Dear Brethren,

Below is the full-time calling testimony of Rev Dr Jeffrey Khoo that he shared at Sunset Gospel Hour, Calvary Pandan BP Church, on 9 November 2014. I am much encouraged by it and perhaps the Lord may speak to someone in our Church today to be willing to give his or her life to serve Him full-time.



When God calls, what do you do? What can you do? You can’t do anything but obey! What does God call us to be? What does He call us to do? Know that the call of God has two aspects: There is a call to salvation and there is a call to service.

1 Peter 2:9 says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

God calls us out of the darkness of Satan and sin, out of a world full of lies into the wonderful light of the gospel, of His truth and the kingdom of Christ. God calls sinners to become saints. This is the call to salvation. This call is irresistible. This is the 4th point of Calvinism—Irresistible Grace. God saved us by His grace. We do not deserve to be saved from our sins. We deserve only judgement and condemnation. There is nothing good or worthy in us. It is God’s grace alone that we are saved. He simply knew us and loved us in a special way and chose to save us. Romans 8:30 tells us,

“whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified”.

This irresistible call we experienced when we believed in the gospel and were born again. In His good time, He drew us to Himself. Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44) From sinners we became saints and this is all by God’s irresistible grace.

In Galatians 1:15-16 Paul testified,

“it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen”.

Here, we see God’s call to service. Matthew Poole commented, “The apostle here is not speaking of God’s decree, predestinating him to eternal life, but of his determining him to the work of an apostle.” Paul was called by God’s grace to be a preacher. This type of a call was experienced by the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah too. Isaiah testified, “The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword … And said unto me, Thou art my servant” (Isaiah 49:1-3). God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5). The call to full-time service thus requires a call from God. That is why we require a testimony of God’s call to service from those who wish to study at FEBC for full-time ministry. The full-time ministry of the Word is not a profession, not an occupation, but a vocation—a calling. The call to service is very much like the call to salvation—it is also irresistible grace.

By way of testimony, it is by the grace of God that I am alive today. I should have died at infancy. My mother had a difficult labour. For some reason I refused to come out. It was at KK Hospital, the year was 1964, and the gynaecologist Dr SH Tow. Dr Tow had to use a vacuum machine to suck me out. You can say I was forcibly separated from my mother’s womb. My mother told me that I was not breathing when I came out, I was all blue. Thankfully I was revived.

I was born again when I was seven years old. It was my first year in St Andrew’s School. My father made sure I went to a mission school. There I heard the gospel and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. I remember that day quite clearly. I was in Primary One and the school held a Gospel Rally. I understood why I was a sinner and how only Jesus could save me from my sins. I later got baptised in a Lutheran Church.

When I was in St Andrew’s Junior College, I thought of becoming a teacher. I was in the Arts faculty. After my ‘A’ Levels I got a place at the National University (NUS). I was interested to study English, History and Political Science. At the same time I also had a desire to study theology. In fact I had Divinity as one of my subjects when I was in JC. This desire to study theology grew and grew, and became very intense. Should I go to university?

Now, before university was National Service. Just before I completed National Service, I decided not to go to NUS but to Far Eastern Bible College. Was it the right decision? My church Elders did not think so. I was worshipping in a Brethren church at that time. They felt strongly that I should get my BA first, and then after that, if I still wanted to, I could go to Bible College. That was an option. It seemed sensible. You sort of get the best of both worlds. But NUS was no longer an option for me. The Lord had impressed upon my heart deeply that I should serve Him full-time, and the logical place to go would be to Bible College to get the necessary knowledge and training I needed for full-time service. That conviction was inexplicable. The call was irresistible. You just had to obey or else there would be no peace. I knew if I had spent three or four years in NUS, those years would be miserable years for me. So, it was only one way for me, no other way. It was “FEBC, here I come.” I wrote to NUS to cancel my place, and enrolled at FEBC. This happened in 1985.

In my first year at FEBC, the principal assigned all new students to read CH Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students. How do you know for sure you are called to full-time ministry? Spurgeon said, “The first sign of the heavenly call is an intense, all-absorbing desire for the work. In order to a true call to the ministry there must be an irresistible, overwhelming craving and raging thirst for telling to others what God has done to our own souls; … ‘Do not enter the ministry if you can help it,’…” I was glad to read this. That was precisely my experience; I could not help it. I spent four years at FEBC. I must say those four years were the best and happiest years of my life. Not easy but happy.

After I graduated from FEBC, the Lord opened the way for me to further my theological studies in the United States. When I returned to Singapore in 1992, the Rev Dr Timothy Tow asked me, “What has God called you to do?” Without hesitation I said, “to teach”. I did not feel I was called to pastor. To be honest, I was more comfortable with books than with people. Rev Tow said, “Alright, you will serve in FEBC as a librarian and lecturer.” I was thankful and glad. I would be contented to do just that until the day I die. I was subsequently ordained in 1994, not as a church pastor but a theological teacher. My ministry was in FEBC. In May 2009, I was appointed principal after the Lord called Rev Tow home.

Interestingly, a few days ago, I received a letter from a Lifer (ie from Life BPC) who shared with me how two decades ago, Rev Tow was asked by some Lifers about the next pastor of Life Church, and he said to them, “Jeffrey is not suitable to be a pastor.” He was right. I was not cut out to be a pastor.

But now, I am pastor of True Life B-P Church. How did that happen? In 2009 True Life was left without a pastor after Rev Tow went home to be with the Lord. I was then an Elder in the church. Even after Rev Tow passed away, I still did not think I was called to be a pastor. I was also not willing. But God would not allow it. In a Session meeting on 10 February 2010, the Lord used Elder Joseph and Deacon Philip to pronounce an imprecation on me should I shun the pastoral ministry. They reminded me of how Farel invoked God’s curse on Calvin when Calvin refused to be pastor of Geneva. Dn Philip even told me, “The Lord wants me to tell you that if you do not pastor True Life, you will lose FEBC.” I was taken aback by this, but I must confess I was sceptical. I did not believe it could happen.

For my unbelief and disobedience I was sorely chastised by the Lord. On 30 June 2010, the High Court delivered its judgement on the Life Church suit against FEBC. The Straits Times reported, “Church Wins Suit to Evict Bible College.” FEBC was ordered to vacate its birthplace and home since its founding in 1962. How could this be? We had a watertight defence. The verdict was shocking. The Lord was at work. I was too proud and had to be humbled. “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Hebrews 12:5-6). I went on my knees and repented in tears. The Lord was merciful. He restored that which was lost.

The Lord has allowed all these things to happen so that we might know that He is the only living and true God and He does all things according to the counsel of His own will and none can resist Him. “Then shall ye know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 6:13), “And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.” (Joel 2:27).

I am truly overwhelmed by the grace of God. I feel very unworthy. Why should God save me, make me teach His Word and now pastor His church? It is all by His grace and His grace alone.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

I am nothing and can claim nothing. To be a child of God and a servant of God is a blessing and a privilege. I do not deserve this. I echo the words of the Apostle Paul, “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:9-10). Through Scripture and personal experience I have learned this one thing: If God wants to save you, He will save you no matter what. If He wants you to serve Him, He will make you to serve Him no matter what. If He has called you, He will make you submit to Him. And you will be glad because of it. “Trust and obey for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). Nothing happens by chance. He is in charge and in control. If we belong to Him, He has a good plan for us. If He has called you, He will enable and empower you. His grace is truly abundant and irresistible. May this be an encouragement to you. To God be all glory and honour.


Elder John Leong