants being "unable to produce any board minutes to show that that [they] had been validly appointed as the current directors of the Board" and "this would mean that the Appellants could not be the current members of the Board" but "[a]t best, they were only the directors of the 2004 College." The Judges of Appeal said, "Admittedly, if there were minutes which recorded the elections or appointments to the Board, those minutes would have been the best evidence." However, they also noted that "many unincorporated associations, and the Board would appear to be one such association, operate in an informal manner and do not keep proper records of what actually transpire in their meetings." The Judges also pointed out that "the Board has been operating in such an informal manner for a long time and no one has taken issue with that until the emergence of the current dispute due to doctrinal differences."[184]

In order to determine whether the Appellants are the current members of the Board, the Court of Appeal pointed to the need "to trace the history of the Board's proceedings to see if they were properly elected by the Board's members at the relevant time." The Judges of Appeal first pointed to the Board being a "self-perpetuating body where the current members have the right to elect new members who have retired/resigned or as additional members." Then they pointed to the rotation policy mandated in the Constitution as "never scrupulously observed by the Board" as members whose term had expired would automatically be "re-elected" (or appointed) if they said "yes" to Rev Timothy Tow who, if it was otherwise, would find a replacement to be appointed as long as the other members did not object.[185]

The Judges of Appeal pointed to Life Church's witnesses PK Khoo and Joshua Lim Heong Wee being "re-elected" (or appointed) using the informal procedure for their tenures from 1979–2003 and from the 1960s till 1987 respectively. The Judges noted that the minutes of meetings from 1989 to 2001 recorded new board members being "welcomed" or "were proposed and approved by the Board" and Jeffrey Khoo "[had] all present approved" his addition "as a member of the Board of Directors of FEBC."[186] And for the three directors, namely Quek Suan Yew, Prabhudas Koshy and Boaz Boon, for which no minutes were produced on their election to the Board, "the critical fact remains that the six existing Board members (Rev Timothy Tow, Tow Siang Yeow, Wee Hian Kok, Stephen Khoo, Koa Keng Woo and Jeffrey Khoo) in the 2000 Board had recognised [them] as current members of the Board."[187]

The Judges pointed out that the evidence shows that the members of the Board did not abide by the Constitution in relation to either the election of new members or the mandatory retirement policy and such acts would be null and void if challenged. However, "as the members of the College's Board are the only members of the College as an unincorporated association and they have collectively acted in breach of the association's constitutional rules in relation to the election or retirement of members," with the remaining members whose terms had not expired taking no actions to ensure the enforcement of the Constitution, "their failure to do so would amount to a waiver of the breach, as well as acquiescence by them to the members whose terms had expired to remaining on the Board: Abbatt v Treasury Solicitor [1969] 1 WLR 1575" or, "[a]lternatively, the current members could also be regarded as having re-elected those members (whose terms had expired) to the Board," as opined by the Judges.[188]

On whether the Appellants had adduced sufficient evidence to show that they are the current members of the Board, the Judges of Appeal underscored that "none of the Respondents' witnesses who claimed to be past members of the Board (Mr Khoo Peng Kiat, Mr Quek Kiok Chiang, Mr Joshua Lim, etc.) have managed to produce any documentation as proof of their membership." The Judges held that it would be unfair to challenge the Appellants' claim to membership of the Board as "[w]hat is sauce for the goose must certainly be sauce for the gander."[189] In addition, the Respondent's counsel did not in his submissions challenge the composition of the Board as reflected in its minutes before 1989, and four of the nine Appellants (Tow Siang Yeow, Wee Hian Kok, Stephen Khoo and Koa Keng Woo) were "welcomed" as new board members by the existing members, including Mr PK Khoo, in the 1990 minutes. The Judges noted that "[t]he addition of the four Appellants to the Board met with no objection from the existing members and it would be reasonable to infer that they had agreed to it;" and "[s]imilarly, the 2001 minutes showed that Jeffrey Khoo joined the Board in 2001 without any objection from the then Board members." For the three Appellants, namely Quek Suan Yew, Prabhudas Koshy and Boaz Boon, for which no minutes were produced on their election to the Board, as pointed out above, "the critical fact remains that the six existing Board members (Rev Timothy Tow, Tow Siang Yeow, Wee Hian Kok, Stephen Khoo, Koa Keng Woo and Jeffrey Khoo) in the 2000 Board had recognised [them] as current members of the Board."[190]

Despite the widespread publicity which the case engendered, the Judges of Appeal also noted that no one, including the Respondents, had intervened in the litigation "on the basis that they are the true current members of the Board of the College." On the other hand, the Judges said "it is not disputed that the Appellants have been in control of the College and running it since 1990" and "[t]he correspondence between the Respondents and the Appellants show that the Respondents had dealt with the Appellants in their capacities as members of the Board, and it was only until the commencement of the present litigation did they start to deny the Appellants' capacities."[191]

In light [because] of these considerations, the Judges of Appeal were "unable, with respect, to agree with the [High Court] Judge, that the Appellants have not established, on a balance of probabilities, that they are the members of the Board;" on the contrary, they found that "the Appellants had discharged that burden."[192] No basis can be found to support the Editorial Board stating on page 485 of their book that the "High Court Judge ruled that the [the Appellants] were not the College directors because they failed to prove their status" while "[t]he Court of Appeal ruled that despite [regardless of] the informal manner in which the Board had been operating, and based on the testimonies of the witnesses, the Appellants were indeed members of the Board of Directors" (underlining for emphasis and explanatory meaning within [ ] parentheses added). The learned Judges of Appeal took into account other evidence as well as the laws of unincorporated associations and contract in their analysis of the facts and evidence before arriving at their decision since the testimonies of the parties' witnesses (PK Khoo (on re-examination) and SH Tow) differed. On the other hand, the grounds of the learned High Court Judge's decision in [81] of the High Court Judgement[193] cannot be easily discerned as she "merely held at [81] of the GD that they [the Appellants] have not shown that they are the directors of the College" (underlining added for emphasis).[192]

Confusion in Editorial Board's keypoint 5[edit]

On their key point 5. on page 485 of their book, the Editorial Board state, "However, the Appeals Court pointed out that if this [ie the Appellants were not the College directors] was indeed true, she should not have granted the Church the right to demand for the FEBC accounts to be availed to them at the time of the 2004 registration. This would, in effect, (i) recognise the College to be a ministry of Life Church, a premise soundly rejected by the Judge; and (ii) recognise that the Appellants were current members of the Board of Directors" (numbering (i) and (ii) added for subsequent use below). While (i) was explicitly stated by the Judges of Appeal, it does not seem that (ii) was intended by them as the Appellants need not be current members of the Board of Directors of the College to hand the FEBC accounts at the time of the 2004 registration to Life Church. After stating in [32] of their judgement that the learned High Court Judge "should not have granted the Respondents' third prayer in their statement of claim, which required the Appellants to give the Respondents an account of the money held in the accounts of the College," the Judges of Appeal went on to state at [33] that "[i]f the Judge was of the opinion that the members of the Board (who are the members of the College as an unincorporated association) cannot be ascertained, she should have ordered that the College be dissolved under the equitable jurisdiction of the High Court ... [and] [t]he property that is held for the purpose of the College (ie that part of the Premises that is impressed with a charitable trust in favour of the College, and the money in the College's accounts) should then either be applied cy-pres, handed to the Public Trustee, or turned over to the Commissioner of Charities (ss 21, 23 and 26B of the Charities Act respectively)."[192]

Attempt to deflate Court of Appeal's judgment[edit]

In citing on page 485 of their book that the High Court Judge was "greatly influenced" by the FEBC's 1962 constitution which required that any amendments to the Constitution to be made by at least two-thirds of the FEBC Board at the annual general meeting which led her to conclude that the FEBC had created a new entity because the FEBC Board did not adhere to this requirement, the book's Editorial Board omitted the more important finding of the Court of Appeal that "[t]he principle that any purported amendment of an association's constitution by its members that does not follow the prescribed procedure is void is well settled [law]" and therefore the Judges of Appeal said they could not "see how the Appellants could be considered to have created a new entity, which was the last thing in their mind."[194]

Although "the last thing in their mind" are the actual words used in [57] of the Court of Appeal Judgement, it appears that the Editorial Board's object in quoting the phrase or idiom on page 486 of their book is to make their point, albeit misleadingly, that the FEBC board had been inconsistent in saying that it had "no intention to create a new college, distinct from the existing college" since "the last thing in their mind" can mean (i) something that is not important enough to worry about, especially because you have more serious problems (Macmillan)[195] or (ii) "something that someone is not thinking about or considering" (Merriam Webster).[196] The context, which was omitted by the Editorial Board, makes clear that the Judges of Appeal had in mind the meaning in (ii) since they wrote in their judgement just before the sentence with "the last thing in their mind" the following: "Clearly, both the subjective and objective intentions of the Appellants were to register the College as a charity, and not to create a new entity" (underlining added for emphasis). There is in fact nothing in the Court of Appeal judgment to suggest that the Appellants had made the point or submission that "creating a new entity was the last thing in their mind" (per the meaning in (i) for the underlined words) and "the Judges of Appeal then accepted the point."[197]

Omission of Life Church's representation of VPP[edit]

On the question of whether the VPP doctrine "constituted such a fundamental shift that it should be regarded as pursuing something so different from the original objects of the College," the Editorial Board omitted mentioning that the legal counsel for LBPC "had argued that the VPP doctrine was a deviation from the fundamental doctrine of the College because it was an entirely different creature from the VPI doctrine" while stating that "[t]he legal counsel for FEBC argued that VPP was just an extension of VPI and the College continued to fulfil its objective of training Christians."[198] The Editorial Board omitted LBPC's counsel's argument because it was rejected by the Judges of Appeal who had remarked at [94], "From the submissions made by counsel [in [59]], we were able to discern that the VPP doctrine is actually closely related to the VPI doctrine which both parties adhere to," before concluding at [95] that "the College, in adopting the VPP doctrine, has not deviated from the fundamental principles which guide and inform the work of the College right from its inception, and as expressed in the Westminster Confession [of Faith]."[199] Again, it was misleading of the Editorial Board to simply state that "[t]he Judges concluded that the Church failed to prove the FEBC's adoption of VPP doctrine was inconsistent with the fundamental doctrines of the College" without stating all of the Judges' conclusions with regard to the VPP doctrine in [94], [96] and [98] of their judgement (see above) since the litigation was commenced by Life BP Church because they had regarded the VPP doctrine espoused by the FEBC to be heresy (pages 471 and 482 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore) or "deviation from the fundamental doctrine of the College." [200]

Omission of why the doctrines of the College could conceptually differ from the Church[edit]

In pointing out the that the Judges of Appeal had also stated in their opinion that it was even "conceptually possible for the fundamental doctrines of the College to differ from the objects of the charitable purpose trust," the Editorial Board omitted mentioning that in the instant case "the charitable purpose trust over the Premises was not established by a single identifiable donor whose intent could be easily ascertained, be it by way of a trust deed or any other less formal way," "[r]ather, the funds received to acquire the Premises were raised by donations from members of the Christian community whose intentions could not be ascertained with any degree of certainty" but "what is clear is that the appeals for donations were made in the joint names of the Church and the College, without any further elaboration" and "there was no indication as to whether any one body would exercise any form of control over the other," "[n]either ... any specific reference to any religious doctrine other than the fact that both entities were Bible Presbyterian entities" and "[i]n such circumstances, the objects of the College, as well as those of the Church, would serve as strong evidence of the presumed objects of the charitable purpose trust, because it would be natural and reasonable to infer that the donors intended their donations to benefit both the College and the Church" and, "[a]s we [the Judges] see it, the charitable purpose trust upon which the Premises are impressed, as far as the College is concerned, must be that the Premises be used in accordance with its Constitution" and "[t]here is nothing to suggest that the College can only enjoy the use of the Premises if it is aligned to the Church." After concluding that "the College has not deviated from its fundamental doctrines/tenets [in its constitution] ... [and] is entitled to continue using the Premises," the Judges of Appeal went on to say, albeit also noted by the Editorial Board, that "the College's status as a beneficiary under that purpose trust over the Premises was not conditioned on its continued doctrinal alignment with the Church" (see [108]-[110], and also [107] and [95]-[105] pointed to in [107] ).[201]

More mocking of Timothy Tow[edit]

David Wong appears more eager to want to make his point that Timothy Tow had a pathetic ending when he wrote on page 417: "At the time of Tow's passing, one [court] case remain [sic] unresolved, which explained why the body of the founding pastor-and-principal was lying at wake services far from where it could have been, the home ground of the institutions he founded." Obviously recognising it to be disrespectful or insensitive, he then said he was asking the question "What went wrong?" and claiming he was doing so "without appearing to be disrespectful or insensitive."[202]

But it is well-known that Timothy Tow left or resigned from the Life BP Church he had founded, after being lambasted by his Session members, because he wanted "to establish the True Life B-P Church with those of the Lord's blood-bought children who stood firmly and obediently with him in upholding the perfectly inspired and perfectly preserved Word of God."[203] Timothy Tow could hold his head high as he pastored the new church he founded in 2003 until the Lord called him home on 20 April 2009, a week after he conducted his last Easter baptism at the age of 88; he lived up to his reminder to his students, "In the Lord's service, there is no retirement" even as he clung to the promise of Jesus: "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." (Rev 2:10).[204]

The Editors of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore chose to reprint Life BP Church's article "A Statement on Relations of Life BPC & FEBC" on pages 482-483 of their book to further disparage Timothy Tow as the article portrays him as ungratefully receiving monthly love gifts for 4 years and 5 months "amounting to $264,700 (or $4,900 a month)" after leaving Life Church.[205] The Editors should have checked with Life Church if the love gifts were in lieu of the Church not paying Tow any pension (from a pension fund) or having not contributed any Central Provident Fund (CPF) for his lump sum withdrawal upon reaching his retirement age as Timothy Tow was first employed by Life Church in 1950 when CPF had yet to start in 1955 and the parties could have agreed or opted to continue without CPF thereafter because of the additional financial burden on the church – with the employer's contributions reaching as high as 25% of the employee's monthly pay in 1985. If the monthly sum of $4,900 was Tow's last drawn monthly salary in Life Church or close to it, the Editors can judge for themselves (since three of them are pastors) if the amount was unduly generous as Tow had served Life Church for nearly 53 years and was known as "ever reluctant to take a 'pay rise.'"[206] After the High Court settled a scheme on 27 November 2014 "with certain areas in the Gilstead grounds (including Beulah Centre across the road) being allocated for exclusive use by Life Church (1999.72 square metres) and FEBC (1811.88 square metres) while other areas were to be shared by both parties," as reported on page 487 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore, is the Parsonage allocated exclusively to Life Church or FEBC? Timothy Tow had also led by example during the purchase of Beulah House (across the road from Life Church) by giving his entire salary towards the building fund to inspire giving by God's people so that the entire sum of SGD6 million was realized in six months to complete the purchase.[207]

A blogger—who shows himself as unfriendly towards FEBC, VPP and the KJV (with his many anti-VPP and anti-KJV postings and articles) but who seems to know Life Church, FEBC and the BPC well—posted a blog on 3 October 2018 on who should have left Life Church in the VPP controversy.[208] But David Wong, a graduate of FEBC before he went for further studies at the University of Manchester and Fuller Theological Seminary, chooses to paint a different picture of Timothy Tow in "The End Of An Era: What Went Wrong?" (pages 417–422 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore).

New B-P Presbytery[edit]

Inaugurated in September 2011, the BPCIS was finally legally constituted or registered on 19 December 2018. The BPCIS sees itself as the B-P Presbytery although it had only seven B-P churches (Zion-Serangoon, Zion-Bishan, Emmanuel, Herald, Mount Carmel, Mount Hermon and Shalom) as members at the time when registration of BPCIS was submitted to the Registrar of Societies in 2017 but Life B-P Church, the first B-P church, was not one of them. Based on available news of its annual retreats, Life B-P Church also did not send any participant to the third annual retreat of the BPCIS (held in 2016) which had participants from seven other B-P churches (Sembawang, Grace, Shalom, Galilee, Hebron, Moriah and Mount Horeb), besides those from the then six members (Shalom was not yet a member then).[29][209]

Mount Hermon Bible-Presbyterian Church's bulletin of 1 October 2017 requested prayer for the smooth registration with the Registrar of Societies (ROS) of the BPCIS (Bible-Presbyterian Churches in Singapore instead of Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore). However, as of 29 April 2018, BPCIS remained unregistered even though the same Hermon bulletin reported BPCIS members holding their 6th Presbytery meeting on 23 September 2017.[210]

With only seven B-P churches in the BPCIS when there were some 40 B-P churches in Singapore, the rush to register BPCIS to seemingly portray itself as the Presbytery of the Bible-Presbyterian churches in Singapore seems misleading since section 4(3)(c)(i) of the Societies Act (Cap. 311) provides that the Registrar of Societies may refuse to register a specified society if it appears to him that the name under which the specified society is to be registered is likely to mislead members of the public as to the true character or purpose of the specified society.[211] The Zion-Serangoon B-P Church bulletin of 8 July 2018 requested prayer for the approval of ROS and COC [Commissioner of Charities] for the registration of BPCIS "submitted slightly a year ago"[212] The Mount Carmel B-P Church weekly of 23 September 2018 reported the process of legal registration started "almost a year ago" to be "ongoing ... and we are still waiting for confirmation from the ROS."[213] The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on its website in the answer to Q7 of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the registration of a society states that "[t]he average processing time under the normal registration process is about two months."[214] (Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore on page 271 has Eden BPC reporting that "it was formally registered on 1 July 1999, just two months after it started the process with the Registrar of Societies.")

Notwithstanding the non-registration as of 15 November 2018, the same Mount Carmel B-P Church weekly reported the BPCIS holding its 7th Presbytery Meeting on 8 September 2018 and organising many other events and activities during the year.[213] Paragraph 3(3) of the Societies Regulations (made pursuant to section 34 of the Societies Act (Cap. 311)) states that, except for any application or correspondence with the Registrar of Societies and any activity which has been approved by the Registrar in writing, no person shall organise or take part in any activity of or on behalf of any society before the publication in the Gazette of a notification under section 4 of the Societies Act to the effect that the society has been registered or before the receipt by the person or persons making the application for registration of notice in writing from the Registrar that the society has been registered.[215] The same MHA website answers Q10 of the FAQs on when a society can conduct its activities thus: "A society that is registered under normal registration can conduct its activities after its registration has been published in the Gazette."[216]

Section 14(1) of the Societies Act (Cap. 311) provides that every society, not being a registered society, shall be deemed to be an unlawful society unless it is organised wholly outside Singapore and does not carry on any activity in Singapore. The Societies Act (Cap. 311) also provides that any person who manages or assists in the management of an unlawful society, as well as any person who is or acts as a member of an unlawful society or attends a meeting of an unlawful society, shall be guilty of an offence with the penalties (including possible maximum imprisonment terms) prescribed in 14(2) and 14(3). And every offence under 14(3) shall be deemed a non bailable offence and an arrestable case within the meaning of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap. 68).[217]

The Societies Act also prescribes the following to be offences and the penalties for them upon conviction of the offences:[218]

 Section 15(1), knowingly allowing a meeting of an unlawful societies on premises belonging to or occupied by him or over which a person has control: a fine not exceeding $5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both; the offence here is non-bailable and an arrestable case within the meaning of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap. 68).
 Section 16 (1), incites, induces or invites another person to become a member of, or to assist in the management of, an unlawful society:  a fine not exceeding $5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both.
 Section 17, procures or attempts to procure from any other person any subscription or aid for the purposes of an unlawful society: a fine not exceeding $5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both.
 Section 18, prints, publishes, displays, sells or exposes for sale, or transmits through the post or without lawful authority or excuse, has in his possession any placard, newspaper, book, circular, pictorial representation or any other document or writing which is issued or appears to be issued by or on behalf of or in the interests of an unlawful society: a fine not exceeding $5,000 or  imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both, and any book, periodical, pamphlet, poster, proclamation, newspaper, letter or any other document or writing in respect of which the person is convicted shall be forfeited.

Bible version and other non-essentials in BPCIS[edit]

Churches in the BPCIS take the view that their "belief in the infallibility/inerrancy of the Bible in its original autograph is an essential doctrine which is non-negotiable" but "the choice of Bible version is a non-essential."[29]

If the BPCIS proceeded to register itself with a constitution based on the understanding at its third annual retreat, it would not be like the original BPC founded by the late Tow (as founding pastor) whose younger brother Siang Hwa, a stalwart of the BPC,[219][220][221] wrote in 2006: "From the day of its founding in 1950 [when the Church started as the English service of Life Church before becoming Life B-P Church in January 1955],[222] the King James Bible (KJB) has been our Bible, the one Bible which we held to be the Word of God. To me, this was a crucial issue, to be able to substantiate our Doctrine (Constitution 4.2.1) that "We believe in the divine, verbal and plenary inspiration of the Scriptures in the original languages, their consequent inerrancy and infallibility, and, as the Word of God, the Supreme and final authority in faith and life," with a tangible BOOK."[223] Chia Hong Chek, in "My Experiences in Life Church and Galilee Church" on pages 172–176 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore, confirms that Timothy Tow "wanted the English service [in the first B-P church] to be a distinct Bible-believing church, and also to stick to the King James Version of the Bible, and not the Revised Standard Version (RSV)."[224]

Based on the White Paper prepared by BPCIS, as stated on page 514 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore, it appears that BPCIS proceeded to register with a constitution in which "[its] churches are free to use Bible versions of their choice," according to guidelines given by the Presbytery (page 512). Whilst proclaiming to uphold the system of theology that is reflected in the Westminster standards, BPCIS has indicated on page 512 that it no longer requires churches in its fold to hold to the historic position of the Singapore BP Church on the Premillennial Return of Jesus Christ as the BPCIS views the positions of Amillenialism and Postmillenialism to be viable options.

Per page 515 of Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore, the BPCIS allows the use contemporary songs of worship and other instruments (other than pianos, organs and wind instruments more suited to the singing of hymns) to accompany the singing of contemporary songs – since such decisions are left to the individual churches. This is contrary to the style of worship described as traditional or conventional, which rejects modern practices of introducing modern contemporary music with drums and bands to "attract the crowd" or liven the worship (often sensual, fleshly and panders to the wants of man), in a conservative BP church.[225]

Despite listing the biblical reasons of the Singapore BP Church since its inception in choosing burial over cremation in disposing the body of the deceased, the BPCIS says it has allowed its member-churches to decide between burial or cremation (pages 512 and 516) in exercising their right to be practical.

FEBC's Daily Vacation Bible College (DVBC) on Bible-Presbyterianism: History and Theology[edit]

The FEBC will be holding a DVBC entitled "Bible-Presbyterianism: History and Theology" on 6–11 May 2019. In the brochure on the DVBC, the FEBC laments that those "Bible-Presbyterians who were at the centre of the controversy that resulted in the split of the Bible-Presbyterian Church and the Bible-Presbyterian Synod in 1988 had just released a book called Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore to tell 'their side of the story'" although "it is really their attempt to rewrite history and redefine doctrines." Quoting Esther 4:14 reminding that "[the FEBC] cannot be silent!" as "our founding pastors and leaders had bequeathed to us a trove of books and articles and other documents which reveal clearly their beliefs and convictions" and sounding the warnings in Hebrews 13:7-9a and 1 Timothy 4:16, the FEBC indicates that "the Principal [Jeffrey Khoo] will start off the series of lectures "by giving a historical overview of the Bible-Presbyterian Church" while "[t]he next four lectures on Bible-Presbyterian doctrines and practices will be presented by an up and coming generation of Bible-Presbyterian preachers and teachers [Clement Chew, Ko Ling Kang, Joshua Yong and Samuel Joseph]."[226]

The DVBC was duly held on 6-11 May 2019. The topics and speakers in the DVBC were: (1) History of the B-P Church: Jeffrey Khoo; (2) Doctrine of Biblical Separation: Ko Ling Kang; (3) Doctrine of Premillennialism: Joshua Yong; (4) Doctrine of Biblical Inspiration and Preservation: Samuel Joseph and (5) Essential Practices: Clement Chew.[227][228]. The notes, which make references to Heritage & Legacy of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore ("Heritage and Legacy"), point to errors, inaccuracies and inconsistencies in this controversial book.[229][230]

Life B-P Church[edit]

Non-VPP Stand[edit]

Despite breaking ranks with Tow, the leaders of Life B-P Church claimed to be preserving the original B-P Church's godly path when they issued on 1 December 2002 a paper entitled "Preserving Our Godly Path."[231][232] Not approved by Tow, as mentioned in "Genesis of Debate" above, the paper also did not have the approval of the then Board of Elders ("BoE") which needed to act by consensus,[233] as six VPP elders did not assent to the paper. The two then Assistant Pastors, Charles Seet and Colin Wong, had the support of four elders only in the BoE for the paper.[234]

Seet, Wong and the four elders went on to issue a VPP-like statement entitled "Our Statement of Faith on the Preservation of God's Word" (the "Statement")[235] at the Annual Congregational Meeting ("ACM") of Life B-P Church held on 25 April 2004 to help them in their bid to oust the six VPP elders as the congregation was asked to unconstitutionally vote en bloc (without the constitution providing for such voting) which group of elders should rule the church before their 3-year term of office expired at the next ACM in April 2005.[236] The current version of the Statement on Life B-P Church's website is dated as of 8 November 2005 when the names of three deacons elected to eldership at the ACM in April 2005 were added as signatories.[237][238][239]

Jack Sin Joins the Debate[edit]

Claim to be biblical and objective[edit]

Sin joined the debate with his article entitled "A Grave Matter: Verity, Sagacity and Clarity in the Textual Debate," a copy of which is posted on Life B-P Church's website under "Our Stand."[240] Although not dated, the article was written in or after 2007 as it made reference to the 2007 Membership Handbook of Maranatha Bible-Presbyterian Church ("Maranatha B-P Church") on page 1.

Sin began his article by stating on page 1 that "[a]n objective and biblical appraisal of the debate is warranted for a time such as this." However, Biak Lawm Thang, in "A Review of Jack Sin's Article, 'A Grave Matter: Verity, Sagacity and Clarity in the Textual Debate'" in the July 2008 issue of The Burning Bush, concluded that "[n]either was [Sin] fair in his quotation of the works of others nor unbiased in his presentation of the opposing view" and "[h]is appraisal which is destitute of biblical proof, citing only human authorities with partial quotations, cannot be considered 'biblical,' or 'objective' or 'honest.'".[241][242]

Use of bible verses[edit]

Sin states on page 4 of his article that "the frequent quoting of the scripture verses like Psalm 12:6–7; Matthew 5:18; 24:35; Psalm 19:7; 1 Corinthians 13:8, Isaiah 40:8 and Psalm 119:89 [by FEBC] do not support the VPP teaching of a perfect TR of 1611." But these verses were never used by FEBC, where Sin had served as a faculty member until 2007,[243] or VPP proponents to identify the TR of 1611 but only used as a prelude or a foundational argument against VPP opponents who do not believe that God's words have been fully preserved before they are pointed to "the common faith" or "the logic of faith" that the perfectly preserved words are found in the Hebrew Masoretic Text and the Greek Received Text underlying the English KJV (see "Preserved words – which and where?" below).

While Sin decried that the verses quoted by VPP proponents do not support a perfect TR of 1611, Sin himself was guilty of using (on page 3 of his article) two of the verses – Isaiah 40:8 and Psalm 119:89 – to support his church's belief that God's words are fully preserved "in the body of the Byzantine or Traditional complete family of texts (as opposed to the inferior Alexandrian text type)" even though these two verses also do not identify the "Byzantine or Traditional complete family of texts."

Preserved words – which and where?[edit]

Biak observes that Sin believes the Byzantine family of manuscripts, not the Alexandrian family, preserves the words of God, but when it comes to the Greek printed texts that represent those over 5,000 manuscripts, Sin's commitment to "honesty" made him unable to know or identify the inspired and preserved words in the various editions of the TR and, at this point, he disagrees with Edward F Hills whom he appears to follow since he quotes him frequently as an authority; but Hills had no problem identifying the Greek Text of the KJV to be God's approved Text, and a portion from Hills – which Sin failed to quote but should have done so in the quest for "honesty" in biblical scholarship – reads:[244]

But what do we do in these few places in which the several editions of the Textus Receptus disagree with one another? Which text do we follow? The answer to this question is easy. We are guided by the common faith. Hence we favor that form of the Textus Receptus upon which more than any other God, working providentially, has placed the stamp of His approval, namely the King James Version, or, more precisely, the Greek text underlying the King James Version (italics added by Biak).[245]

Biak also writes that it is a fact, admitted by VPPists, that there exists variant readings in the Greek manuscripts that number over 5,000 and that even in the TR editions there are a few minor differences but despite this, Hills (and others as well) does recognise the existence of those variants and the difficulty in making a textual decision in certain cases but yet does not stop there, for a specific identification of the text is necessary if every word of God is to be authoritative, and he did identify the KJV Greek Text to be the God-approved Text as the above quotation from Hills shows.

For practical purposes, others like the TBS, which has been quoted by Sin as another authority, also uses the KJV Greek Text as edited by Scrivener.[242]

Although VPP is a new term or acronym (just like VPI [Verbal Plenary Inspiration]), what the VPPists believe is no different. The VPPists believe that out of the several editions of the TR, the TR underlying the KJV is the best and purest for it perfectly preserves all the words of God originally given by divine inspiration so that holding the TR of the KJV in our hands, we can say without apology, "This is the very Word of God." (The issue or debate is not about translations, but the Bible in the original languages.) Such a Bible position means that there is no need for the Bible scholar to practise textual criticism. The Bible scholar or student can confidently use and devote his time to the sincere exposition of the truth of God's words, not doubting the text at all. Hills, to Biak, is thus an "honest" textual scholar, for though he recognises the difficulty in the textual issue, he calls on Christians to be guided by "the logic of faith" to identify specifically the Greek Text of the KJV to be the God-approved Text in the light of God's special providence. "Honesty" in the textual debate should not fail to mention Hills's precise identification of the providentially preserved and authentic Text to be the Greek Text of the KJV.[246]

Sin's criticism of Scrivener's TR[edit]

Sin was apparently economical with facts in stating (with emphasis), on page 2 of his article regarding Scrivener's TR, "In some places the Authorised Version corresponds but loosely with any form of the Greek original, while it follows exactly the Latin Vulgate," but omitting Scrivener on page 656 of The New Testament in Greek according to the Text Followed in the Authorised Version (cited in his footnote) saying, "The text of Beza 1598 has been left unchanged when the variation from it made in the Authorised Version is not countenanced by any earlier edition of the Greek." In not back-translating to Greek from the Latin Vulgate in the few places where the KJV seems to follow closely the Vulgate,[247] Scrivener preserved the integrity of The New Testament in the Original Greek according to the text followed in the Authorised Version Greek Text underlying the 1611 Authorized Version.

Sin appears to take issue here despite writing on page 5 of his article, "No translation of one language to another will ever be perfect, regardless how learned the translators were or how superior the underlying texts or techniques may be ..." And VPPists do not take a different view that a translation, including the KJV, can be perfect. The original language Scripture (apographs or apograph[248][249]), from which the 1611 KJV was translated, is regarded by them as the perfect platinum yardstick of the Smithsonian Institution, inerrant, infallible, authoritative while the KJV and other accurate and reliable translations are like the common yardstick, though not 100% are good and safe enough for use.[250][251]

Attempt to associate with McIntire[edit]

Probably conscious of the need to associate with McIntire for credibility or legitimacy reason, Sin indicated on page 1 of his article that he had confirmed the fact of the place of founding of the Bible Presbyterian movement in the U.S. personally with McIntire. However, Sin omitted mentioning the relevant and more important fact (since the article is about the text issue) that McIntire had in 1992 preached a sermon entitled "Help, Lord!", from Psalm 12, saying that verses 6–7 in the Psalm and the WCF (Article VIII of Chapter 1) refer to God preserving His words[252] – which is the same view as FEBC but a different view from that of Life B-P Church – and the relevant part of the transcript is as follows:

"Now come verse 6, 'The words of the LORD are pure words,' not one of them is mistaken, 'as silver tried in the furnace of earth, purified seven times.' All the dregs are out. Here is a marvelous affirmation and vindication that God's Word is perfect. ... Now, 'The words of the LORD are pure words.' And then verse 7, how I love this: 'Thou shalt keep them O LORD,' that is, keep His words; 'thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever.' No matter what happens, one generation come and another passes away, God is going to preserve His words ... from one generation to another. The words of God will be preserved throughout all the generations. Now I am very happy that in the great Confessions of the Christian world, our Confession—the Westminster Confession—has its Chapter 1 on the Word of God. ... Now the Lord says, "I am going to keep my Word—it is like silver that has been tried. I am going to keep that to all generations, all generations. That means that no matter what the conditions are, God is going to have on this earth some churches and some pastors until the last generation were taken away who will maintain this Word like we are doing here and like we are seeking to do throughout the whole Christian world."

Sin also omitted mentioning that the International Council of Christian Churches ("ICCC"), whilst under the leadership of McIntire, passed an excellent resolution at Amsterdam in 1998 "[urging] all Bible-believing churches worldwide to use only the Authorized KING JAMES VERSION in their services and in their teaching ministry" and another one at Jerusalem in 2000 affirming the council's belief that the King James Version in English has been faithfully translated from the God-preserved Masoretic text for the O.T. and the Textus Receptus for the N.T., which texts combined gave the complete Word of God, the Holy Scripture, the originals fully inspired and without errors preserved in all ages for all eternity as the Westminster Confession of Faith standard says – "the O.T. in Hebrew and the N.T. in Greek ... being immediately inspired by God and by His singular care and providence kept pure in all ages are therefore authentical ...."[253][254] Both resolutions are in agreement with VPP.

As seen in the ICCC resolutions above, Sin also parted with McIntire on where exactly all the words of the original Scriptures are divinely preserved, which are the Masoretic Text for the O.T. and the TR for the N.T. underlying the KJV for McIntire, as Sin takes the view on page 5 of his article that "the very words of God in scripture are preserved perpetually altogether but NOT necessarily in the TR that undergird the KJV." Sin goes on to say or imply that there is a necessity to go on a hunt for the perfect TR underlying the KJV of 1611 today when it has already been identified by VPP/TR proponents who take the view that all the preserved words of God are in the TR rather than in the more than 5,000 Greek manuscripts in the larger Traditional/Majority/Byzantine Text of which the TR is a subset, as Sin himself calls it.[255]

Quek Suan Yew says that those who cry, "The Word of God is somewhere out there in the 5,000 plus manuscripts but we don't know precisely where" are deceiving themselves and others with their double talk or doublespeak.[256]

On certain Christian bodies and words[edit]

Sin mentioned on pages 4 and 5 of his article reputable and sound Christian bodies like the WCF (he probably meant Westminster Assembly or the Westminster divines), ICCC and TBS not using "perfect" to describe the TR. However, he was silent on whether they had used "imperfect." Sin apparently views such words "superior," "best," trustworthy," "accurate," "faithful," "reliable," "kept pure" and "closest to the originals" describe the TR as imperfect. Again, it may not be necessarily so since a perfect TR can also be superior, best, trustworthy, accurate, faithful, reliable, kept pure or closest to the originals.

Khoo explained that The Dean Burgon Society's statement declaring the Texts which are the closest to the original autographs of the Bible must be understood in the context of the battle against Westcott and Hort who had puffed up their cut-up Greek text, based on the corrupt 4th century Alexandrian manuscripts, as being closest to the original so that the use of the term "closest to the original" was to correct and counteract Westcott and Hort's view on the identity of the true text; the term "closest" also distinguishes between the autographa (past and "lost") and the apographa (present and existing), both with the same contents but they are distinct; and the word "closest" should be interpreted to mean "purest" as D A Waite, President of the Dean Burgon Society, understands the statement to mean "that the words of the Received Greek and Masoretic Hebrew texts that underlie the King James Bible are the very words which God has preserved down through the centuries, being the exact words of the originals themselves."[257]

Westminster divines and ICCC[edit]

No evidence was provided by Sin on the Westminster divines (or the WCF) or the ICCC supporting him in his contention of their use only of certain words although the ICCC after McIntire's death (in 2002) has changed since the Singapore Council of Christian Churches ("SCCC") – dominated by leaders of Zion Bible-Presbyterian Church which use the ESV in their weeklies and worship services[258] – has been allowed to pass resolutions contrary to those passed in 1998 at Amsterdam and 2000 at Jerusalem (see "Attempt to associate with McIntire" above). Both the 1998 and 2000 resolutions of the ICCC are not on the website of the ICCC even though the SCCC resolution passed in October 2005 on Inspiration and Translations of the Holy Scriptures on the ICCC website makes specific reference to the 2000 ICCC resolution which the SCCC resolution contradicts.[259][260][261]

With regard to the WCF or the Westminster divines, Sin omitted mentioning that the divines had quoted Matthew 5:18 as the proof text for the special providential preservation of God's Word in Article VIII, Chapter 1 of the WCF (see "Genesis of Debate" above).

TBS[edit]

On the TBS, Sin quoted from a 1997 publication although it can also be said, like in "On certain Christian bodies and words" above, that such cited words or phrases like "the most reliable form of the text of the Old Testament" and "a faithful representation of the text which the church in different parts of the world had used for centuries" do not necessarily mean that the texts are imperfect (i.e. they contain mistakes or are not inerrant).

As Sin's article was written in 2007 or 2008, "The Trinitarian Bible Society Statement of Doctrine of the Holy Scripture," approved by the General Committee at its meeting held on 17 January 2005 and revised on 25 February 2005, had before 2007 declared that "the Masoretic Hebrew and the Greek Received Texts are the texts that the Constitution of the Trinitarian Bible Society acknowledges to have been preserved by the special providence of God within Judaism and Christianity. Therefore these texts are definitive and the final point of reference in all the Society's work ... [as] they reflect the qualities of God-breathed Scripture, including being authentic, holy, pure, true, infallible, trustworthy, excellent, self-authenticating, necessary, sufficient, perspicuous, self-interpreting, authoritative and inerrant' (Psalm 19:7–9, Psalm 119) ... and are consequently to be received as the Word of God (Ezra 7:14; Nehemiah 8:8; Daniel 9:2; 2 Peter 1:19) and the correct reading at any point is to be sought within these texts." (Note that the TBS did use "pure" which Sin did not think "kept pure" meant perfect; it also used "authentic," "true," "infallible" and "inerrant" – italics and/or bold added for emphasis).[262] Biak remarks that the TBS statement is a fine one and it does not contradict the VPP position. And to insinuate otherwise would suggest a lack of "honesty" and a failure to be "objective."[242][263]

Regarding the issuance of the 2005 Statement on the Doctrine of the Holy Scripture, D P Rowland, the General Secretary of TBS wrote in the Society's Quarterly Record (April–June 2005), "Today, as has been stated, things are very different. The doctrine of Scripture has been, and is being, assailed on every side; not least from within many branches (including those taking the name of 'evangelical' and 'reformed' and may I add 'fundamentalist') of the so-called 'Christian Church' of our day. The Committee, therefore, considers it necessary for the Society clearly and unambiguously to state where it stands on this most fundamental of all doctrines" – words in italics added by Khoo.[264][265]

Pensacola Christian College ("PCC")[edit]

On PCC, Sin asserted what Dell Johnson would not say although the Bible teaches that only God is omniscient or has infinite knowledge (Psalm 147:5) and knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 48:5). Even if Johnson has not used the word "perfect" for the TR, it does not mean he will never use it in his lifetime, which has yet to end. While Sin thinks that Johnson would not use the word "perfect," but "best" or "superior" or "God's providentially preserved text" to describe the TR, all these words do not necessarily mean that the TR is "imperfect" or "not inerrant" although it may be so since all editions of the TR are not exactly alike, with their slight variations, as pointed out above. However, the TR underlying the KJV of 1611 is a new edition.[266](See "What is the TR Underlying the KJV" above.)

Sin, in his testimony entitled "The Transformation of a Life in God's Own Time" published on 1 December 2010 (as printed on the website of Covenant Bible-Presbyterian Church of India ("Covenant B-P Church")) but written between April 2005 (when the defence of his DMin dissertation was accepted by Pensacola Theological Seminary ("PCT")) and the beginning of 2007 (when he was still teaching in FEBC), said: "In PCT, I was convicted of the doctrine of the providential and perpetual preservation of God's holy Word (1 Pet 1:22–25, Matt 5:18, Ps 119:89, Isa 40:8, Psa 12:6,7)." (Added bold to two of the verses referred to in the following sentences)[267] Despite this, Sin did not point out in his article "A Grave Matter: Verity, Sagacity and Clarity in the Textual Debate" that Life B-P Church had in their article "Preserving Our Godly Path" erred in their interpretation of Matt 5:18 as not referring to the perfect preservation of God's Word even though he had indicated that it could also be interpreted thus.[268][269] Sin also kept mum about Psalm 12:6–7 shaping his conviction on the perpetual preservation of God's Word.[270]

(Sin is the Advisory Pastor of Covenant B-P Church as it is supported financially by Maranatha B-P Church where Sin is pastor. The ThD dissertation of George Skariah, the pastor of Covenant B-P Church, entitled "The Biblical Doctrine of the Perfect Preservation of the Holy Scriptures" was completed at FEBC in 2005.[271][272] Skariah's dissertation was among the books recommended or suggested for reading on the textual issue in "PCC Update."[273][274] When FEBC won the appeal in Suit 648 (see below), Skariah wrote to Khoo (in 2011) thus: "Bessy and I rejoice with you and thank the Lord for the latest development at FEBC. Eld Boaz Boon visited us at Covenant on Tuesday (26 April), as he was in Bangalore for business, and shared with us about the court verdict. Yesterday I logged on to the internet and read the entire judgement. We are overwhelmed by this— the Truth of God shall forever stand, and no mortal being can ever prevail against it. All glory to God. We continue praying for you all."[275])

Other Language Bible Translations[edit]
Non-English bibles[edit]

Sin devoted close to one page (at pages 5–6) writing on Other Language Bibles and Translations. But FEBC (as an English college) has no issue with non-English bibles and does not despise nor prohibit their use. And as it has students from many countries, it does not discourage them from reading their Bibles in their own native tongues – only advising them to use the best, most accurate, most reliable version they have in their native language, and to go back to the inspired and preserved original language Scriptures which FEBC identifies to be those behind the faithful KJV and not the corrupt modern versions to check for accuracy and fulness of meaning.

In addition, as FEBC subscribes to the WCF that the Holy Scriptures "are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come ...," a number of its degree graduates, after studying the original languages, completed thesis projects which involved work on their native language Bibles to make them closer and more accurate to the Reformation Text, and work (as of July 2006) was reported as done on the following foreign language Bibles: Chinese, Falam Chin (Myanmar), Bahasa Indonesia, Kiswahili (Kenya), Kalenjin (Kenya), and Vietnamese.[276][277]

Untruth on KJV being perfect[edit]

There was also no issue with what constitutes a good translation (superior texts, translators, technique and theology) and the view that a translation is never absolutely or 100% perfect although opponents of VPP chose to deliberately misrepresent the VPP position.[278] In putting forth a non-issue as if it was an issue, Sin could have led his readers to think that VPP is perfect KJV as some B-P ministers (see below) and the SCCC did.[279]

In addition to Tan (Eng Boo),[280][281] Philip Heng – who is more noted for casting out demons[282] – also wrote about hearing in 2002 that VPP is perfect KJV, and the KJV is "100% perfect, equivalent or the replica of the original Word of God"[283] but these were untruths propagated by VPP opponents against VPP proponents.[284] Even if Life B-P Church were not the party conveying to Heng the untruths, his article of 26 April 2008 has been allowed to remain on their website to this day. Heng also wrote on Inspiration of the Bible and pointed to Proverbs 22:28 to "[r]emove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers have set." But Tow, the founding pastor of Life B-P Church and the only theologian at the church's founding, was for VPP.[285] However, Heng could have been confused himself since he claimed to have not heard that "the Bible was inspired in any version or translation or manuscripts other than the original manuscripts" but Life B-P Church in "A Doctrinal Positional Statement of Life B-P Church" declare "the KJV Bible to be nothing less than God's powerful inspired Word, just as any faithful translation of God's Word into any language can also be presented as being His inspired word" as well as assert that "Paul [in 2 Timothy 3:15–17] refers to the Scriptures that Timothy had and calls them inspired despite the fact that he [Timothy] had only a copy."[286] Heng apparently could not grasp that the originally inspired words of God have been preserved by God's special providential care in the apographs or copies, as taught in Article VIII, Chapter 1 of the WCF, and could be accurately translated into other languages.

Heng was a witness for Life B-P Church in Suit 648,[287] which focussed on VPP being new, and Life B-P Church succeeded at first instance in the High Court as the learned Justice (now JA) Judith Prakash erroneously took a simplistic view of VPP being a change of doctrine before she was corrected and over-ruled by the three learned Judges of Appeal (Chao Hick Tin, Andrew Phang and V. K. Rajah) – see Khoo Jeffrey and others v Life Bible-Presbyterian Church and others and paras 58–110 of the Judgement of the Court of Appeal [1] compared with paras 65 and 80 of the Judgement of the High Court.[288]

Sin silent on CUV text[edit]

Despite concern that translations should be based on reliable and faithful underlying texts, Sin was silent on the text of the Chinese Union Version ("CUV"), which is based on the English Revised Version manuscripts – the corrupt Alexandrian/Westcott-Hort/Minority/Critical Text criticised by John Burgon. Biak commented that Burgon had made many good points about the TR in opposition to the Alexandrian manuscripts but they were not made known by Sin to the readers. Sin avoids calling the Alexandrian Text "corrupt" as he uses "inferior."[289] Khoo in Questions and Answers on the KJV printed in 2003 had said that although the CUV was based on the Revised Version of Westcott and Hort, it did not slavishly follow it. And unlike the NIV which omits entire verses like Matt 17:21, 18:11, 23:14, Mark 7:16, 11:26, 15:28, Luke 17:36, 23:17, John 5:4, Acts 8:37, 15:34, 24:7, 28:29, all these verses are found in the CUV which, like the KJV, is a faithful translation that upholds the deity of Christ. Khoo notes that the CUV follows the KJV in 1 Tim 3:16 calling Jesus, "God," in "God (Shen) was manifest in the flesh." As such, the CUV is superior to the corrupt NIV and Khoo would have no problems holding up the CUV and say, "This is the Word of God" since the CUV is currently the best, most faithful, most reliable, and most accurate Bible for the Chinese-speaking people."[290]

It was unfortunate that emotions in the Chinese brethren were stirred up despite the assurance given in 2003 (see above) by Khoo who later reiterated in "The Verbal Plenary Preservation (VPP) of Sacred Scriptures" a seventh tenet concerning the CUV (not translated from the TR) thus:

"The Chinese Union Version (CUV) is the "Word of God" for the Chinese people today since it is the best, most faithful, most reliable, and most accurate version among the Chinese versions presently available. Great care ought to be taken not to undermine our Chinese brethren's confidence in the CUV. Nevertheless, versions or translations are never superior to the inspired and preserved Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek Scriptures; thus there is a need to consult these original language Scriptures for clarity and fulness of meaning, and to compare Scripture with Scripture."[291]

However, in doing so, Khoo met with criticism that "[o]ne cannot try to fit round nut to square hole; it does not work!"[292] But Khoo's approach is no different from the TBS which reported on 27 March 2014 on "The Society's Chinese Revision project" thus:[293]

"For a number of years the Society has been engaged in a much needed project to revise the Chinese Union Version. This widely-used edition of the Chinese Bible – the best translation currently available in this language – regrettably contains some Critical Text readings and also some significantly inaccurate renderings where the original Hebrew and Greek has either been misunderstood or mistranslated. For these reasons the Society is revising this Bible, believing it is of utmost importance to provide the more than one billion Mandarin Chinese speakers of the world with a faithful and accurate edition of the Scriptures."
Similar problem faced by Life B-P Church on CUV text[edit]

While Life B-P Church faced essentially a similar problem since they apparently took the position that all the preserved words of God are in the Traditional/Majority/Byzantine/Received Text, and not in the Westcott-Hort /Alexandrian/Minority/Critical Text, discord appeared to be sowed with their promotion of the dual-language (Chinese and English) "Why We Do Not Accept the Doctrine of Verbal Plenary Preservation," issued by the Chinese Session of Calvary Pandan Bible-Presbyterian Church ("Calvary Pandan B-P Church"), a copy of which is still on Life B-P Church's website.[294] The issue was apparently turned into one of KJV /VPP versus CUV without Life B-P Church helping FEBC even though both were apparently on the same side on the text issue (favouring the Traditional/Majority/Byzantine/Received Text). Hopefully, no one has committed any or all of the seven sins in Proverbs 6:16–19 here.

Sin did not help as page 5 of his article was written as if VPPists had discriminated, disparaged or undermined other language Bibles when he exhorted his readers not to do so if such bibles are "faithfully and accurately translated by godly and trained men with sound biblical theology and approved and God sanctioned translational techniques based on reliable and faithful underlying texts." However, as mentioned in "Sin silent on CUV text" above, Sin avoided mentioning the text of the CUV, the bible used by Chinese-speaking Christians in B-P churches. While VPPists entertain the notion that only the KJV should be used for the English Bible for both private and public readings, which is also the declared position of Life B-P Church as far as the KJV is concerned,[295] there was no notion on the part of the FEBC or Khoo that the CUV should be discriminated, disparaged or undermined as Khoo, despite being upfront with the CUV text, had also given assurances regarding the CUV so as not to undermine the faith of the Chinese Service brethren.

Foreordination, Providence and Human Responsibility[edit]

Sin (on page 5 of his article) accepts that God's foreordination and providence means that "the very words of God are accurately and reliably represented in another language for all practical means and purposes, for the vitality of the spiritual life of the church in different ethnic or language groups all over the world" even though there are thousands of languages and ethnicities in the world,[296][297] many obviously not known to Sin and many still without the entire Bible or portions of it based on data in Bible translationsof those reached with translations of whole Bible or portions.

On the other hand, Sin does not seem to accept that the 54 foreordained godly men of "unquestioned faithfulness to the Scriptures, ... impeccable integrity, with no hidden agenda" and "the greatest Hebrew and Greek scholars of the age"[298] could be led by the providence of God to choose all the providentially preserved Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek words of the original Scriptures even though they had vast resources, including "the best commentaries of European scholars, ... Bibles in Spanish, Italian, French and German,"[298] as well as original language manuscripts/texts (including TRs), at their disposal for the work of translating the original language Scriptures into the KJV which Sin regards as "still the best ..., unsurpassed in all the English versions available today."

While recognising Scrivener as "the undisputed expert in the 19th Century of the existing New Testament manuscripts and on the KJV in its various editions"(see page 2 of Sin's article), Sin seems to have issue with completely accepting his TR as in those few places where the English KJV is different from the Greek TR due to the translation in these places drawing from Latin Vulgate readings, Scrivener (in the providence of God) followed the nearest printed Greek text without retranslating from the Latin back to Greek.[299]

Seet in "The Inside Story of Westcott and Hort" – printed in the January 1998 issue of The Burning Bush on pages 32–38, four years prior to the VPP debate – writing on their lives and work, their beliefs, their secret beliefs and practices, and their fruit, summed up and concluded at the end: "Thus the damage done by them has been very extensive. In conclusion, let it be said that no matter how good any modern version of the New Testament is in other ways, it is clearly blemished if the work of Westcott and Hort is present in it. The presence of their work means that it is based on a defective text. Those who want to honour the Word of God must not promote the use of any of these versions by the church, not because the content of the version is evil in itself, but because the attitude of being contented to use a blemished version rather than an existing unblemished one, dishonours God."[300]

If Sin's motive was not to undermine the faith of Chinese brethren using the CUV despite having issues with the TR, FEBC's cause was not helped with him not indicating in his article about the CUV translated from the Westcott-Hort / Minority / Alexandrian / Critical Text and not the TR.

New Perspective on Paul ("NPP")[edit]

Biak says that Sin's mention of the problem of NPP is entirely irrelevant to the textual debate and he hopes that Sin is not putting VPP in the same box as NPP. However, Sin seems to be insinuating on page 7 of his article that VPP (like NPP) is new, strange and outlandish – the tactic or strategy later used by Life B-P Church in Suit 648 to evict FEBC. But the Court of Appeal of Singapore has since Sin's article ruled in 2011 that VPP is not deviant (see "Suit 648 in the High Court" below).

While NPP redefines the fundamental Reformation biblical doctrine of "justification by faith alone," as pointed out by Sin, VPP does no such thing. VPP affirms a present inerrant and infallible Word of God as the final rule in faith and practice in accordance with the Reformation cry of Sola Scriptura and Article 4.2.1 of the B-P Church's constitution.[301]

VPP promotes the use of KJV, which is the English Bible of the B-P Church from the beginning.[302]

Quest for human perfection[edit]

It appears that Sin's motivation in writing on page 7 that "[t]he quest for human perfection is a natural human instinct even among regenerate men" is to imply that such instinct is common in the unregenerate but "even among" (some) regenerate men, it is also present. While the validity of Sin's aforementioned statement is doubtful in view of Matthew 5:48, Sin rightly points out in the footnote on page 8 of his article that Christians should continue to strive to sin less even though they cannot reach sinless perfection on this side of eternity. Sin then apparently alludes that Vppists in their quest to find "the perfect text" or "the perfect Bible" will also fail.

Sin's focus is on man, but VPP is about God's Word and God preserving His words perfectly according to His promise in Psalm 12:6–7, Matthew 5:18, Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33, etc., not the human quest for perfection.[303] God has kept His promise and His words perfectly and we are led by "the common faith" or "the logic of faith" to the TR underlying the KJV of 1611 (see "Use of bible verses" above). As such, there is no necessity today to go on a pursuit or hunt for the perfect TR underlying the KJV of 1611, as stated by Sin on page 5 of his article (see "Attempt to associate with McIntire" above). This makes Sin's write-up on the human quest for perfection entirely irrelevant, as Biak also added.[242][263][304]

Objectivity of Sin seems questionable[edit]

The objectivity of Sin seems questionable as he is a board member and the Dean of Students of a new bible college (see "New Bible College" below),[305] which was conceptualized in 2007/2008 when Life B-P Church was contemplating removing or evicting the FEBC directors from the Gilstead Road premises to take over the running of FEBC or to start a new bible college.[306][307]

Sin did not expressly state in his article whether his stand is VPP or non-VPP. He concluded his article on the last page (page 9) by quoting 1 Peter 1:25, a verse often quoted by FEBC and VPPists to support their VPP position.[291][308][309] As Life B-P Church had not quoted any Scripture verse to support their non-VPP stand,[231] they have apparently adopted Sin's article by putting it up on their website under "Our Stand" although the verse quoted supports VPP.

Difference Between Non-VPP Stand and VPP Stand[edit]

But how different is Life B-P Church's non-VPP stand from FEBC's VPP stand? If the inconsistencies of Life B-P Church's non-VPP stand are ignored, it is in fact very close to FEBC's VPP stand in the comparison below:

 (a)  Notwithstanding that Life B-P Church do not believe (with VPP proponents) that Psalm 12:6–7 is God's promise to preserve His words to "jot and tittle" perfection (Matthew 5:18), they also state that they believe in the full preservation of God's Holy Word"[235] – which is VPP as "verbal" means "words" and "plenary" means "whole";[291][310]
 (b)  Life B-P Church, no different from VPP proponents, also hold that God preserved the inspired words of the autographs in the Traditional/Majority/Byzantine/ Received Text, and not in the Westcott-Hort/Minority/Alexandrian/Critical Text (used for translating modern English Bible versions) but VPP proponents by the logic of faith identify all the perfectly preserved words to be the Hebrew Masoretic and the Greek Received Text underlying the 1611 KJV;[311][310]
 (c)  Life B-P Church, which "have never promoted other versions and have held to the time-honoured KJV as the most faithful and reliable English Bible to be used exclusively for both public and private readings,"[312] have no doubt that the KJV is "the very word of Word, and is fully reliable" but they do not hold to the underlying original language texts from which it was translated to be perfect or inerrant (i.e. they contain no errors)[235][313] – whereas VPP proponents, who also have the same high esteem for the KJV, hold that the texts immediately underlying it are perfect (i.e. without errors);[310] and
 (d)  Life B-P Church hold to an inerrant and infallible Bible based on the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible in the original texts (autographs) which are non-existing (as they were lost),  and therefore unavailable for reference as the supreme and final authority in faith and life (4.2.1 of Life B-P Church's constitution)[314] since Life B-P Church construe "original languages" in 4.2.1 of their constitution to only "original texts (autographs)" without including the apographs (i.e. faithful and authentic copies of the autographs) despite these being written also in the original languages;[235] VPP proponents, however, construe "original languages" as applying to both the autographs, which are no longer available,  and the apographs, which are extant and available for reference as the final authority in faith and practice, since both the autographs and the apographs were written in the original languages.[315][316]

Lawsuits[edit]

Suit 648 in the High Court[edit]

Due to disagreement on VPP, Life B-P Church commenced Suit 648 in the High Court of Singapore on 15 September 2008 to evict FEBC from the Gilstead Road premises.[317][318]

Despite taking FEBC to court, Life B-P Church did not adduce expert evidence – even though they bore the burden of proof (as plaintiffs in Suit 648) – to show that FEBC's adoption of the VPP doctrine was inconsistent with the Westminster Confession of Faith ("WCF").[319] It appears that the Court of Appeal of Singapore – the apex court in Singapore's legal system – in remarking on the well-known fact of the pre-eminent status of the WCF within Presbyterian churches worldwide,[320] applied the legal doctrine of judicial notice[321] to look into Article VIII Ch 1 in the WCF before holding that:[322]

 (i) "the VPP doctrine is actually closely related to the VPI doctrine which both parties [i.e., FEBC and Life BPC] adhere to," (rejecting LBPC's contention in [59] of the Court of Appeal Judgement that it is "an entirely different creature from the VPI doctrine");"
 (ii)  "the College, in adopting the VPP doctrine, has not deviated from the fundamental principles which guide and inform the work of the College right from its inception, and as expressed in the Westminster Confession;"
 (iii) "[i]t is not inconsistent for a Christian who believes fully in the principles contained within the Westminster Confession (and the VPI doctrine) to also subscribe to the VPP doctrine;" and
 (iv) "[i]n the absence of anything in the Westminster Confession that deals with the status of the apographs, we [the Court] hesitate to find that the VPP doctrine is a deviation from the principles contained within the Westminster Confession."

Life B-P Church was unable to adduce the evidence required during the legal proceedings. Brutus Balan had in fact in a letter dated 30 January 2008, addressed to Seet and the BoE of Life B-P Church with a plea to them to avoid carrying out their legal threat to evict the College from the Gilstead Road premises, remarked: "You [Life B-P Church leaders] have the most inconsistent and contradictory position over this matter and yet the charge of heresy is thrown at FEBC."[323]

Aftermath of Court of Appeal's Judgement[edit]

It does not seem that Life B-P Church took the loss of Suit 648 well despite Seet writing "Thanks Be To God" in Life B-P Church's weekly of 1 May 2011, just after the Court of Appeal released its Judgement on Suit 648 on 26 April 2011. (The article or pastoral letter can no longer be accessed on Life B-P Church's website under "Church Weeklies.")

While Seet pointed to the congregation in the 2011 article that all things come ultimately under God's sovereign power and jurisdiction and God is never responsible for one's wrongdoings, the analogy of God allowing Joseph's brothers to sell him into slavery does not seem apt with Genesis 50:20 quoted on Joseph telling his brothers, "As for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring it to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive" unless Seet had in mind that Joseph represents FEBC and his brothers represent Life B-P Church, in which case Life B-P Church ought to feel remorseful. But if Joseph represents Life B-P Church, as is more likely to have been intended by Seet, then Life B-P Church do not look magnanimous as, unlike Joseph who had acted kindly towards his brothers despite the evil done to him, a second lawsuit was instituted against FEBC on 27 June 2013 (see "Suit DC1956/2013R in the State Courts" below) even before the Scheme on the sharing and maintenance of the Premises was drawn up and finalized by the High Court Judge on 27 November 2014.[324]

A second analogy with Job by Seet looks odd too when the setback suffered was likened to Job's setbacks which were entirely Satan's work, not God's work, with God giving permission to Satan to afflict Job. But was Life B-P Church like Job who "was perfect and upright and one that feared God, and eschewed evil" (Job 1:1) that Satan would want to go before God to ask for permission to put Life B-P Church to the test or was God chastising (or punishing) Life B-P Church without having to enlist the help of Satan? If it was the former, was the Court of Appeal the agent of Satan since it was the one which had ordered Life B-P Church, the loser, to pay the costs of the litigation in Suit No. 648 (as well as the appeal) to FEBC? Or was it FEBC, the defendants in the suit, Satan's agent? But it was Life B-P Church which "dragged" FEBC to court even as Balan had pleaded with Seet and the BoE of Life B-P Church (on 30 January 2008) not to "drag FEBC into the pagan arena to the cheers and jeers of the Lord's enemies and then to ally with the diabolical lion to prowl and devour a Bible College which still stands true to His Word."[323]

The analogy with Job would be more appropriate for FEBC as after having lost the case at the High Court, it continued to trust in God (Job 13:15) for the appeal and was restored and vindicated (Job 42:10).[325]

Seet's article, in the timing (of release on the first Sunday after 26 April 2011) and the analogies made with Joseph and Job, appears more to be an exercise in public relations to impress upon the congregation that their leaders had not done any wrong in commencing Suit 648 and the setback in the lawsuit was only temporary. Another lawsuit (see below) was commenced a little after two years of the Court of Appeal's decision released on 26 April 2011.

Suit DC1956/2013R in the State Courts[edit]

Despite Life B-P Church announcing in their weekly of 13 July 2008 regarding "1 Cor 6 which teaches us not to take fellow Christians to court."[326] Life B-P Church not only commenced Suit 648 in the High Court but, after losing it, started another lawsuit DC1956/2013R in the Subordinate Courts of Singapore (later renamed the State Courts of Singapore) on 27 June 2013 by claiming that FEBC owed them SGD250,000 for utilities and maintenance from March 1970 to May 2008, despite returning on 28 January 2008 all cheques from FEBC totaling SGD225,000 for contributions to such expenses and telling it (FEBC) not to tender any more cheques as they (Life B-P Church) were prepared to let FEBC occupy the Gilstead Road premises free of charge for "this extended period."

Although Life B-P Church sued for only SGD250,000, restricted by the jurisdictional limit based on the venue or court where the action was commenced,[327] it wanted much more than this sum. However, after a 2-day open court trial on 24–25 July 2014 when it became clear that FEBC would be able to successfully make a "no case to answer" submission (upon resumption of the court hearing), Life B-P Church requested FEBC to make an offer for settlement which FEBC acceded to despite taking the view that Life B-P Church's claim was devoid of any legal basis and having had earlier offers of love-gifts made with the condition that no further claim would be made (until implementation of the Scheme on the sharing and maintenance of the premises) refused by Life B-P Church. FEBC responded with an offer of SGD300,000 on 8 August 2014 – lower than SGD350,000 offered on 5 November 2013 (because of further legal costs incurred)—and this was accepted on 14 August 2014 despite Life B-P Church threatening on 8 August 2014 to transfer the suit to the High Court to sue for a higher sum of SGD615,000. (See details in "The Battle for the Bible: Chronology of Events II" in The Burning Bush, July 2015, Volume 21, Number 2, pp. 92–99.)[328][329][330]

New Bible College[edit]

Collaborative effort of 4 B-P churches[edit]

Life B-P Church sought or accepted the help of several B-P churches – Galilee, Grace, Nazareth, Olivet, Shalom, Zion and Mt Hermon – in the evangelical camp to provide evidence which Life B-P Church adduced in Suit 648 to support their non-VPP stand in their bid to evict FEBC (or rather the FEBC directors who were the defendants in Suit 648) from the Gilstead Road premises so that they could take over and operate FEBC or a new bible college on the premises.[331][332] However, after failing, only Calvary (Jurong) Bible-Presbyterian Church ("Calvary (Jurong) B-P Church"), Maranatha B-P Church and Sharon Bible-Presbyterian Church ("Sharon B-P Church") became affiliated to Emmanuel Reformed Bible College ("ERBC"), a newly registered bible college set up as a collaborative effort of these three churches with Life B-P Church.[307] The first board of ERBC has four directors from Life B-P Church (Seet, Lim, Tan Yew Chong and Quek Keng Khwang), one director each from Calvary (Jurong) B-P Church (Foong Kon Yu), Maranatha B-P Church (Sin) and Sharon B-P Church (Peter Chua).[305][333][334][335][336]

Inaugurated on 6 January 2017 / Enrolment[edit]

ERBC commenced on 6 January 2017 at the premises of Calvary (Jurong) B-P Church in 1 Tao Ching Road, Singapore 618720.[307] More than a month has elapsed (as of 11 February 2017) without Life B-P Church or any of the other three affiliated churches reporting in any of their publications/weeklies on their websites on the number of (full-time) students registered on the opening day even though ERBC was very quick in putting up on its website a number of photos, with one captioned "ERBC Semester Opening Day" with 100 or more people and another "ERBC Board and Faculty" which has a few non-board and non-faculty members included but no photo showing the historic pioneer students (if any) registered on 6 January 2017.[337]

It is unlikely that ERBC is modest with numbers here as a write-up by Sin dated February 2017 posted on the Evangelical Times website reports that "ERBC has 168 part-time students, from more than 30 churches, in our present semester.".[338] But the 168 is the same number of students reported by Sin for the Emmanuel Reformed Bible Lectures ("ERBL") in the semester in progress on 16 October 2016 in his article entitled "The Establishment of Emmanuel Reformed Bible College in the Sovereign Will of God."[339] Assuming Sin is precise here and none of the students on the ERBL withdrew, it would mean that no new or full-time students registered with ERBC when it opened on 6 January 2017 despite Sin reporting on 16 October 2016: "We thank God for many copies of the prospectus that have been distributed as requested. Some ERBL students have requested for copies of the prospectus and some have applied to study with us."

The number of full-time students registered on 6 January 2017 was finally revealed by Sin in an article posted on the internet in August 2017. The article entitled "The Historic Opening Day of Emmanuel Reformed Bible College" started with Sin writing "After eight years ..., the day has finally come for Emmanuel Reformed Bible College (ERBC) to be inaugurated and opened ..." (underline added to show event to be imminent) before he moved on to report on what actually took place at the inauguration on 6 January 2017, which included introducing "5 new full time students".[340]

Even though Sin's article was not dated, he revealed that he had written it between 15–21 January 2017 "[a]fter all lectures had begun last week"[340](i.e. 9–13 January 2017[341]). Sin's article in the Evangelical Times dated February 2017, however, did not give the number of full-time students registered on 6 January 2017 (see above).

On the other hand, FEBC reported in 15 January 2017 weekly of True Life B-P Church that it (FEBC) had 11 new full-time students for the new semester commencing in January 2017.[342] In a later weekly dated 5 February 2017, FEBC reported a total enrolment of 571 students, comprising 107 day students (full-time: 54, part-time: 53), 288 students in the Basic Theology for Everyone (BTFE) night classes and 176 distance learning students for the Jan–Apr term of the first semester in 2017.[343]

FEBC went on to report in the True Life B-P Church weekly of 23 July 2017 another 10 new full-time students in the second semester (July–Nov 2017)[344] and in the same weekly of 27 August 2017 a total enrolment for the semester of 578 students, comprising 95 day students (full-time: 52, part-time: 43), 304 students in the Basic Theology for Everyone (BTFE) night classes, and 179 distance learning students.[345]

On the other hand, despite posting late on the internet in August 2017 that 5 full-time students registered at ERBC's inauguration on 6 January 2017 for the first semester (see above), ERBC and the churches affiliated with it have yet (as of 5 September 2017) to report in any publications on the internet ERBC's student enrolment for the second semester (July–Nov) of 2017. ERBC has on its website a photo of the 11 full-time students[346] for the semester which opened on 5 January 2018. Sin in the Maranatha Messenger of 14 January 2018 reported on the 11 full-time students without giving a breakdown of the students registered in July 2017 and January 2018.[347] Some of the 11 students in the photo captioned "ERBC fulltime students" were in the photo captioned "ERBC Board and Faculty" posted after the inauguration on 6 January 2017.

ERBL—de facto bible college[edit]

The sovereign will of God in the establishment of ERBC may also be His punitive will: see pages 25–26 of "The Clock of the Sevenfold Will of God" written by Sin's teacher and pastor Tow[348] on Balaam seeking the Lord again on a matter which the Lord had already prohibited but Balaam was keen to obtain an answer that would accord with his own selfish desire.[349]

As stated on ERBC's website, ERBL was started on 30 September 2008,[307] shortly after Life B-P Church commenced Suit 648 in the Singapore High Court (see above) to evict FEBC or the FEBC directors.[350] Mirroring FEBC, Life B-P Church roped in a number of B-P churches to join the ERBL project apparently for preparation to show the Court that they were able and ready to carry out the charitable purpose trust impressed over the Gilstead Road premises for a bible college's use if they should succeed in evicting the FEBC directors.[351] As a start, ERBL night classes commenced in July 2009[307] to coincide with the night lectures of FEBC held every Monday and Thursday during the college term. Despite the verdict of the Court of Appeal released on 26 April 2011 being adverse, Life B-P Church expanded ERBL by adding day classes from July 2013[307] until January 2017 when ERBC took over and commenced its day classes. ERBL has apparently operated as a de facto bible college on the Gilstead Road premises from its formation.[340] It continues to hold the night classes for ERBC after the latter's inauguration on 6 January 2017; the night classes on ERBC's website are nebulously described as held in Newton District,[352][353] instead of 10 Gilstead Road, where FEBC also operates, even though Gilstead Road is within Newton District.

Sin describes ERBL as "a joint project of several like-minded Bible-Presbyterian Churches in Singapore"[354] while Life B-P Church has changed to describing it as "a ministry of Life Bible-Presbyterian Church run with the help of several like-minded Bible-Presbyterian Churches in Singapore."[355] This appears to be done to circumvent the requirement that the consent of the FEBC has to be obtained if Life B-P Church is to allow third parties the use of the Gilstead Road premises under the Scheme set up by the High Court to regulate the use and maintenance of the premises between FEBC and Life B-P Church.[356][357] However, by having the ERBL as the night lectures of ERBC,[358] Life B-P Church appears to be attempting to circumvent the ruling of the Court of Appeal in rejecting its offer to run its own Bible College on the Gilstead Road premises in Suit 648 to evict FEBC or the FEBC directors from the premises.

Update: Sin is no longer a Director, Lecturer and the Dean of Students of ERBC.[359] Although he was present when ERBC opened its 2018 semester on 5 January 2018, he was replaced as its lecturer for Christology and Pneumatology by Rev Isaac Ong and for Nouthetic Counselling by Mr Seah Geok Leng (a non-faculty staff) in February 2018 even though lectures for these two subjects run from January to May 2018.[360] The home page of ERBC no longer has the timetable of the subjects running from January–May 2018 (which was amended in February 2018 following the change in lecturers for the two subjects above) as it has been replaced by the timetable for July–November 2018.[346] The same home page also no longer displays Sin's poem "Defending the doctrine of biblical authority and inspiration" although this poem still appears on Maranatha B-P Church's webpage as "In Praise of Jehovah".[360] Sin no longer writes the lead article in The Maranatha Messenger after his last article "Sobering Reflections Of A Committed Disciple Of Christ" appeared in 28 January 2018 issue.[361][362]

ERBC's focus[edit]

ERBC's "primary focus and foundation will be based on the Word of God, using the Authorised King James Version as the Bible in English" – as stated on its website.[363] This is no different from FEBC unless ERBC differentiates itself from FEBC by declaring that it does not take the position that the original language Scriptures in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek underlying the KJV are perfect (i.e. ERBC believes that the Hebrew Masoretic Text and the Greek TR underlying the KJV contain mistakes).

Although Life B-P Church commenced legal proceedings to evict FEBC from Gilstead Road over VPP so that it could take over the operating of a bible college on the Gilstead Road premises, ERBC has not stated that one of its distinctives is the non-VPP stand even though there is a hint of it defending (only) the doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture but not its preservation when Sin wrote "Defending the doctrine of biblical authority and inspiration" in his poem on ERBC's website.[364] It is unlikely that Life B-P Church has changed its view after the Court of Appeal ruling since Life B-P Church continues to regard VPP as heresy as its paper "Mark Them Which Cause Divisions" issued by its Pastor and Elders dated January 2008[365]—rebutted by Khoo in "Making the Word of God of None Effect"[366][367]—is still on its website more than five years after the apex court's ruling.

ERBC's courses[edit]

ERBC has listed as electives the following two courses: "The Westminster Standards" and "Understanding and Applying Bible-Presbyterian History and Distinctives." The latter course includes, among others, the doctrine of biblical separation and the defence of the faith, the Reformed faith and the Westminster Confession.[368] Will the Westminster Confession be taught with interpreting Matthew 5:18, which the Westminster divines had cited as proof text for their statement on the special providential preservation of the Scriptures to jot and tittle perfection, as not referring to the transmission of the text of Scripture but to the authority of God's claim upon us?[369] Will the history of the Bible-Presbyterian Church and the Reformed Faith be distorted or truncated to exclude the landmark decision of the Singapore Court of Appeal in the historic litigation between Life B-P Church and FEBC on VPP (see "Suit 648 in the High Court" above), the Reformation doctrine of the divine providential preservation (or the VPP) of the inspired Scriptures held by the founding Pastor and the unwillingness of those leaders of Life B-P Church who had disagreed with him but did not move out of the Gilstead Road premises despite professing to hold to the doctrine of biblical separation?[370][371][372][373]

Non-VPP But KJV Only (?)[edit]

As Life B-P Church use the KJV exclusively for both public and private readings,[312] their non-VPP stand (albeit VPP unless "FULL preservation of God's holy Word" does not mean "all the words of God" are preserved[235]) is at odds with churches in the BPCIS which accept or endorse the use of modern English Bible versions which are translated from the Minority/Alexandrian/Westcott-Hott/Critical Text.[374]

Unless Life B-P Church change or soften their position on the KJV, which is not improbable as their non-VPP stand seems to have been influenced by KJV critic Doug Kutilek[375] who contributed "The Background and Origin of the Version Debate" for chapter 1 of One Bible Only? Examining Exclusive Claims for the King James Bible[376] and has written many anti-KJV articles posted on an anti-KJV/TR website with a deceptive name www.kjvonly.org, Life B-P Church and the churches associated with them will be a separate group from BPCIS – as seen in the organisation and staffing of ERBC where churches in the BPCIS camp have been left out.[305][307] When Life B-P Church organised the Combined B-P Churches Reformation Conference from 9–12 August 2017, churches in the BPCIS camp did not join as organisers.[377] On the other hand, BPCIS organised its own Reformation Lectures from 25–27 October 2017 held on the premises of Zion Bishan B-P Church, Emmanuel B-P Church and Zion Serangoon B-P Church.[378]

Fundamentalist, Evangelical or In-Between?[edit]

With credibility dented and God evidently not blessing them in their failed lawsuits after claiming that the blessing of God on the church for the past 52 years (1950–2002) was a reason for their wanting to take the old godly path,[379] have they since reflected that what they did and thought to be the old path could be mistaken or wrong since they did not receive the blessing of God which they had expected when they commenced their lawsuit in September 2008 and had invoked His name in their daily prayer meetings for the duration of the court proceedings to help them annihilate FEBC?[380]

Time is needed to see if Life B-P Church are still in the fundamentalist camp (and preserving the old godly path as claimed).[231] It is possible that their somewhat confusing "non-VPP" VPP stand at the 2004 ACM of the church was adopted for expediency reason.[235][381] If time should show that Life B-P Church (and those churches associated with them) no longer embrace the separatist stand[382] and use the KJV as their only English Bible for both public and private readings[302]– the hallmarks of the original B-P Church – then any claim of preserving the old godly path would just be hollow or empty rhetoric.

If Life B-P Church are not pursuing the old path, then they will either be in the evangelical camp or in a new in-between camp called New Fundamentalist (?) – to distinguish from the Fundamentalist camp.

Seet spoke on 9 August 2017 on the B-P Church movement at the Combined B-P Churches Reformation Conference held from 9–12 August 2017 (see above). His message was later printed in the Life B-P Church weeklies of 20 August 2017 (Part 1)[383] and 27 August 2017 (Part 2).[384] In Part 2, Seet spoke on thanking God for the Bible-Presbyterian heritage and the Word of God that the B-P spiritual forefathers fought so hard for, and he emphasized on the need to fight and win each spiritual battle with "the inspired and sufficient Word of God." However, Tow—the founding pastor and the only theologian at the founding of the Bible-Presbyterian Church—in the Life Church Annual published on 23 October 1955 declared unequivocally that "the Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God"[385] In addition, in the Bible-Presbyterian Weekly, Vol. I No. 1 published on 12 June 1965 on "Why Bible-Presbyterian?", Tow asserted receiving the Bible as "the infallible, inerrant Word of God"[386] and, in Vol. I No. 9 published on 7 August 1965, he and Lawrence Leong stressed on the need to build faith upon "a true God [w]ho has given an infallible revelation through the inerrant Bible".[387] Seet's "inspired and sufficient Word of God" is not the same as Tow and Lawrence's view that the Bible is infallible and inerrant. However Seet's view is consistent with his belief (see below) that there are some mistakes in the Bible—the KJV and/or the Hebrew/Greek texts underlying the KJV that he and Life B-P Church use.

True Life B-P Church[edit]

21st Century Reformation[edit]

Whilst still in Life B-P Church, Tow preached at their 8:00 a.m. service on 27 October 2002 on the need for a 21st Century Reformation[388] so as to continue the 20th Century Reformation Movement of McIntire, the spirit of which he first caught whilst studying at Faith Theological Seminary in the US and was determined to be a part of the movement upon his return to Singapore in 1950 to become the founding pastor of Life Church (English Service) – later known as Life B-P Church.[389] Tow served Life B-P Church (from its founding in 1950) for more than 50 years before tendering his resignation after he was lambasted at its Session meeting on 20 August 2003.[390]

After his resignation from Life B-P Church, Tow started the FEBC Lord's Day Worship service on 5 October 2013 at the Regional English Centre. The FEBC Lord's Day Worship Service became True Life B-P Church in August 2004 after its registration was approved and gazetted in July 2004. Tow himself declared that he left Life B-P Church to stand for a "100% Perfect Bible without mistake" as against his assistant pastors' "belief in a Bible with some mistakes but not serious since they don't touch on doctrines."[391][392] Khoo, who succeeded Tow as Pastor after the latter's death, wrote that Tow had "resigned from Life B-P Church to found True Life B-P Church so that he might continue to teach and defend the twin doctrines of Verbal Plenary Inspiration (VPI) and Verbal Plenary Preservation (VPP), and the 100% perfection of the Scriptures without any mistake in the original languages on which the King James Version (KJV) is based."[393]

On VPI and VPP, Tow had said: "We believe the preservation of Holy Scripture and its Divine inspiration stand in the same position as providence and creation. If Deism teaches a Creator who goes to sleep after creating the world is absurd, to hold to the doctrine of inspiration without preservation is equally illogical. ... Without preservation, all the inspiration, God-breathing into the Scriptures, would be lost. But we have a Bible so pure and powerful in every word and it is so because God has preserved it down through the ages."[394]

Doctrine and Separation Stand[edit]

True Life B-P Church's constitution has Article 4 (Doctrine)[395] identical to Article 4 (Statement of Faith) of the FEBC constitution submitted for FEBC's registration as a charity in January 2004 under the Charities Act.[396][397] True Life B-P Church therefore subscribes to the same doctrine, based on the WCF (including VPI and VPP). Although Life B-P Church asserts that VPP is deviant or heretical, the Singapore Court of Appeal has ruled that it is not so (see "Suit 648 in the High Court" above) when Article VIII, Chapter 1 of the WCF was examined by the learned Judges of Appeal.

True Life B-P Church also has in its constitution the same Article 6 (Principle and Practice of Separation) adopted by all B-P churches embracing the separation stand in the old BPC.[398]

After writing on Doctrine – which includes VPI and VPP; the sole and supreme authority of the Scriptures (Sola Scriptura); the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek words underlying the KJV being the divinely authentic and authoritative words which God has supernaturally preserved down through the ages; the theology of Calvin; the fundamental doctrines of Sola Gratia, Sola Fide and Solus Christus; and the premillennial view of Christ's return – in "Why We Are Bible-Presbyterians" in the Sabbatical Jubilee magazine of True Life B-P Church, Khoo went on to write, under Practice, that B-Ps obey God's command to be separated from all forms of ungodliness and false teachings in accordance with 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1, to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3), to call people to repentance (through the preaching of the gospel), and to warn of spiritual dangers that abound in the world today and from the judgment of God to come when Christ returns.[399]

Contending for the Faith[edit]

Siang Hwa, the late Tow's younger brother, had also remarked that "the words of Jude 3 still apply" with regard to Tow leaving Life B-P Church to found True Life B-P Church at the age of 83.[400] True Life B-P Church can lay claim to contending for the same faith as that of Tow, its founding pastor, and McIntire, the founder of the Bible Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), who preached in 1992 a VPP message entitled "Help, Lord!", from Psalm 12 and also passed two excellent resolutions in 1998 and in 2000 while he was President of the ICCC (see "Attempt to associate with McIntire" above).

Besides True Life B-P Church, B-P churches which embrace VPP include Berean Bible-Presbyterian Church, Berith Bible-Presbyterian Church, Calvary Pandan B-P Church, Calvary Tengah Bible-Presbyterian Church, Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church, Tabernacle Bible-Presbyterian Church, Truth Bible-Presbyterian Church and Blessed Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church.[401][402]

(New Life Bible-Presbyterian Church ("New Life B-P Church"), where another of Tow's younger brothers (the late Siang Yeow) had served as an elder for a good number of years[403] and which supported FEBC in Suit 648,[331] is no longer for the VPP stand as a Cambodian work it had supported was asked in March 2016 to stop teaching VPP but its preacher, Tann Heng, could not accept and chose to forgo the financial support and leave the work to start anew.[404] Sim Chee Seng, an elder of New Life B-P Church, had in the church's weekly dated 30 November 2014 when reporting on a mission trip to Cambodia from 24–27 August 2014, reported on Tann being given some articles on biblical doctrines written by Sin for his reading.[405] However, it appears that Tann was not convinced by Sin's articles.)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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