God’s bountiful mercies to Singapore
Founded by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819, Singapore is today a tropical island city-state strategically located at the southern tip of the Malaysian Peninsular. With a population of 4.1 million people from diverse cultures, it has been greatly blessed and preserved as a nation by Almighty God over the past four decades.
Singapore became self-govening from Britain in 1959. She became a parliamentary democracy after being in the Federation of Malaya from 1963 to 1965. She became an independent nation on 9 August 1965. She now enjoys a high standard of living and has a skilled and productive workforce. We thank God also for his provision of an honest and capable government (Romans 13:1).
The Straits Times of 18 November 2000 reported that many Singaporeans are now ‘spiritually’ aware. But it should not be thought that they are all born again. Rather, people have become increasingly aware of the ‘spirit world’ through the influence of New Age and Eastern religions. However, there is freedom of worship, and Christians can evangelise openly within the limits of legislation designed to promote ethnic and religious harmony in the community.
In the ecclesiastical arena, both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism have been influenced by a mix of New Age, charismatic, ecumenical, liberal and neo-evangelical teaching. Many charismatic and some denominational congregations have embraced a kind of worship that emphasises so-called prophetic utterances, visions, dreams, healing, being slain in the spirit, and dancing.
Some of this unbiblical worship came during the mid-1990s, through the influence of men like Rodney Howard Browne, and through the Alpha course.
Evangelical and Reformed churches are still in the minority. They are represented by two Protestant Reformed, three Reformed Baptist, and roughly thirty-five Bible Presbyterian congregations, as well as smaller independent and theologically conservative groups.
There are about sixteen theological institutions. The three most prominent are the Singapore Bible College (SBC), Trinity Theological College (TTC), and Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC).
The rest are smaller or newer charismatic or denominational seminaries. The SBC draws its faculty and students from denominational churches. The TTC mainly serves the Methodist community. The FEBC faculty and students come from the Bible Presbyterian and other Reformed churches.
There is strong interest in mission in Singapore. Singapore churches, including Reformed ones, have sent out hundreds of missionaries. Many more missionaries are currently being trained. Countries being reached include Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma), China, the CIS and others.
Christian literature is available in over thirty Christian bookstores located across the island. Reformed literature can be found in about ten of them, and particularly in three. Various Christian periodicals are published, some of them featuring useful and edifying articles. Some churches produce their own magazines and newsletters.
The Lord has been gracious to Singapore in providing her people with material blessings. The island has a large and active evangelical Christian community. But there is still much to be done in fostering local and foreign missions, in church planting, theological training, discipling Christians, and other enterprises.
It is our fervent desire (1 Timothy 2:1,2) that the Lord will continue to preserve and prosper Singapore, not just economically but, above all, spiritually. Our prayer is that there will be a continuing and complete reformation of religion in the churches, so that the pure and unadulterated gospel of grace in our Lord Jesus Christ will be propagated throughout the land.