I have been asked the following question a few times recently – “Should a pastor preach in a Charismatic Church if the opportunity arises?”

This question is not new. It is a variant of a question that caused great dissension in Life Bible-Presbyterian Church (i.e. the founding church of the B-P movement in Singapore) during 1968-69. It arose with a spirit of “cooperative evangelism” when certain leaders within the B-P circle persisted in their involvement with the Billy Graham crusades and other ecumenical organisations.

This question also impacts us today, for it has serious implications with regards to how we conduct ourselves in missions and other areas of service. I hereby attached an adaptation from the historical records in Rev. Timothy Tow books for your urgent and careful reading so that you may understand the issue better.

Sadly, the spirit of compromise that reared its head in 1968-69 did not go away. In 1988, the spirit of dissension claimed its scalp in the dissolution of the B-P synod. One major issue that resulted in the dissolution was tongue-speaking. The BPCs were not of the same mind in the stand against Charismatism. Some accepted tongue-speaking in the form of “meaningful ecstatic utterances” because they wanted to fraternise with churches in the charismatic churches. This resulted in the sad state of the B-P church today when every church does what is right in her own eyes (c.f. Judg. 17:6; 21:25).

The following words written in the Bible-Presbyterian Banner of September 1985 still rings true today:

“Will the Bible-Presbyterian Church repeat history? The answer rests with the upcoming generation of new guards. Will they cherish the heritage now being handed down by our founding fathers? Or will they tire of it and forsake our fundamentalist separatist stand? … Hear the word of the Lord, young men and women: Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls (Jer. 6:16)”

If a preacher accepts an invitation to preach in a church involved in Ecumenism or Charismatism, he is duty-bound to warn them of such false and unbiblical movements from the Holy Scriptures. Otherwise, if they would not receive Scriptural admonishments, then let the preacher not go as a testimony unto the Lord (2 Cor 6:14-7:1; Rev 18:4; Rom 16:17; Jude 3).

As for Tabernacle BPC, let us stand firm in one accord against the apostasy of the dead being spearheaded by Neo-evangelicalism, Charismatism and Neo-evangelicalism and other false movements that are in contradiction with the Holy Scriptures and the Historic Christian faith.

Yours affectionately,
Rev Clement Chew



(Adapted from Son of a Mother’s Vow pp. 237-240 and The Singapore B-P Story pp. 104-106)

Hitherto, the witness of separation from modernistic unbelief and ecumenical apostasy had received full support of the church. However, when “evangelical” leaders like Dr. Billy Graham began to fraternise with the apostate ecclesiastical powers for the sake of “cooperative evangelism” and the pastor pointed out the unscripturalness of such a relationship (2 Cor. 6:14-18), one or two Session members who differed from the pastor introduced a dissentious spirit in the Church, the first time in eighteen years. On and off the problem of Billy Graham cropped up while the Far Eastern Beacon serialised J.A. Johnson’s book on Billy Graham – “the Jehoshaphat of our Generation”.

The opposition in the Life Church Session against the pastor increased from one or two dissenters to several when the pastor published two news reports in the Far Eastern Beacon, November and December 1968. These reports were written in the capacity of special correspondent of New Life, Australia’s Christian Newspaper, to the Billy Graham-sponsored Asia-South Pacific Congress of Evangelism, Singapore, November 5 to 13, 1968. The conclusion of the second article reads:

“The paradox of the Congress, however, lies in the fact that whereas individual speakers were keen to warn against the destructive errors of liberal and ecumenical theology, the Congress as a whole would fraternise with the bosses of Ecumenism. Was it a diplomacy of mutual exploitation? And what is Cooperative Evangelism’s honest position vis-à-vis Roman Catholicism? …

Let this be a warning to the Cooperative Evangelists that whereas thousands might be signed up into the fold through their all-inclusive campaigns, as many thousands might be signed off by the ravening Ecumenical wolves.”

The spirit of dissension against the uncompromising, separatist stand of the Church manifested itself in the new building project. When plans for the three-storey Church-and-College extension incorporating a kindergarten were approved in February 1968, the same Session members, who were unhappy over the Billy Graham issue, opposed the launching of building operations. This opposition was of no avail, for God’s good hand was upon His own work.

The brotherly love that once so sweetly prevailed over the Life Church tree like the sparkling dew of morning all but evaporated. The climax of dissension was reached when the Assistant Pastor was invited to preach at a Methodist Church in July 1969, for which campaign he appended his name to a letter cyclostyled on paper bearing the letterhead of the said Methodist Church. This gave the impression that he was in close fellowship with a Church in the Ecumenical Movement. Controversy over this matter flared up at Presbytery. There the question of whether a Bible-Presbyterian minister, when invited to preach by a Church in the modernist Ecumenical fold, had a duty to warn against the dangers of Ecumenism, was discussed. The opinion of the Presbyters was equally divided, resulting in a contention so sharp that they left in bitterness of spirit.

Since the relationship between the pastor and Assistant Pastor and certain Session members was stretched to breaking point, the pastor decided to take five and a half months’ vacation leave away from Singapore. At this juncture a double invitation from Dr. Lynn Gray Gordon, General Secretary of the Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions and Rev. Howard Carlson, missionary to Bethlehem, came to him to spend that vacation as a short-term missionary to Israel. This was gladly accepted and seen as an act of God’s deliverance. Accordingly, Ivy, I and little daughter Jemima left Singapore July 28, 1969 for the Holy Land. The love for the pastor and family, however, was manifested in a big turnout to wish them Godspeed.



(Adapted from Biblical Separation by Rev Dr Jeffrey Khoo, pp. 95-96)

The charismatic movement has divided many a church and has caused confusion within Christian circles. Today, one can find charismatics in Anglican, Methodist, Brethren, Baptist and Roman Catholic Churches.

Is the charismatic movement of God? The charismatic movement cannot be of God because it is the ecumenical matchmaker between the Protestant Church and the Roman Catholic Church. A case in point would be the charismatic “North American Congress on the Holy Spirit and World Evangelization” held in July, 1987 in New Orleans, Louisiana where out of the estimated 40,000 participants, half were Roman Catholics. The rest were Non-denominational, Episcopalian and Lutheran groups. Billy Graham gave his blessings at the opening night of the Congress via a video clip which was enthusiastically received by congress participants.

In the local scene, we have the Anglican bishop of Singapore – Moses Tay – who admitted, “In many instances the Charismatic Movement has brought a fresh and deeper unity between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, and has broken down denominational, social, cultural and other barriers” (“The Charismatic Movement: A Way or the Way of Renewal,” The Courier [Jan 1988]: 7). Former Roman Catholic priest, Bartholomew F Brewer commented, “the charismatic movement is being used worldwide by the leaders of the ecumenical movement… Why? Because many charismatics and ecumenical leaders claim that through the Holy Spirit the differences between denominations disappear and become meaningless. The present ecumenical movement toward a super one-world church is gaining tremendous momentum from the charismatic movement.” (Bartholomew F Brewer, and Alfred W Furrell, Pilgrimage from Rome, 111).

The 16th century Reformation was a work of God when Luther, Calvin, Knox, Zwingli and others were raised to deliver the Church out of Roman bondage. If we say that the Charismatic movement is from God; are we not also saying that God had made a mistake in the 16th Century Reformation? Please note that God does not and cannot contradict Himself. The Charismatic movement which tries to bring both the Protestant Church and the Roman Catholic Church together cannot be of God.