Text: Hebrews 12:1a

Today is Reformation Sunday. It is also the day of our last worship service in Tabernacle BPC in Changi Bethany Church (CBC). How appropriate!

As we commemorate Reformation Sunday, we remember the saints of old in the 16th Century Reformation who have walked with God. The Reformers suffered and died for the faith. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. This is the testimony of “the cloud of witnesses” that we want to consider today.

Some of these 16th Century Reformers are:

1. John Wycliffe (1320-84). The morning star of the Reformation. Known for setting up his group of preacher boys (or Lollards) to proclaim the Word of God. He was also the first to translate the Bible into English from the Latin Vulgate. Many of the Lollards were burnt at the stake for preaching God’s Word. The Roman Catholic Church hated Wycliffe so much that they dug up his bones on the 40th anniversary of his death, burned them, and cast the ashes into the River Swift.

2. Martin Luther (1483-1546). He is the fearless monk that defied the might of the corrupt Roman Catholic Church by nailing the 95 Theses on the castle door of Wittenberg. He also translated the Bible into German.

3. John Calvin (1509-64). The theologian par excellence of the 16th Century Reformation. His first edition of Institutes of the Christian Religion was published when he was aged 26. He eventually became the pastor of the city of Geneva, which was renowned as the foremost city of the Reformation Faith in Europe.

4. William Tyndale (1494-1536). He was the first to translate the Bible into English from the original languages. He was frequently on the run for the printing of his translation of the Bible. He was eventually betrayed by a friend and burned at the stake. 5. John Knox (1505-72). A fearless preacher of the Word in Scotland. His fearless stand for the faith led to the establishment of Presbyterianism in Scotland.

We also remember those of the same Reformation spirit in the 20th Century. These include:

1. Dr Carl McIntire (1906-2002). He is the founder of the International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC) which stood against the tide of rising modernism and ecumenism. He is also the founder of the Bible Presbyterian movement in America. A staunch defender of the faith, he was often misunderstood and ridiculed for his stand. Some caricatures of his character can still be found in existent literature. A good book to read about Carl McIntire is McIntire: Defender of Faith and Freedom written by Gladys Titzck Rhoads and Nancy Titzck Anderson.

2. Rev Timothy Tow . The founder of the Bible-Presbyterian Movement in Singapore and Asia.
I would strongly encourage everyone to read two books penned by Rev Timothy Tow to understand the role of Bible-Presbyterianism in the 20th Reformation Movement. These books are The Story of My Bible-Presbyterian Faith and Son of a Mother’s Vow. Bible-Presbyterians must not forget their roots and spiritually-rich heritage.

We will move to our new premises after Reformation Sunday. New place, but same reformation spirit. A new witness beckons in Braddell and Toa Payoh. Jackson, ahoy! As we follow the leading of the Lord, may we never forget the Reformation.

Yours sincerely,
Pastor Clement Chew