FAQ Landscape2

If you have any questions, please write to : pastor@calvarypandan.sg

Frequently Asked Questions

1. A person who is not aware of his/her sins is still condemned to hell. Why is this so?

Answer – This is so because all man are conceived and born in sin. They are aware of their sin because they die. Death is the evidence that all man are conceived in sin and are born in sin. Romans 5:12-14 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.” Ignorance is no excuse. If ignorance can be a legitimate excuse for wrong doing, then sinful man will hide behind ignorance to sin more and more and with impunity. For example, if a tourist comes to Singapore and vandalises, he cannot argue in court that he is ignorant of the law of Singapore. He will still be punished.

2. Given that Salvation is of the LORD, why should parents be held ‘accountable’ if their children ultimately go astray/ are not saved, like parents who do as much as they can spiritually – 1 stay at home spouse & spiritual parents – as well as parents who may focus less on spiritual parenting?

Answer - Salvation is definitely of the LORD but that does not excuse anyone, especially parents, from bringing their children up in the fear and nurture of the Lord. Similarly, salvation is of the Lord does not mean that we do not go out and preach the gospel! All believers are to live holy lives and love one another in Christ according to Holy Scriptures to show the world that God loves sinners and sent Christ to die for sinners, especially Christian parents to their children! When Christian parents are wayward and stumble their children, God will hold them responsible for their sin and for stumbling their children! God has given to Christian parents the promise that when they hide God’s Word in the hearts of their children who are brought up in a godly home, they will not depart from the faith. Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Children listen and obey everything that parents teach them from birth. When godly Christian parents pray with and for their children daily, they teach them the Word of God daily, they live holy lives as godly husbands and wives and godly parents, their children will definitely see Christ in their lives just as God promised in the Bible. Is Christ not a wonderful and good Saviour? He definitely is! Children who believe everything parents teach them will want to believe in the wonderful Saviour that they see daily in the lives of mom and dad!

But when parents are hypocrites and quarrel and do not forgive one another in the Lord, the children will see a terrible Christ! That is when they will despise Christ and the gospel of Christ!

It is the parents’ duty to bring the children up in the fear and nurture of the Lord and not anyone else. But how can a parent bring the child up if the parent is not at home! However, if the parent is home, the parent must be a godly parent. There are many parents who stay home but are wayward because they are not godly and do not pray with and teach the Word of God and the things of God to their children. Staying home is a good start. It is not the duty of the maid or uncle or grandparents but the parent’s duty to bring the child up in the fear and nurture of the Lord. Those who do not obey the Word of God are derelict parents and the price they pay is that they will be a bad testimony to their children as they are not around to mould and shape them by teaching them the Word of God. Of course, if parents are not alive, then the grandparents or close relatives can take over this responsibility.

1. Matthew 5:39, “That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” How do we distinguish the line between being long-suffering and knowing when to put our foot down?

Answer – This verse is with reference to suffering for Christ. Jesus Christ was correcting the misunderstanding and abuse of God’s Word by the teachers of that day. This verse was meant to teach God’s justice in regulating the civil society in Israel but they had applied it to personal vengeance. For context, this was what Christ said in Matthew 5:38 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” Suffering for Christ is part of the narrow road that all believers must traverse. There is no escaping this truth unless they choose to live in sin and not holiness. All who live in holiness for Christ will endure persecution. But God is faithful and He will not allow any of His children to suffer beyond what He knows they can endure. Also, with every temptation He will make a way of escape so that they will all be able to bear the load of persecution (cf. 1Corinthians 10:13). There is no putting “our foot down” in enduring suffering for Christ. It is unto death. Revelation 2:10 “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

2. A Christian ought to give his / her best in all that he / she does. In the context of a workplace / at the office, does this include volunteering oneself for tasks not explicitly stated in one’s job description? For instance, offering a solution which becomes a new project, and as a result, adding extra work to oneself. What are the precautions / things to take note of? Does not doing constitute laziness, or conversely, does doing constitute competiveness / chasing after materialism?

Answer – Giving one’s best in all that we do as Christians is for the sake and glory of Christ. Our testimony for Christ depends on this. If a believer is lazy, his holy witness for Christ is destroyed. Believers will always want to give their best in whatever they lay their hands to do. Voluntary work is always the way of Christians. Christ taught believers to go the second mile as long as they are able to do that “extra” task without jeopardising their holy witness in other areas of their life. They can volunteer. But if by volunteering, their witness for Christ may be affected, then they ought not to. For example, if we volunteer to do that extra work and it stops us from attending the weekly prayer meeting, or our family life is jeopardized, then we ought not to. Believers must not sacrifice one area of their witness to enhance another.

The motive behind the “volunteering” is key to knowing whether it is pleasing in the sight of God. The principle for decision making in situations like these is to check the heart motive. If the task before the believer is not sinful according to God’s Word, then the motive is the key. In all that we do as believers, the motive must be a constraint by the love of God. The glory of God will become the result when the motive is God's love. However, if the situation before the believer is sinful, the right motive will not matter because even if his motive is right, the sinful issue will not result in a holy outcome. The key is to do all things to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31-33 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”

It is laziness when the believer does not do what has been assigned to him. If he does not volunteer when he can do so, and his testimony for Christ in all other areas of his life is not jeopardized, then he needs to ask himself why he does not wish to volunteer. His reason will determine whether his decision is sinful or Christ honouring.

3. Is family planning biblical?

Answer – Family planning is not sinful, just as seeking an operation for appendicitis is not sinful. Advancement in medical science has allowed man to have options that pertain to child bearing and giving birth that were not available to past generations. As long as the family planning method does not transgress the law of God, the method can be used. If the method transgresses the law of God, like abortion, then it is sinful and wrong. The biblical phrase “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” (cf. Genesis 1:28; 9:1) was applied to Adam’s time and Noah’s time. These were two periods in man’s history where the total population numbered less than ten. In the case of Adam, it was just he and Eve. In the case of Noah, just after the global flood there were only eight of them. They were to replenish the earth and fill it because God's plan of salvation for man depended on it. The nation of Israel needed to be born. If man refused to replenish the earth there would not be a nation of Israel. That was one of the main reasons why God confounded the language of the people in Genesis 11 when they wanted to unite and remain in one place and build a city with a one world leader. Today, the context is different. The world is already very well replenished, i.e. filled.

4. Was family planning preached by the western Churches when it was propaganda by the authorities?

Answer – Perhaps there were some countries which did that for propaganda. But the basis for evaluating what is right or wrong is the perfect Word of God, not the motive of man. The right motive does not make right a wrong and vice versa. The Word of God must be the believer's one and only guide in conduct. This is the only way to conduct his life that will be pleasing to God.

5. Is there anything wrong with listening to non-Christian music that does not have sinful lyrics / music?

Answer – When the question is asked in this manner, obviously the answer is no, it is not wrong. It is not wrong to sing the national anthem. It is not wrong to listen to songs that are not sinful in any way. (Note: what constitutes sinful music has to be clearly defined. It is not as subjective as one thinks. We need to look at the associations with “rock and roll” music and the ecumenical movement like the music of the Charismatics, contemporary Christian music, and new age music, etc. Most classical music is fine. Not a few children’s songs and music are fine.) We live in a world where the common grace of God has allowed us to live in many countries in an orderly manner. God made it possible for mankind to create and build and invent things for all to enjoy and use. There are many things that believers can do in the world that are not wrong.
But the believer cannot say that all things in the world are safe and good for him. To say that all things that are of the world will hurt us is also wrong. He has to be careful. This applies to the music and songs that he listens to. For example, in the time of the OT when God gave the dietary laws to Israel, it was to regulate their lives as a reminder to them that they were God’s people and were not to live like the people of the world. What they were allowed to eat was called by God as clean. What they were not allowed to eat was called unclean. Among the clean animals and birds, only a select few were allowed by God to be used as offerings to God for sin offering and burnt offering. This demarcation teaches us that there are things that are good enough for man to consume but are not good enough for God i.e. for man to use for worship before God. Believers as Gentile witnesses today face the same issues. There are things in the world that are permitted for personal consumption but must not be used for worship. If a husband wishes to serenade his wife it is fine for him to choose an appropriate song to do so. He must not use a hymn that is meant for the worship of God to serenade his wife.
However, there are other considerations rather than just “right” or “wrong” in matters for the believer's personal consumption. Expediency is one of the major considerations crucial in the believer's life. His witness for Christ is at stake, and not what he wants or does not want. His desires must be subservient to what Christ wants for him since it is Christ’s Name and Image that he must promote and not his own. These are two passages in the Bible that teach this truth clearly. 1 Corinthians 6:12-13 “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.” 1 Corinthians 10:23 “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” What we do must help us in our witness or build up our faith or the faith of others. These are additional considerations that must be taken to heart by the believer when he decides to listen to these songs and music. God’s glory and the believer's spiritual wellbeing are two very important considerations that must be applied wisely to ensure they are not compromised.
Another consideration is the motive behind his actions. Sinful actions like fornication, adultery, stealing, and lying are wrong in themselves regardless of the person’s motive. There is no justification for these actions. But when the action is not wrong in itself, then the motive behind the action is the deciding factor. It can turn “a not wrong action” into something sinful because the motive is sinful. For example, there is nothing wrong with tracting or teaching or preaching the Word of God but when the motive is to promote self, then the action of this person is sinful because it is not done to the glory of God. This is applied to the songs we listen to as well.

 

6. Write down a Bible verse to help make the right decision in the following situation: A student caught his classmate cheating in the midst of an examination. What should he do?

Answer – The best guideline from God’s perfect and holy Word to guide us in our decision making is 1 Corinthians 10:31-33 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” The glory of God means to do all things according to Holy Scriptures and constrained by the love of Christ. There must be no joy or hidden agenda when he tells the invigilator about the classmate’s cheating.

It is the believer’s responsibility to always do what is right. The reason is that he knows that his Heavenly Father is in control. This is a test for him to do what is right no matter what the cost might be. He might lose friends in the process, but for the honour of Christ, i.e. by doing what is right, he is honouring Christ and is also actually helping his cheating friend. He has delivered his friend’s soul by his action. Ezekiel 33:7-9 “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. 8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”

7. How should a Christian YFer or YAFer encourage his or her parents who are long-time Christians to be a better Christian testimony at home and work (i.e. serving in church, doing Quiet Time, not working on Sundays) WHILE honouring them still?

Answer – The key is to pray for them daily and always bear a godly witness at home, in school and in church. They need to see the transforming power of the living witness of Christ in the Christian so that they might know that they are in sin and need to repent and return back to the Lord. They have forgotten that the life of a believer is the abundant life. It is a powerful life of victory over sin and temptations. It is also a life where the mercies of God are always readily available to all who repent and return back unto the Lord. In certain situations, talking is not the best way to help someone but rather the testimony.

 

8. How should parents teach their young children the Bible (at home)? E.g. which chapters to begin, how to explain the more difficult (or repetitive verses, etc.)

Answer – The starting point is salvation. Use Christian books suitable to the age of the child. If you wish to use the Bible, then the gospel of John is a good book to begin with as it was specifically written for the purpose of knowing that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. John 20:30-31 “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” You can also use a good Christian children’s devotional to read to help the children understand what the Christian life is like but be careful to discern its contents and even the format of its prayers.
The explanation of hard passages of the Bible comes with more learning and studying of God's Word. It is a life time of learning that stops only when we enter heaven. Ask the leaders of the church or write to your pastor and they will be more than willing to help you understand difficult passages of the Bible. Pray with them and for them always. Be a holy and godly example to your children, for this is the best way to teach them. Then your children will be able to see Christ in your life and not just hear about Christ from your lips.

9. [Context: personal conflicts and not an attack against God’s Word]
If two people in church have been hurt but have forgiven each other,
(i) Can a person be said to be truly repentant if restitution is not made / excuses for not being able to make restitution?
(ii) In the same context stated above, are there legitimate reasons or situations whereby restitution cannot be made?

Answer – It depends on the nature of the restitution. If the restitution is monetary in nature then the debtor ought to repay even if it means a little at a time. If the restitution involves a life that has been lost then it is not possible except through some form of monetary restitution. If the person who has sinned is able to make restitution then it is important that he does so as evidence or fruit of genuine repentance.

However, when you find that the person has repented but is not able to make restitution no matter how hard he tries, then it is compassionate and right to forgive and suffer the loss. Inform the person that he does not need to make any restitution and all is forgiven. This was what God did for us in Christ (cf. Matthew 18:1-14). This has to be done judiciously and always on a case by case basis bearing in mind that the purpose is to help.

10. If a member errs resulting in termination of his job, do we consider the nature of the ‘transgression’ and area of service before determining whether he should be sanctioned from serving? If he is sanctioned, what is the period of sanction? Is it covered in any constitution?

Answer – Day 3 Camp Discussion Qn C: "A member has been serving a long time in a particular ministry but has transgressed seriously in his work place. It was not a crime but was serious enough to get him sacked. Should he remain in the ministry in the church that he has been serving faithfully for the past 20 years?"

The The Discussion Question C -- "A member has been serving a long time in a particular ministry but has transgressed seriously in his work place. It was not a crime but was serious enough to get him sacked. Should he remain in the ministry in the church that he has been serving faithfully for the past 20 years?" -- nature of his transgression matters. His transgression has to be ascertained first in order to find out the facts of the case. If he is found to be guilty, then the nature of the transgression and his area of service do matters. The basis is that the member's life inside and outside of the church is part of his witness and is therefore under the care of God and the leaders of the church. Some Bible verses to support the importance of a holy witness inside and outside of the church include:
1 Corinthians 6:15-20 (KJV), "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
And 1 Corinthians 10:31-33 (KJV), "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved."

There are five levels of sanction – admonition, rebuke, suspension, deposition and excommunication. "Suspension is a form of censure by which one is deprived of the privileges of communicant membership in the church, from office, or from both. It may be for a definite or an indefinite time. Suspension of an officer from the communion of the church shall always be accompanied with suspension from office, but the latter does not necessarily involve the former. . . . when, after the passing of a year, a suspended person has failed to repent, it may be the duty . . . to impose further censure and it may proceed to deposition or excommunication or both, . . ." [The Book of Discipline: Chapter VII, 5, 12.]

11. If a brother knows of the transgression (referring to the previous question), should he ‘whistle-blow’ on the transgressor if he cannot manage to counsel the transgressor to ‘confess’ himself?

Answer – We are to be our brother's keeper. When a brother sins and he refuses to repent, it is incumbent upon you to help him. You have to refer him to others who can help him more effectively like the leaders of the church. This is likened to a home where the siblings cannot help the one who is doing wrong. They other siblings must refer him tolet the parents take over the counselling.
Ezekiel 3:16-21 (KJV), "And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. 20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul."

The main purpose is to help him to stop sinning. James 5:19-20 (KJV), "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." You must not see yourself as a whistle blower, for this is a term used by the world. You are to be your brother's keeper whereby your motive is to help him in his spiritual walk. You know that when your brother is in sin, the image of Christ in his life is badly damaged. The only way to restore him back to the fold is by his genuine and sincere repentance. If he refuses, he needs to receive help frorm higher authorities and more spiritual and mature believers.

12. If a man is sacked from his job for having an affair with his colleague, and if he has been serving as a church usher, should he be removed from serving as an usher? If yes, why? How is committing a sexual sin related to beserving as an usher? Won’t counselling be enough?

Answer – Yes, sadly he has to be removed from his service as an usher. There is no ministry in the believer's life that is not of a spiritual nature. The duty of an usher might look and appear mundane,simple and bears no spiritual value to someone who is not born again in Christ . He cannot see the spiritual value in what the usher does because he is dead in sin. However, to the child of God he knows that he needs to serve God with clean hands and a pure heart. He knows that he is serving his heavenly Father, for His heavenly Father has told him that even by doing something as simple as giving a cup of cold water in Jesus' Name he will not lose his reward. He will also be suspended from taking the Lord's Supper as well until fruits of repentance is seen in his life.

The fruits of repentance would include having no further contact with the person whom he had an affair with. If this means leaving his job then he has to leave his job. He will be counselled, which will include writing papers and reading the Bible and Christian books pertaining to the nature of his transgression. The aim is to help this believer out of his sin for good and to keep him on the path of righteousness and holiness for Christ's sake and the blessing of God's people.

The purpose is restoration and not condemnation.

13.  Does the Bible teach that mothers must stay at home fulltime and not work so that their children do not go astray – as per examples quoted yesterday? There are also cases where the child still did not turn out well. E.g. Cain (murderer) + Abel (righteous) – Eve was a full time mother.

Answer - The Bible teaches that a parent is responsible to bring the children up in the fear and nurture of the Lord. It could be either father or mother but in most cases it is the mother. In OT times, the fathers worked in the fields. From the book of Proverbs, we see an example of a working mother who is very good in business as well as looking after the home. But the fact of the matter is that she was home. A parent has to be at home to take care of the spiritual growth and well-being of the child and the most formative years are the early years which start from infancy. It could be a father or a mother but it has to be the parent, unless both parents are dead! The example of Cain, Abel and Eve is a poor choice because there is insufficient evidence to make the said conclusion. Look at the following Bible verses regarding parents and children:-

Proverbs 10:1, “The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.”
Proverbs 13:1, “A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.”
Proverbs 15:5, “A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.”
Proverbs 15:20, “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.”
Proverbs 17:6, “Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.”
Proverbs 17:21, “He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.”
Proverbs 17:25, “A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.”
Proverbs 19:13, “A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.”
Proverbs 19:14, “House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.”
Proverbs 19:26, “He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach.”
Proverbs 22:28, “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”
Proverbs 23:22, “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.”
Proverbs 23:24-25, “The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.”

These few verses from the Book of Proverbs are just a few of many that teach the duty of fathers and mothers to their children and how parents’ testimony will impact them when they grow up! This is how strongly God regards the importance of parental duty in bringing up children. Why would Christian parents want to have children if they are not prepared to stay home to daily bring them up in the nurture of the Lord?

14. If one parent must stay at home can that parent be the father? Is that biblical?

It is either parent. The father decides as the head of the Christian home. The role of headship must be maintained in the Christian home.

15. On what grounds are we not supposed to eat meat offered to idols? 1 Cor 8 seems to indicate that we should not do so in order not to stumble brethren. But in the Day 3 message, it was mentioned that the sin has nothing to do with stumbling brethren. Which passage states that the act of eating meat offered to idols is itself a sin?

Answer - 1 Corinthians 8, 9 and 10 must be understood together regarding the doctrine of food offered to idols.
When eating is permitted – There is only one living and true God and He is the heavenly Father of all true believers. Therefore all idols are false gods. This means that when food is offered to idols it is not actually offered to anyone or anything. The food is still just food. It is not contaminated at all. To acknowledge that the food is altered in anyway because it is offered to an idol is to acknowledge that the idol is a real god. Christians believe that only the food that is offered to the one living and true God is sacred, like the first fruits and tithes offered by God’s people in OT times. Anyone who ate these first fruits and tithes that had been offered to God would have transgressed because the offerings were sacred in the sight of God. He is real. The food had been actually offered to Him just like the tithes and offering of God’s people today. Therefore, if a believer eats food offered to idols unknowingly and then finds out later that the food had been offered to idols, he has not sinned. He does not need to repent. To say that he has sinned is to acknowledge that the idol is a real god. That would be wrong.
When eating is not permitted – When the believer knows that the food has already been offered to idols, he must not eat. The reasons are these:-
• What the believer eats or does not eat will not help him draw nearer to God or cause him to draw away from God;
• The liberty the believer has that permits him to eat must not be abused such that others are stumbled by his action. If believer A who is weak in faith sees believer B eat, and he also eats but he does not eat in faith, he thus sins against God in the process. Believer B who eats and causes the weak believer A to sin has also sinned;
• This sin is also a sin against Christ because the weak brother will now bear a bad testimony due to his eating with a weak faith. The name of Christ is shamed by the sinful action of the weak brother who is now stumbled;
• The liberty of every believer must always be curbed based upon the consideration of others, including unbelievers. He needs to live like a slave to everyone around him in matters that will not affect his walk with God. This is not limited to only food offered to idols but all foods.
• Whether in eating or drinking or other activities, the believer must do all things to the glory of God.

The passage is 1 Corinthians 8 to 10.

16. Concerning food offered to idols, can we consume halal food?

Answer - Halal food is not the same as food offered to idols whereby the object of idolatry is tangible and made of matter. Therefore, it is not a problem for believers to eat halal food.

17. Why are Christians allowed to eat halal food but not food offered to idols?

Answer - The Bible’s teaching regarding not eating food offered to idols is very explicit. 1 Corinthians 10:19-33 (KJV), “What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. 22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he? 23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. 24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth. 25 Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: 26 For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. 27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. 28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof: 29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience? 30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” [Emphasis added] If the believer does not know that the food he had eaten was offered to idols, he has not sinned. The reason is that idols are not real gods. There is only one living and true God and He is the God of the Bible, the Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. However, if he has been told that the food has been offered to idols he is not supposed to eat for the sake of faith so that his eating will not stumble anyone and cause the person to sin.

Halal food is not like food offered to idols. The reason is that there is no idol involved in making the food “halal”.

18. If we adopt such practices from the people of old who were God-fearing, what is the church’s reason for adopting such practices?

Answer -This question is not very clear regarding “practices”. If it is linked to question one, i.e. on food offered to idols, then the reply is that it is not a practice but a teaching from the Bible that all believers must obey. A practice is defined as part of a particular culture like Jewish culture. The church does not follow any Jewish culture. However, we draw lessons from all the practices in the Bible (for the people of Israel) because all Scripture is the Holy Word of God given to us for our learning. For example, it is the culture of the Jews to observe the Feast of Booths of Tabernacles. This was a feast to remind the children of Israel that they are strangers and sojourners on the earth with the purpose of being a living witness for Christ. Believers today do not keep the Feast of Booths to remind themselves that they are strangers and sojourners on this earth with the same purpose of being a living witness for Christ. The principle is practised without the form of booths.

19. You mentioned that the local church is more important than our own families. But the local church is made up of families & godly witness begins within the family. Thus I believe the family should come before the local church.

Answer - The local church is the organism that God has chosen to replace the nation of Israel as His witness on earth. It is true in a way that the local church is made up of families but not all families are members of the local church. It is also true that godly witness begins within the family but the godly witness of a family does not replace the witness of the church. Like in the Old Testament times when the nation of Israel had a godly family witness but a bad king, God considered the witness of Israel to be bad. Conversely, a godly nation does not mean that every family or individual in the nation is born again or godly. Likewise, a godly local church does not mean that all the church families are godly. It also does not mean that there is no godly family inside a bad and ungodly local church, especially when the church just turned bad. However, with the passage of time all the godly families in that local church that has just turned bad will leave and then there will not be any godly families inside that local church.

The family is not as important as the local church because the local church is that witness through which the family grows in grace and in the knowledge of Christ. The local church is made up of individuals rather than families because not all families are members of the church as stated above. Guard the church well and you will be guarding your family well. When the local church is spiritually healthy and strong in the Lord and you leave behind for your family such a church, then your family will be well in the Lord. The church is THE PLACE on earth where believers congregate to worship, study God's Word, have Christian fellowship and all things biblical and spiritual. God has chosen the local church to be God's witnesses on this earth and because of this revelation the local church is more important than one's blood family.

20. Why is it that Christians, even mature Christians, have different convictions about what is right and wrong with respect to things like entertainment choices (e.g. movies, music, types of jokes, even bungee jumping), how we ought to conduct ourselves in front of others etc, when we are all instructed by the same Word of God and guided by the same Holy Spirit? Does God have the same standard of holiness for all believers?

Answer - All believers have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to guide them in life. However, there are other factors to consider when it comes to the understanding and application of God's Word into one's life. These factors include the person's background such as his upbringing and education, his spirituality, his walk with the Lord, his prayer life, his holy living, his knowledge of the Bible; whether his heart is surrendered to the Lord; is his life consecrated as a living sacrifice to God; the gifts that God gives to him, the measure of his faith, etc. Any one or more of these factors could result in a different understanding and application of the Word of God. Hence, every believer’s Christian life will differ even though each one might have been brought up in the same church and went through the same Sunday School system. Romans 12:3 (KJV), "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." Similarly, siblings in the same home were brought up in the same environment but they can be very different from one another. Their thinking, personality, eating habits, likes and dislikes, etc can be very varied.

However, they will also have many similarities whereby we can conclude that they are siblings with the same parents. Their manner of speech or their walk or physical features might be the same because they came from the same parents and were brought up in the same home environment. This is also true in the spiritual realm. The differences are there but so are the similarities. These similarities would, and should, be in all the major cardinal doctrines. We all believe that Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary, that He died for our sins and rose from the dead for our justification. Differences will continue to exist in all churches but they are to be seen as healthy rather than sickly. We are not robots but people with differing personalities that should continue to change more and more to become like our Saviour. Some are more advanced in their growth and maturity whereas others are slower. Therefore, the understanding will also vary.

There is only one standard of holiness and this standard is in the Holy Bible. Holiness means that whenever a believer sins, he will repent of his sin. All believers are required to do this regardless of their maturity in Christ. Having said that, take note that the consequences of the transgression vary from believer to believer. For example, when an “ordinary” believer in the church commits the sin of adultery, the consequences of his sin may not be as severe as when a pastor commits the same sin. In the case of the “ordinary” believer, he will be counselled to stop and to repent of his sin and to make right his relationship with his wife and family. He will be suspended from all areas of service and he will not be allowed to take the Lord's Supper until the fruits of repentance are clearly seen in his life. These fruits of repentance would include his faithful attendance at all counselling sessions, improvement in his relationship with his wife, his regular attendance at prayer meetings and worship services. In the case of the pastor, he has to do all the above and more, which includes the suspension of his office as pastor with immediate effect, followed by a public confession to the congregation to seek their forgiveness. The pastor's sin of adultery has to be rebuked publicly so that all may fear and not commit this serious sin. 1 Timothy 5:19-20 (KJV), "Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear." A pastor who commits the sin of adultery will not be allowed to become a pastor again. He has ceased to become blameless which is a crucial requirement of a pastor according to the non-negotiable list of qualifications for the pastor given to the church by God. 1 Timothy 3:1-7 (KJV), "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." [Emphasis added]

21. Pertaining to tattoos: Ladies do tattoo their eyebrows for neatness and easier maintenance. What is your opinion on it? Will it be viewed as appearance of evil?

Answer – The Bible's instruction concerning tattooing or any form of marking on the body is clear. Deuteronomy 14:1 (KJV), "Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead." And Leviticus 19:28 (KJV), "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD." The injunction from God's infallible Word is strong and clear!

The question that needs to be asked is why these ladies want to do it? Most of the time, it is because of vanity! Why does one need to maintain the eyebrows? The function of the eyebrows is to divert the droplets of perspiration away from the eyes? If one had a serious accident and the face is burned badly, then perhaps under such circumstances it is understandable to tattoo the eyebrows. Otherwise, it is best is to leave them as they are.

22. How would you advise courting couples about physical intimacy?

Answer – No physical intimacy is allowed until after marriage. The Bible's instruction is very clear. 2 Timothy 2:22 (KJV), "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart." There is a reason the Bible specifically targets youthful lusts! The youths are changing from boys to men and girls to women. There is also a physiological change. This changes the hormonal levels of both sexes. They become aware of the opposite sex. The danger in our world today is very obvious. The world is filled with fornicators and adulterers. The reason this is true is the promiscuous society that we are living in. Fornicators and adulterers are put on pedestals of idol worship because they are good entertainers like professional sportsmen and sportswomen, movie stars and singers. Their private life of sin and shame is ignored. Not only are they ignored but also emulated by many young people today. The standard of morality is so low to the point of extinction.

In a courtship between a Christian boy and girl, there must be absolute self control whereby intimacy is out of the question. They must take practical steps to ensure that the places they go to do not encourage any temptations. They are to "follow", i.e. to pursue after righteousness, faith, charity and peace out of a pure heart! The relationship must be pure and clean and always God honouring. To flee away from youthful lusts is not enough if we do not flee toward that which is pure and holy.

23. Can a male and female have a purely platonic friendship?

Answer – What is a purely platonic friendship? Does it include going out alone together? Or is it only a hi-bye kind of a relationship where there is no going out alone together? It is possible for a single male and a single woman to have a purely platonic friendship if it does not involve going out alone together. If it does not involve going out alone together, then it is possible.
In relationships, it does not require two hands to clap. One party can easily develop feelings for the other person without the other person reciprocating the feeling. When that happens, complications ensue. Friendship can easily turn to animosity. It is even worse if one party is married and goes out alone with a person of the opposite sex on a friendly basis!


24. A Christian wife with family discovers that her Christian husband is committing adultery and refuses to repent. What should she do?

Answer – She should inform the pastor of the church who will be able to help if both of them are members of the congregation. The membership oath taken by the member gives the pastor the right to intervene and help.The pastor will speak to the wife first to ascertain the facts of the case from her perspective.

Then the pastor will speak with the husband to hear what happened. Once the facts or at least a more complete picture is ascertained, and if it is true that the husband has committed adultery, then the pastor will ask him to stop, if he is truly born again in Christ. The pastor will counsel the husband to not anymore because no truly born again believer will not repent of the sin of adultery. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (KJV), "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." If he says he will stop, then he will be asked to read Psalm 51 as his prayer of repentance to God. Then the long process of reconciliation will begin for both parties including the family. More counselling sessions will ensue to facilitate repair of the broken relationship because of the sin of adultery.

25. Why do you keep focusing/mentioning the deadliness of the sin of fornication when people are more susceptible to different sins, and other sins are more prevalent and also as deadly?

Answer – I do not focus on the deadliness of the sin of fornication unless the text in the Bible teaches it. Furthermore, this is the sin that will characterize the generation of the last days. Look at our world today! It is a world filled with fornicators and adulterers who live in sin without shame. Not only is there no shame but many regard it as a normal way of life. Jesus says that the world of the last days will be like Sodom and Gomorrah. Luke 17:28-30 (KJV), "Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." What were the sins that characterized Sodom and Gomorrah? Jude 1:7 (KJV), "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." We are living in the last of the last days. The sins of fornication, adultery and homosexuality are so rampant today that the moral standards of old that used to characterize many societies all over the world are gone. Young couples commit sexual transgression without blinking an eyelid. Parents do not seem to care if their son or daughter brings their girl or boy friend home and they let them be alone at home without proper enforcement of strict rules to keep the sanctify of marriage which is to remain a virgin before marriage.

One of the first questions I ask during premarital counselling is whether the couple has any sins to confess such as pre-marital sex. It used to be a formality some 20 years ago. Tragically from ten years ago, it is no longer a formality. I hold my breath when the question is asked for fear of what the couple might say. If the answer is no, I am very relieved.

Yes there are many other deadly sins but do you know that of all the sins of the flesh, sexual transgression is the worst? It is the only sin whereby the sinner sins against his own body! 1 Corinthians 6:18 (KJV), "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." There are the sins of pride and an unforgiving spirit. These are just as deadly but these are the sins of the heart that cannot be seen. They will be emphasized when the Bible text teaches against them. There is also the sin of gossip which was emphasized when we studied the book of James some years back.

More sins will be mentioned as we continue with the book of Ephesians.

26. Why is fornication specifically referred to as against the body, in contrast to other vices like tattoos, alcoholism, smoking where there is no mention?

Answer – 1 Corinthians 6:18 (KJV), "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." In the sin of stealing, there is the victim and the thief. One party is the sinner. The thief steals from the victim and the thief in this sense sins externally with his hands. He does not sin against his own body. However, in the case of fornication it involves two consensual parties. If it is not consensual, then it is classified as rape and not fornication. Therefore, when the sin of fornication is committed, person A sins against person B just as person B sins against person A. This applies to the sin of adultery as well. In this sense, the sin of fornication is against one’s own body! One party causes the other party to sin against his/her own body! Other sins like murder, bearing false witness and stealing do not cause the victim to sin. The victim is guiltless. In the case of fornication both are fornicators.

That is why it is such a heinous sin which is glorified in today's society as if it is a beautiful thing. Hollywood is good in making a lie into a truth and turning the truth into a lie. What is holy is sullied and what is sullied and depraved is presented as good and holy. This is our world today.

27. Is masturbation a sin?

Answer – The Bible teaches very clearly that the only acceptable and God honouring sexual act is within the confines of marriage. All forms of sexual acts outside of marriage are transgressions. This includes the sin of masturbation. 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 (KJV, "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency."

28. I am a new Christian wanting to learn more about God’s Word. Could I know why we do not use other musical instruments other than organ and piano in our singing of hymns/praise and worship? Is it wrong to have drums, flutes and violin to enhance the musical aspect?

Answer - Calvary Pandan B-P Church uses only the piano and organ for worship because we need only these instruments to assist us in proper worship. As the congregation grows, singing as one body becomes more difficult. This is the purpose of musical instruments. If there is a blackout or no pianist available, we will continue to worship by singing acapella. The danger of having more instruments is the problem and fear of distraction. The worship is from the worshippers of God whereby God is the focus and not the worshippers. Instruments like the drums, flute and violin can become a distraction. If the organist or pianist play in a manner that is distracting, he/she will be counselled. If they refuse to be counselled they will be asked to stop playing for the church. The organist and pianist must play in such a way that they become “invisible”. If they play in a manner that draws attention to themselves, they are trying to rob God of His glory. This is a sin.

The more instruments there are, the greater the danger. It is therefore not wrong per se to use drums or flute or violin or any other musical instrument but it is not expedient in our context. In Singapore, the use of drums and many of these instruments are not only not expedient but it has the problem of association. These musical instruments are used by Charismatic and neo-evangelical churches for the promotion of the end time one world church of Satan and the Antichrist. For this reason, conservative churches like Calvary Pandan BPC will abstain from all appearance of evil. It is sad and tragic that some B-P churches have compromised in their form of worship by using these instruments to sing contemporary Christian music and songs. However, it is not surprising as it is a reflection of their theological demise and down-grade of God’s Word because these churches also believe that the Bible has mistakes. When churches have a low view of God’s Word, they have a low view of God. Man cannot separate the Word of God from God. To attack one is to attack the other. The symptom of this attack on God and His perfect Word is in their man-centred worship with these musical instruments.

29. A co-worker notes that you are a Christian and asks you to join a lunch time prayer meeting. Not knowing at that point what sort of Christian the co-worker is, what response should one take in that circumstance? If it is later on ascertained that the prayer meeting is “non-fundamental”, what would be the appropriate response?

Answer - The first thing to do in this Christian climate of ecumenism is to ask which church the co-worker comes from. If one is not sure about what the doctrines of the church are, then ask the person questions like: does your church believe in tongues speaking; do they support the Navigators or Campus Crusade for Christ or the Varsity Christian Fellowship (which are well known para-church groups that are members of the World Council of Churches).

If one is already in such a group and then finds out that it is not fundamental, then graciously tell them that you are leaving and give them the biblical reasons for your departure. This is a good opportunity to teach them the truth which their church would probably not teach.


1. Can you explain the apparent clash between human responsibility and the doctrine of election?

Answer – Human responsibility is taught everywhere in the Bible, otherwise sinful man cannot be punished by God. The fact that they are punished by God even on this earth is the clearest teaching that God holds sinful man responsible for his actions. Every man is responsible for his own transgressions. The doctrine of human responsibility reaches into life after death. God will judge all men after they die. These are some verses that clearly teach the doctrine of human responsibility before God. Deuteronomy 24:16 “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” Hebrews 10:26-31 “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” This doctrine, however, does not diminish God’s power and sovereignty.

The doctrine of election is based upon God's sovereignty. It is the best and most comforting doctrine to assure all believers of their salvation, and that they are not an afterthought of God but have been chosen based upon the love and design of a loving and all knowing God. It should greatly humble every believer that he has been saved by God’s grace and mercy alone. God alone decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. Whom He wants to save He saves and whom He does not save He will not save. This is His sovereign choice and He answers to no man. God is all wise and all powerful. Man is nothing before Him. These are the Words of God to Job and to all mankind in Job 38:4-11 “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? 9 When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, 10 And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, 11 And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?”

God decides everyone’s destiny. This does not negate man’s responsibility, not even in the slightest. The reason is that man is born in sin and will die in sin if God did not intervene by saving some through the finished work of Christ on Calvary. This is the best passage from the Bible regarding the doctrine of election. Romans 9:14-24 “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” God answers to no man but ever man will answer to Him.

The doctrines of human responsibility and sovereignty of God cannot be reconciled by man. Man’s mind is incapable to reconcile the two. The great Charles Spurgeon summed up man’s dilemma well when he said that these two doctrines are like two parallel lines that will not intersect or meet on earth but they will meet before God's throne of grace and mercy at the end of time. Foolish men have tried to reconcile them and have arrived at the wrong conclusions to their own detriment. Those who reconcile them toward the responsibility of man and diminish the sovereignty of God in the process have arrived at the false teaching that man can lose his own salvation the moment he stops believing in Christ as their Lord and saviour. This belief is called arminianism, named after Jacob Arminius who first came up with this doctrine. Others who reconciled toward the doctrine of God's sovereignty and diminished man’s responsibility have a truncated gospel to preach, like a man who suffers from verbal constipation. They cannot say that God loves sinners, nor can they say that Jesus Christ died for all men. This distortion is known as hyper Calvinism named after the disciples of John Calvin, but not John Calvin himself who was balanced and wise enough not to reconcile the two irreconcilable doctrines.

Christians are just to teach these two doctrines according to the Bible, pleading with all their hearts to all sinners to receive Christ who loved them and died for their sins, and at the same time crying to God in earnest prayer to save them, for salvation is of the LORD.

2. Please elaborate suffering for Christ includes old age/aging.

Answer - When a believer is saved, he is able and permitted by God to enter heaven immediately. However, he is left behind by God with a high purpose. That purpose is to be a witness for Christ. As the believer witnesses on earth he is required to suffer for Christ. This suffering would include all the aches and pains that he endures from the time of his salvation to the day he is called home to glory. This suffering is to strengthen his faith in Christ. 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.” His witness will become stronger, for when the believer is weak then will he be strong in Christ.
Therefore all kinds of suffering including the aches and pains that come with aging belong to this category of suffering for Christ since the believer’s witness for Christ ends only when He takes the believer home.

3. Can you explain why when a believer suffers not due to any transgressions, then he is suffering for Christ? Is it also that God is making and moulding him? e.g. losing job, poor health, difficult circumstances at home & places of work?

Answer - When the believer is in sin, he will suffering for the sin he has committed. For example, when the believer steals, he will be sent to prison for theft. He is punished for stealing. He is suffering in prison for stealing. When Apostle Paul was sent to prison for preaching the gospel of Christ, he was suffering for Christ. He was sent to prison for preaching the words of Christ. 1 Peter 2:20 “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”
When a believer is suffering for Christ, he is definitely being moulded by God to become more Christ-like. It is also meant to keep His children humble so that they will not sin against Him. This was Apostle Paul’s personal testimony in 2 Corinthians 12:7 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.”

4. With regard to the doctrine of laying of hands, are there any other types apart from:
• Laying of hands on the sick
• Ordination
• Imputation of sins
• Laying of hands of the Holy Ghost

Answer - The Bible teaches the laying of hands on the sick in Acts 28:8 (KJV), "And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him." The Bible also teaches the laying of hands for ordination as found in 1 Timothy 5:22 (KJV), "Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure." The teaching on the laying of hands for the imputation of sins is found throughout the book of Leviticus. This is just one example of many similar verses that teaches this: Leviticus 4:15 (KJV), "And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the LORD: and the bullock shall be killed before the LORD."

However, there is no such doctrine as the "laying of hands of the Holy Ghost." This is not biblical. The Holy Ghost does not lay hands on anybody.

Other than the above teachings on the laying of hands, I do not recall any more teachings in the Bible for the church.

5. Similarly on a church level, why is it that there are so many different interpretations of the Bible (e.g. Pre / Post / A – millennialism, dispensationalism) in Christianity when these Christians are taught by the same Bible and the same Holy Spirit?

Answer - Differences in interpretation are based upon the differences in the interpreters. As mentioned in the answer to question #2, the interpreter's past and present spiritual well-being are crucial to his understanding of God's Word. His background such his studies and upbringing are not erased even though he has become a new man in Christ. For example, if he did not study hard for the subject English when he was a boy, his grammar will not be good and he will not speak good English. After salvation, his English will still be bad. Therefore, when believers study the Bible there will still be differences. However, we must remember the similarities more than the differences in our relationship with one another especially when we are all in the same church.

The systems of theology and principles of interpretation of the Bible that a believer adopts will guide his understanding of the Bible.

6. Since scripture interprets scripture, why are there different schools of thought? How do we know which explanation is correct?

Answer - It is true that Scripture interprets Scripture but whether we allow Scripture to interpret Scripture is another matter. Furthermore, the degree in which interpreters of the Bible apply and understand the teaching of Scripture interpreting Scripture varies. For example, there is a system of interpretation known as the literal method of interpretation according to antecedent Scripture that has become quite popular nowadays. What this method teaches is that the biblical human writer always knows fully all that he writes at the time of inspiration of Holy Scriptures. The next assumption that follows is that he only knows what Scripture that has been written before hand and not whatever Scripture that has not been written in the future. Based upon these two principles, interpreters will interpret the whole Bible in this manner. For example, they would interpret Isaiah 7:14 not as a prophecy but a typology. Isaiah 7:14 (KJV), "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." These interpreters would say that the virgin mentioned in Isaiah 7:14 was either the king's virgin wife or Isaiah's own wife or a particular virgin in Isaiah's time who would give birth and name her son Immanuel. Thus they say the Bible uses Isaiah 7:14 as a type of Christ. It is not prophecy. To these interpreters their understanding of Scripture interpreting Scripture is based only upon antecedent Scripture!

However, we disagree with this method of interpretation. We believe in the correct literal method of interpretation according to consequent Scripture, not antecedent Scripture. The assumption in this method of interpretation is that the human writers did not have to understand all that they wrote because there were instances when the method of inspiration was by dictation. They were told to write down what God wanted them to write especially when it comes to prophecy. In other words, the emphasis in inspiration is not the human writer but the Holy Spirit who is the true Author of Holy Scripture. There were instances in the Bible when the human writer could not understand what they had written and asked God for the interpretation. Daniel was given revelations from God pertaining to the future and he did not understand them until three weeks later. (cf. Daniel 10) Since the Holy Spirit is the real author of Holy Scripture, He knew what He was writing from the beginning to the end of Scripture. This means that the believer can use future revelation to help him understand and interpret the Scriptures. Isaiah 7:14 is a true and pure prophecy and not a typology. Matthew 1:22-23 (KJV) states this clearly when Christ was born, "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Matthew 1:23 reveals to us that Isaiah 7:14 is true prophecy and that the woman in Isaiah 7:14 was indeed a virgin and not a young woman as some argue. This is what we understand by Scripture interpreting Scripture.

The believer would know what he understands to be true because the Holy Spirit in him will help him realize that. This is a spiritual and divine experience. Believers hear the voice of their Good Shepherd! Jesus says so in John 10:27-29 (KJV), "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." The natural man understands only natural things whereas the spiritual man understands spiritual things. The only one who is truly born again is a spiritual man. He has the Holy Spirit in him to help him understand God's truth correctly. He does not have perfect inerrant understanding but he understands God's truth correctly and sufficiently to save him and he knows that he is on the narrow path that leads to eternal life. 1 Corinthians 2:9-16 (KJV), "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."

5. Would like to understand Satan’s “omnipresence” and “omniscience” ability. He seems to be everywhere attacking Christians and the church (Job 1:7). To what extent is his “omnipresence”? His knowledge to read Christians seems to reflect “omniscience” (Mark 4:15).

Answer - "Omniscience" means to know all things all at the same time. The person who is omniscient does not gain or lose knowledge. "Omnipresence" means that everywhere is in the presence of the person at the same time. God alone has these two attributes including the attribute of omnipotence. Satan does not have these attributes. God alone has these three attributes and they are all qualified by the word "immutability." That is why the Bible says that Christ who is God is the same yesterday, today and forever. (cf. Hebrews 13:8).

Mark 4:15 (cf. Matthew 13:19) is not meant to be understood as Satan being everywhere. The parable of the sower teaches that when some people reject the Word of God, it is a spiritual rejection rather than a carnal one. That is the emphasis of the verse. It is not about the "omnipresence" of Satan at all but the spiritual nature of witnessing and sharing of the Word of God. When a person is hearing the Word of God, the preacher or evangelist must pray because it is a spiritual warfare that he is in.

6. Can you please explain the Holy Trinity (God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit) in detail? How can they exist together and separately? More specifically, when God the Son died on the cross, how can God the Father be separate? Certain things are unknown to us due to our mortal, weak minds, but is there an easy way to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to unbelievers?

Answer - The Bible teaches us clearly that there is only one God. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (KJV), "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." In the Godhead there are three Persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. All three of them were mentioned at the baptism of Christ in the gospels. When Christ came to be baptised by John the Baptist to begin His earthly ministry proper, God the Father declared from heaven that Christ is His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. The Bible also says that the Holy Spirit descended from heaven like a dove and “lighting upon” Christ. (cf. Matt 3:13-17). However, there is one passage in the Bible that best defines the doctrine of the Trinity. 1 John 5:6-9 (KJV), "This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son."

This is a cardinal doctrine. Anyone who does not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity is NOT a believer! Unitarians are people who call themselves Christians but they are not because the Jesus they believe in is not according to Scriptures. Unitarians believe in God but do not believe that there are three persons in the Godhead, i.e. the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity is indispensible for the salvation of mankind. God the Father sent the Son to die on the cross for our sins. When the sinner is saved, the Son baptizes him with the Holy Spirit so that he is transformed instantaneously into a saint and a child of God. The Holy Spirit then dwells in him and he becomes a spiritual person who is able to understand spiritual truths as revealed in Holy Scriptures. The doctrine of one God with three Persons in the Godhead is to be accepted and not understood. There is no way our human minds can grasp this concept. As believers, we know that this is true. But to try and use an illustration to understand or explain it fully is impossible. We need to humble ourselves before God and just accept this doctrine and thank God for this revelation.

There is no "separation" between God the Father and the Son in terms of their relationship. God the Father did not go to the cross. To say that God the Father went to the cross is to teach a heresy called "patri passionism", i.e. the passion of the Father. God the Son went to the cross alone. When He cried on the cross why God had forsaken Him, it must not be understood that there was a severing of relationship. What the words mean is that God the Father did not come to His Son’s aid to save Him from the cross and the abuse of sinful men! God the Father and the Son loved us when we were all sinners. In order to save us, God’s only begotten Son must die for our sins. That is why God the Father left Christ to die alone on the cross and did not lift one finger to bring Him down when he had all the power to do so. For our sakes and in order to save us, He did not!

It is impossible to explain the doctrine of the Trinity to one who is not born again. It is impossible to explain to a person who was born blind the beauty of a sunset with all its colours streaming across the expanse of the sky. Sinners are dead in sin and transgression and therefore what they need first is the gospel and for God to open their eyes before they can "see". Once their eyes have been opened, then the doctrine of the Trinity will be understood and accepted.

7. How would you categorise doctrines into milk and meat? Should any singular doctrine be considered as a milk doctrine since the Word of God is infinitely deep and every doctrine has numerous applications? Could the milk and meat rather refer to the extent one studies/obeys the word?

Answer - The milk doctrines are defined by God, not the church. Hebrews 6:1-2 (KJV), "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment." All doctrines are infinitely deep and even after a thousand life-times a believer will not be able to understand fully even one doctrine of the Bible. But “milk and meat” is not defined by the Bible as the depth of the understanding but the scope of it. There are many today who claim to be Christians for more than 20 years, who are like the believers described in Hebrews 5:12-14 (KJV), "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." They are still struggling with understanding the above few doctrines and do not go beyond these doctrines. They are content with their superficial understanding to the point where they are not able to explain or teach them properly. They definitely cannot teach other doctrines outside of the list mentioned in Hebrews 6:1-2.

A believer matures as his knowledge of the Word of God increases. Stagnation in growth in the knowledge of God's Word is a very serious problem. Hebrews 6 verse 3 onwards teach us that this failure to grow is not acceptable because God does not save any man for him to have no desire or love for God's truth. That is why when a believer says that he is not interested in theology, which is the study of God, or that he is tired of the preaching of God’s doctrines, his salvation is questioned by God's Word. He might, sadly, belong to the group mentioned in Matthew 7:21-23.
6. Hebrews 6:4-6. It is impossible for a believer to fall away (v4-5). However, in v6, it seems that there is a condition that they can fall away from God.
The context of the passage is this . . . Hebrews 6:1-8 (KJV), "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit. 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned."

Believers who have been Christians for a number of years must be established in the doctrine of salvation, which is the "first" doctrine to be preached to any sinner. Once they have accepted Christ, then they are supposed to grow into maturity. The mature Christian is one who is able to teach the Word of God to others. He must first make sure of his own salvation so that he will not be easily deceived by Satan who will try to make him doubt his salvation. In order to grow, he must first know the doctrine of salvation very well so that he will no longer succumb to the cunning devices of the evil one pertaining to his own salvation. From that point on, he must grow unto perfection, i.e. spiritual maturity (cf. 6:1). The Bible says, "this will we do, if God permit", i.e. acknowledging that every believer's growth is always according to the will of God. However, human responsibility is definitely expected in the believer's personal growth. He has to set aside time to study, understand and obey the Word of Truth.

The meaning of Verses 4 – 6 is that it is impossible (i.e. no power) for someone who has truly experienced what is described in these verses to "fall away", i.e. not to fall into sin but to fall away from the right path (to become apostate), and then to renew him again unto repentance, i.e. to be saved again. For to save such a person means that Christ Jesus has to be sacrificed all over again. This will never happen! Then we have the illustration given in verses 7 and 8. The rain water that falls from heaven will fall on good and bad ground. The good ground will bring forth "herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed." This means that the one who plants these herbs on good ground will ensure that it will bring forth exactly what is intended. The Bible calls this bearing of intended fruit a "blessing from God." The bad kind of ground that receives the same water will bear "thorns and briers" and is rejected and the end of this is to be burned. The continuation of the argument in chapter 5:12-14 is that the babes in Christ must grow. They have to establish their doctrine of salvation so that they can learn "meat" doctrines and become teachers of God's Word. If they are truly born again in Christ, like the good ground that drinks the rain, they will surely bear the fruit that God intended them to, i.e. become mature believers. In other words, the Lord wants all professing believers to examine the sincerity and genuineness of their salvation. If they are truly born again in Christ, they should grow in grace and in the Lord Jesus Christ through the study of God's truth. This is indeed the will of God for all born again believers.

8. Hebrews 6:6b “Seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” Could you clarify who the people represented as “those” in Hebrews 6:4, and “they” in Hebrews 6:6a are? Are they unbelievers who have heard the Gospel, behave like believers but reject the truth? Or are they Dispensationalists who have to “renew their salvation” time and again because they think that they have lost it?

Answer - The experiences of the person mentioned in verses 4 and 5 will help us understand whether he is a believer or not. The biblical phrases to consider are:-

* who were once enlightened – the word “enlightened” literally means "made to see." These are some verses where the word has been used to describe one who is truly born again in Christ. Luke 11:36 (KJV), If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light. John 1:9 (KJV), "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." Ephesians 1:18 (KJV), "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints," Hebrews 10:32 (KJV), "But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;" Revelation 22:5 (KJV), "And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever." [Emphases added] Based upon the usage of the word, it is evident that the person was once enlightened, for the voice and tense used here is in the past tense and passive voice whereby the emphasis is on the action of one who has been enlightened, and in this case by God Himself;

* have tasted of the heavenly gift – This is also in the active tense whereby the emphasis is also in the action but with a difference: it is in the middle voice which means that the person experienced this personally. The believer has personally tasted of the heavenly gift. The word “tasted” means "to eat". It literally describes one who has experienced something, and in this case it is the heavenly gift. The heavenly gift refers to the gospel message he has experienced which would include the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is affirmed in the next part of the verse. He has personally experienced salvation in his life;

* were made partakers of the Holy Ghost – this verb is also like the previous two in terms of tense. It is in the past tense with emphasis on the completed action. The believer has been made a partaker, i.e. sharer of the Holy Ghost. The word "partakers" has been used before in Hebrews. Hebrews 3:1 (KJV), "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;" and Hebrews 3:14 (KJV), "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;" and again in Hebrews 12:8 (KJV), "But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons." [Emphases added] These are descriptions of truly born again believers in Christ.

* have tasted the good word of God – The same verb used in verse 5 is used here again but this time it describes the believer as having tasted, i.e. experienced or eaten, the good word of God. The Word of God has impacted his life. He has been transformed by the power of the Word of God! The use of the word "good" to describe the Word of God implies that the sinner has been transformed into a good person. The good work of the Holy Spirit has been done in his life.

* have tasted the powers of the world to come – Therefore, the conclusion is the experience of the powers of the world to come. These powers to come will include the transforming power of the gospel in the lives of a person whereby he knows in his heart that he is a child of God; he knows that his future will be one of glorification whereby this mortality will be changed to immortality; he has the hope of the resurrection if he were to die in Christ and the blessed hope of one day experiencing eternal life in the presence of God. These are some of the powers that the believer knows are his by faith. The powers are all future.

Based upon the understanding of the experiences described that are from God, the person has to be a believer.

A person who thinks he can lose his salvation after he is born again is not a dispensationalist. Dispensationalists are those who believe that God saves mankind throughout the ages using different ways. They believe that when man fails, God will dispense with the previous method and replace it with another. For example, they believe that from the time of Moses, believers were saved by obeying the Law of Moses. When man failed God replaced that dispensation of salvation of obeying the law with salvation by grace through Christ in the New Testament period. We believe that this is a false way of understanding the Bible. We are covenantalists who believe that God gave man only two covenants of salvation. The first was the covenant of works. Adam sinned against God and he failed. The second, which was given immediately, is called the covenant of grace. All believers (both Old and New testaments) are saved by believing in Christ. The TO believers looked forward to what Christ would do on Calvary whereas the NT believers looked back to what Christ has done on Calvary. This means that all sinners are saved by believing in Christ!

The ones who believe that they can lose their salvation are called Arminians. They do not believe in total depravity but that a sinner does contribute to his salvation by his act of believing. This means that if they sin or stop their act of believing, they will lose their salvation. Therefore, maintaining their salvation is their motivation for living a holy life. They seldom experience the joy of the Lord in their hearts. Covenantalists, on the other hand, live a holy life as a fruit or evidence of their salvation in Christ. They continually experience the joy of the Lord as they live for Christ daily.

8. I have been taught that Hebrews 6: 4–6 means that if a “believer” has tasted of all the good things as described in verses 4–5 and then still 'falls away' (verse 6 ) (the conditional 'If') despite his experiences, there is no hope of salvation for him, i.e. he was not a believer. It does not seem to say that it is impossible for a believer not to grow in Christ.
"If they shall fall away" in verse 6 is not a conditional clause. The literal translation is: "And they shall fall away". Why should there be no hope of salvation for him if he accepts Christ later on? This question is answered in the above answers to the two questions.

9. Hebrews 6:1-2 “The “doctrines of Christ” are the foundations of every Christian’s life from which they grow. Is it true that the six doctrines in verses 1 and 2 pertain to salvation since salvation is the foundation in every Christian’s life? Therefore, should not the doctrine of “laying on of hands” be a reference to Christ’s sacrifice as a perfect lamb for sin instead of ordination?

Answer - The doctrine of laying on of hands is found in Acts 8:17 (KJV), "Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost." This was with reference to the salvation of the Samaritan believers. However, the meaning of the doctrine of the laying on of hands in the New Testament has to include the administration of the sacrament of water baptism. The believer has to understand why laying on of hands is used to administer this sacred act.
Burkitt explains this phrase well when he said, "The doctrine of the laying on of hands is to confirm the baptized persons in the faith, and to oblige and enable them to keep the covenant they entered into with God, when they were baptized; which was done before their admission to the Lord's table. Imposition, or laying on of hands, was an ancient and venerable rite, used in the primitive church upon several occasions; particularly, in ordination, in absolution of penitents, in healing the sick, in conferring the gifts of the Holy Ghost, Acts 8:17. And lastly, in confirmation, when baptized persons were brought before the church to acknowledge, confirm, and renew their baptismal covenant with God; and to receive the benefit of public prayer and episcopal benediction, in order to the further endowments of grace to perform their vows, adorn their profession, and be admitted to the Lord's table, as complete members of the visible church of Christ." [Swordsearcher 6].

10. Hebrews 6:2 “of the doctrine of baptisms, and of the laying of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgement.” Why is it wrong to be baptized twice? IF a person was baptized as an infant (sprinkling), then baptized (while studying overseas) in a Bible-believing Baptist church which only accepts baptism by immersion in order to fulfil God's call to serve in this church , is it a sin? Can you explain why the disciples of John in Acts 19:1-7 were baptized twice?

Answer - Acts 19:1-7 (KJV), "And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 7 And all the men were about twelve." The disciples of John the Baptist were not baptized again by water baptism. The text clearly reveals that the apostle Paul laid hands on them so that the Holy Spirit could indwell them. They did not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as yet because of the reasons stated under question 2. John’s disciples also needed to come under the authority and teaching of the Apostles like the Jewish, Samaritan and Gentile believers.

If you are convicted that you are a Covenantalist, i.e. a Presbyterian, then you will not want to disobey the teaching of God's Word by being baptized twice or more. The sacrament of baptism is to be done only once, like circumcision. This is the clear teaching of the Bible which all conservative Baptists believe in too. Baptists insist on baptizing Covenantalists who were baptized by sprinkling because they do not recognize that Covenantalists are actually baptized. These Baptists believe that the only true mode of baptism is by immersion and that any other way of baptism, e.g. sprinkling, is not of God. This is not a biblical understanding of God's truth.

For a Presbyterian to be baptized again is to deny his own belief of God's truth. To do it so that he can "serve" is called expediency. Truth is not based upon expediency. It stands on its own. If a person is convicted by what he believes in, then he should not “sell it away” for whatever reason. This compromise by the Presbyterian who allows himself to be baptized again is only the tip of the iceberg. It is not just the mode of baptism that we have issue with. Baptists are dispensationalists and we are not. Baptists believe that the OT saints will not be resurrected because they did not die in Christ. They only obeyed the Law of Moses. The Baptists’ understanding of the entire OT is different from that of the Covenantalists, especially with reference to the doctrine of salvation. These are only a few of the major differences between Covenantalists and Baptists. As Presbyterians, we cannot subject ourselves to be "baptized again". To do so is to repudiate all that we believe in terms of our faith and understanding of the Word of God.

Service can be in many forms. When I was in America for further studies, I worshipped in a church that believes in baptism by immersion only. I did not become a member in order to serve; I served God through fellowshipping and sharing the Word of God with them. Service is good but not at the expense of compromising our convictions from God's Truth.

10.. The Bible says that we should “keep the Sabbath Day holy” and Sabbath is the 7th day of the week. Why then are we having church worship services on Sundays? Is it in disobedience to God’s law of condemnation in the 10 commandments? Even if we have worship services on Saturday, the number of people present is immaterial and not a priority. If we are truly God’s children, should we not listen and follow every word God says?

Answer - Yes, all believers are to keep the Sabbath day holy. However, the day for keeping it holy was changed to the first day of the week for the Christian church. For the nation of Israel, it was the sixth day of the week they were to keep holy. When God replaced the national witness with the ecclesiastical witness, God changed it to the first day because Christ was resurrected on the first day of the week. That is why believers call Sunday the Lord’s day. This is attested by the early church that gathered for worship on the first day of the week. Acts 20:7 (KJV), “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” To be gathered on the first day of the week for worship was also the injunction by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:2 (KJV), “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” In Revelation, it is called the Lord’s Day. Revelation 1:10 (KJV), “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.”

We have not broken the 10 Commandments when we worship the Lord on the Lord’s day. The rest of the questions is not consequential since it is God’s teaching for believers in the church to worship on the Lord’s day. There is no fear of losing numbers. God’s clear teaching is for the church to worship the Lord on the Lord’s day, also known as the first day of the week.

11. The Bible also does not say or command that we have infant baptism. Why then do we conduct infant baptism? Is it “adding to God’s Word”?

Answer - The doctrine of Infant Baptism is a biblical teaching. It is based upon the covenantal relationship God has with believers today. Those who argue that baptism is for believers who accept Christ only is in error because there is no such definition. There is a definition for believers’ baptism as deduced from the incident in Acts 8:36-37 (KJV), “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” This definition for believers is accepted by all believers including those who believe in the doctrine of infant baptism. However, to limit it as the only definition of water baptism is like a person limiting the definition of circumcision as only for infants! The doctrine of circumcision was for the nation of Israel, the descendants of Abraham. Abraham was the first to receive the covenant of circumcision. He was to pass it on to Isaac and to Jacob who later became the nation of Israel through the multiplication of Jacob’s twelve sons. When God gave the covenant of circumcision to Abraham, it was given with both meanings intact. It has the meaning of infant circumcision which is as a sign that the children born into the nation of Israel were already part of God’s covenant and therefore ought to be circumcised. The parents’ obedience to this sign of the covenant means that they promise God to bring their child up in the fear and admonition of God according to Holy Scriptures and to also claim the covenantal promise of blessings for their child. The meaning of the adult circumcision is the believer’s public expression of their inward faith that they were believers of Jehovah, i.e. Christ. Abraham was circumcised when he was 99 years old which means that he was circumcised because of his faith in Christ (cf. Gen 17:24). Isaac was circumcised by Abraham when he was an 8 day old infant according to God’s command (cf. Gen 21:4). If a Gentile family accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour in OT times, and wanted to be identified with God’s people in Israel, then all the males, fathers and sons of all ages would have to be circumcised (both adult and infant circumcision). This is taught clearly in Exodus 12:48-49 (KJV), “And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. 49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.” Just as the sign of the covenant of circumcision for the national witness of God’s grace and mercies in Christ has dual significance, so does the sign of the covenant of water baptism for the ecclesiastical witness. To reject the dual meaning for the covenant of water baptism is to reject the dual significance of the covenant of circumcision. Conversely, to accept one is to accept the other.

When God replaced the national witness of Israel with the ecclesiastical witness, God also replaced the sign of the covenant. God replaced the sign of circumcision for Israel with the sign of water baptism for the local church. The sign was replaced but not the significance. That is why the child of a believing parent is considered holy in the sight of God as taught in 1 Corinthians 7:13-14 (KJV), “And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.” This holiness is not unto salvation but toward covenantal blessing. This was true also in OT times when God said that Israel was a holy nation. It does mean that all in Israel were believers. Salvation is always personal but the covenantal blessing after salvation always includes the family. Just like the Israelite parents in the Old Testament who circumcised their children because they were already part of the covenant, so also the Christian parents who baptize their children today. It is not to bring them into the family of God, for they are already part of the family of God because of the believing parent. Baptism of infants is the parent’s claim of the covenantal blessings that God promised all the children of a believing parent for Christ’s sake. Conversely, not to baptize a believer’s child is the parent saying to God that he does not want to claim the promises. This is the sad part. Christian parents are not made aware of this blessing and therefore they fail to claim this promise, which means that they are not aware of their covenantal responsibility. The blessing could have been bestowed upon their children if only they would claim it through the baptism of their children by water.

The passage of the Bible that teaches the replacement of the sign of the covenant with the sign of water baptism is taught in Colossians 2:11-12 (KJV), “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” This is as clear as it can get from God. This passage is about the circumcision of the heart of which the circumcision of the flesh represents, just as the sign of water baptism is a reflection of Christ baptizing believers with the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless the replacement of the sign of circumcision with water baptism is clearly taught here.

The doctrine of water baptism is NOT an unbiblical teaching but a very biblical one. There is no issue of adding to God’s Word here.

1. Is lack of faith a sin?

Answer – Lack of faith is definitely a sin. There are those who lack faith at the point of salvation resulting in no salvation at all. They are not born again for they only gave to God lip service without a genuine conversion. The other group who lacks faith have a little faith. Their little faith will cause them to sin in times of severe trials because they did not exercise their weak faith. Both of these groups are found throughout the Old and New Testaments as a warning to us. Two verses from the Bible that teach the importance of faith in the believer's life are: Romans 14:23 (KJV) ". . . for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." and Hebrews 11:6 (KJV) "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

2. If lack of faith is a sin (and by extension worrying about life), does it mean that those who have emotional disorders and prone to worrying (e.g. anxiety / depression) are constantly in sin?

Answer – The following are some verses that teach clearly that without faith it is impossible to please God and anything that is not done in faith is sin. Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Romans 14:23 “And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” If emotional disorders are caused by lack of faith and trust in God to care for them, then it is a sin. It ought not to be the case of a child of God to fret and worry to the point where he cannot sleep, for God has promised all His beloved children sleep. Psalm 127:2 “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.”

To worry is also a sin as it is caused by lack of faith and trust in God to supply all the believer’s needs. If we worry about the safety of our children, it is also due to lack of faith and trust in God to protect and care for them. God is sovereign and He promises us that all things will work together for our good always (cf. Romans 8:28). Philippians 4:6-7 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Believers who worry are those who do not completely commit their cares and burdens in life to their heavenly Father. This is often caused by lack of knowledge of who God the Father is. The believers who do not study God's Word are believers who do not know God well. This lacking of the knowledge of God causes them to worry, for how can they trust in One whom they do not know? The solution is to study God's Word and know God better. The more you do the more you will trust and the less you will worry.

3. Question on “Fear” again. Scenario: Extremists attack Sheraton Imperial, threaten to kill Christians. We would fear, naturally. Is this “fear” sinful?

Answer – If it is because of lack of faith and trust in the LORD, then yes it is sinful.

4. When does feeling fearful become sinful? Rev 21:8

Answer -- Revelation 21:8 (KJV) "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." The fearful ones here do not include those who sin against God by not speaking up or are afraid in a moment of fearfulness. They will truly repent and turn back to the LORD and stand up for Christ again. The fearful ones in this verse are those who continuously do not defend the Name of Christ or the Word of God when it comes under attack. They keep silent for fear of losing property, job, health, loved ones and their lives. They will deny Christ by their silence or compromises. They do not feel bad about the fact that they have hidden their "faith" in Christ because of their cowardice.

 

1. Which of the 7 churches describes Pandan right now?

Answer – The church is not a building but the people who call themselves Christians. The seven churches in the Book of Revelation describe the people in these churches. Many churches will go through phases where the majority of their members might resemble the characteristics of the seven churches throughout their existence. A church could have begun small and poor and suffered persecution in her early days. Some of the members endured even unto death. Then the church grew and her numbers increased over time. Then they ended up like the church of Ephesus which was strong in doctrine and left her first love. They might have progressed further to be like the church of Laodicea whereby they became rich in material things but they did not know that they are poor and bankrupt in spiritual things.

CPBPC is a church that has all the symptoms of the seven churches because these describe the many different kinds of people who attend the church. There are those who are strong in doctrine but have become legalistic and left their first love for Christ and for God's people. There are those like the churches in Smyrna and Philadelphia who when tested pass the test by holding on to their faith in obeying the Scriptures at all costs. Some are like the church of Pergamos who are strong in faith but they are carnal and commit the sins of the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes. Others are like the church in Thyatira who are serving in many areas but they allow certain influential individuals who sin to get away with it. The church in Sardis might describe some who bank on past glories and think that as long as they are in CPBPC they are right with God. They are blind to their present life of waywardness. The worst are those in CPBPC who have much material things and they equate their material possessions with God's blessings. They love mammon and their confidence is in their mammon rather than in Christ. They are not aware that they are miserable, naked and poor!

CPBPC has all of them. The question is not what CPBPC is like but rather which of these seven churches best reflects US individually!

2.  Why do discussion groups seem to be age based, rather than a mixture of young & old?

Answer – One of the main reasons for age based discussion groups is that it encourages more to share as they are among their peers. Also, they are probably going through the same challenges of life. A more spiritually mature moderator is always assigned to all groups regardless of age. Hopefully this will facilitate a more biblical discussion and conclusion.

3. CPBPC is like the Ephesus church: strong in doctrine but not compassionate/caring to own members, let alone visitors. Apart from inviting people to CGs and fellowship groups, how else can members improve in caring for members?

Answer – CPBPC has a benevolent committee that is doing a wonderful ministry in helping a fair number of individuals and families behind the scene. This ministry has been going on for some years by the grace of God. As mentioned earlier, CPBPC is a mixture of all the seven churches because the characteristics of these seven churches are found in all the members. It may appear that CPBPC is like the church in Ephesus because of the emphasis on the Bible. The emphasis on the Bible is right and was not condemned by Christ.

What is first love? First love is to love everyone alike according to Holy Scriptures. It means to balance holiness with compassion when sinners repent. It means to love in truth and to help everyone in the church to become better believers in Christ. The care for members begins by coming to church to pray for one another. When believers share their lives together before God's throne in prayer, then they will surely be moved to do the right thing. They will be burdened by the Holy Spirit to help the ones whom God wants them to help. Many have been providing in this way. More can be done when more come to prayer meetings to pray for one another.

4. CPBPC emphasizes on Bible study and less on evangelism. True or false?

Answer – This is not true. When the Word of God is emphasized, evangelism is the fruit. After knowing more of the Word of God, one cannot help but have a burden for lost souls. The study of God’s Word comes first and evangelism follows closely behind in the believer’s life. The reason is that when a genuine believer studies the Word of God, he obeys the Word. The more he obeys the Word, his mind and heart will become more like God's. The more his mind and heart are like God's, the more he will evangelise. Evangelism is more than just giving out tracts. It is to invite family and friends from home, school and work to come to church and to gospel meetings. It is to live a life of holiness before loved ones and friends so that they will not despise Christ because of the sinful testimony of professing Christians. The right emphasis is important as we do not wish to put the cart in front of the horse!

5. What are CPBPC’s “past glories”? What does the leadership think about the status of the church in terms of whether we are pleasing God?

Answer – There is the individual witness and the church witness. As a church witness, the Bible Presbyterian (B-P) movement in Singapore has a reputation for being strict on compromise and strong on the doctrine of biblical separation. The B-P movement had in the past made it public that they were against the Billy Graham Crusade that was held in Singapore in the 1970's. B-P church members went to the National Stadium where the crusade was held and handed out pamphlets to warn of the compromises of Billy Graham. They did so even when the majority of churches in Singapore supported the crusade. CPBPC was one of the B-P churches in the forefront of this spiritual effort.

As long as all things are done according to Holy Scriptures, any church can have the confidence that what they are doing is pleasing in the sight of God. As a church witness, all churches are supposed to have these key elements in order to be pleasing in the sight of God. These elements are found in the first local church in Jerusalem. Acts 2:41-47 (KJV) "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." [emphasis added] The list includes: water baptism; obedience to God's Word, i.e. the Word of God must be preached and taught; Christian fellowship; breaking of bread, i.e. Lord's Supper; prayer; and tithe and offering. These are important, for through these ministries a believer must enter into the church and grow in grace and in the Lord Jesus Christ in his Christian walk. A sinner who comes in to our church must see how genuine believers live and find salvation in Christ through the faithful preaching of the gospel, preached according to Scriptures.

Thank God that these are found in CPBPC by the grace and mercy of God.

6. What safeguards has CPBPC made to ensure that our future leaders stay true to the Word of God and the church remains fundamental in doctrine and practice?

Answer – The safeguard is in the Lord. Also, pray for and support FEBC because that is where the all faithful churches get their future generation of faithful servants of God. If there is no FEBC we are in serious trouble. If a member of CPBPC is truly called to the full-time ministry, there is no better place on earth other than FEBC where he can be trained to become a faithful B-P pastor knowledgeable in the doctrines of the B-P faith. That is why Satan keeps attacking FEBC. After the called ones are trained, their calling will be assessed. Then they will be tested and examined carefully through years of observation as they serve in and outside the church. Their faithfulness will be most important. Their gifts will also be assessed, for a pastor must be able to preach and teach the Word of God if he is truly called to be a pastor. God will enable him.

Most important of all, we must pray and plead with God for mercy to keep the church faithful. He alone is able to do it. Man can do his small part but God is the One who actually keeps a church faithful and good. Psalm 127:1-2 (KJV) "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. 2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep."

7. Can there be a platform for dialogue between the leadership and members whereby we can clarify any issues or discuss problems which the members may have? This may help alleviate the incidence of members who leave the church with unresolved issues.

Answer – The platform is always there. The door is always open. All members and friends can approach any of the leaders at any time to clarify any issue or doctrine that they might have.

8. There are many B-P Churches in Singapore. Which ones would the church view/recommend as fundamental? Besides the ‘usual’ ones mentioned – Gethsemane, Truth, New Life?

Answer – A church is a home on earth away from the believer's eternal home in glory. It is a place where he comes home to every Lord's Day and worships his heavenly Father together with like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ. It is the best day of his week. Look for a church that is sound and good. As mentioned in the answer to question 7 above, a biblical church must have all the said elements. The believer needs to go to a church that has all these elements in order to help him grow in the Lord so that his witness for Christ can improve.

Listing the names of the churches would not be prudent and wise as churches change and it takes time to evaluate carefully which church is suitable for the believer to attend. Some might mistakenly misunderstand that those that are not listed are "bad" and those that are included are "good." What is required of every believer is not to attend any church blindly. Do your due diligence and scrutinize very carefully whether a church is sound and biblical and whether it is suitable for your spiritual growth.

If you need help to evaluate a particular church, do not hesitate to ask the leaders who will be more than happy to help you find a suitable church to help you grow spiritually. The most important concern of every leader in a biblical church is every worshipper's spiritual well being in Christ. If you find that your spiritual life is not growing in a particular church, look for another sound and biblical church to help you grow spiritually. You must grow spiritually to be a stronger and more effective witness for Christ. This is what a church must be able to provide in your spiritual life!

9. Why is the distribution of undesignated offerings decided by the BOE? Should it be more biblical for the deacons to decide, perhaps in consultation with the BOE?

Answer - The BOE is the highest spiritual body in the Bible-Presbyterian Church to care for the overall spiritual well-being of the church. The biblical usage of the tithes and offerings of the church is a spiritual exercise. Deacons are leaders to assist the BOE in all matters administrative, including the execution of spiritual matters when the need arises. The general guidelines are stated above. However, if the BOE feels that a spiritual matter could best be discussed at Session level for practical purposes, that matter can be brought to the Session. The Session is made up of both the elders and deacons.

10. If an Elder or Deacon commits a sin and repents, can he be assigned to "non-important" roles such as a “bookroom” assistant?

Answer - First and foremost, to serve as a bookroom assistant should not be seen as a "non-important" position. All positions of service are important to God, for we are all parts of the same body with Christ as the head. There are altogether five levels of church discipline. They are: admonishment, rebuke, suspension, deposition and excommunication. Based upon the question, the nature of the sin is presumably a serious transgression and thereby deposition was effected. The purpose of chastisement is one of restoration. It does not disqualify a person from ever serving God again. Yes, he can serve in a diminished capacity. When the transgression is very serious, he has brought shame to the office he held. To allow him to return to the same office after his serious transgression would be to lower the high standard that God has set for the offices of deacons and elders. For example, if a pastor commits adultery while in office and he repents of his sin and his wife and the church forgive him, it does not mean that there are no consequences for his transgression. His transgression is a very serious one. It is not as if the pastor failed to keep his Quiet Time regularly! If he is allowed to serve as the pastor again, then the highest office of the church that God has set to care for the spiritual well-being of His flock redeemed by Christ's precious blood would be tarnished and lowered. This means that the next pastor or elder who sins the same or similar sin would also be allowed back into office. This must never be the case. To lower the qualifications of the positions of elders and deacons that God has set to oversee His flock would surely result in lowering the standard of holiness of the church and members will also fall into the same sin. The people will be like the shepherd, good or bad!

11. An elder is for life. But he committed adultery and was removed from office. He repented sincerely and truthfully. Is he still an elder?

Answer - When a person is made an elder based upon the qualifications stipulated by Christ in 1Timothy 3:1-7 please note that it is not just a description of an office but the person's spiritual state in relation to God. If a deacon has been a faithful deacon for at least two terms (i.e. six years in office), the elders will evaluate him to see if he has all the qualities of an elder as stated by God in 1Timothy 3:1-7. His spiritual state must be consistent till he is called home to glory by God. However, these 17 qualifications must be adhered to strictly before a person is ordained as an elder or pastor. Churches that disregarded these stringent qualifications have paid a very heavy price, including divisions, waywardness of members, goats coming to church and the sheep leaving, and spiritual death where God's glory has departed from these churches. They are only churches in name but not in spirit. Sinners who enter into these churches remain as sinners. They are made to think that they are believers going to heaven when in reality they are going to hell. These churches are a dime a dozen today.

It is paramount that these qualifications are adhered to rigidly to protect the faith of the believers and the honour of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Therefore, when an elder commits adultery while in office, he desecrates the highest office that God has given. If he does not repent, he can be defrocked, i.e. stripped of his ordination. If he repents of his transgression by a genuine and sincere repentance and confession of his sin, and he has fulfilled all the requirements for spiritual healing with his wife and the people of God as prescribed in Holy Scriptures, then the title of an elder remains with him. But he will no longer be allowed to do the work of an elder; he will not be put up for election and will not be part of the BOE ever again. He has brought shame to the highest office that God has given to take care of His people. His service will be diminished.

12. When a pastor/elder commits adultery, what are some biblical references that support why he can no longer continue serving in the same office, even though he has truly repented before God and man?

Answer  - The key passage is 1 Timothy 3:1-7 (KJV), "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." [emphasis added] When the pastor or elder commits adultery while in office, he has ceased to be blameless and he has a sexual problem.

The word “blameless” in 1 Tim 3:2, (Greek, “anepileptos”), refers to a person who is “not apprehended, that cannot be laid hold of; hence that cannot be reprehended, not open to censure, irreproachable.” [Joseph Henry Thayer, page 44]. Adam Clarke rightly comments that he is “a person against whom no evil can be proved; one who is everywhere invulnerable; for the word is a metaphor, taken from the case of an expert and skillful pugilist, who so defends every part of his body that it is impossible for his antagonist to give one hit. So this Christian bishop is one that has so conducted himself, as to put it out of the reach of any person to prove that he is either unsound in a single article of the Christian faith, or deficient in the fulfillment of any duty incumbent on a Christian. He must be irreprehensible; for how can he reprove that in others which they can reprove in him?” [Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, Swordsearcher, 6.2]

Barnes adds correctly, “The word here used does not mean that, as a necessary qualification for office, a bishop should be perfect; but that he should be a man against whom no charge of immorality, or of holding false doctrine, is alleged. His conduct should be irreprehensible or irreproachable. Undoubtedly it means that if any charge could be brought against him implying moral obliquity, he is not fit for the office, he should be a man of irreproachable character for truth, honesty, chastity, and general uprightness.” [Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Swordsearcher, 6.2]

Thus we can see that the spiritual demands on the office of the bishop or elder are far more stringent than those for a deacon. The pastor/elder is one whom his adversary will not be able to find any fault with even when his life is scrutinized from inside out. He must be aboveboard in all areas of his life, as a believer. Before his conversion, he may have been a persecutor of believers or committed sins like fornication and adultery. This is not to say that these sins do not matter. These are heinous sins and ought to be openly highlighted as wrong. The context here is on the qualifications of an elder. He and other leaders in the local church should have already met these qualifications before they were considered or nominated. These sins do not disqualify anyone from becoming a Christian as these are the sins that caused Christ to die on the cross. But these sins committed by a believer do disqualify him from serving as a bishop in God's church. And when these sins are committed while he is serving as a bishop, he will be disqualified permanently because he has brought great shame to the highest office that God has given to His local churches. It is not about forgiveness. Yes, he will be forgiven by all parties concerned, including his wife and family and fellow elders and even the church as a whole, after confession and going through counselling and help. But we must not just forgive and neglect to protect the integrity and dignity of the high office of a bishop as set forth by God in His holy Word. As long as a person says that he is a believer, he will be judged as a believer. His conduct will be measured against the standard of God's Word. This is not a denominational distinctive of the Bible-Presbyterian Church; but the church must obey the standards and requirements of God, not man’s or any church institution. God’s requirements are not negotiable. When the Bible says that the bishop must be blameless, it means exactly that.

The word “blameless” covers the entire list of qualifications mentioned from verses 2 to 7. This list is spiritual in nature. The phrase "husband of one wife" is not a reference to his marital status. Being married is not a spiritual qualification! The phrase literally means "a one woman man." It means that he must not have a sexual problem. The elder or pastor who commits adultery has a sexual problem.

13. What kinds of sins will disqualify a pastor from his office such that he should not be allowed to return? What are the underlying reasons for this categorisation?

Answer - The underlying reason has been stated under the previous question - when he ceases to be blameless. The transgressions are adultery and all sexual sins including bisexuality and homosexuality, paedophilia, robbery or stealing money from the church, criminal acts that lead to imprisonment. He must not bring shame to the name of Jesus Christ by what he does.

14. In your opinion, do you think church leaders have been or are beholden to intellectual and wealthy individuals in church? If so, can you cite examples? If not, how should the leaders/session try to avert, or have they ever averted, such temptations? Can you cite any practical examples? Also, what is the biggest spiritual problem we, the congregation in Calvary Pandan, face today?

Answer - It is a sad reality that there are church leaders such as pastors who have been beholden to intellectual and wealthy individuals in the church. These are leaders who are carnal and ought to be removed from office. There is a “pastor” who told the congregation that he would not preach hard doctrines; otherwise, his "rice bowl" will crack. He will only preach nice and "loving" doctrines so that he can remain in the church and the people of God will like him and vote for him. At the next election, this pastor was re-elected into office. There is a small church where a rich doctor's offering amounts to more than half of the entire church's monthly offering. The pastor pleases him all the time for fear of offending him. If he leaves the church, the pastor's "salary" will be cut in half! There are many more of such sad examples.

The only way to avert such tragedies is to ensure that the pastor and elders are elected according to the Bible's strict guidelines. They must be able men as defined in God’s Word. Exodus 18:21-22 (KJV), "Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: 22 And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee." [Emphasis added] The reason is that all the judgements they make are God's judgements. Deuteronomy 1:17 (KJV), "Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it." They must be students of God's Word all their lives.

A pastor who does not keep studying the Bible will become carnal. He will then become useless to God's people and to God. He will ruin and hurt the church by playing politics and carnality will become the hallmark of his character. His concerns will be property, luxury goods; money will become his god and he will measure himself and others by the things he possesses. What Jesus warns in Luke 12:15 (KJV) is alien to him, "And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Pastors who are supposed to be serving fulltime should not be involved in buying shares and stocks or take on other jobs just to make more money even when the church is able to take care of his material needs. There is a “pastor” who was staying in the parsonage (F.O.C.), yet rents out his HDB flat, has part ownership in an office building and also works part-time on Saturday. He hardly studies the Bible, repeats his messages on Sunday and does not conduct any Bible Study during the week.

These pastors are hirelings who have been fleecing the flock. They see the pastor’s role as an avenue to make money and to take advantage of God’s people who are usually very trusting and naïve, as sheep that trust their shepherd. When God’s people are not taught the Word of God by these thieves and robbers, they will remain in ignorance. The sure protection for God's people is to know God's Word. I feel that the biggest problem in Calvary Pandan is that many are not studying God’s Word. We all need to study and know God's Word. When we know God's Word, we will know God because we will have the mind of God. We will live lives that are godly. We will be able to evaluate people and circumstances with the mind of God and make right decisions that glorify God.

15. Why do we make a person go through BBK(Basic Bible Knowledge) before baptism, when the conditions for baptism in the Bible (Matthew 3) are simply repentance and confession of sins?

Answer - The Bible teaches that a person ought to be baptized the moment he accepts Christ as Lord and Saviour. However, many of us do not have the biblical knowledge of the Israelites who came to know Christ. These Israelites had the knowledge of the Old Testament. Many of us have heathen backgrounds. The understanding of the gospel message and all the other related doctrines is very important for the believer. We live in a world of great deception today. After the believer accepts Christ as Lord and Saviour, he must also be taught the whole counsel of God. The Great commission teaches this. Jesus says in Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV), "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." [Emphasis added] The place to learn and to serve is the local church. Therefore other doctrines must be highlighted when a person is baptized.

In addition, the church has added another significance to baptism. The sacrament of baptism is also the official step a person must take to become a member of the local church. As a member, he can take up positions of leadership to impact the lives of other believers through his service in the church. Therefore, he has to know certain basic Bible doctrines that the local church teaches, as well as understand the significance of the oath that he will be asked to make before God and the congregation of God at the time of his water baptism. If he is not of one mind and heart in the understanding of God's Truth, disunity can occur which will destroy the church. Members can become future spiritual leaders looking after the souls of men, women and children who are redeemed by the blood of Christ. They need to be responsible leaders. The present leaders must do their due diligence to ensure that all members are well looked after spiritually. The Basic Bible Knowledge class is one of the best ways to ensure that all who become members of the church are on the same page when it comes to understanding the key important doctrines of the Bible.

16. Why are baptism and transfer of membership done together (i.e. can a person undergo baptism by/in a certain Church but not take up membership in that church?

Answer - This was a dilemma that the early founders of the B-P movement of Singapore had to wrestle with. The issues were carefully considered and a most responsible and biblical decision was made. The options were as follows:-

A) Baptism is separate from membership – If this is adopted, then there will be three kinds of people in the church: visitors or worshippers who like to attend the church but find it difficult to become members because of personal reasons; members who are baptized; and non-members who are baptized by the church. This creates the problem of spiritual well-being over those who are baptized in the church. The Great Commission of Christ says that they are to be taught the whole counsel of God. If they are not members, they can come and go as they like and the leaders have no spiritual jurisdiction over their lives especially when some of them become wayward and need to be chastised. This option is not acceptable.

B) Baptism and membership are bound together as one – This seems to be the best option as it fulfils the Great Commission of mutual accountability. This is also clean and neat as far as membership is concerned. There are the worshippers or visitors and then there are the members who are baptized in the church. When they become members, they are asked to take the oath which, among others things, includes the declaration that they have accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour, and a promise to keep the unity of the church and to come under the spiritual care and discipline of the leaders whom God has appointed to look after His people in the church. This creates trust and transparency. It also protects the unity within the church membership for the work of God and the spiritual well-being of all.

Unity is not to be created by the church or by any man. Unity is in Christ and is to be guarded by all believers. There must be mutual accountability among believers to guard against the sin of pride. The Bible makes the importance of guarding the unity in every local church very clear in Ephesians 4:1-6 (KJV), "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."

17. Why are BBK classes taught before baptism and not after?

Answer - BBK stands for Basic Bible Knowledge. It is not an advanced Bible Knowledge class. There is no end to the study of God's Word. It is important that a person is baptized and becomes a member of the local church with his eyes open. The reason is that he is held accountable to God and by the leaders of the church to care for and pray for the church. The doctrines taught in the BBK classes are the very basic and essential doctrines that the leaders of the church feel are needful for members to accomplish peace, unity and spiritual well-being within the church.

After the person becomes a member he is expected to continue to grow spiritually within the church by attending fellowship groups, Bible Study groups, Adult Bible Classes, etc. This he must do for the rest of his life in the church. The growth in the knowledge of God's Word is indispensible for effective and godly service.

18. Thank God that CPBPC places a lot of importance on Bible Study. Will the BOE consider increasing the emphasis on evangelism too? Perhaps devoting one month every year to evangelistic activities such as:
• Worship service and SGH messages on the Great Commission
• Mobilize members to make extra effort to reach out to loved ones and friends
• Tract-writing “contest”
• Missions week, etc

Answer - Bible Study is the foundation of all things in the believer's life. He cannot pray properly or love correctly without God's Word in him. This is also true of evangelism. Without the Word of God in him he cannot evangelise biblically and in a manner that is pleasing to God.

Evangelism is important in every believer's life. Everywhere he goes he should be evangelising in one way or another. There is no way evangelism can be over emphasized. The theme of SGH is about salvation most of the time. This present series of messages on the "I am" of Christ is evangelistic. We need to be careful not to give the impression that evangelism is an activity in itself and outside of these "evangelistic activities" we are not evangelising. This dichotomy within the believer's life must be avoided at all cost. We do not segregate evangelism from the day to day life of the believer as if evangelism is a separate part of his life. He does not stop evangelising when he stops giving tracts or does not invite someone to a gospel meeting. Evangelism is a lifelong endeavour. Living a life of holiness is what evangelism is about. It is more than just sharing the gospel.

A tract-writing contest is a good idea but may not be a biblical idea. Furthermore, not everyone can write a tract. Turning this into a "contest" is not a biblical concept as it promotes wrong motives for writing. If someone is burdened by God to write a tract, he should just write it.

Missions week is a western concept rather than a biblical one.

In evangelism, bringing a friend or loved one to church is the most effective way to lead them to Christ. The unbeliever knows you and should see the transformation in your life as you share the gospel. Giving out tracts is only one of many ways to reach out for Christ.

19. Since the B-P Synod was dissolved, many like-minded B-P churches that continue to uphold the distinctives of the B-P movement seem to be drifting apart. At most, the pastors occasionally preach at one another’s worship services and fellowships. May I suggest that we consider organizing events and activities that will enable these churches to come together regularly to edify one another in the Lord, e.g. a yearly Bible seminar?

Answer - It is true that since the B-P Synod was dissolved in 1988, every B-P Church in Singapore has gone her own way. Sadly, some are heading in the wrong direction but thank God for the few that are still following the old path of remaining faithful in the defence of the perfect Word of God and maintaining the doctrine of biblical separation. When the synod was in existence, the closeness was not actually present. If there was closeness, then the synod would not have died they way it did and any differences within the synod would have been resolved to the glory of God. That being said, it is not wrong to be close and co-operative when B-P churches are of the same biblical mind in the cause of Christ.

It is hard to tell whether the like-minded B-P churches are drifting apart or not because the leadership among these churches are still on good terms. However it is a good suggestion to have some common activities to garner some level of closeness and having a yearly Bible seminar is one of the ways. This can be explored further and it needs the co-operation of all the like-minded churches for this to work. Please pray for this.

20. I agree that the congregation should fund their own local church’s needs. However,
• Should we ask a "friendly" church for help?
• How do you define "friendly" church - same denomination, same need?
• Can we receive help from a Charismatic church? Baptist church?
• What happens if Calvary received help from other organisations in the past unknowingly? Should we return the money?

Answer - There is nothing wrong with asking a "friendly" church for help, especially when it comes to doing spiritual work together. Friendly churches would include churches of like-minded faith in terms of major doctrines. We had invited Baptists such as Rev Dan Ebert III, who started the Hilltop ministry in the Philippines, as well as Dr John Whitcomb of the Grace Brethren Churches in America to speak at our church and FEBC. They were careful and respectful of our B-P distinctive and they avoided transgressing upon any of our doctrines that differ from theirs. Both of them were men of ethics.
We do not want to request help from Charismatic churches because the entire Charismatic movement is not of God. This is one of the movements used by Satan to bring into fruition the end time one world church of the Antichrist. Whatever had been accepted unknowingly will not be held against the church. It was not done deliberately and wilfully.

21. If Christians find that their church is decaying spiritually, should they leave the church or should they persist and help to build the church?

Answer - This question is too general to be answered definitively. A lot depends on the reasons for the spiritual decay and also the person who is deliberating whether he ought to leave or remain to help. Is the person a leader in the church? If he is a leader in the church, the help he can render to fix the problems of the church is the better choice and therefore he ought to remain. This is only possible if the problem is not a doctrinal issue. He cannot do much if the leaders in the church have already stated clearly that the church believes in a particular teaching that is against the teaching of Scriptures, such as the Bible has mistakes. If the person has little or no influence within the church, there is not much he can do. It might be better for his spiritual well-being to go somewhere else where he can grow spiritually.

22. What is wrong with projecting songs (even hymns) on the screen? Is it an over-statement to say that all CCM are worldly and wrong?

Answer - There is nothing wrong with projecting songs and hymns onto a screen during worship. Calvary Pandan has done it before. However, it must not be done all the time to the exclusion of using the hymnals. Singing from hymnals seems to be better for concentration and helps the congregation to sing better with all the syllables of the words carefully spaced out for proper pronunciation and when holding a note.

It is not an overstatement to say that all CCM, i.e. Contemporary Christian Music, are wrong. The reason is that CCM is not a reference to a period of time but a culture that came into being during the 20th Century. This is a culture based upon modernistic and liberal teachings of the Bible. It is a culture that is against the conservative understanding of the Bible and against God. CCM did not exist in the past until the invention of radio, gramophone, cassette tapes, television, CD and DVD, etc. These were 20th century inventions. By then the spiritual climate of Christianity decayed so badly that the music and the theology of songs were dominated by the Charismatic movement (born 1906), neo-evangelical movement (born 1948) and the ecumenical movement (born 1948). This is the root of CCM. The influence of church worship declined rapidly when modern technology and music begin to control worship. We are living in the period where the fruits of CCM is pandemic and has become the norm for 21st century worship!
Let us maintain and defend reverential worship which is God honouring worship in these last days.

23. You mentioned that the local church is more important than our own families. But the local church is made up of families & godly witness begins within the family. Thus I believe the family should come before the local church.

Answer - The local church is the organism that God has chosen to replace the nation of Israel as His witness on earth. It is true in a way that the local church is made up of families but not all families are members of the local church. It is also true that godly witness begins within the family but the godly witness of a family does not replace the witness of the church. Like in the Old Testament times when the nation of Israel had a godly family witness but a bad king, God considered the witness of Israel to be bad. Conversely, a godly nation does not mean that every family or individual in the nation is born again or godly. Likewise, a godly local church does not mean that all the church families are godly. It also does not mean that there is no godly family inside a bad and ungodly local church, especially when the church just turned bad. However, with the passage of time all the godly families in that local church that has just turned bad will leave and then there will not be any godly families inside that local church.

The family is not as important as the local church because the local church is that witness through which the family grows in grace and in the knowledge of Christ. The local church is made up of individuals rather than families because not all families are members of the church as stated above. Guard the church well and you will be guarding your family well. When the local church is spiritually healthy and strong in the Lord and you leave behind for your family such a church, then your family will be well in the Lord. The church is THE PLACE on earth where believers congregate to worship, study God's Word, have Christian fellowship and all things biblical and spiritual. God has chosen the local church to be God's witnesses on this earth and because of this revelation the local church is more important than one's blood family.

24. Why do some B-P Churches forbid women from speaking at their Annual Congregation Meeting? Is it a biblical practice? If the answer is yes (i.e. women are to keep silence in public), what about women in public prayer (e.g. at prayer meeting) or teaching or sharing a passage of Scripture?

Answer - The reason some B-P churches forbid women from speaking at their Annual Congregation Meeting (ACM) is because of the teaching in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (KJV), “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” These churches understand this as a norm that is unyielding and cannot be broken and therefore no exception can be made. They apply this to all public meetings and not only to worship services which is the context of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. This is not what we believe in Calvary Pandan BPC. Our belief if also based upon what we have learned from the late Rev Timothy Tow. Rev Tow’s position is also Calvin’s position. Calvin’s comment on the above verses is instructive and right. He said, “It appears that the Church of the Corinthians was infected with this fault too, that the talkativeness of women was allowed a place in the sacred assembly, or rather that the fullest liberty was given to it. Hence he forbids them to speak in public, either for the purpose of teaching or of prophesying. This, however, we must understand as referring to ordinary service, or where there is a Church in a regularly constituted state; for a necessity may occur of such a nature as to require that a woman should speak in public; but Paul has merely in view what is becoming in a duly regulated assembly.” That is why in the past, we had lady missionaries who went to small towns in Malaysia bringing the gospel to all. When a church was founded, the lady missionary was the speaker at the Sunday worship service until such time when the men within the church matured in spirituality and could take over. It is important to note that these lady missionaries were not ordained.
The above answer also answers the remaining questions. As long as the church has only male leaders as her highest body, which is the Board of Elders, the other ministries can have women overseeing them such as fellowship groups and Sunday School or Junior Worship. However, whenever there are men in the ministries, they should grow spiritually and become godly leaders and examples to God’s people.


1. What should a Christian’s opinion on dinosaurs be?

Answer – The believer’s understanding of dinosaurs must be based upon the teaching of the Bible like all understanding in his life. The Bible declares that all the animals and birds and fishes were created together with man in six 24 hour days (cf. Genesis 1 & 2). This means that they co-existed. What man sees and interprets of the universe and the earth are based upon a denial and rejection of God as the Creator. Therefore they will never be able to see or understand the truth about creation until they are born again in Christ. God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. What we have is the appearance of age in many areas of creation. God who created the stars in the heavens also created the beams of light that allow man to see these stars even though they might be light years away. Sinful man who rejects God as the all powerful Creator will never be able to see this truth and interpret the evidence of God’s creation correctly. That is how many wrong and false theories of creation like evolution came about. As believers, we have to see the world from God’s perspective, which means that the Bible will be the glasses we wear whenever we interpret this world that our heavenly Father has created.

1. While a Christian is protected from demon possession by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, can he/she still be haunted / hurt by a supernatural being? Also, if a Christian is in proximity to unbelievers who are attempting to use a supernatural object e.g. Ouija board, will they still be protected? If so, does the presence of the Christian protect other non-believers by proximity?

Answer – Yes, Christians are protected by God and cannot be demon possessed. 1 John 4:4-6 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” The Holy Spirit who indwells the believer will never allow any evil spirit to reside inside the child of God. If the meaning of haunted means “mental anguish or torment”, then the answer is yes. When the faith and knowledge of the believer is weak, he can be tormented or hurt by the evil one. The hurt would include physical harm. For example, Job lost his wealth (robbed by evil men) and ten children when they were feasting, and a storm came and the roof of their house collapsed and they died inside (cf. Job 1 & 2). He suffered a grievous skin disease such that he had to sit on ashes to find some relief. Job’s three friends tormented Job by their ill advice. In other words, Satan can use evil men and the forces of nature including diseases to torment and hurt God's people. However, they cannot touch one hair on the head of all of God's children unless God gives him permission. Also, the limit of what Satan can do to a child of God is also restrained by God. God will not allow His children to be tested beyond what He knows they are able to endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Stay away from “friends” who dabble in the occult and dark forces. A child of God would not dabble with evil things. Spiritual forces are real. These are what all believers wrestle against. Ephesians 6:10-13 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” It is foolishness on the part of a child of God to tempt God in this manner. The believer will always be protected by God. The proximity of the believer will not protect the unbelievers who dabble with black magic or evil forces. However, God does say that the believing spouse will sanctify the unbelieving spouse and the children are holy in the sight of God. This is the doctrine of covenantal blessings for the family because one parent is a child of God. 1 Corinthians 7:14 “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.”

2. If our entire life has been planned out, are our choices just an illusion?

Answer – No, our choices are not an illusion. The sovereign will of God is dynamic whereby the responsibility of man is not vitiated or diminished. If it is an illusion then man cannot be sent to hell. But man is accountable for the sins they commit in this life on earth. That is why there is a judgement after death. Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

3. Death is the evidence of sin so all human beings will die. If Jesus Christ did not go to the cross, does it mean that Jesus would never die since He is sinless?

Answer – The statement that death is the evidence of sin is biblical; because of sin man dies. This is true of all man who are born in sin. The sting of death is sin. In Christ, this sting has been removed permanently from the believer's life. (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:55-56).

This question is moot because Jesus Christ came to die. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God that came to die for the sins of the world. John 1:29-36 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. 35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!”

4. In view of 1 Cor 11, it would seem that verse 5 is a commandment. Is it a commandment? If not, how can we tell that it is not?

Answer – The use of the word “commandment” is misunderstood here. The principle of women submitting to man is the commandment here and not the manner in which the commandment is taught. Paul used a cultural practice of his time to teach the importance of a man having Christ as his head and the woman having the man as her head. The culture at that time required women to cover their heads whenever they leave their homes. This was their sign of humility and submission. This was their culture to show humility. By way of application, the teaching is that women must be subject to men in the church leadership. The expression of this submission will vary from Gentile nation to Gentile nation. For example, the washing of the disciples’ feet was a cultural practice common in many Jewish homes in the time of Christ. This was done to refresh weary travellers as they wore open sandals when they travelled. Washing their feet was to make them feel clean and refreshed. This was done by the most abject servant or slave in the home. Christ did this to teach the disciples about servanthood in Christian leadership when the disciples were bickering about who ought to be the leader after Christ’s departure (cf. John 13).

The context will usually reveal whether it is a cultural practice or not.

5. Can you please explain Luke 8:13 again? Are these true believers?

Answer – Luke 8:13 “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.” The parable of the sower is about the right way to hear God’s Word. There are four ways a person receives the Word of God. The first type of ground describes the person rejecting the Word of God. It is the “way side.” The second type is the “rocky ground.” The person receives the Word of God and is pleased to hear it and agrees with what he has heard. But when persecution comes, he does not obey. His obedience was lip service only because he refuses to suffer for Christ. The third type is the “thorny” ground. This person hears the Word of God and like the second type of ground likes the message and believes what is said. However, when he faces the cares of the world such as family life, work life and the deceitful attractions of wealth, he also does not obey the Word of God that he has given verbal assent to. He also fails to receive the Word of God because he does not want to obey. Unlike the second type of ground, this person’s disobedience is exposed by the cares of the world and deceitful riches which is very common in Singapore. The fourth type is the “good ground.” The person receives the Word of God and obeys it. He suffers for Christ in his obedience. He refuses to allow the cares of the world or deceitfulness of riches to stop him from obeying God’s Word. In short, he bears fruit of the Spirit in his life.

If the Word of God preached is about salvation, then only the fourth type of ground will result in salvation. The other three will not result in salvation. If the Word of God preached is about Christian living, such as husband are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, or wives are to submit to their own husbands as unto the Lord, and this is not obeyed (like the three types of ground), then salvation is not the issue but the Christian witness at home is. They are guilty of bearing a bad testimony at home and bringing shame to the name of Christ.

6. It appears to us that Pandan’s focus over the past few years has been holiness and righteous living as a personal witness. What has, unfortunately, also crept in, whether one realises it or not, is that salvation in Pandan has become a works-based salvation – not works as a means of salvation but works as evidence of salvation. Pandan is now a place only for the ‘good-enough’ Christian, the one who is spiritually ‘up there’. Where is the place for the struggling Christian? The suffering Christian? The confused Christian? The lost Christian? The backslidden Christian? There is none. Or if there is, it is not known. These people are just told that there is something wrong in their spiritual life or that they should check their salvation.Jesus said in Matt 9:12-13- “But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Can something be done to bring this mercy back to Pandan?

Answer – The reason CPBPC emphasizes much on the Word of God and especially salvation is because we are living in the last days. Jesus warns us that in the last days there will be a falling away of Christianity. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” [Emphasis added] False salvation is on the increase. The reason is that the false gospel is being preached globally at a level never seen before in the history of the church mainly due to the speed of communication through the internet and the last days we are living in. There are more false believers in our age and time than in any period of church history.

CPBPC is very concerned for the salvation of all who come. As salvation is personal and begins from within the heart, it is important that everyone is reminded to check his own salvation. One of the best ways, if not the best way, is the evidence of salvation. Gentile believers like us are surrounded by idolatry and everything in our culture that originated from idolatry, coupled with the last days deception, thus reminding worshippers to check their salvation by way of the evidence of salvation such as holy living is what God wants. CPBPC is very aware of the reality of hell and the last days deception. Once a person dies and he finds that he is hell, he’ll know that he has died in sin. It would be too late for him to escape. But if he checks his soul now through the emphasis of salvation, and he repents and truly comes to know Christ, he is delivered from hell. Isn’t that mercy? Note the warning about the last days as taught by God in 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

Exhorting hearers to check their salvation is what the Bible teaches. CPBPC is obeying what God says in His holy and perfect Word. Furthermore, Christ warns us that on the day of judgement it will be revealed that many who confessed that they sincerely believe that they are believers on earth, including doing Christian things, are actually not. These Christian things are what the Charismatics claim to characterize their version of Christianity including prophesying, casting out demons and doing miracles. But they are not believers at all! The Bible teaches in Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Matthew 7:21-23 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” This is a frightening revelation. CPBPC knows that there are friends from Charismatic backgrounds worshiping with us and we are concerned for their salvation. If they have been given the health and wealth gospel and this is the gospel they believed in, then they do not have true salvation. What is described in Matthew 7 applies to them. Is it not mercy to warn them of their impending doom if they are not born again?

The mercy of God is always freely available to all, like an inexhaustible container waiting to be given out to anyone who would come. But mercy is given only when there is repentance. For example, if a sinner does not accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour after the gospel is shared, he will not receive the mercies of God and he will die in his sin. God will send him to hell. We cannot say that God is not merciful when He does this because God is also holy and righteous. Any version of mercy that comes at the expense of righteousness and holiness is not mercy at all. God’s mercy is based upon holiness, truth and righteousness. Mercy is not “sweeping transgressions, iniquities and sins under the carpet”. It is by genuine repentance when a person turns to God through Christ. When the sinner repents, there is definitely forgiveness. The restoration of the sinner from his sin is mercy indeed. That is why warnings against living in sin have to be preached. Holy living has to be emphasized for mercy to be applied and experienced by all, without exception.

The context of Matthew 9:12-13 is: the Pharisees rebuked that Christ ought not to eat, i.e. have fellowship, with the publicans (tax collectors) and sinners. This would make Christ spiritually unclean. Matthew 9:11-13 “And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Jesus replied them by saying that He came to save them. If He does not reach out to them, how is He going to save them?! Using the illustration of a physician and a sick person, Jesus says that only the ones who are sick would see a doctor. The sinners and publicans knew that they were spiritually sick, i.e. were in sin, and were in need of Christ as their Saviour. The Pharisees were self righteous because of their strict adherence to their oral traditions of sacrifice, i.e. a life of do’s and don’ts. Christ rebuked them in turn, hoping that they would be convicted of their self righteousness and repent of their sin and turn to Christ as their Lord and Saviour. This was what Christ meant when He said “I will have mercy and not sacrifice.” The Pharisees had to stop trying to earn salvation by their so-called good works which were grossly insufficient to save them. All they needed to do was to repent and show forth fruits of repentance by living a holy life. This is what CPBPC is also preaching.

The church is made up of struggling Christians. All of us are struggling. This is what the Bible teaches in Romans 7:22-25 “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” All believers desire to live a holy life perfectly without sinning but know that that is not possible. This tension exists in all born again believers. The desire and the practical reality is the believer's constant battle. There is no such thing as a “good enough” Christian. No one is good enough, for all are saved by grace through Christ. All believers continue to depend on God’s grace and mercies to live daily. The solution to get out of the state and condition of lethargy in our Christian life is to pray without ceasing, study the Word of God daily as our daily spiritual food, and surrender our life completely to the Lord which are what the Bible teaches in Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23. The Lord will help us. The indwelling Holy Spirit will strengthen, guide and sustain us. We all live daily by God’s grace and lean upon Him for daily support especially when we fall. Proverbs 3:1-6 is one of the many passages of the Word of God that helps all believers to be strong in the Lord.

The hallmark of a believer’s witness is holiness (cf. Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7; 1Peter 1:15-16). He witnesses for Christ in this world where Satan is the god of this world who has blinded the minds of the people who are in the world. The system of the world is run by these “blind” people who do not know that they are doing the will of the devil. 2 Corinthians 4:3-7 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” [Emphasis added]

As the believer serves in such an environment, he will be affected by these “blind” people, by Satan and the ideas and philosophies of the world. That is why the epistles in the NT as well as the major and minor prophets warn and rebuke believers throughout the ages to be holy because their God is holy. Holiness means to get rid of sin by genuine repentance and to continue to live a life according to God’s holy and perfect Word. In this way the believer will not defile the Name of Christ. If he does not listen and he continues to defile the Name of Christ by calling himself a Christian and not living the life of a Christian, he mars the name of Christ badly and God will discipline. God disciplines because he loves the believer. Hebrews 12:6-7 “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” CPBPC loves all worshippers and so we preach what the Bible teaches as this is the way God loves too.

7. Deut 19:14 says that the Israelites were not allowed to move their neighbour’s landmark because God gave the land as inheritance. So in 1 Sam 8 when Samuel said the king would take the land of the people to give as reward, was he allowed to do so according to Deut 19:14?
Answer – Deut 19:14 teaches that the Jews were forbidden to steal their neighbour’s property by shifting the landmark to gain more land for themselves. This was during the time of theocracy whereby God ruled Israel as King. When Israel asked for an earthly king like all the nations of the world, then their lives changed forever. One of the major changes was the embargo of properties by the king especially bad kings. This was true in the days of king Ahab whose wife was Jezebel. She murdered Naboth to take his property to give to her husband Ahab for him to build his summer house.

8. Is a ‘sinful feeling’ the same as a sin?

Answer – The question is – "You are afraid of being fired or being sabotaged by your peers for standing your ground and not telling lies but holding on to righteousness in school/at work place. Is this a sinful feeling? What is the best way to overcome it?" – The Bible says in Romans 14:23 (KJV) "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Day 4 Camp Discussion Question B: "You are afraid of being fired or being sabotaged by your peers for standing your ground and not telling lies but holding on to righteousness in school/at work place. Is this a sinful feeling? What is the best way to overcome it?"

Even with something as simple as eating, a person could sin against God because he did not eat in faith. All things that the believer does will have to come under this guideline. If it is not done out of faith, then it is a sin. Faith is defined by God as " . . . the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (cf. Hebrews 11:1b) The Bible says that Ggod created the world out of nothing! The believer has not seen it but because God says so, he believes it. He looks as the world and sees the hand of God in it and not evolution. Since God made everything and everyone in it, then all have to answer to Him one day. He has not seen the destruction of the present heaven and earth but because the Bible says so, he believes it. He will not live for the things of this world but will live for Christ. His heart and mind are on things that are eternal. He is not motivated by money and human position and man-centred accolades when he works or studies. The glory of Christ and the testimony he bears for Christ is all important to him because he believes in God and His Word.

In the case of the "sinful feeling" of the person, the question the person needs to ask is whenther it is because of a lack of faith. If it is because it is due toof a lack of faith, then it is a sin since he did not trust in God to provide and care for him. However, if the fear is just a momentary fear, like a man looking down from his 40th floor balcony and he isfeels afraid and draws back instinctively, then it is not an issue of no faith but a momentary lapse. The fear mentioned above is a sustained well thought out fear whereby he saysid in his own heart that he is afraid of being fired or being sabotaged by his peers. Therefore the feeling of fear in the above question is a "sinful feeling."

9. How should we interpret Acts 15:20 with regard to eating meat with blood? E.g. medium rare steak, sashimi (raw fish), raw cockle, pork blood in yong tau foo.

Answer - Acts 15:20 says, “But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.” The teaching from the Bible is not to eat blood by itself whether cooked or uncooked. Idol worship involves the eating or drinking of blood. Cooked blood in food where the blood is part of the meat is not forbidden because it is impossible to drain every single drop of blood from any animal before consumption. Jehovah Witnesses believe that the eating of blood includes blood transfusion. Therefore they forbid their followers to have blood transfusion even in life threatening emergencies. This is definitely a wrong understanding of Acts 15:20!

10. Why is the Holy Spirit referred to as the “seven spirits of God”? Does God have 7 spirits?

Answer - God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have different titles or names to describe them. These are for the purpose of identifying their ministries. For example, when the God is called the “almighty God”, then we see that the next few verses will describe a mighty act of God. This is also true of Satan and believers who have different names. When Satan is called the devil, the emphasis is on his “diabolical slander.” When he is called “Satan” the emphasis is that he is the “adversary.” In the case of the believer, when he is described as a priest, the emphasis is on his mediatorial role as an intercessor. In the case of the Holy Spirit being described as Seven Spirits, it describes the completeness of His ministry.

11. In Rev 3:12, why does Christ have a new name? Why is the name new?

Answer - Revelation 3:12 “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” The new name is to highlight the wonderful climax of our salvation. When God saved Jacob God gave him a new name “Israel.” God will give to all of us a wonderful new name to signify the apex of our salvation which is to be glorified. What that new name, i.e. new in terms of freshness, is remains to be seen.

12. Matt 26:39 – Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane: “And he went a little farther and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not as I will, but as thou will.” Question: What does this cup represent or symbolise?

Answer - The cup represents Christ’s premature death and not the cross. The problem of understanding the “cup” to refer to the cross would be implying that Christ wanted to change His mind and not go to the cross as the moment of arrest and crucifixion drew nigh. This is a very serious error to even contemplate! Christ knew that He was to go to the cross even before He became man. The Bible speaks of His complete willingness to go to the cross when he became man even to die. Philippians 2:5-8 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Christ would not back down at the last moment. Of course those who interpret the “cup” to refer to the cross would say that this was the human side of Christ that was manifested by his desire to change His mind. But the problem with this explanation is that Christ would then have to be explained throughout His life on earth as “one moment human and another moment God.” This poses a serious problem. Christ is always God-Man. He lived and died on the cross always as the God-Man, and not one moment more God and the next more man. Another problem with this view is that Christ’s prayer would not be answered, for He prayed against the Father’s revealed will. Christ knew the Father’s will was to go to the cross. Of course the addition of “not my will but thine” does not excuse Christ for deliberately praying against the Father’s will. Those who hold to this interpretation could be teaching believers to also do the same when they pray. They would say it’s all right to pray against the revealed will of God in the Bible but just add the phrase “not my will but thine.” The cup cannot refer to “dying on the cross.”

The fact that Christ sweated drops of blood during His communion with His heavenly Father reveals to us the depth of His sorrow as the God-Man. As the God-Man, He experienced premature death. The cup here refers to premature death which Christ did not want to happen. He wanted to go the cross to die for man. To die prematurely in the garden before going to the cross would be disastrous! Christ must fulfill Scriptures; He must die on the cross! So Christ prayed, and all His prayers are always answered! He prayed for God to strengthen Him so that He would be able to go to the cross. This prayer of Christ was answered as Hebrews 5:7 reveals, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.” Based upon God’s revelation and the fact that Christ did not change in His mind at the last moment, the “cup” has to refer to “premature death.”

13. When we recite the Lord's Prayer, why do we use "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us", instead of "forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" as in Matthew 6:12?

Answer - The reason is that languages evolve and the English language is no exception. Today, the word "debt" has the idea of owing someone money rather than committing a sin against someone. When it was used in the time of the KJV translators, it had the idea of "fault." Since the Lord used "trespasses" to emphasize the importance of forgiveness immediately after the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6 and the fact that the word "trespass" has not changed then and now, we use "trespasses" instead of "debts." Matthew 6:14-15 (KJV), "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Furthermore, when we recite the Lord's Prayer we do not say that we are quoting the prayer of Christ in Matthew 6.

14. Why are sexual sins deemed more serious than other sins? What about murder whereby a person’s life is taken away?

Answer - Sexual sins are the worst of all the sins of the flesh. There are sins that are not considered of the flesh, like attacking the Bible (e.g. the Bible has mistakes), or the Name of Christ (e.g. Christ was not born of the virgin Mary or He is not God), as well as sins of the mind and heart like the pride of life. Sins of the flesh would include lying, killing, stealing, etc. Sexual sins are the worst of all the sins of the flesh because they are sins against one's own body! 1 Corinthians 6:18 (KJV),"Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." For example, when a person kills another person, the victim did not sin, he is just a victim. The one who had his things stolen is a victim whereas the thief committed the sin of theft. However, in the sin of adultery both parties are willing transgressors. When a man commits adultery with a woman, he sins against the woman. When the woman consents, she commits adultery against him. If she resists, then it is rape, not adultery!

The sin of adultery involves the participation of two persons. One causes the other to sin as well!

15. Do goats know that they are goats?

Answer - I believe the context of this question is from Matthew 25:31-33 (KJV) which says, "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left." The goats here refer to "unbelievers." As mentioned before, unbelievers are dead in sin and blind to spiritual things. They would not know that they are goats. The greatest tragedy is that there are certain goats who believe that they are sheep when in reality they are still goats. These "false sheep" think they are going to heaven but sadly they are still heading for hell. The Bible reveals to us that there will be many of them. By the time they find out, it is too late! They will all be cast into Hell. Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV), "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." [Emphasis added]

16. Is there a difference between the baptisms mentioned in Matthew 3 and in Matthew 28?

Answer - Matthew 3 describes the baptism of John the Baptist who was a forerunner of Christ. His duty was to make straight the pathway for the 1st coming of Christ. He preached against sin and warned the people of the impending judgement. When the people realize the sins in their lives they will then be prepared for the coming of Jesus Christ whose name means “the anointed Saviour”.

In contrast, Mathew 28 is a baptism after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. This was a baptism for believers who desired to testify to friends and loved ones that they were children of God through Jesus Christ their Lord and Saviour.

16. In Acts 8, when Philip preached to the Samaritans, the people believed (verse 12). Why did they receive the Holy Ghost' in verse 15? Does this receiving of the Holy Ghost refer to baptism with the Holy Ghost?

Answer - The key to understanding Acts 8 is Acts 1:7-8 (KJV), "And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." The blueprint for the birth, expansion or growth of the local church was given by Christ in Acts 1:8. They had to begin in Jerusalem (HQ) and then go onward to Judea and Samaria, culminating in the uttermost part of the earth, i.e. to all Gentiles. The timing was not given to them. The timing belonged to God. By this blueprint, we see that the first local church of Christ was made up of Jews only. There were no Samaritans or Gentiles. When persecution came, the children of God left Jerusalem and were "forced" to bring the gospel to Samaria. The Apostles deliberately remained in the church in Jerusalem (cf. Acts 8:1). Key leaders of the church went out to preach the Word and one of them was Philip whom God sent to Samaria.

The Samaritans and the Jews had been at logger heads since the time of Zerubbabel and Jeshua. The Samaritans were rebuffed by the Jews who rejected their offer to help them rebuild the Temple (cf. Ezra 4:1-5). Now the Samaritans had to be accepted as part of God's plan of salvation and witness and to be brought into the church as part of God's people. The Lord could not allow any animosity to remain in the local church. Both parties needed to learn to accept and love one another in the Lord or else the plan of God to save the world through the ecclesiastical system would be jeopardised. The problems that God needed to solve included:-

* Samaritan Christians must accept the Apostles, who were all Jews, as God's appointed leaders of the church;
* Samaritan Christians must submit to the writings of the Apostles (i.e. the NT Scriptures) and regard them as authoritative for the formation and growth of the church;
* Jewish Christians must receive the Samaritan Christians as equals (note Timothy was a Samaritan, i.e. half Jew and half Gentile);
* the unity of the first local church was crucial for the survival of the church as God's new witnesses on earth, replacing the national witness of Israel.

In order to do this, God had to ensure that all believers (Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles) were saved through the Apostles. When Philip preached the Word of God to the Samaritans, many of them believed, including one Simon the sorcerer, and they were also baptized by water baptism. But they were not actually saved yet as they did not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, i.e. they were not baptized with the Holy Spirit by Christ yet. They had to wait for the Apostles.

When this amazing news reached Jerusalem, the Apostles went to check what happened in Samaria through the ministry of Philip. Peter and John were sent to Samaria to make sure of their salvation. This is the record from Acts 8:14-17 (KJV), "Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost." With the Apostles present, salvation was given to the Samaritan believers when they received the Holy Spirit. These were the first Samaritans to be saved. Subsequently, all Samaritans would be saved without the Apostles being present. This was also true of the Gentile believers as seen in Acts 10. These were the "first fruits" of the Samaritan and Gentile believers who had to come under the authority of the Apostles who had been entrusted by Christ to instruct them with God's Word, namely the NT Scriptures.

This brought unity and growth to the church for thousands of years as evidenced by church history.

Charismatic Movement Cessation of Apostolic Ministries
Cessation of Miracles
Cessation of Tongues (Part 1)
Cessation of Tongues (Part 2)
Cessation of Visions & Dreams
Health & Wealth Gospel
Miscellaneous Beware of Aware
Forgiveness of Sin, Consequences of Sin
Cosplay : Harmless or Harmful?
Alpha Course : Is it of God?
Evaluating BSF (Bible Study Fellowship)
Lion Dance and the Christian Faith—Compatible?
Burial or Cremation pdf

Frequently Asked Questions

Salvation

1. A person who is not aware of his/her sins is still condemned to hell. Why is this so?

Answer – This is so because all man are conceived and born in sin. They are aware of their sin because they die. Death is the evidence that all man are conceived in sin and are born in sin. Romans 5:12-14 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.” Ignorance is no excuse. If ignorance can be a legitimate excuse for wrong doing, then sinful man will hide behind ignorance to sin more and more and with impunity. For example, if a tourist comes to Singapore and vandalises, he cannot argue in court that he is ignorant of the law of Singapore. He will still be punished.

2. Given that Salvation is of the LORD, why should parents be held ‘accountable’ if their children ultimately go astray/ are not saved, like parents who do as much as they can spiritually – 1 stay at home spouse & spiritual parents – as well as parents who may focus less on spiritual parenting?

Answer - Salvation is definitely of the LORD but that does not excuse anyone, especially parents, from bringing their children up in the fear and nurture of the Lord. Similarly, salvation is of the Lord does not mean that we do not go out and preach the gospel! All believers are to live holy lives and love one another in Christ according to Holy Scriptures to show the world that God loves sinners and sent Christ to die for sinners, especially Christian parents to their children! When Christian parents are wayward and stumble their children, God will hold them responsible for their sin and for stumbling their children! God has given to Christian parents the promise that when they hide God’s Word in the hearts of their children who are brought up in a godly home, they will not depart from the faith. Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Children listen and obey everything that parents teach them from birth. When godly Christian parents pray with and for their children daily, they teach them the Word of God daily, they live holy lives as godly husbands and wives and godly parents, their children will definitely see Christ in their lives just as God promised in the Bible. Is Christ not a wonderful and good Saviour? He definitely is! Children who believe everything parents teach them will want to believe in the wonderful Saviour that they see daily in the lives of mom and dad!

But when parents are hypocrites and quarrel and do not forgive one another in the Lord, the children will see a terrible Christ! That is when they will despise Christ and the gospel of Christ!

It is the parents’ duty to bring the children up in the fear and nurture of the Lord and not anyone else. But how can a parent bring the child up if the parent is not at home! However, if the parent is home, the parent must be a godly parent. There are many parents who stay home but are wayward because they are not godly and do not pray with and teach the Word of God and the things of God to their children. Staying home is a good start. It is not the duty of the maid or uncle or grandparents but the parent’s duty to bring the child up in the fear and nurture of the Lord. Those who do not obey the Word of God are derelict parents and the price they pay is that they will be a bad testimony to their children as they are not around to mould and shape them by teaching them the Word of God. Of course, if parents are not alive, then the grandparents or close relatives can take over this responsibility.

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