In light of recent events, I thought it good to adapt and republish the following articles written by Rev. Timothy Tow for our comfort and benefit.

“… and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Heb. 11:4)

As for those considering serving in the full-time ministry of the Word, may Luke 9:62 always be in our minds and hearts. “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Those who serve the Lord honourably will have no lack, for God is our divine paymaster. “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” (Jn. 12:26 KJV)

God bless all readers.

Lovingly in Christ,
Preacher Clement Chew


(Adapted from The Clock of the Sevenfold Will of God by Timothy Tow)

In studying what theologians have called the permissive will of God, there is no better example that I can find than the example of Job.

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is in-creased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.” (Job 1:6-12 KJV)

Armed with the permission of the Lord to wreak havoc on Job’s house and riches but not on his life, Satan instigated the Sabeans and Chaldeans to rob and plunder Job’s children, oxen and asses. This was followed by fire fallen from heaven that burnt up their sheep and servants. Finally, when the sons and daughters were eating in their elder’s brother’s house, there came a whirlwind from the wilderness that tore through their banqueting house and left them all dead. When all this was reported to Job, he said not a word against God. Instead, he fell to the ground and worshipped. “And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21 KJV)

When God gave Satan permission to afflict Job further with boils, his wife taunted him to curse God and die. Job did not flinch. “In all these did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:10 KJV).

Did the Lord know all the calamities that befell Job when He gave Satan permission to test Job? Of course, He did. All the more He knew Job would pass the test with flying colours. Job’s trust in the Lord under any circumstances was amply vindicated.

Twenty-five years ago, the Lord tested me with a trauma that brought me back to Job. The Lord took away my wife and youngest daughter in a mo-tor accident that involved 50 Lifers heading towards Cameron Highlands. This was Easter Monday, 1965. Though it shocked me white, the grace of God sustained me. The Words of Job came to comfort and strengthen me in the hour of darkest gloom. “The LORD gave and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the Name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). I had no doubt that this tragedy had come by His permissive will. He would work out good from evil. I see this more clearly now after 25 years.

God purposely allowed the evil to come that good might result. And did God not reward Job with another family of seven sons and three daughters, and goods and animals twofold? Job was rewarded further with 140 years of life, living through four generations.

How comforting is the doctrine of the permissive will of God, of a God who brings good out of evil! So could Joseph in his old age forgive his brothers who out of a wicked heart sold him to Egypt. But God used their wrath to bring up His praise (Ps. 76:10). “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Gen. 50:20 KJV) 

“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.” (Rom. 8:28 KJV) Yes, all things, whether sweet or bitter, will turn out good and sweet in the end for the God-loving Christian. On the contrary, all things good in the eyes of the world, will turn out bad for the non-Christian in the Day of Reckoning.


(Taken from Son of a Mother’s Vow, an autobiography by Timothy Tow)

If the saying, “Where the bishop is, there’s the flock” is true, then the corollary, “How the pastor is trained determines the pattern of the pastorate” is also true. Two vital lessons that the pastor-designate of the Life Church English Service had learned in his seminary days that were vital to the founding of the new Church were: (1) separation from doctrinal and ecclesiastical apostasy and, (2) absolute dependence on the Lord for financial support.

When we met with the Session of our mother church to discuss the policy of the English Service, it was agreed that the English-speaking congregation, while remaining in cordial filial relations with mother church, should stand immune from Synod control as it was linked with the Ecumenical Movement. Regarding the second vital lesson, it was proposed that the English Congregation should be self-sufficient from the start. The pastor was willing to subsist on whatever was willingly offered by the congregation.

The second proposal took the Session of the mother church by complete surprise! How much could a congregation of young people contribute to the support of a full-time pastor with a growing family? Thanks to the years of spiritual lesson learned from post-war China, through which the pastor as a theological student with wife and three children had passed, through which Psalm 34:10 came often to their succour, “The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing” (Ps. 34:10 KJV), the pastor had full confidence this financial arrangement would work. (All freewill offerings collected by the English Service and Sunday School would be his stipend. The first month’s collection amounted to $110. In six months, it increased to $200).

The English Service was scheduled to be inaugurated on the Lord’s Day October 20, 1950, at the Life Church, 142 Prinsep Street. But how many English-speaking sons and daughters of the three-hundred-member Chinese Life Church would be minded to come to the Inaugural Service? Our faith being small, it was deemed the fourteen long pews on one side of the church auditorium would suffice for such a humble beginning. The pulpit was shifted accordingly to that side. However, well over one hundred turned up for the service and spread themselves comfortably across both side of the pews. This prompted the pulpit to be hastily shunted back to its rightful central position!

The message preached by the young and inexperienced pastor that first Lord’s Day was an exposition of the slogan chosen for the English Service – “Holding Forth the Word of Life”. It was taken from Philippians 2:16. Why was an English Service inaugurated for the Teochew-speaking Life Church? To hold forth the Word of Life to the younger generation that they, like their fathers and forefathers, might inherit both the Written Word (the Bible) and the Living Word (Jesus Christ) that they might have life everlasting.

Coming back to the pastor’s support it is to be stressed that the Lord’s servant must first learn how to be abased before he can abound (Phil 4:12). He must learn to be diligent and conscientious in his labours (Prov. 27:23) or else he should not eat (2 Thess. 3:10). Though a Church may not able to support its pastor fully, the Lord is no man’s debtor. What is lacking from one hand, He can supply from another, and often abundantly at that. There is no need for God to rob Peter to pay Paul either.

It is not necessary to relate how God supplied our needs where the pas-tor’s monthly stipend was insufficient. Suffice it here to recount how He solved a most acute problem, viz., housing, upon my return . . .

(To be continued)