(An Abridgement of The Asian Awakening, pp. 59-67, pub. 1988 by Rev Timothy Tow)

Though we have traced the origins of the Asian Awakening culminating in the lone ministry of Dr. John Sung, and we have analysed the Awakening to learn some lessons to profit thereby, there is no better way of knowing the quality of a tree than by tasting its fruits. One fruit of the Asian Awakening is the Bible-Presbyterian Church Movement in Southeast Asia, Burma, India and Australia today.

The Bible-Presbyterian Church Movement in Southeast Asia, etc. today is energised by several forces, but that which is the main thrust is the same Spirit that raised up John Sung. Is it not a good proposition, therefore, to study what it is from the Spirit that raised John Sung that has caused this mustard seed to grow into a tree, with branches spreading far and wide?

Consecrated Leaders
When the B-P Church was organised in 1950, we had about thirty adult members, with their children, transferred from our mother church, which was a member of the Chinese Presbyterian Church in Singapore. Of those thirty adult members, a half-dozen of them are living today who are leaders of our church movement. They are thoroughly committed to the Lord as they were among the hundred full-time consecrators at the first and second visits of John Sung to Singapore in 1935.

Why did and why do we consecrate ourselves to the Lord? For the love of Christ who died on the cross for our sins to save us from hell constraineth us (II Cor. 5:14). Our hearts are so overwhelmed by the love of Jesus that nothing short of love for Him, even to death, is our response. Insofar as I was concerned, I was so moved by the doctor’s description of a Brother Lee who, after his conversion, was going to Outer Mongolia with the Gospel. Growing a beard like a Mongolian and shod with grass sandals, he was preaching Christ from town to town, to the uttermost parts of Mongolia. When I heard of his willingness to suffer for Christ, I said to the Lord, “I am willing to go for You not only to Outer Mongolia, but also to Tibet.”

This vow stood me in good stead when the going was rough in a month-long campaign I was engaged in Korea, 1960. Preaching 52 sermons in 25 days from town to town, I became totally exhausted by the end of the journey. At times when the going was rough, very rough, for we had to jeep through dusty and rugged terrain under the sweltering summer sun, I cried to Him inwardly. The Spirit then brought to mind that youthful vow of going to Tibet. This resuscitated my flagging will to follow Him to the end.

Other leaders also sprouted forth from the ministry of John Sung. One such man was Dr Tow Siang Hwa, pastor of Calvary B-P Church (editor’s note: now Founding Pastor of Calvary Pandan B-P Church). May God give us men and not machines. May the church become a movement, and not a monument.

After revival, evangelism! That was Dr. Sung’s utmost concern. Hence his mobilisation of the laity to form the Preaching Bands. These lay preachers, insofar as Singapore is concerned, have been a powerful force for the spreading of the Gospel. The Singapore Christian Evangelistic League, founded by John Sung, being well-nurtured by Miss Leona Wu in her life-time, continues to function to this day and is the main stay of Chin Lien Bible Seminary. (Editor’ note: The mention of these organisations does not equate to endorsement of their current doctrinal stand and practice. Much has changed since the time of Dr. John Sung)

Having been members of the Preaching Bands when we started the BPC in 1950, the first thought that came to mind was to evangelise Malaysia. The four walls of our Singapore church building could not hem us in. Thus, in a few months after the founding of Life Church, Rev. C. T. Hsu (then a deacon) and I were sent on two long missionary journeys to North and Inland Malaya. Of the 600 new villages created by Sir General Templer sent by Britain to ward off the Communist uprisings, one tenth were visited with the Gospel by open-air preaching and distribution of thou-sands of tracts and Bible portions. The evangelistic spirit is the spirit of revival. The evangelistic spirit is orthodoxy with fervency.

This spirit for evangelism that we inherited from the John Sung Revival led us on to missions. Beginning from Jerusalem, the Lord has enabled us to go to our Judea and Samaria, “and unto the uttermost part of the earth”. Today there are over 40 congregations of B-P Churches in Singapore and an equal number of B-P Churches and Associated Churches scattered in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, India, Australia and Bur-ma. (Editor’s note: Number is of 1988)

In our missions outreach we hold the freest reins, unfettered by bureaucracy. Every local church is her own missionary society. In this connection, each Church works according to her own resources and by the wisdom the Spirit has given her. The interesting thing is that of the number of national leaders we support overseas, there are more Baptists than Presbyterians! For this reason, as I have stated at the outset, we are closer to you, our Baptist kinsmen, than to the English Presbyterians who sent the Gospel to our forefathers, but today are changed to another tribe under the flood waters of the Ecumenical Movement.

The Bible College
Dr John Sung’s stress on teaching the Bible from cover to cover has inspired us to establish our own Bible College. In this respect we must also give credit to the training we have received from the U.S.A. The Bible College we have founded will be a quarter of a century next year. To date, twenty graduates from Far Eastern Bible College are ordained B-P ministers, with half-a-dozen more under care.
Apart from the regular curriculum of Far Eastern Bible College, we have recently started a Theology for

Everyone night school at which the Old Testament was taught to 200 at three hours per week for a whole semester. (Editor’s Note: The Minor Prophets will be taught by Rev (Dr) Quek Suan Yew on Monday nights in FEBC in 2019.)

Equally important to John Sung was daily Bible study. This he did, reading eleven chapters everyday and thirteen on the Lord’s Day. In his spirit we have also stressed daily Bible reading for our members, using S.U. notes until they were found to be contaminated a decade ago. Therefore it has been felt strongly by Dr. Tow Siang Hwa to write our own RPG (Read, Pray, Grow) Notes which are greatly blessed of the Lord by its ready reception all over the world.

A Separated Evangelism
In John Sung’s steps, we have held not a few Gospel meetings whereby souls have been added to the Church. Being separatist, however, we have not only fought shy of citywide campaigns of the Billy Graham type, but exposed their unbiblical methods. How did we take such a separatist stand?

Though we have joined the International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC) in the spirit of the 16th Century Reformation, we inherited the separatist spirit first from John Sung as he spoke against the modernism and social gospel of the thirties. One famous saying of John Sung to warn us from liberals is, “To starve will not die, To eat poison will die.”

A Holy Life
The Asian Awakening, being a moving of the Spirit in the hearts of nominal Christians to repentance and the new birth, was a movement onward to a holy life. How could the evangelist bring his hearers to a holy living except he upheld the standard of God’s holy laws as given in the Ten Commandments?

One commandment most commonly broken was keeping the Sabbath Day holy. John Sung sharply rebuked the Church and sanctified the Christian Sabbath. This did not mean the keeping of rules set by him, but rather a zealous return to regular worship and the doing of works of charity, even witnessing, on the Lord’s Day. In our BPC movement today we have stressed the same to the increase of Church attendance, the lifting up of spirits in worship, the quickening of steps in witnessing. “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 58: 13, 14)

As more of God’s laws were discovered, the Chinese Church, which was untaught and gave way to heathen practices, now became sanctified. Converts automatically refrained from idol-food, blood, and every compromise in ancestor worship. The cinema, which was a great attraction in the thirties, was shunned. Members who were never exhorted by missionaries to their responsibilities in the support of the Church gave their tithes gladly. Members who stayed away from prayer meetings now met in numbers and in earnest, increasing even with cottage meetings and family worship.

In these days of laxity and promiscuity, how we need the Holy Spirit to work to awake men from their spiritual slumber!