BPCIS Pastoral Word
Written by Rev Dr David Wong
9 Mar 2022
MOVING BOUNDARY STONES
“Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors.” Proverbs 22.28
The Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 19.14; 27.17) warns against moving boundary stones which mark where one’s territory begins and ends. Once these ancient lines are drawn, they must be respected. Such respect for territorial integrity is fundamental to justice and peace in any society, and for the world.
RUSSIAN INVASION OF UKRAINE
The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine is clearly a violation of another country’s territorial sovereignty. God’s Word condemns it: “‘Cursed be anyone who moves his neighbor’s landmark.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’” Deut 27:17 ESV Indeed, a loud “Amen” was sounded at the United Nations when Singapore joined 140 other nations in condemning Russia’s action.
RETENTION OF 377A
But the principle of boundary stones goes beyond the physical. Just as lines are drawn on land, showing where we live, boundaries are also marked out in morals, prescribing how we should live. In this regard, we welcome the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in dismissing the latest legal challenge to Section 377A which the Government decided in 2007 to retain in the Penal Code.
Not repealing the limits set on the practice of sexuality respects the moral position of a significant segment of our population. At the same time, not enforcing such limits respects others in our wider society who do not hold to such a moral position. The Government has noted that for a “large majority” in Singapore, “the heterosexual stable family remains the social norm,” and that the current legal position reflects “our society’s norms, values and attitudes”. We stand with and support these observations as reported in the news media.
DIVORCE BY MUTUAL AGREEMENT
One more matter calls for our concern: the boundary stone that governs marriage and divorce. The recent passing of a bill introducing “No-Fault Divorce” or “Divorce by Mutual Agreement” (DMA) aims to reduce acrimony between divorcing spouses and the fallout on children and other affected parties. It makes divorce “a joint responsibility” with both partners taking the blame.
While it sounds humane, it overlooks the sanctity of marriage as a lifelong commitment, not only to each other but also to God. Jesus affirms what was taught by Moses: “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” On divorce, He adds, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” Matthew 19:6, 8 ESV
The boundary stone, set “from the beginning” should not be moved. The “joint responsibility” of a challenging marriage should be directed at honouring and safeguarding the union. For the Christian couple whose union is hallowed by God and witnessed by His people, divorce should not be an option. That said, acknowledging our sinful nature (“hardness of heart”), divorce does happen, and as God’s people we want to pray and help towards the healing of all who are hurt.
BPCIS has commissioned the Biblical Graduate School of Theology to study the legal and theological aspects of the DMA, and present implications for the church. A seminar will be held on 30 April 2022, 10am, to share their findings. More details later.
As for the crisis in Ukraine, BPCIS is sending $10,000 from our Relief Fund through Operation Mobilisation which has been working with local communities there since 1994. Please refer to our website for “Prayer for Ukraine” based on Psalm 46, and join us in prayer.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 ESV
Rev Dr David Wong
General Secretary, BPCIS