Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Fundy Sunday

I was at a Bible-Presbyterian (BP) church today. As usual when I got to a church which I haven't been to, I will try to learn more about the church's teaching. And the best place to do this is through the church's notice board and freebies stands.

The notices and advertisement displayed on a church's notice board often tells you a lot about the church. For eg. through the endorsement and advertisement of seminars or alert notices, you can get a rough idea of the church's theology.

The freebies stand usually provides free literatures that promulgate the church's teaching. So the most usual freebies you can find at these stands are gospel tracts.

This particular morning, I helped myself with 3 literatures taken from the freebies stand of the church. Then I sat down and look through them:

Pokemon: Friend or Foe. This is a pocket sized 18 pages booklet written by Dr. Tow Siang Hwa to warn Christian parents over Pokemon as harmful and 'tapped from demon forces' to deceive children (p.4).

The author of the booklet has good intention but this particular sentence almost made my day:"Today it is Pokemon, the devil's trump card for the new millenium." (p.7). Among many other things, the booklet states that Pokemon is a "New Age pantheism" that filled with "occult incantations and magic words throw open the door to evil Satanic forces" (p.9). I almost roll over my seat.

Bible Witness newsletter, issue March - June 2009. This is a local BP's newsletter. In this issue, the entire newsletter features the late Rev. Dr. Timothy Tow (Dr. Tow Siang Hwa's brother), the mainperson behind the BP establishment in Singapore who passed away on 20th April 2009. This issue is a compilation of messages, condolences, and testimonials related to him.

Rev. Dr. Timothy Tow is a remarkable man with no small achievements. He dedicated himself to full-time Christian work in 1935 through the great Chinese preacher John Sung. He then set up the BP in 1954 in Singapore by separating his church from the then Chinese Presbyterian Synod.

Amidst other evangelistic works in Singapore and Malaysia, in 1962 he founded Far Eastern Bible College, and served as a systematic theologian there. Throughout his life, he has helped found Bible colleges at Myammar, Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Cambodia. Here are two remarks made about him:
"The motto "...for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 1.9) had kept [Rev. Dr. Timothy Tow] faithful "holding forth the word of life" (Phil 2.16), steadfast and unmoveable in his stand on the King James Bible, the Bible of the Reformation, the only Bible whose translators suffered the fires of Rome. While some BPs have defected from the KJV to embrace the NIV, NKJV, and other corrupt modern English versions, he continued to hold fast, unmoveable to the end." (p.7)

"Rev. Tow wrote in one of his pastoral letters, "A new form of attack on God's Word, however, has arisen. It is by the proliferation of translating hte Bible based on the corrupt text of Westcott and Hort since the mid-twentieth century." (p.16).
Obviously it is not an understatement to reckon him as Singapore's father of the Christian fundamentalism.

The Burning Bush: Theological Journal of the Far Eastern Bible College, issue July 2008. There is an essay on "Postmodernism and the Emergent Church" by Dr. Jeffrey Khoo. If you are looking for cheap shot on the Emergent Church, much less on Postmodernism, this is the essay for you. "The mission of the church according to the Emergent Church is thus not the original mission of Christ which is to get sinners to be reconciled to the thrice holy God through the Gospel, but to help people to get along with one another and enjoy one another's company in the context of a "generous orthodoxy" - truth is subjective, uncertain, broad, and varied." (p.68)

The other essay worth mentioning is "Mark Them Which Cause Divisions" by Paul Ferguson. It's a response to a critic written by the leaders of another BP church that doesn't think that the Hebrew & Greek texts used by KJV translators as the best 'inspired' text.

After a lengthy reply, the author launched a series of questions to the critics in riposte. The first question is this:"Do you believe it is possible that the underlying text of the KJV in Hebrew and Greek is an exact 100% copy of the autographs? If not, do you have a Scriptural framework and any objective textual critical framework for rejecting so that we call can "test" your bold assertions?" (Bold original, p.101)

This question undercuts itself twice. First, anyone who is not omniscient would say 'yes' to a "is it possible" question. Is it possible that the underlying text of the KJV is not an exact 100% copy of the autograph? To repeat, any mortal will say 'yes'. The issue is on probability.

Second, Paul Ferguson asked for an "objective textual critical framework" from his dissenters. But if he adheres to the belief that KJV's underlying Hebrew & Greek texts are the same as the autograph, then he himself doesn't have an objective textual critical framework to test his own belief by not possessing the autographs.

Yes, after reading all these, I repented.. Three times just to make sure.

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