From 9-12 August, about 800 people from many Bible Presbyterian (BP) churches and more than 10 countries, gathered together for a conference to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
The conference was organised by nine BP churches from Singapore and Malaysia, and held at Calvary BP and Life BP Churches in Singapore.
It was a very meaningful occasion. Many today have either forgotten or are indifferent to this historic spiritual revival and we need to be soberly reminded of its spiritual significance and abiding relevance.
Pastor Jack Sin opened the conference, with a message entitled ‘After darkness, light: the sixteenth century Reformation’. He outlined the factors that preceded the historic Reformation and the doctrinal implications that undergirded it, with Preacher William Yap as interpreter.
Dr Michael Barrett, who is academic dean and vice president of academic affairs at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, USA, was a keynote speaker. He gave a series of enlightening and insightful messages on the five Solas (grace, faith, Christ, Scripture and glory to God) that were well received (interpreted by Rev. David Wong, and preachers William Yap and Job Yeo). They were delivered with theological depth and with practical, relevant applications.
Rev. Charles Seet (interpreted by Rev. Daniel Khoo) gave a brief history of the BP movement and its distinctives and the need to contend for the faith. The next day, Rev. Ho Chee Lai (interpreted by Dn. Bendick Ong) led with a lively workshop on ‘Contemporary issues in worship’ and how we should view them biblically.
On the final day, Rev. Isaac Ong chaired an international panel of missionaries and pastors, who gave conference attendees an update of the progress of Reformation truth in their respective countries. The speakers were from China (Pastor Y. written message, in absentia), Malaysia (Rev. David Wong), Australia (Rev. Dr Edward Pauwwe), Sri Lanka (Rev. Vijay) and the USA (Dr Barrett).
We sensed the great need to advance the kingdom of God in these last days, with much prayer and active mission involvement, and the translation and promotion of Reformed literature.
There was opportunity for informal fellowship, as New Life BP Church hosted a ‘Garden by the Bay’ outing for almost 40 guests and friends. They had an enjoyable time together soaking in the sights and sounds of Singapore.
There was a gospel message on the final night at Life BP Church, with more than 500 attending. One unique feature of the conference was the combined BP churches choir of 140 singers, from eight churches. They sang the original version of ‘A mighty fortress is our God’ and other hymns, including Chinese gospel hymns, with passion and finesse, to the glory of God and the edifying of the people.
Dn. Ng Thiam Koon and brother Victor Lee managed a book table on the first day, with many bilingual Reformed books being sold to the participants.
The conference was a historic occasion for the BP movement, with so many churches coming together and receiving great spiritual benefit. Our prayer is that it will have been a stimulus to all, for greater fervour for the Reformed faith in this post-modern era of spiritual compromise and relativism.
China and Vietnam
During the conference, we had opportunity to speak to pastors and church leaders from China and Vietnam, and found they had been enlightened and instructed in the history of the Protestant Reformation, which they do not normally get to hear.
This augurs well for the unity of like-minded brethren within the BP churches, and the strengthening of ties and building-up of the next generation of leaders and believers in the doctrines of sovereign grace. A word of appreciation goes to all who prayed or helped in one way or another to make this conference possible.
Rev. Dr Jack Sin