BPCIS UPDATE: The Past, The Present and The Future
After writing a book titled “Silence” I practised it by going on a 2-day silent retreat. As General Secretary, I sought the Lord for direction and focus for BPCIS (Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore). I read the Scriptures on the first day and the minutes of our BPCIS standing committee on the second, prayerfully asking if we are moving in line with where the Lord is leading us.
It’s been 10 years since we initiated the formation of the Presbytery, starting in 2010 with a series of consultations, and culminating in 2011 with the inauguration of the Presbytery. BPCIS was formalised in 2019 with our registration with Registry of Societies with seven charter member churches. One more church joined this year, and a few are considering.
Over the last three years (2018-2020), we worked on the “DBS” agenda: Developing leaders, Building relationships, and Sharing resources. God helping us, we witnessed the fulfilment of all three in the ordination of pastors and elders, fellowship at retreats and meals, rallying of resources for projects, beside many other opportunities to serve God by serving one another. Our pastors meet every month for lunch, discussion and prayer—that in itself is a testimony of how far we have come.
But where do we go from here? Let me share three areas of concern:
Firstly, there are still past hurts in need for healing. There are 43 churches in Singapore which call themselves Bible-Presbyterian, yet most do not belong to any Presbytery or meaningful association with other BP churches. Are they fearful of the history of painful controversy repeating itself? Are there still lingering suspicion, unforgiveness and unresolved hurts?
Secondly, there are present threats to the church. Two of our ordinands wrote papers on “gospel threats” identifying dangers facing the church today. Some are more obvious like errant teachings on prosperity and grace; others are less so like the culture of consumerism and convenience. Recent events in the US have shown that while obvious sins like abortion and homosexuality are challenged, less obvious sins like lying and pride are tolerated. How do we strengthen our churches against such threats?
Finally, there is the future generation. The three founding fathers of the BP Church have passed on. They left us a legacy to hand to the next generation. How can we preserve the best of it and learn from its worst? What kind of legacy will we pass on?
As BPCIS moves into the coming years, let us pray for the healing of past hurts, the strengthening of our churches against present threats, and the leaving of a godly legacy to our future generation.
Pastor David Wong
General Secretary, Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore
P.S. In August I gave an update ending with this pastoral word:
“Since ‘Circuit Breaker’ ended and ‘Phase 2’marks a cautious return to the new normal, our BPCIS churches have started meeting again physically in congregations of not more than 50 worshippers. We understand that some are so used to worshipping via streamed or recorded services, that they are hesitant or disinclined to join these services. We hope it’s not because we have lapsed into a ‘culture of convenience’ that we are neglecting to meet together (Hebrews 10.25). May we call on all to stay focused and not drift, remain faithful and not lapse, and keep vigilant through the challenges now and ahead.”
The above exhortation bears repeating, now that restrictions have been relaxed to allow congregation of 100. We urge all to return to onsite worship, weekly or fortnightly, at the least monthly for holy communion. May the Lord find us faithful in corporate worship as well as in personal devotion.