Preacher Joshua Yong conducted a workshop on “Three Worrying Trends in the Bible-Presbyterian Community” during the recent Shomerim Retreat (22 -24 July 2017). The following is a summary of the discussions held during the workshop by Sister Nyssha Tan, with some additional notes by the editor.

The worrying trends in the Bible-Presbyterian Church include:

If we are not careful, music may become the Achilles Heel of the Bible-Presbyterian (B-P) community. Music is used by Satan to dilute doctrines and infiltrate churches with falsehood. For example, Jazz may seem “harmless”, but the sentimentality of the music subtly appeals to the senses and becomes deadly if one does not guard his heart and mind.

It is noteworthy that the philosophy of the music reflects the philosophy of the composer. Therefore, the composers of the music ministry must be vetted carefully by the leaders of the music ministry.

Editor’s note: Read Rev. Timothy Tow’s article on Why “Music is Next to Theology” in the latest edition of The Burning Bush (Volume 23 Number 2). You may obtain a copy of the theological journal from the book table.

Judgemental Attitude
The B-P community has rightly emphasised the importance of truth. Truth must be emphasised for the defence of faith and the protection of the flock. However, truth must always be exercised in charity. Therefore, we should seek to be sincere in our love towards others, and not unnecessarily sceptical when receiving charity from brethren.

Editor’s note: Read the epistles of 1, 2 and 3 John to understand how Christians should love one another in the truth. See also Ephesians 4:14-15.

Presumptuous of Salvation
There is a worry that some among the second generation of Bible-Presbyterians may be presumptuous of their salvation. Church attendance does not equate to salvation. What matters is saving faith in Christ Jesus. This is a living faith that is receptive to God’s Word and will seek to obey the commandments of God in love towards Christ Jesus.

On the other hand, there is also a danger of legalism in the B-P community. It is important to understand the principles in God’s Word that undergirds many of the church’s practices. For example: the biblical principles behind the order of worship; the biblical principles of why Christians should not watch movies at the cinema etc.

Fragmentation of the B-P Community
With the dissolution of the B-P Synod on 30th October 1988, the B-P community now appears rather fragmented with each church doing what she deems to be right. With this in mind, we should be thankful for the Far Eastern Bible College which serves as a rallying point for many of God’s children in the B-P community to gather and study God’s Word.

Currently, it is difficult for a synod to be formed due to practical constraints such as differing church constitutions and orders of worship. However, the B-P churches may consider organising combined fellowship meetings to provoke each other unto a greater love for Jesus Christ, and encourage each other to press on in the work of the Lord.

Social Media
The ill-use of social media is a problem that is not unique to the B-P community. It is a battle against worldliness and sin. We should be careful to bear a good testimony. Think before posting online, whether the post will be God-honouring, or whether it will influence others to be worldly.

Editor’s note: The theme messages of the Shomerim Retreat are made available on the church website. Hear and be blessed!



(Taken from the RPG, 5th May 2017)
Text: 1 Corinthians 3:1-4

Carnality in a professing believer’s life must be treated with utmost seriousness. If a person does not make effort to seek spiritual growth in God’s Word, he will soon have difficulties in his spiritual life. He will easily be tempted into sin, and be blown about by every wind of doctrine (Eph 4:14). He will suffer much grief because of his spiritual instability. The sweet fellowship with God will be affected because he is not walking in the Spirit but in the ways of carnality.

A disobedient Christian will affect not just himself but also the community of believers. Consider the example of Achan (Josh 6-7). Due to his sin of keeping the accursed thing of Jericho, he caused Israel to sin together with him. As a result, Israel was not able to conquer Ai till they dealt with that sin in the camp. Another example is that of Lot. His flirtation with worldliness led to the loss of his wife. His daughters also had no ounce of spirituality in them and committed the sin of incest with their father.

For the Corinthian church, carnality in their midst had resulted in a chaotic church. A carnal man is self-centred. Thus, there was much jealousy in the hearts of the members which resulted in strife and contentions. The church became divided. It is no surprise to see such behaviour in a secular workplace, for the natural man does not know the things of the Lord. However, it is a shame when such behaviour is found in the church. Should not the brethren love one another? All these problems are the result of carnality and spiritual immaturity, which the Corinthian Christians had refused to eradicate.

Dear reader, every Christian is responsible to live a holy life, and grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18). When everyone has a spiritual mind, there will be harmony in the church. The work of the Lord can thus be magnified.

THOUGHT: I must war against carnality and worldliness in my life.
PRAYER: Lord, I want to be a spiritually mature Christian.