Sei sulla pagina 1di 24

2nd Quarter 2012

CPYF UTH CHRONICLE


Educate, Edify, Engage.

EDITORS NOTE
Heylo dear readers! Yes, its true, this issue comes hot on the heels of the previous one, and that doesnt reect very well on our timeliness. But thanks be to God for His mercy, and for giving us the grace to be able to publish this issue within its own quarter! This issues theme requires a little bit of explanation. On one hand we have what the contemporary understanding of the acronym CV gives us; a Christians curriculum vitae. On the other hand, there is the Uth Chronicle teams backronym that points us to Creeds and Vows. Both senses of the theme are covered by the articles within. First, we examine what vows are in the rst place. Did you know vows are different from oaths? Eileen Chee writes to us about the distinction between the two, along with many other things about vowing in How to Vow. Having covered that, she also brings us through the biblical value behind the many creeds that feature in church history in Need for Creed. With the basics established, Dn Han brings to us the Whos Who of Creeds in a very detailed article on Creeds to Know, and Why You Need to Know Them. Far from being merely an academic exercise in church history, Dn Han points out the various issues that these creeds tackled, and why we would do well to understand them even in this day and age. Also, in light of the difference between vows and oaths, the survey on friendship vows should be properly rendered as friendship oaths. Bro Henry provides an analysis of the responses collected, and weighs in with the biblical perspective we should take on it. Moving from creeds and vows to curriculum vitae, Elvin Siew contributes a piece in the Over 25 section with an exhortation to examine what exactly has gone into our Christian CV, and whether it is sorely lacking. Continuing on that thread, Joel Quah gives us a report on the latest (and still on-going) addition to his own spiritual CV in the My Brethren Lies Over the Ocean section, detailing his time spent in China thus far. As ever, we hope that you nd the articles encouraging and edifying. The wonderful thing about the written word is that you can write something now, and God can still use it to bring blessings to people halfway across the globe, years after it was rst penned. God-willing, the Uth Chronicle will continue to be an avenue for these blessings to be shared! Please do pray for us, and for writers to keep sharing! In Christ, Brian

THE TEAM
Editor Brian Secretary Dorothy Chasers Jan Siu Chen Hannah Woo Photo Editor Samuel Chia Special Ops Joelle Hannah Joy JQ Formatter Brian Advisor Bro Henry Chua

How to Vow


Introduction A vow is a promise made to God, whereby one takes it upon himself to perform something which was otherwise nonobligatory, or to perform a necessary duty with greater discipline. A vow must be distinguished from an oath. Numbers 30 makes such a distinction between the two. In that passage, verse two says that If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth. It can be seen that a vow and an oath are different. When man makes an oath, it is a promise made by man to man, in the presence of God, appealing to Him as witness to the veracity of the promise and judge if the promise is broken. Whereas when a man makes a vow, it is a promise made by man to God directly, regardless of the presence or absence of man as witness. Thus, a vow and an oath are both promises made, but they are directed to different objects. A vow is directed to God, while an oath is directed to man. The verb translated as vow in the English Bible comes from the Hebrew root word nadar (,) which means to vow. This root word, along with its noun form is used approximately ninety times in the whole Bible. In all its usages, it always has God as the one to whom the vow is made, or God as the one to whom the vow must be payed, except in Jeremiah 44:25.

by Eileen Chee

Generally, vows can be classified under two categories: conditional and unconditional. Conditional vows are structured as such, if God will . . . then I will . . . The payment of such vows is dependent upon God granting them the thing stated in the conditional clause. If God does not grant it to them, they are not bound to pay the vow. But if God does, then they are bound to pay

their vows. An example of a conditional vow would be the one that Jacob made after God appeared to him in a dream (Gen 28:20-22). Unconditional vows are those whereby the person who makes the vow simply promises to do something of his own accord, without requiring any action from God in return. An example would be the Nazarite vow (Num 6:1-21).

because often times when men Purpose of Vowing get what they want and life is What would cause a man to bind comfortable, they very himself to such a solemn conveniently forget their vows promise, to lay certain made in times of distress. But obligations on himself and God will not be thus put to possibly restrict his liberty, and shame by men who employ vows to risk incurring the wrath of God with the purpose of manipulating if his vows are not made aright Him. and not paid? People make vows to God for various purposes, One may also make public vows some right, some wrong. to the Lord before men in order to gain their respect and Wrong Purpose admiration, and to be viewed as a Some make conditional vows godly man. He does so in order thinking that vowing can twist to appear to be of a certain the hand of God. They use spiritual maturity, just as the vowing as a means of getting out Pharisees in Jesus time adorned of an unfavourable situation or to themselves with huge obtain what they want. These phylacteries to be seen of people view vowing to be a men (Matt 23:5). Such makes contractual agreement with vows not in sincerity, but in God, being that one can hypocrisy. Pride lies beneath persuade or influence or their guise of piety and holiness. bribe God to alter His will in Their vows would end up as exchange for one doing something abominable in the something. This is an erroneous eyes of God. view. A vow should not be used as a tool for manipulating God to A man might also be pressurized serve ones own purpose. One into making a vow, in order to must understand that the decrees pacify a pastor or leaders of God are fixed (Eph 1:11; Acts insistence and urging, or to fit in 15:18). They are His eternal with what others around him are purposes which have been doing. One should never yield to resolved upon before the such pressures to make vows. foundation of the world, and are not to be subject to change at the whim and fancy of man. Nothing A vow should not can change what God has be used as a tool determined to come to pass (Isa for manipulating 14:24, 27). Thus, no matter what a man vows to do or give in God to serve ones return to God for granting his own purpose. desire, if what the man desires is not in line with Gods unalterable decrees, it will not be given. God Right Purpose is no respecter of persons and He Although evil men may abuse will not pervert judgment. conditional vows, it is not wrong Neither will God be mocked, for one to make a conditional

vow. However it must be made not in order to alter Gods will, but with an attitude of full submission unto the Lords will. Such a vow would then express ones humble trust and obedience to God. It in no way demands that God grants the request. It seeks that the Lords will be done, yet at the same time that ones desire might be in line with Gods will, and if so be the case, and ones desire is granted, one will pay his vows as a thanksgiving to God and acknowledgement of His hearing and answering ones vow. A vow may also be made to express ones deep devotion and gratitude to God. When one is moved by Gods love and his spirit is overwhelmed by Gods goodness, he may vow to consecrate himself in greater service to God. Such a vow is unconditional. For example, if God has blessed a man in his business, he may vow to give a certain proportion of his monthly income back to the Lord, on top of his tithes. A person may also make a vow to aid him in his devotion to God and spur him on to greater spiritual zeal and fervency. Vowing helps one to be more serious about doing the thing one has promised, because he know that God will hold him accountable for what he has vowed. Vows may be the result of ones devotion, and may also serve to strengthen ones devotion. Principles of Vowing Should a man not make vows at all? Some may argue that he should not, because he does not

know the future, and he can never be sure that he can fulfill his vows. So in case he makes a vow and ends up not paying it due to his human weaknesses, he should not make vows at all. However, the Bible does not forbid a man from vowing. God Himself instituted the Nazarite vow (Num 6:1-21). King David also calls readers to make vows saying, Vow, and pay unto the LORD your God (Psa 76:11). King Lemuels mother called him the son of my vows (Pro 31:2). From these examples, we see that God allows vowing. Yet this does not mean that one should rush headlong to make vows. A vow is to be made only after the most serious consideration of the following Biblical principles. Conform Your Vows Before one makes a vow, one must ensure that it is Gods will for him to do so. A person should only vow when convicted by the Holy Spirit after much prayer. When one makes a vow, it must be conformed to Gods will and Word. One cannot make a vow that would result in defiance of Gods will or Word. He cannot make a vow that requires him to sin against God. If one has made a wrong vow, and it requires one to sin in order to pay it, he is not allowed to sin in order to pay that vow. Making a vow and wanting to pay it does not grant one the liberty to sin. As a result, he cannot fulfill that vow, and would have to bear the consequence of not paying his vow. The self-obligations that one lays upon himself does not take precedence over the obligation of obedience that one has to Gods Word. Shall a man

sin in order to please God in concerning which human paying his vows? Absolutely not. sacrifice without Gods requirement was forbidden. As it Consider Your Vows turned out, it was a human being, Proverbs 20:25 teaches that It is his daughter, his only child, a snare to the man who whom he had to sacrifice in order devoureth that which is holy, and to pay his vow. His rash vow cost after vows to make enquiry. If him dearly. one makes a vow rashly and enquires its necessity, Carry Out Your Vows appropriateness and payment Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 When thou only after making the vow, one vowest a vow unto God, defer not has actually set a trap for himself to pay it; for he hath no pleasure and caught himself in it. This is in fools: pay that which thou hast because he might have made an vowed. Better is it that thou unbiblical vow or he might not shouldest not vow, than that thou be able to bear the cost of the shouldest vow and not pay. vow. Once a vow has been made, Other verses such as God requires payment, and a man Deuteronomy 23:21-23; Psalm who does not pay it will incur the 50:14; 66:13; 76:11 also reiterate wrath of God. Hence, to make a the same idea. These verses do vow rashly without careful not teach that a man cannot make consideration is most foolish, vows to God. Rather, they are because it is to ones own speaking against making vows detriment. A vow must also be and not paying them. They teach worded clearly without any room that the man who delays or for ambiguity regarding the denies paying a vow is a fool, in payment. One has to consider the whom God has no delight and is cost of the vow, and be sure that in fact very displeased with, for he can pay it by Gods such behavior is sin. It is enablement, before making the tantamount to lying to and vow. cheating God. Such a man is a fool because God knows the Jephthahs vow in Judges intentions behind his vows, 11:29-40 is a very clear example remembers his vow and will of this warning not being heeded. exact payment from him. The He vowed to offer whatsoever excuses a man may give to defer cometh forth of the doors of [his] payment will not stand before house to meet [him] . . . as a God. There is no way he can fool burnt offering (v. 31). God. He has no way of escape Jephthahs vow was a rash one from Gods demands. Thus, because he did not consider when a man makes a vow, it must carefully the things that would be made with every intention to fall under the category of honour it and subsequent effort whatsoever. It could have been to pay it promptly. Vowing is not an unclean animal, which the compulsory, it is voluntary, Lord definitely would not accept stemming out of a mans own as a burnt offering. Or it could will. It is good not to vow, for have been a human being, that would keep a man from

potential sins resulting from his desire. She did not vow vow. But once it has been made, flippantly. the man who vows must pay it as soon as possible. Hannahs vow was a conditional one, with an if . . . then . . . In summary, the practical steps to clause. However, Hannah was vowing are: 1) Vow within Gods not using her vow to manipulate will, 2) Vow according to Gods God in giving her the son she Word, 3) Vow only when wanted. She made the vow, and necessary after much simply waited upon the good consideration, 4) Vow with every hand of the Lord to give her a intention to pay, 5) Vow within son or not, according to His good your ability to pay, and 6) Pay pleasure. From her repeated your vow promptly. address of herself as the Lords handmaid, we can see that she Pattern of Vowing was humble before the Lord and A Biblical example of a good fully submissive to His will, just vow would be that of Hannahs, as a female slave was subject to recorded in 1 Samuel 1. Hannah her masters will. Hannah vowed was barren and daily tormented within the Lords will. Hannahs by her husbands second wife request for a son was not a Peninnah. Her barrenness caused selfish one. Rather, she just her much sorrow. This was wanted God to lift the curse, so because Israel, as a national that she could fulfill her witness to the Lord, was married childbearing role as a married to the land. Blessings upon Israel woman in the Old Testament. were both spiritual and physical. Hannah vowed according to Thus, when Hannah could not Gods Word. That Hannah did conceive and bear a child, she not want a son for her personal thought she was under Gods satisfaction can also be seen in curse. While at the Temple the fact that she readily offered during her annual worship, she her son to be dedicated as a was in great bitterness of soul Nazarite for the Lords service and vowed to God, O LORD of for his whole life. She did not hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on want a son for the selfish purpose the affliction of thine handmaid, of keeping him for herself. and remember me, and not forget Hannah simply told God her thine handmaid, but wilt give intense desire for a son, and if unto thine handmaid a man child, God were so gracious to grant then I will give him unto the her request, she would then offer LORD all the days of his life, and her son back to God as an there shall no razor come upon expression of her thanksgiving to his head (v. 11). Hannah vowed God. Ultimately, it was up to only when it was necessary after God whether or not He wanted to much consideration and prayer. accept Hannahs vow, and He She only made such a vow after did. many years of sorrow, and in her desperation when she recognized After waiting for so many years, that only God could grant her Hannah finally got her hearts

desire. It was surely very tempting for her to ignore the vow she had made to God. However, Hannah paid her vow to God promptly, though it required a huge sacrifice. As soon as her child was weaned at 2-3 years old, Hannah brought him to Eli without delay. She could not watch her child grow up, she could only see him once a year, she had to hand him over to the hands of a stranger (Eli), and put him in the company of bad influences such as Hophni and Phinehas. Nevertheless, Hannah returned Samuel back to God, paying her vow. Conclusion Vowing is a solemn affair, and it has serious consequences. Thus, one must be utterly sure that it is according to Gods will and Word that the vow is made before making it. Right vows made with the right motives have the potential to help us in our relationship with God. But one must not vow rashly without first counting the cost and being sure that one is able to pay his vow. Neither should he vow in order to manipulate God to give him what he wants. A vow must never be made lightly, it must only be carefully made after much prayer. Once a vow has been made, it must be paid promptly. Perhaps some of us have made vows to the Lord previously, and have no remembrance of them presently. May we repent of our sins and may the Lord be merciful to forgive us for our failures. May the Lord help us to vow aright and pay our vows.

NEED FOR CREED


by Eileen Chee

Introduction Being born and bred in a Bible Presbyterian church, we have learnt that the Bible the word of God is our sole, supreme authority in faith and life. To heed the words of man means endangering our faith thus causing us to stray from the path which is right and true. With such a teaching ingrained in us, what should our attitude be towards creeds? A clarification has to be made here. When the Bible warns us of the words of men, it is not saying that everything that comes out of a human being is to be discredited right away. If this is the truth, then we will be so miserable in this life! Rather, the warning is directed at man's words which are elevated above Scriptures to be THE authority instead. Hence, Jesus never ceased to warn the people of the Pharisaical laws and traditions because such teachings pit themselves against His divine and guidance. The Apostle Paul charged both Timothy (1 Tim 1:4) and Titus (Tit 1:14) to be careful of fables (Jewish fables in Titus), endless genealogies and commandments of men because these do not edify and also turn men from the truth. Conversely, words of man that affirm the truth of Scriptures and strengthen our faith should be well taken heed. The question to ask is, are creeds an affirmation of the truths taught in Scriptures and an edification of our faith? The word creed comes from the Latin credo which means I believe. Creeds are therefore a collection of succinct statements that man declare as their beliefs2, and for Christians, creeds are a set of summarized biblical truths which they confess. Then you may ask again, why the need for creeds since we already believe and confess everything we read in God's word? Firstly, it is biblical to have creeds. Secondly, it is practical to have creeds as instructional, military and ecclesiastical tools.
1 Creeds are not restricted to Christian creeds alone. There are also Islamic creeds, Jewish creeds, political creeds etc.

The Biblical Need for Creed It is not uncommon to see people in both the Old and New Testaments to declare/confess what they believe about God. The children of Israel, upon seeing the miracle on Mount Carmel loudly proclaimed The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God. (1 Kings 18:39) This is a double emphasis as the Israelites finally acknowledged that Jehovah was the True God after years of apostasy. The Apostle Peter confessed in Matthew 16:16 Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. This statement reveals that Peter believed in the perfect deity of Christ. Scriptures abound with records of confessions being made (eg. John 1:49; Acts 8:36-37). It could be inferred that Christianity is confessional and creedal. From these two examples, a few observations may be made. 1) Creeds are public. They are meant to be declared to others so that others would know where you stand. 2) Creeds are required by God. God wants His people to be able to state their beliefs about Him clearly and accurately. 3) Creeds must be made sincerely. Peter did not blurt out a model answer to entertain or please Jesus - he fully believed that Jesus is God. Likewise, the people shouted the chorus of faith because they witnessed the power of God personally and repented. 4) Lastly, creeds please God. Jesus blessed Peter when he gave his Christ-honouring answer; the people felt and tasted rain after three and a half years of drought as they returned to worship the Lord as the God. So it is for our blessing when we subscribe full heartedly to a God-honouring creed. The Instructional Need for Creed After the passing on of the apostles, various occasions and events arose in the history of the church continue to encourage the development of creeds and confessions. The Early Church Fathers like Irenaeus and Hippolytus (a disciple of Irenaeus) drew up their own confessions in order to teach and guide the young converts under their care the basic tenets of Christianity

such as the virgin birth of Christ, His death, resurrection, ascension and His future role as Judge of the living and the dead. 3 For Hippolytus, this was especially relevant for he needed to make sure that the young Christians were sure of their faith before he could baptise them. Creeds are therefore very useful for instructional and cathechical purposes. Consider the influence of the Westminster Confession of Faith and its Larger and Shorter Catechisms in the lives of believers today. Young children are urged to memorise the questions and answers so that they would be deeply rooted in theology. Adults still find themselves learning from and being amazed at the profound precision yet simple presentation of the answers to hard questions. For Sunday School and bible study teachers, this serves as a good guide in both their lesson preparation and even in the class itself. The Military Need for Creed Another pressing need for creeds was to combat the epidemic spread of false teachings. The Nicene Creed is notable for this purpose. It was said that Christians could be heard singing a catchy tune that championed the Arian view: "There was a time when the Son was not."4 Athanasius wrote furiously to defend the eternal deity of Christ against Arius' heretical teachings that Jesus was a created being. This was a critical issue for if Christ was not God, He would be absolutely powerless to earn salvation for sinful men. So in AD 325, definitive statements of the perfect humanity and deity of Christ were set in place and Arianism was dismissed. Creeds such as the Nicene Creed are indeed vital in defending truths dearly held on to by believers. In the process of defending the faith, doctrines are also more clearly defined and systematised. A recent example of such a fruit can be seen in the issue of the Verbal Plenary Preservation of Scriptures. It is now in this century that so much has been written to defend and teach the perfect preservation of the inspired words of God. Both the Bible and the Westminster Confession of Faith were actively wielded in the battlefield. Those who, by the guiding of the Holy Spirit to accept this doctrine, have also found their confidence and faith in God and His word increase.

The Ecclesiastical Need for Creed With regards to the Westminster Confession of Faith, this voluminous work was done up essentially to reform and unite the Church of England during the English Civil War in the 17th Century. This was because the Church of England followed an episcopalianism system and the Church of Scotland, having adopted presbyterianism (Bishops' Wars), wanted the Church of England to do the same as well. As such, 121 Puritan clergymen convened in Westminster Abbey for 4 years, debating and discussing important Christian truths and duties such as worship, church government and sacraments. 300 years on, churches around the world still adopt the confession to help lay the standards for their doctrines and practices. It is also helpful in ascertaining candidates for church membership and church leadership. Due to the confession's comprehensiveness and concision, the the BP church subscribes to the WCF at its birth and even up till today. Conclusion Creeds are surely needful, both in time past and present. Good as they be, yet they would be utterly useless if we do not find a personal need for them. Think about the circumstances in which the creeds were written and the men who shed tears over their manuscripts. Creeds were not born in ivory towers of learning but in battlefields of faith. While they are to be subordinate to the Scriptures, it would be to our edification and blessing if we could take time to study their historical backgrounds as well as their words. Start with the Westminster Shorter Catachism and endeavour to memorise all 107 questions and answers; you shall find yourself a stronger Christian, nourished by the rivers of bibline water contained in them.

Creeds are surely needful... yet they would be utterly useless if we do not find a personal need for them.

2 http://www.pleaseconvinceme.com/index/The_Early_Use_of_Creed 3 Christian History http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/131christians/theologians/athanasius.html

CREEDS TO KNOW







INTRODUCTION Do all churches recite Christian Creeds as part of worship? The answer is no. Some churches do, but most dont. What about the Bible Presbyterian churches? If you have been worshipping with us, you would have noticed that we do not recite any of the Christian Creeds as part of our Worship Service. Instead, the Lords Prayer is regularly recited at the end of our prayers, led by worship chairmen. As in any spiritual exercise and activity, the Lords Prayer must not be recited in a ritualistic manner, but be done with clear understanding and deep conviction. Otherwise, it would be meaningless and futile. WHAT ARE CREEDS & CONFESSIONS So, what are Christian creeds? What are they for, how did they come into existence, what are some of the common creeds and why do we need know them? These are some pertinent questions we need to answer as we delve into the issue concerning Christian Creeds. To begin with, the understanding of the word creed is essential. It is a word derived from Latin, which basically means believe. A creedal statement is usually made with I believe. I guess by now, you would have grasped the idea; that Christians Creeds and Confessions are statements of faith carefully crafted and made by Christians in time past. They are used as public profession by various groups of believers who hold to specific beliefs. This is done publicly, either on a personal basis using the phrase I believe, or as a corporate body at worship services or special services for dedication and baptism. So, anyone reciting a Christian Creed before a body of witnesses without having an accurate understanding and genuine belief and conviction is mocking God and all who witness the confession. We cannot see the heart and intent of man, to check if ones verbal confession is congruous with the hearts belief and conviction. This is the limitation with the use of any creed and confession.

... and Why You Need to Know Them



by Dn Han Whie Kwang How did these Creeds and Confessions come into existence and what are they for? Briefly, these statements of faith were crafted by believers in the past in response to false doctrines and beliefs during their time. They were made based on the Word of God, the Bible. That being the case, they are only as good as how faithful they are to the revealed Word of God. Christian Creeds are wellworded statements of Christian faith to clearly and succinctly explain the pillars of Christian doctrines. Historically, the Protestant churches have used the Creeds and Confessions in the defense of the truths in the Bible. But we must be reminded of the fact that Christian Creeds are not inspired, but all Scripture is given by inspiration of God through holy men of God, who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 12:21). Not being directly inspired by God does not make them less true and important. In fact, we must recognize that since the words in the creedal statements are well crafted to succinctly and faithfully capture the right teaching of the Bible, we must rightly esteem them as truths derived from the Holy Scripture. Since they arose with combating of the prevailing apostasy and heretical teachings in mind, we must embrace them as Gods truths and reject the lies and falsehood propagated by the father of lies, Satan. It is no surprise that when we take a closer look at these statements, we will find them so clear and succinct, and written in the affirmative, without apologies. If this was attitude of Christians in time past, the same should be ours today; to be faithful in our defense of the Word of God and of all biblical doctrines, without apologies. SOME CHRISTIAN CREEDS & CONFESSIONS What are some of the commonly known Christian Creeds? They are the (i) Apostles Creed, (ii) Nicene Creed, (iii) Athanasian Creed, (iv) Scots Confession, (v) Heidelberg Confession and (vi) Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). Many of us are more familiar with WCF as it was written by and for the Presbyterians. Unlike the Creeds,

which are short statements, Confessions like the WCF are lengthy with more details. These Creeds and Confessions arose in 2 great eras of Church history, resulting in 2 groups; those found in the early centuries and those in the time of Reformation. There have been 2 great eras of theological controversy in the history of the church. The great creeds of Protestantism were hammered out in the period of theological dispute at the time of the Reformation. The earlier period of theological controversy occurred between 325 and 451, when universal or ecumenical councils of leaders of the church were held to resolve conflicts. These councils brought about such great universal formulations of the Christian church as the Nicene and Athanasian creeds. It was the era when the main dogmas of the church were developed. pg 125, para 1 of Christianity Through the Centuries. A History of the Christian Church by Earle E. Cairns. So, what do the Creeds say? The Apostles Creed (2nd to 9th Century) is probably the oldest of all the Christian Creeds and Confessions. It basically summarizes the essential doctrines of the Scripture. Though it is named the Apostles Creed, no one knows who wrote it. It is certainly not written by the apostles though it embodies the doctrines that they taught. Very often, this creed is used in baptismal services because it captures the fundamentals of the Christian faith which a truly born-again believer seeks to publicly profess at his baptism. It is a Trinitarian Creed describing God the Father being the Creator, God the Son Jesus Christ of his nature and his work of salvation and God the Holy Spirit. It also emphasizes the universal nature of the corporate church. We need to know, understand and defend the doctrine of Trinity as it is taught in the Bible, to believe in the one God who is in 3 distinct Persons and not 3 gods. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended

into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. Apostles Creed The Nicene Creed (325-381AD) is also Trinitarian, but it was written primarily to refute the Arian heretical teaching; a teaching that denies the full Deity of Christ. Another point to note concerns the church. Like the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed states that; We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We must not be fooled to believe that it refers to the apostate church of Rome who uses the word catholic on herself. The word catholic simply means universal. If we understand and believe this creed, then we reject the false teaching the Jehovahs Witnesses. We must trust and know that God alone is Omnipotent as He is the Almighty Creator of all things. We must believe and embrace that Jesus is God; the only begotten Son who is eternal and not created. If we reject this creed that speaks so clearly of the full Deity of Christ, then we would regard him as a demi-god like the Jehovahs Witnesses do. If thats the case, we would not be able to explain how his atonement on the Cross is sufficient for all the sins of the world. But the Bible tells us that Christs atonement is sufficient for all, and if that is so, then it can only mean that Jesus is fully God and fully man. How could any man be a believer of Jesus of the Bible if he believes that Jesus is only a god or one of the archangel? Such a person cannot be a believer of Jesus of the Bible. In contrast with the Eternal Generation of the Son from the Father, another doctrine clearly highlighted in this creed is the Procession of the Holy Spirit; that is the 3rd Person of the Godhead the Holy Spirit proceedeth not only from the Father, but also from the Son. Indeed so, God the Holy Spirit is the Lord and the giver of life. He indwells the believers and leads us to all true. He never brings glory or testifies to Himself but to Christ and God the Father, unlike the spirit of the modern tongue-movement (John 15:26)

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the onlybegotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end. And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen. Nicene Creed The Athanasian Creed (500AD) is believed to be written by Athanasius, the 4th century bishop of Alexandria who brilliantly defended the doctrine of Trinity and the Divinity of Christ. It affirms the biblical doctrines of Trinity, and of Christs incarnation, ascension, second coming, and final judgment. Though the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed also affirm the doctrine of Trinity, the Athanasian Creed is the first of the Creeds that explicitly states the equality of the 3 Persons of the Godhead, and condemns anyone who denies the Trinitarian doctrine, as indeed we must. We must know and accept that God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one God and the 3 distinct Persons are eternal and equal. Such a belief and confession is necessary if one is truly born-again. That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there

is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. Athanasian Creed The Scots Confession (1560AD) was written by John Knox in response to the erroneous teachings and apostasy of Roman Catholicism and bore great emphasis on the doctrine of Election of God. It is a very detailed and comprehensive Christian confession consisting of 25 chapters. Each chapter begins with words in the affirmative like, We believe and acknowledge, We undoubtedly believe or We constantly believe. In this confession, we read of the doctrines of God, Creation of man, Original Sin, the continuance, increase and preservation of the Kirk (explained further down), the Incarnation of Jesus Christ being truly God and truly man and being the only mediator and advocate for sinners, the election of God, and the Christ death, passion, burial, resurrection, ascension and imminent 2nd Coming. In it is the clear condemnation of the unbiblical and heretical teachings of Arius and Marcion amd Nestorius and others who denied the Eternity and Divinity of Christ and his true humanity. It affirms the one and for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ made for sinners on the Cross of Calvary, but condemns any other or repeated sacrifices for sin as unbiblical and blasphemous. The use of the word kirk is unique here. It refers to Gods elect of all ages, of all realms, nations and tongues, or simply the one company and multitude of men chosen by God, who rightly

worship and embrace him by true faith in Jesus Christ. The biblical doctrine of predestination and election of God is distinctly and unashamedly afrmed. This doctrine of election may be offensive to unbelievers and to those who oppose the good will and wise purpose of God in His predestination and election. But the knowledge of this doctrine certainly gives great comfort and condence to all who truly believe in the God who is sovereign and that all who put their trust in Him shall be saved to the very end. This is indeed a faith-strengthening doctrine that this Confession emphasizes. Another very important aspect is that it afrms the divine origin, the sufciency and authority of the Holy Scripture. The divine origin of the Scripture is the foundation of our Christian faith. Without the inerrant, infallible and divinely inspired Word of God, our Christian faith is uncertain. It would be no better than a blind faith. We must therefore take great comfort and be sure, just as this Confession afrms, that the Word of God is indeed the more sure Word of prophecy, more certain than any experiences, modern prophecies, visions and dreams of the modern Charismatics (2 Peter 1:19). It also afrms the practice of baptism of children of the faithful as biblical and condemns the error of the Anabaptists. The infant or child baptism is practiced in BP churches and we must understand that it is biblical, but never be seen as the same practice of the RC church, which believes in baptismal regeneration.
The Heidelberg Catechism (1563AD) was written by Zacharias Ursinus and Caspar Olevianus in Germany in response to the Lutherans regarding the proper view and practice of the Lords Supper. The Reformers did not believe but condemned erroneous teaching that there is the real, bodily presence of Christ in the bread and wine. It is also known as Consubstantiation; a practice wrongly held and practiced by the Lutherans. The catechism was written in a Q&A format, consisting of 90 questions and answers. Each question of the catechism is personal, addressed to you and each answer draws as much as possible on biblical language. This had great influence in the preaching and teaching of the churches in Germany, some part of Europe and USA, and therefore had impacted the faith and practice of the believers. Rightly so! As much as the Reformers fought hard to uphold

the Word of God as the nal authority of faith and practice, to defend the right interpretation and the resultant proper practice of the Lords Supper, we too must appreciate, understand and embrace it whole-heartedly as the means of grace that God has given to all believers, the ordinance of the Lords Supper. We reject all unbiblical interpretations and practices; namely the belief in the literal change of the elements into real esh and blood of Jesus as taught in the RC church, or in the bodily presence of Christ in the elements as taught in the Lutheran church. Neither should the Lords Supper be regarded merely as a memorial, but we are to believe and know that it was the Lord who had personally instituted it, and to regard the Lords Supper as Gods means of grace to strengthen our faith with the spiritual presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, as we partake of the bread and of the cup, we do so in remembrance of Him. The Lord is spiritually present as we partake the bread and the cup at the Lords Supper. We must therefore examine our hearts before the Lord and to partake of the elements worthily, discerning the Lords body (1 Cor 11:26-31)

Presbyterian: Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) & the Shorter (SC) and Longer Catechisms (LC) (1646 AD) There are

33 chapters in the WCF. It was written by the Westminster Assembly at the request of the Parliament. Together with the WCF are the Larger and Shorter catechisms. The doctrines emphasized are: (i) the Sovereignty of God and (ii) the Authority of the Scripture. WCF afrms God's work from its beginning in creation to its end in resurrection and last judgment. God is rst, last, and preeminent in all things. God's people are to understand and bring their lives into accord with God's wondrous ways and magnicent will. Historically, in 1647, the Scottish General Assembly adopted the Westminster Standards for use, replacing the Scots Confession of 1560 and the Heidelberg Catechism. And in 1729, the standards were adopted as the confessional position of the newly organized Presbyterians Synod in the colonies and have played a formative role in American Presbyterianism ever since and certainly in Bible Presbyterianism in Singapore. The Westminster Standards represent the fruits of a Protestant scholasticism that refined and systematized the teachings of the Reformation. The

standards lift up the truth and authority of the Scriptures, as immediately inspired in Hebrew and Greek, kept pure in all ages, and known through the internal witness of the Holy Spirit. Divine sovereignty and double predestination are also emphasized. In appealing to Scripture to formulate a covenant theology. [The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church USA, Part I, Book of Confessions]. The WCF is certainly the epitome of all Christian Confessions. It has been the standards upheld by the faithful Bible-believing Presbyterian churches and many fundamental churches. Therefore, we do great justice to carefully read, study and understand these statements of faith. Every statement made is supported by at least by one Bible text. This must and should always be the right practice when we teach any doctrine. Teach only what the Bible says and believe all that are recorded for us in the Holy Scripture. The Word of God must be highly esteemed in our lives, for these words are inspired Words of God who sits on the throne in heaven, and every jot and tittle is true and authoritative. Our faith will be greatly strengthened if we spend time examining the statements and comparing them with Scripture. The Sovereignty of God is what we need to understand and we are to live our lives in the light of this spiritual understanding. It is blessedness to know that God is not only a good God, but He is All-powerful and all things are under His control. Nothing escapes His knowledge. If we understand and believe in the sovereign God of the Bible, knowing that He is in charge of everything in our lives, then whether we are in good times or in adversity, we can learn to lean on Him and trust in Him for strength to go through all situations in lives. There is no reason to complain and fret, for the God of heaven and the Saviour of my soul is always in control. This is such an assuring and comforting thought. HOLY SCRIPTURE ABOVE CREEDS & CONFESSIONS Creeds must never be put above the Holy Scripture. Hence, we must never at anytime usurp the sole and only supreme authority of Gods Word with any writings or creeds or confessions. Even our well-loved WCF, SC or LC must be interpreted in light of the Holy Scripture. As

Creeds and Confessions are statements made by believers, summarizing their Christian faith, they are not infallible, but are good standards so long as they are consistent with the Word of God. Certainly, they are good and effective teaching tools for our catechism classes. UNDERSTAND, BELIEVE & OBEY It is good that we know what are some of the common Christian Creeds and Confession of faith. It is good to know why they were written and against what heretical teachings they were made. It is good to remember or recite them in public worship as an expression of belief in the right doctrines of the Bible. However, we must never recite or pledge in belief of any creeds without understanding the intended meaning of the words. More importantly, we must never say that we believe in a doctrine, when we do not mean what we say. We must mean what we say and say what we mean, and not re-defining the meaning of the keywords used in the creeds and confessions, thereby deviating from the intended meaning. To do so is dishonesty. It is good to be able to memorize some of these creeds but we must do so prayerfully and in faith, this involves really believing what we say and mean what we say concerning the creeds. We hear of people who could recite the Lords Prayer by heart, forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and yet would bicker and quarrel with fellow believers and refuse to forgive others. Let nothing offered to God in our worship be done ritualistically, that is, without the will of the heart and the understanding of the mind. God is an eternal Spirit, we must worship Him in spirit and in truth. As we think through and made profession of belief regarding Christian Creeds, we must understand, believe and live in accordance to the words of faith uttered before God and men. Let these words declared in public be made with sincerity and in faith. Let such confession be from one who is truly born-again, whose heart is throughly cleansed by the blood of Christ. It is good to remember some of the creeds by heart, but it is better that we obey them. What is the objective of the creeds? It is made as a positive declaration of biblical truths in the Bible in opposition to some heretical teachings. So, it is good to understand the issues and the doctrinal

Let nothing offered to God in our worship be done ritualistically, that is, without the will of the heart and the understanding of the mind.
battles of the day and to comprehend their implications. What is the implication of not believing in the Deity of Christ as stated in the Athanasian Creed? What is become of a person who calls himself a Christian, or a true witness of Jehovah God if he does not believe in the Deity of Christ, like Arius? The implication is severe. Such a person denies the fundamentals of Christian faith and he cannot be truly born-again. The same applies to all Jehovahs witnesses, who consider Jesus as a mighty god and not the Almighty God, or as an archangel who aided Jehovah in the creation of the universe, but himself was created by Jehovah God. To deny the full Deity of Christ and believe that he is an arch-angel or a lesser god who receives worship is idolatrous, heretical and unbelieving. Such a person does not believe in the true Jesus of the Bible, who is fully God and fully man, the Eternal Son and the only Saviour of the world who came by His incarnation to accomplish the plan of salvation for sinful men. Saying I believe in God is one thing, but to live a life of faith in reverential fear of the invisible God is another thing. We must walk the talk and the confession. Are Creeds and Confessions safeguards for a continued orthodoxy in church? Are they a guarantee for a biblically sound position in a church? Do they prevent heretical teachings in church? Creeds and Confessions may help safeguard a sound and biblical position, but it is not a guarantee. They are no guarantees against heresies and apostasy. We must appreciate and understand the creeds of the early Church and the confessions of the Reformation period. Through them we learn much of Christian doctrines. We can use these Creeds and Confessions as catechistic tools to instruct both our young and old. We can adapt them for

our use in public confession at special services like baptism. We can use them for our preaching and evangelism. It is good to take a deeper look and carefully study these Creeds and Confessions, to better understand the key doctrines of our Christian faith. Our faith will be strengthened as we understand these statements of faith that are based squarely on the perfect Word of God; for faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom 10:17). Genuine faith is not merely a

THE CREEDS
Apostles Creed (2nd to 9th Century) Nicene Creed (325-381 AD) Athanasian Creed (500 AD) Scots Confession (1560 AD) Hidelberg Catechism (1563 AD) Westminster Confession of Faith & Shorter and Longer Catechism (1636 AD)

mental assent to a body of truths revealed to us in the Holy Scripture, but a wholehearted embrace of and trust in God and His Word, a faith which only the Holy Spirit can create in our hearts as we put our trust in Jesus Christ through the Gospel. We need to affirm with statements of faith, but more importantly, we need to affirm our Christian belief with a life of love, faith and obedience to God and His revealed Word. The I believe! must be clearly translated into I obey!

On Oaths of Friendship


A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17

by Bro Henry Chua

girl we vow to have all things in common (excepting for reasons of hygiene).

Choose your friends carefully. And once chosen, stick to them loyally. Friends are a big source of blessings and the chaps you are friends with now in Most of you have accounts on Facebook and have YF would hopefully be the ones you swap stories hundreds of people listed as friends. But we with when in Golden Years Ministry. know not all these are friends. What is a real friend? A friend is someone you may call at 4am. A friend is someone who dares to tell you the uncomfortable truth. A friend is someone who walks in when the world walks out on you. In other words, a friend is, as Prov 17:17 teaches, someone who loveth at all times. It was clear from most answers you know the spiritual importance of friends. But because it is so important, it behooves me to just add this extra line that your best friend should be a Christian. There is no closer bond, no more noble common ground, than to know you and your best friend can meet at the same Mercy Seat to intercede for each other, for there would be much to pray for each other.

Friendship is everlasting, for youd be able to enjoy the fellowship into eternity. Friendship is After God created the natural beauty that we see courage; we need to dare to tell the truth. surround us, He outdid Himself when He created Friendship is also fragile, for we all may be hurt friends. So be a true friend as you hope to have easily. one. May the Lord bless you with all the friends you need, and give you the love and energy to be But do we need a friendship vow? Of course not. all the friend you need to be. The Friendship Vow exercise was to elicit your thoughts on what a friend is and the results have been expectedly varied. There were pithy answers: Trust or Trust, Joy, Laughter. There were answers that wove more intricate thoughts together. The longest one was interesting, and I quote the conclusiona close friend is someone that you feel comfortable to confide in, one that can give godly advice when needed and also to strengthen your hand in the Lord, and also one you can do these thing to. Hearts naturally think one for anothers needs. But thats why such a friend is uncommon, rare, possibly some people might not ever get one. Vows are not needed. There was one very guy definition of friend, we vow to always tell each one there is kangkong in the others teeth. We vow not to fall out over a

There is no closer bond, no more noble common ground, than to know you and your best friend can meet at the same Mercy Seat to intercede for each other...

A Vow Avows
undermining the peace, unity and spiritual welfare of the flock of Christ. To ensure that due diligence is done, the BBK was designed. Therefore like any vow in the chruch, the membership vow is the covenant made by the member between him and God. It comes with it a seriousness that God will punish Q: As Pastor of the church, what anyone who makes a vow with the do you believe the membership vow hidden agenda to deceive for God is meant to do? knows the heart and CPBPC is His church. A: In CPBPC, the membership vow is directly linked with water baptism. Q: In our membership vow, people The reason for this link is because the are asked if they will submit to the chruch is registered under the leaders of the church. Since Societies' Act. Therefore we have to Christians are already commanded decide on how members in this to do so in Hebrews 13:17, is there society are incorporated into the a need for would-be members to be church. Water baptism therefore has a further constrained by a vow? twofold purpose. The first is a sacrament as taught in Holy A: The basis for this submission is Scriptures. The other is that it also Hebrews 13:17. Therfore it is serves as a means where a person important that the vow includes it. becomes a member of CPBPC. This dual purpose means that the BBK has Q: Deut 23:21-23 states the gravity to ensure that every member comes of a vow. In light of that, is the intot he chruch with a thorough marriage vow different from understanding of the doctrines of the 'ordinary' vows in terms of its church including the church's gravity? constitution and not just the basic doctrine of salvation. The reason for A: No all vows are the same in terms this is that tevery member has the of its seriousness as they are made in right to become a leader and a teacher the Name of God. of God's Word in the church. This means that the church can be infiltrated and open herself to wolves in sheep's clothing coming in and
On top of the ancient vows weve already covered in previous articles, our church has a number of vows too. Here, we have a quick Q&A with Rev Quek about two vows featured in our church; the membership vow and the marriage vow.

May I Please See Your Christian C.V.?


For those finishing education and joining the workforce, preparing a CV would be a familiar process; it is a document where you chart your experiences relevant to your vocation. But have you considered if the Lord asked for my Curriculum Vitae the course of my Christian life what would be contained within? This thought came to me as I turned six and twenty years, where am I now in the course of my life. I began to chart the changes in courses, some guided by Christ, some straying away. Did I start off well? Have I grown as a child of God? Was I a 10-plus-year-old Christian, or just a 1-year-old Christian infant 10 times over? All these came flooding through the passage of reflection. For those amongst you who have never paused and reflected, I urge you to do so. Incline your ear to Gods still small voice, and take stock. As I pen my thoughts down I was not greeted with rejoicing and gladness, but with shame. I recalled the time when I received the Lord when I was full of joy and gladness, hungry Christian, the journey was of one of for His Word, excited to be in His presence. But as I grew as a I struggled as a young Christian. I ups and downs; there were times of spiritual waning and revival as Lord helped me purpose in my remember as I joined the Youth Fellowship over a decade ago, the As Christians, we hold to creeds and heart to put away my idols and sins, to consecrate myself to him. les of Christ. I took a life verse to vows of the Bible, statements of faith and Gods promises as Discip till this day. remind myself of my faith in God, and it has always been relevant shall mount up with wings as But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they walk, and not faint eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall Isaiah 40:31 me now as I look back. But as I I thank God for that memory, for it serves as an encouragement to Devil that poisons a child of God, mentioned before, I was ashamed. Complacency is a snare of the and without strength, casting all slowly eating away at a believers testimony. At first, I was helpless But as the years toiled on I gained burdens upon the Lord, drawing all my strength from Gods Word. more efficient in my routines. That experience, I started to rely less on the Lords Word as I became sary struck. I thought I was was when my Christian immune system started failing and the Adver left unattended festered, my fighting the good fight, serving fervently, but as the wound that was love, but my prayer life became devotion faded. Yes, I remembered my vows and to Jesus my first joy of the Lord diminished in my sluggish, my service was encumbered with jaded weights, and the will guard against this deadly poison. heart. Especially for those in leadership positions, I pray that you eye gate, allowed untruths to arise Soon enough as the venom coursed through, I let filth through the out of the mouth gate, and ceased to be a useful tool for Gods work. side. Being confident of this very But God is merciful and will always draw His beloved back to his m it until the day of Jesus thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perfor is in your system, at times more Christ: (Philippians 1:6). Depending on how deep set the venom s. I believe the Lord wants the best for drastic measures are needed to resuscitate the failing system an eagle, had become sickly and me. As I consider my life verse, I realised I had stopped soaring as not become the Christian soldier the Lord unfruitful, perched somewhere and made redundant. I had to cause me to free-fall, so He wanted me to be. It took Gods divine hand to push me off my perch , that I may once again soar for His glory. could send the wind to catch me, coax my wings to spread ng this, that the trying of My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowi that ye may be perfect and your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, entire, wanting nothing. James 1:2-4 exercise. Re-examine your The penning of ones Christian CV is an enlightening and reassuring have you kept them? Chart your course of life, statement of faith, contemplate your promises to Christ; preferably before your go over 25 =) In Christ, Elvin Siew

R E T R O SP E C T
Dear Margaret, I hesitate in writing to you because I really dont know how to begin. I certainly dont have the authority to write as Apostle Paul wrote, But I would not have you to be ignorant Yet it is the earnestness in his tone that I wish to borrow here. I do wish to share an experience about seeking Gods will. As you are now faced with so many options of courses of study, I recalled how I decided on mine and how subsequently my Christian faith went for a roller coaster ride. Seeking Gods will is a familiar phrase in Christian circles, but we often fail to fully appreciate what it involves. Forty years back in time, I misconstrued Gods will to be a stamp of either approval or disapproval of my desires. The notion that God has a plan for every Christian did not mean much to me. Happy happenings meant blessings from God and problems were punishment from God. Simple rationale. Wish someone had pointed me to Romans 8:28. .all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Then again, with my misperceptions of good and purpose, that wouldnt have been of much help either. I didnt know that Gods purpose was for me to be conformed to the image of his son. Neither did I know that good refers to more than the accolades and comforts man would desire. My spiritual turmoil was sparked off by one casual question: Are you sure it is Gods will for you to study Architecture in Australia? I was already there trying to settle down and trying to deal with an alien culture. The question came from a Bible Study leader of a para-church organization concerned only with lling up a multiplication table of souls saved. We never did discuss Gods will. We were, as a group, very fascinated by the experiences of the American missionaries in Asia and enthusiastic about Bible memorisation. However, I was not sure if it was Gods will for me to study Architecture. I was only sure that I did not have the attributes to become a missionary. So, as much as there were reasons for me to think it was Gods will, there were also just as many problems facing me that prompted me to think otherwise. To me, circumstances clearly indicated that God had approved my decision. Otherwise, why did God give me the scholarship I prayed for? I tried to rationalize. However, deep in my heart, I didnt recall really asking God to show me what He wanted me to do with my life. In fact, even if I had asked, I was not prepared to accept a No for an answer. I was determined to do what I thought was best for me. I did not trust God to direct my career path. So, I leaned on my own understanding and my own resolve. Wish I had taken heed of Proverbs 3:5&6. It didnt occur to me that I had been seeking my own will. When my condence was at a low ebb, Joshua 1:8 came to mind. The word, success caught my attention. Success refers to achievement of a goal and the fulllment of a purpose. So, since Scriptures are written for our learning and correction, I was hoping that the success formula for Joshua could work for me as well. After all, Joshua did become a successful army commander and victorious conqueror. Actually, I was more interested to know how Joshua was so condent that he was given the right job. He was a fearless ghter and yet such a peaceful believer of God. I needed that peace. I could only suggest that he had peace because he knew he was tting nicely into Gods perfect plan for him. Joshua had the privilege of knowing Gods will because he sought it. He believed that God was totally dependable in giving him the best job the job that gave him the opportunity to be a witness of the glory of the God of Israel to the heathen nations that they might repent. God showed Joshua His plan for him in honour of his faith. We will also enjoy the same privilege when we trust God and when we purpose in our heart to obey Him in everything we do. It would only be vexation if we strive to know Gods will on one hand, when on the other we do not hold the conviction that the purpose of the vocation to which we are called is ultimately to glorify God, not ourselves. Also, as a child of God, we should never view Gods plan as an option that we may adopt at will. Nothing can thwart Gods plan. Take a look at how Gods people chose to change Gods plan for them to enter the Promised Land and needlessly ended up as wanderers in the wilderness for forty years. Forty wasted years. So, in exercising the choice of a career, rst ask God for faith to trust Him and to prepare your heart to obey. May your life testify of Matthew 6:33. ~Aunty Margaret.

MY BRETHREN LIES OVER THE OCEAN


Salut! Its been exactly a month since I le5 Singapore on this par9cular trip. Thank God for an extremely blessed 9me thus far He has certainly made my pathways smooth, and as expected, this has been a month (nearly) of many new experiences, most of which Ill be trying to share in the next few paragraphs. But before I begin, maybe a liGle history on how I landed up making this trip to Saipan and China as a Chris9an educator. It all began one ordinary prayer mee9ng I cant remember exactly when Rev Pang was invited to the pulpit by Dr. Tow to do a bit of sharing regarding his missions work. So, he gave a general whosever will invita9on to come with him and see the mission elds with him. He also promised that such a trip would be an eye opening experience. There was also a request for someone to come and teach English. All this wasnt anything out of the ordinary. Ive heard preGy much the same thing quite a few 9mes before, but this 9me, his words seemed to reach out to me. I knew that I had quite a bit of 9me on my hands the next year, and had recently, for some reason, become strangely interested in missions work. At the encouragement of my father, and a5er quite a bit of prayer, I discerned that God was indeed calling me to serve him in this eld. At this point, I was yet unsure of what I was geRng myself into. Perhaps I would be called to the sunny island of Saipan. I reasoned that this would not be a bad place to be called to, given the amount of diving in that area and the fact that it was much like home. And this was the ini9al plan Rev Pang set out for me to serve for 3 months in the school in Saipan. However, deep in my heart, there was yet some unease that I could not explain and I was hesitant to commit fully. Then came the second wave of emails from Rev Pang his plans had changed. I would travel to Saipan, but only for one week of training, a5er which I would be, in my fathers words, let loose into the wild. In less cryp9c terms, I would be sent to China to serve in the underground ministry. Rev Pang was ini9ally worried that I would not accept this risk, but on the contrary, this plan rid my heart of the unease. I am unable to explain why that was! Thus I accepted his oer, and the Lord has brought me this far since. Saipan was truly a lovely place. Mrs. Pang describes Saipan as Singapore 40 years ago I dont know whether that is praise or not, seeing that Im only 26 years old (I know you YFers are sniggering at my use of only), but Im inclined to agree, given that it's a mul9-racial tropical island, albeit without any of Singapores conges9on. Once home to many garment factory workers, the Free Trade Laws have taken the incen9ve away for garment tycoons to open factories here and the Chris9an ministry is only a frac9on of the size it once was. This is not cause for concern, however. Just like the Jewish diaspora, the gathering of garment workers from all over China to Saipan and their subsequent return has planted many house churches, and that is cause for rejoicing. Furthermore, the ministry in Saipan has added a new dimension. While Calvary Pandan operates a Kindergarten, the church in Saipan operates an en9re school, educa9ng children from Kindergarten age right up to High School. The concept of Chris9an Educa9on is an intriguing one to me. Ive been trained to administer the Alpha Omega Publica9on syllabus, which Im glad to report has nothing to do with the Alpha Course and is not tainted by any modern heresies. The objec9ves of Agape Chris9an School and its daughter schools in China are threefold to teach the word of God, to inculcate Chris9an values in its students, and to train them academically. Basically, its like ACS in Singapore, just that this ACS in Saipan actually accomplishes the rst two objec9ves. A day in Chris9an educa9on looks like this breakfast at 7.30a.m., a5er which the students gather for assembly, where they pledge allegiance to the Chris9an ag and the Bible. There is a 9me for singspira9on, and then the Word of God is preached. In Saipan, this combined devo9on is followed by a separate held at devo9on each level, where both students and teachers share from the Word. A5er which, they proceed with lesson 9me. The reason

why lesson 9me is wriGen as such is because the AOP system is not taught in a tradi9onal classroom seRng. Rather, most of the work is computerised, and every day is an e-learning day for the students. It is an ecient system, where students raise ags in their private working spaces, also known as their oces, if they need help from the teacher, or verica9on of their tests and assignments. Lesson 9me con9nues 9ll lunch 9me at noon, and resumes at 1p.m. 9ll 3p.m. On some days they have music and P.E., and on other days they have more study 9me. Many of the students are live-in, and their day con9nues past dinner and through night study which ends at 10.30p.m. It is a hard life, especially with Mrs. Pang pushing them hard, treading the ne balance between discipline and love like no other good-cop bad-cop team can. Good work and conduct is awarded by merits, which can be redeemed during merit store days, for ice cream and other such things. Unchris9an conduct is dealt with swi5ly I personally witnessed a student suspended for striking another student. His sentence made CWO look mild. And all this discipline is unfortunately necessary because the public school system in China is broken school children smoking and drinking are common sights, and these are considered some of the lesser vices. By the 9me these parents pull these kids out of public school, the Chris9an school has its work cut out for them. However, it is heartening to hear of many of the success stories that the school has had with some of these wayward children. Stories of them crying to their parents on the phone, asking for forgiveness for their errant behaviour in the past have a way of warming my heart and providing me mo9va9on as I too face some par9cularly recalcitrant cases. It is a challenge unlike any Ive faced before, and I pray that the Lord will grant me both love and wisdom as I handle some of these kids in China. The ministry in Jilin is dicult one rst of all, the opera9on is underground and thereby illegal. All Chris9an schools catering to Chinese students operate in the fear that the government will come round and shut them down, or worse, throw its faculty behind bars. I personally witnessed the fear when we visited one such school in Beijing. I was the rst one up the stairs, and the person who answered the door asked me in a tremulous voice whether I was from the government. Thank God for safety so far! Next, if I were to describe the opera9on in Jilin in terms of a metaphor, it would be a few planks of wood, magically held together, suppor9ng the contents of Noahs Ark. To put things succinctly, the harvest is plenteous but the labourers (and farming tools) are few. Within the faculty, there are only 2 teachers who are procient in English. There are 20 students in the upper learning centre, and 7 or 8 in the kindergarten. In Saipan, the student to teacher ra9o is 6:1, so you can see how this is dicult. Also, the school is not placed in an ideal loca9on. It is in the middle of an industrial complex, and the hea9ng does not work. This is a big deal in Jilin where, un9l the second week of April, the snow was s9ll falling. It is common to see your breath indoors since the temperature uctuates between freezing and 10 degrees. Thank God the weather is warming up this week! I personally enjoy the cold, but the cold does aect quite a few people in the school. Nevertheless, this magical ra5 con9nues to oat on, being held together by the blessings which God showers so freely upon us, and by the love which binds the teachers to the school. The pay is miserable, but this works out to be a good thing, for we can now be sure that all the sta are there by the calling of God, and all of them care for the students deeply. Our cook is the best example of this she actually gave up her job and moved over to Jilin just to ll the hole and make sure the school kept running. Pray that God will con9nue to provide for the school, and that the school will always be a good tes9mony in a very Godless China. Pray also that God will touch more hearts, and cause them to come and aid the Chris9an educa9on movement in China. Also, pray for me, that I will never lean on my own wisdom in teaching these kids, and that the kids will be able to see Christ when they look at me. I confess that it has not been an easy month thus far, and speaking every day is par9cularly challenging. Pray for my interpreter! I am not the easiest person to interpret for. And pray that the children will grow up to love both God and His Word. Amen. Agape, jQ p.s. never thought Id say it, but I really miss you guys.

Y F OUTING
JAMES 1:2-4 MY BRETHREN, COUNT IT ALL JOY WHEN YE FALL INTO DIVERS TEMPTATIONS; KNOWING THIS, THAT THE TRYING OF YOUR FAITH WORKETH PATIENCE. BUT LET PATIENCE HAVE HER PERFECT WORK, THAT YE MAY BE PERFECT AND ENTIRE, WANTING NOTHING.
The theme for the YF Outing was Trying of your Faith Worketh Patience. We decided to go with this theme based on the text from James as well as with reference to Luke 9: 57-62. This topic on trying of faith was also chosen in light of our YF theme for this year which is On Board the Discipleship. The activities were planned such that they reflect the difficulties faced in a Christians life; the trials and temptations we will face and how we ought to overcome them. Before the outing, two rules were implemented: all participants were not allowed to drive, and not allowed to purchase any food and drinks throughout the outing. The outing consisted of three main stations: the first one was about Luke 9:57-58 ...a certain man said unto Him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head. From these two verses, the YFers were tasked to climb stairs to find pieces of paper and after that, find and memorise texts from the bible. In addition to that, a bubble tea shop was a few steps away. These were supposed to challenge them physically as well as mentally. From this activity, we examine whether as disciples of Christ, we go through the trials God allows us to go through with complete faith and strength in Him, without yielding to the temptations that come along the way. The second station involved making a choice: finding 15 items (not very easy) or calling another group to get them to read out a passage from the bible. The latter would result in a grounding of 15mins for the group that got the call. Luke 9:59-60 says And He said to another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury the dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. The point to be seen is that we lay aside all worldly cares and responsibilities and follow Christ. The things of the world entice us and we forget our responsibilities as Gods children. The option to make the call to the other group resulted in them getting held back for 15mins. In order to have an advantage over others, we make the wrong choice at times. For the third station, the groups had 45mins each to complete 3 tasks: 1 compulsory (running 200m) and 2 optional (Sudoku-Wordsearch-combo and a bible study then quiz on Prov 6). Do we rush through our time with God (QT, bible studies, studying BMC)? Luke 9:61-62: And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. In the course of the whole outing, whiners were placed in each group to discourage. Are we easily disheartened? Sometimes we give up easily on the things that we are supposed to do instead of doing them wholeheartedly for the glory of God. The Sudoku-Wordsearch combo was likened to our own desires, things we like to do on our own time every day. Do we put them first before our spiritual matters? From this activity, hopefully we learn to prioritise our time the best way we can, putting God first in everything we decide to do and do them wholeheartedly, to the best of our abilities, so that we glorify God. While planning this outing, the AGLs met up quite a few times to discuss and it was nice getting to know them better (: Its probably the most time Ive spent talking to them ever and I really enjoyed every single meet-up. Looking back on the discussions we had, Ive learned so much from working with them and Im really encouraged by their service for Christ. Thank God also for the relatively smooth running of the outing! Even though there were unplanned trials (police encounter :/) along the way, thank God that everyone came back safe, albeit very tired. Through the planning and executing of the outing, I realised much reflection is needed on my part, to check my service for Him as well as motives behind my areas of service. There are also areas in which improvements can be made I think. I pray and hope all who participated in the outing enjoyed themselves as well as learnt many precious lessons, like I have. (:

YF MARCH RETREAT
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalms 133:1 being separate from the world in a school context. This interes9ng ac9vity unleashed all the hidden- personali9es good ac9ng skills of the YF as Camps and retreats everyone was to role-play a character in a typical are o5en likened to a (or not so typical) school scene. The highlights of foretaste of heaven, the role-play were Para-Noah (a.k.a. Brian) and where we would be Psycho-Patsy (a.k.a. Joanne), showcasing their singing praises to dis9nct personali9es that made them ostracized in God, listening to His the one-day school year. Yet, hidden under the word and laughter and the fun during the ac9vity, the chilling fellowshipping with message lied in the metaphor allegorizing to a like-minded Chris9an being in the world, but not of the world; brethren. Indeed, how his personal Nazarite vows might result in thank God for a truly him being persecuted for his faith. Indeed, we blessed March thank the Lord that Singapore is s9ll a mul9- Retreat, in which religious na9on that is tolerant of Chris9anity but much was learnt from the listening and discussion we must keep in mind that this peace we currently of His Word. Preacher Ko preached a series of 4 have in Singapore will not con9nue indenitely. The messages on the Nazarite Vow, an o5en over- ac9vity thus posed the ever-recurring ques9on: looked passage on consecra9on in the book of When the 9me comes, will we be able to stand up Numbers. for our faith like the saints of old? Star9ng with an introduc9on of what exactly is a Nazarite (note: not a Nazarene which is a person who grew up in Nazareth), Preacher Ko went on to expound on the reasons for becoming a Nazarite, the dis9nc9ves of a Nazarite and the similari9es that these dis9nc9ves to the characteris9cs of a Godly Chris9an. By preaching about the separa9on of the Nazarite from the fruit of the vine, the razor upon his head and dead bodies, Preacher Ko reminded us that we too need to separate ourselves from the world unto the LORD. The discussion also complemented these messages well as we studied the prac9cal applica9ons of the Nazarite Vow, so as not to leave what we learnt as merely head knowledge. All in all, this series of messages acts as a good reminder to check if we have presented our lives as a living sacrice, pure, holy and acceptable unto God. Other than the messages and discussions, there was the deeply-impac9ng (and poten9ally mind- twis9ng) ac9vity of course! Ivan conducted an ac9vity that played out an extended metaphor of With the messages, discussion, ac9vity, morning devo9on and form fellowship, the March Retreat quickly came to an end, with many lessons learnt from the various ac9vi9es. Thank God also for a wonderful commiGee who served faithfully in their respec9ve roles, for without them, the March Retreat will not have gone so smoothly. But even moving on from the March Retreat, I pray that we will not forget the lessons learnt during the March Retreat for indeed: Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor si@eth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalms 1:1-3 ~ Ivan Ting

E X- TE E N S T H AT TAL K
PECK ERN-MIN

I have been aGending YF regularly for about a year now and I have been very much blessed by it! We all know that listening to messages only on Sundays is grossly insucient for one to grow in the Lord. So apart from my own private study and quiet 9me, YF has been great way to learn about Gods word. Messages, group discussions, BMC quizzes, March & September Retreats and camps are avenues that the YF has opened up to me to learn more about Gods word. I am constantly reminded through these ac9vi9es to keep close to the Lord and try my best to live a holy life. Apart from learning Gods word, I have forged many friendships with youths whom I only knew by their Facebook accounts and the liGle glimpses of them here and there. Now they are people I serve alongside with, doing our best for the Lord. There are mature Chris9ans here well- grounded in the faith that I look up to and try to be like. Through good 9mes we enjoy each others fellowship and through trials and tes9ng we know that we are not alone. We have our Lord Jesus Christ and our fellow brethren to encourage us through our tough sojourn on this earth. So those teens who are soon coming to YF, I assure you that this fellowship group is a great one! It is in the YF where you can grow abundantly in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and struggle together with your fellow brethren both your friends from teens and beyond! Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

P E R S ONA L P O I N T S
Name: Esther Lee Age: 17+ Hobbies: Playing music, making craft stuff :) What you are doing now?
Currently studying Architecture at Singapore Poly

What do you want to do in the future?


Im not sure maybe teach music? Or just do Architecture. Haha :)

What is the most epic (memorable) promise you have ever made?
I dont know if this is considered epic, but I remember promising my jie that I wont disturb her when she was studying for her O levels. Hahaha :D

C A L E N DA R O F E V E N T S
April 7 14 21 28 May 5 12 19 26 June 2 9 16 23 30 Becoming Fishers of Men What it takes to be a Real Fisherman (Book of Philemon) From Fisherman to Preacher (Simon Peter) The Second Generation Christian (Nicodemus) From Sinner to Saint (Zacchaeus) Selected Themes in Hosea Church Bible Study Gods Grief and Exposure of Israels Sin Gods Condemnation of Israels Sin Gods Call to Repentance and Resotration One Body in Christ Combined English-Mandarin YF Outing One Body in Christ (Part 1) [No YF in view of Family Bible Camp] One Body in Christ (Part 2) YF Midyear Remembrance Night Dn Vincent Teo Dn Vincent Teo Rev Quek Suan Yew Rev Prabhudas Koshy Rev Prabhudas Koshy Rev Prabhudas Koshy Bro Kenny Cheong Dn Simon Chua Dr Jeffrey Khoo Dn Eugene Goh

SHORT n BROAD
JANUARY 14- YF AGM! Thank God for wisdom in the appointment of the new Exco. 20- DotK meets for the rst 9me this year, embarking on the book of Esther led by Sister Xiao Wei. 28- YF NIGHT! 30- Recently-expired Sec Fours get their pos9ng results and embark on a new phase of life! FEBUARY 11- Ivan appears in the newspapers fresh from the press instead of the oven this 9me! 23- Gabriel ies o to South Africa for OCS exercise. Veilige reis! - William goes to Bintan with his Indonesian language class. Selamat keselamatan perjalanan! - FCM-NUS Gospel Rally saw the salva9on of one more child of God Yan Huang. MARCH 9-10- March Retreat! Thank God for Pr Lingkangs faithful preaching on the topic A Study on the Nazarite's Vow as well as the blessed 9me of fellowship. 9-14- Alanna and Abby leave to serve in BDC. 31- YF Ou9ngggg! - Our dedicated Uth Chronicle Editor con9nues edi9ng even in Saipan. - Serena is promoted to Teacher Serena as she helps out with CPK. - Bernie ies o to Hong Kong. Army guys, Jeremy and Jonan brave the elements (and army commanders) in India and Brunei respec9vely. - Brian and Debbie collaborate on the play for this years VBS break a leg, guys!

~ THE LAST PAGE ~ A Publication of Calvary Pandan Youth Fellowship Calvary Pandan Bible-Presbyterian Church 201 Pandan Gardens Singapore 609337 Email: uth.chronicle@gmail.com Edify, Educate, Engage