Year: 2019

Revisiting our 2019 Church Theme

Dear BPCWAians, As this is the last Sunday of 2019, let us take a closing look at our church theme, taken from Acts 2:42 “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Continuing stedfastly. What a wonderful testimony of the first New Testament church worshipers. Has this been your testimony too? It isn’t just about having good aspirations at the start of the year. It is not just about putting those into action in January. More importantly, it is about continuing stedfastly. Children often start off on a new hobby or project very enthusiastically, but they lack that sustaining motivation to keep at it to the end. What about you? Did you once use to be fervent about doctrine, about fellowship with the saints, treasured each moment that you could take the Sacraments and loved the assembling of yourself together with the church to pray, but has backslidden? If yes, this is a wake-up call to action. It is not to bemoan “those bygone days” as if “you can’t help it” now. Make those changes in your personal life, your home life, and your church life. Do it with an undivided heart out of love for your Saviour. Stedfastness is critical. In the apostles’ doctrine. We live in an age which is increasingly “doctrine averse”. Many feel that “doctrines divide”. Also, to many Christians today, teaching doctrine is considered boring, strict, old fashioned and impractical. Pastors are now in churches to entertain the congregation. Stories and testimonies are what appeal to the people, rather than expositional teaching from God’s Word. Will BPCWA stay true to God’s way to teach only the truth rather than worldly experiences and the philosophies of man? If attendances fall and some goats come in and

Christmas: What’s in a name?

Dear BPCWAians, Christmas is just around the corner. Retailers do not stop reminding us that Christmas is coming. Almost every day, you see mailers and emails enticing you to buy things from shops. In our bulletin today, you see  an announcement for the Christmas Service. Every year around Christmas, we have held a Christmas Gospel meeting before that as well. At the same time, do you know that there are sections of Christians that vehemently protest against Christmas? This includes a number of Puritans, some writers that you may be familiar with (even A.W. Pink), and even some Christians groups today. We certainly are not promoting turning Christmas into a shopping and dining season. But in this pastoral, we want to take a look at one of the reasons why some Christians are against celebrating Christmas – that Christmas was begun by the Roman Catholic Church. Common contention that Christmas is Christ-mass. This is a familiar contention which many of you might have come across. The use of the name “Christmas” is opposed because, as stated in the Encyclopedia Brittanica, the word Christmas is said to come from a combination of the words Christ and Mass. The Mass  is the communion service in the Roman Catholic Church. During the mass,  the Eucharist is conducted, wherein the consecrated wafer is claimed to be changed into the very body of Christ. Christmas then would be “a special mass of Christ”. The day is regarded by the Roman Catholic Church as holy and is observed with very imposing services. Masses are performed at midnight – the hour when, according to tradition, Christ was born—day break and in the morning. Is the name Christmas today still associated with a Roman Catholic mass?   If you pose this question somewhat randomly to the man in

Christmas: What’s in a name?

Dear BPCWAians, Christmas is just around the corner. Retailers do not stop reminding us that Christmas is coming. Almost every day, you see mailers and emails enticing you to buy things from shops. In our bulletin today, you see  an announcement for the Christmas Service. Every year around Christmas, we have held a Christmas Gospel meeting before that as well. At the same time, do you know that there are sections of Christians that vehemently protest against Christmas? This includes a number of Puritans, some writers that you may be familiar with (even A.W. Pink), and even some Christians groups today. We certainly are not promoting turning Christmas into a shopping and dining season. But in this pastoral, we want to take a look at one of the reasons why some Christians are against celebrating Christmas – that Christmas was begun by the Roman Catholic Church. Common contention that Christmas is Christ-mass.This is a familiar contention which many of you might have come across. The use of the name “Christmas” is opposed because, as stated in the Encyclopedia Brittanica, the word Christmas is said to come from a combination of the words Christ and Mass. The Mass  is the communion service in the Roman Catholic Church. During the mass,  the Eucharist is conducted, wherein the consecrated wafer is claimed to be changed into the very body of Christ. Christmas then would be “a special mass of Christ”. The day is regarded by the Roman Catholic Church as holy and is observed with very imposing services. Masses are performed at midnight – the hour when, according to tradition, Christ was born—day break and in the morning. Is the name Christmas today still associated with a Roman Catholic mass?   If you pose this question somewhat randomly to the man in the

Popular online theology may not be Biblical theology

Dear BPCWAians, Over the past 2 weeks, we have looked at the usefulness of media to Christendom, as well as looked at some of the dangers that every one of us should be mindful of when using “Christian” material online. In this Pastoral, we conclude with looking at the teachers, their teachings, and God’s ordained means for the Christian to grow and learn about Him. Be careful of learning theology from online devotionals, blogs and social media. These days, there are online devotionals or Bible studies that you can subscribe to and receive daily. It is a popular thing. These devotionals may tell stories of daily sorrows, joys, trials, tearjerkers and heartaches that would strike a chord in many hearts, evoking thoughts in you that may say “me too”! But take a close read, and you would probably find that many are just simply that – testimonies of their lives with a few verses of Scripture thrown in (often quoted out of context) to “Christianise” it. These often focus on personal relationships and social issues and work on the reader’s emotions. Not significantly different are the various forms of social media like blogs and Facebook posts. This last group cannot be ignored, as some studies say that social networks form about 28% of all online activity. Highly interactive, social media thrives on online “conversations” and the exchange of information. Unlike diaries which were previously so personal that the individuals kept it under lock and key, today’s blogger thrives on sharing their ideas, and personal interpretations of Scripture. They share their joys, woes and thoughts to everyone, and invite everyone to share their comments. They throw open the window to air their views and promote what is in their hearts to everyone. Their goal is no different from that of the

The dangers of learning indiscriminately from media

Dear BPCWAians, Last week, we saw how much media has become an almost indispensable part of our modern lives. How should Christians respond to the influx of online information in our lives? How can we guard ourselves against it? We are not saying that only BPCWA has sound information, but we must take note of God’s warnings and be discerning when we receive information: 2Pet 2:18-19 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. (19) While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. Check on the backgrounds of the sites that search engines bring up. Do note that online search engines do not differentiate between Christian, cults, non- Christian or anti-Christian websites. An unsuspecting reader may be led on to read further when he comes across phrases like “Who goes to heaven”, or “what is the resurrection” and weblinks pop up that seem to point us to things that sound similar to what we believe in. Except that that may actually be a Jehovah’s Witness website! A search for the words “Holy Communion” can bring up 7 Catholic sites out of the first 15 suggested links. Another search of “Is Jesus God” brings up among the searches an online radio site with a title that questions Christ’s deity, saying “If Jesus Never Called Himself God, How Did He Become One?”. This last was an interview with someone who claimed to have been an evangelical Christian but who is now an agnostic. If you think that reading articles of theological colleges are sound, think again. Unless you know the

Is all Christian media good?

Dear BPCWAians, We live in an information age, full of information from many sources. Daily, many of us get our information for different areas of our lives from various forms of media. While previously handwritten materials were the main, if not only, means of passing on information, the dissemination of information was greatly accelerated with the invention of the printing press. This invention, which greatly advanced the cause of the Reformation through the printing of Bibles, marked the start of print media. Since the use of print media greatly aided the advancement of God’s truth in the 1500s, does it mean that all “Christian” media is good today? Types of modern media used for dissemination of information. The last few centuries have opened up way more avenues than were available thousands of years ago. I summarise some which are common in our everyday lives today: 1) Print media. Probably familiar to most people of all ages, these come in the form of newspapers, magazines, brochures, and books. They are available at bookshops, newsstands, libraries and even outside restaurant entrances. 2) Broadcast media would include the television, radio/audio and video/films/ movies. While at one time this was the most popular medium, these do not have as large a reach in today’s technological and digital age. 3) The Internet and the Digital media which surrounds us. These would be probably the most prevalent sources of information that have the widest outreach to audiences through various devices. These include online resources like the internet and social media (like Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs). With the advancement of technology, media has converged, with books now being available digitally as eBooks, and videos being found online on YouTube. While once you had to go to a library for research or to get books, much

Time to fulfil the Great Commission – Who are you inviting this year?

Dear BPCWAians, As we approach the end of the year, it is an exciting and busy period for the church, with several major activities coming up. The Christmas Gospel meeting, the Christmas Day Service, Watchnight Service, and the Holiday Bible Program are all taking place within a 3 week period. So why do we plan these into our church calendar and activities? What part do you have to play in these activities? Why do we even take the trouble to prepare the invitation flyers for distribution to our worshippers? We do so for 2 reasons:- 1. So that you and your family can worship God and grow through all these activities yourselves. 2) So that each of you can think of someone to invite for each of these activities, and follow-up by giving them the invitation flyers as a means of inviting them to join us. Following is a quick overview of what these activities are about. I hope that knowing what they are about will help you to really be able to reach out to someone who can benefit spiritually from coming for these activities. Christmas Gospel Meetings (Friday, 20Dec, 7:30pm).As has been our practice over the past few  years, we have set aside the Friday before Christmas for     a Christmas Gospel service. Christmas is a time when some unbelievers who would not otherwise step into a church are willing to consider attending a church. It is held on Friday, because it is the start of a weekend – and possibly an extended year-end leave period for many. So, the focus of this meeting would be to reach out to non-Christians with the true meaning of Christmas, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a wonderful time and it is an ideal opportunity to invite your

Why did the Apostle Paul tell women to keep silence? So can women teach or not?

Dear BPCWAians, Last week we saw that God does not prohibit women from teaching in the church. Also, we established that the Bible does not limit women to teach on things related to womanhood only. But what about women being told by the Apostle Paul to “keep silence in the churches” (1 Cor 14:34) and “I suffer not a woman to teach” (1 Tim 2:12)? Are there contradictions in Scriptures? Who can women teach? The Bible does not contradict itself. Some people erroneously use these verses to insist that women cannot teach women in church. We shall look at these this week. What does women to “keep silence in the churches” (1 Cor 14:34) refer to? Firstly, we know it cannot refer to not being allowed to teach at all. If so, the Apostle Paul would be contradicting himself regarding what he wrote in 1 Cor 11:5 and Titus 2:2-4. This would mean that the Word of God has contradictions. The complete and straightforward reading of the verses of 1 Cor 14:34-35 will tell us, “(34) 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”. Being in silence here was not about being prohibited to teach. Rather, if they had any questions concerning what was said in church, they should ask their husbands in the privacy of their homes. This was dealing with women who were aggressively challenging male authority in the church. What does “I suffer not a woman to teach” (1 Tim 2:12) refer to? If the Apostle Paul did

Can Women teach in the church?

Dear BPCWAians, Recently, someone imbibed and sought to convince some in our church the belief that women should not be allowed to teach women anything relating to doctrines. This person, before leaving our church, tried to sway people to believe that women can only teach things related to womanhood. And even if women were allowed to teach these things, the women must not do so in the church building, but in people’s houses instead. Is this a biblical concept? What does the Bible say about women teaching in the church? What can women teach? The need to address this issue. Worshippers may hold different views about certain practices, but when the views are clearly unbiblical, it is no longer a case of personal liberty, but it becomes doctrinal error. Whenever someone seeks to promote any erroneous beliefs which challenge the beliefs and practices of the church, it needs to be addressed openly, since it is being promulgated to worshipers in the church. If not, there will be dissent, which will spread like leaven. Immature believers may be misled, and confusion will result. Eventually, if not addressed, the soundness of the church will be impacted, and her peace and unity will be threatened. Also, it is not uncommon for people who have left to continue to try to influence and disrupt the church from outside. If the church does not address such errors, then Satan will use people and the situation to his evil advantage. Should women be allowed to teach? Are  there  Scriptural  evidences  that women did teach in the church itself? If so, was it prohibited? The instance in 1 Cor 11:4-5 clearly indicates that similarly with the men, the women did publicly teach and pray in the church, “(4) Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered,

Lest we forget – Remembering the 1517 Reformation

Dear BPCWAians, Beginning 2013, every last Sunday of October, we commemorate the 1517 Protestant Reformation. In 2017, many churches around the world celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. But why do we continue to do this every year? Is it simply because it’s our church’s “tradition” to do so? I want to take some time to help us understand just 2 of the many reasons why it is important for us as a church to continue to keep remembering the Reformation annually. Be reminded that God exercises His Sovereignty to protect His true church. Just a little over 1,500 years after Christ’s death, God’s church had degenerated into something that bore little resemblance to the New Testament church that He had set up. The Roman Catholic Church had become the Church, claiming to be the true Church succeeding from Apostle Peter. In the society that then was, the church dominated both the religious and cultural realm. In fact, with the teaching that there was no salvation outside of the Roman Catholic Church, even politicians often had to do obeisance to the priests. With the power that the Church wielded, it would seem like  nothing could topple them. But what is impossible with man, is always possible with God. As if mocking the very powers that exalted themselves against Him, God used a man from within the Roman Catholic Church to begin a movement that led to the Reformation. And even the very timing of the other events had already been carefully timed to set in motion the very wheels of change around the world. The Reformation could not be stopped, though the enemies tried fierce and strong to undo it. As Christ had promised, the gates of hell shall not prevail against His church (Matt 16:18). With the powers

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