I thank God for the opportunity to participate in the 4th FEBC Reformation Pilgrimage. What a privilege to be on this learning trip on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation!

The Reformation is often regarded to begin when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. However, the seeds of the Reformation were sown earlier in the 14th Century when John Wycliffe translated the Bible into the vernacular from the Latin Vulgate. This is one of the reasons that FEBC has chosen to visit England and Scotland for her 4th Reformation Pilgrimage.

We departed from Singapore on 10 May 2017 via KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. This provided us with the opportunity to stopover a day’s stopover at Amsterdam before flying to London.

Here are two highlights from a spiritually enriching time at Amsterdam:

Visit to Corrie Ten Boom’s House
Corrie Ten Boom is remembered today for her love and bravery in hiding many Jewish people during World War II. She was the youngest child born to William Ten Boom. The Ten Boom family ran a clock and watch shop business from their home. Even before World War II, the Ten Boom’s home was often used as a meeting place for prayer where people would gather to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. It was also opened to anyone who was in need for shelter. God’s gift of hospitality was brightly evident in this family.

When the Nazis took over the country, Corrie and her sister Betsie became heavily involved in providing refuge and a hiding place for Jews in their home. As homes were often searched and raided by the Nazis, the Ten Booms created a fake wall in Corrie’s bedroom on the third floor. The plan was to sound a concealed buzzer at the stairway should the house be visited by the Nazis. The refugees would then have 70 seconds to enter the hiding place and conceal themselves. The occupants would often practise the drill in preparation for such an event. This was not easy considering that Dutch homes were often narrow!

During the Nazi occupation, Corrie saved over 800 people including 100 Jewish orphan babies. Alas, the Ten Boom family were arrested in 1944 when they were betrayed by a man pretending to ask for help. Corrie and Betsie were placed into a concentration camp in Germany. By God’s divine providence, Corrie managed to smuggle a Bible in her clothes. Every woman was searched by the Nazis in the concentration camp. However, when it came to her turn, the inspector simply let her pass. This was the higher hand of God. The Bible enabled Corrie to conduct Bible study twice a day in the squalid conditions of the women’s dorm. The dorms were built to house 200 people, but were often packed with 700. As a result, there were fleas in the rooms. The soldiers refused to enter the rooms due to the fleas. Hence, Corrie could continue to teach God’s Word unhindered, bringing God’s light and hope to many in the deepest darkness of the concentration camp.

Betsie went home to the Lord on December 16, 1944, while still in the concentration camp. However, by God’s providence, Corrie was released due to a clerical error. All praise be to the Lord!

After the Netherlands were liberated from the Nazis, Corrie went to 63 countries around the world to share the message of God’s love and forgiveness. On one occasion, she met with one guard who had repeatedly tortured her sister in the concentration camp. The guard had since become a Christian after the war. While he knew that God had forgiven his sins by the blood of Christ, he wanted to hear the words of forgiveness from Corrie’s lips. He begged Corrie for for-giveness for what he had done. Though it was difficult, Betsie for-gave him. She testified that this was only possible because of Christ’s forgiveness. She knew there were no other options. “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt. 6:15) We who hold grudges against fellow men would do well to heed Corrie’s example.

Corrie went home to the Lord on 15th April 1983. There is a tree planted in the Avenue of the Righteous Gentiles in the Holocaust Museum in Israel to commemorate her kind deeds. More importantly, those who fear the Lord have their names written in God’s Book of Remembrance (Mal. 3:16). Is your name written in this book?

English Reformed Church
We also visited the English Reformed Church Amsterdam in the afternoon. This was an unplanned visit as we were actually scheduled to visit the Pilgrim Fathers’ Church in Rotterndam. However, the church was closed. Hence, we were diverted to visit the English Reformed Church in the city.

The English Reformed Church is a historically significant site. It was the venue where the ICCC (International Council of Christian Churches) was founded in opposition to the ecumenical WCC (World Council of Churches). Rev. Carl McIntire, the founder of the Bible Presbyterian Movement in America spoke that day. This was the birth of the 20th Century Reformation Movement. In 1998, on the 50th Anniversary of the ICCC, Rev. Timothy Tow spoke in the same venue on the need for the 21st Century Reformation Movement against the tide of ever increasing apostasy. It is interesting to note that on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, the current Principal of FEBC, Dr. Jeffrey Khoo spoke on the need to continue the Reformation spirit of those before us. A triple confirmation of the need of the times!

On the 500th year of the Reformation, may the sons of the Reformed faith be reminded to press on in holding forth the Word of Life (Philippians 2:16). Semper Reformanda!

Lovingly in Christ,
Preacher Clement Chew