The Rev (Dr) Tow Siang Hwa, founding pastor of Calvary Pandan BPC, was promoted to glory on 8 March 2018. Dr. S H Tow was used by God to be a blessing to Tabernacle BPC, having preached to us often in the past. He was also the President of Far Eastern Bible College from 1977 to 1989. One of his last battles was to stand firmly with the College in her defence of the Verbal Plenary Preservation of the Scriptures. He is thus fondly remembered by us in Tabernacle BPC.

The following are some extracts of his writings taken from his autobiography entitled Footprints in the Sands of Time. Read and be blessed.

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew

First Pastor of the B-P Church
(Footprints in the Sands of Time, pp. 219-224)

When our parents left China from Nanyang, they brought with them four children and four thousand years of Chinese culture – respect for rank and age. In our family, Father was Commander-in-Chief. Among the siblings, respect for rank was paramount, and rank came with age.

Timothy was Big Brother, eldest among five boys and two girls. Big Sister Siew Ai was eldest of the eight. Through all our years the younger siblings addressed the elder by rank, never by name.

Today, Chinese families, westernised by emigration and assimilation into western society, are fast losing the respect for rank and age. Slowly but surely, tradition gives way to culture. The downslide is greatly accelerated by television and internet.

Big Brother’s pre-eminence among the siblings received a boost when we left home in Malaya to live with Grandfather in Singapore. In the absence of Father, Big Brother was Commander-in-Chief with authority over the younger siblings.

In school, Big Brother was always top boy in class. This achievement added prestige to his status. His brilliant school record was crowned by winning the coveted Seow Poh Leng Medal, coming top in ACS in his school-leaving year.

Big Brother was my hero.

During the days of the John Sung Revival, Big Brother was among the first to offer his life for fulltime ministry. He became heavily committed to holy things (Evangelistic Band, Prayer Meeting, Sunday Service, etc). Being five years my senior, he moved with his peers in higher circles.

During the Japanese Occupation, he enrolled in the Legal Officer’s Training Course. After the Japanese surrender, he was determined to complete his law studies in England, shelving his dedication vow. God in mercy brought him back by two deaths, of Mother and his younger daughter.

In 1947, Big Brother left for theological studies in Nanking under Dr Chia Yu Ming, then later to Faith Theological Seminary in America.

In my simple mind, I thought that when Big Brother returned from America, the revival days of Dr John Sung would return, not appreciating that John Sung’s was God’s exceptional gift to China.

During his final years at Faith Seminary, we kept up a regular correspondence for spiritual counsel and direction from Big Brother.

The one thing he did was to inculcate in me the doctrine of Biblical Separation and warn me of the deception of Christianity masquerading as “Liberalism” and “Modernism.” Our of this came the formation of the Varsity Christian Fellowship in the University of Singapore (which in time was swept into the Ecumenical stream).


When Big Brother finally returned with the Bachelor of Theology from Faith Seminary, our own separatist movement began in Singapore. On 20 October 1950, the Bible-Presbyterian Church and the Twentieth Century Reformation Movement were born.

The young pastor, recently returned from America, was an instant attraction to the youths of Mother Life Church, “Say Mia Tng”, (which worshipped in the Teochew dialect). Many of our youths, being brought up in English school, were unable to cope with their parents’ native Teochew. This lead to the exodus of many to the service conducted in English.

Thus the B-P Church was inaugurated, mustard seed fashion, which today has grown into a global Church Movement, like a great tree, . . . so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof (Matthew 13:32).

To sustain an afternoon service at 4 pm in borrowed premises was a real challenge. So too, to keep up interest and ward off drowsiness in those hot and humid Sunday afternoons without air conditioning.

Nevertheless, by God’s grace, the congregation grew. Big Brother was faithful in preaching, visitation, prayer meeting and family worship. Those family meetings held in homes of members proved to be popular events in the life of the Church. It allowed the members and families to get together and to know one another.


In 1953, when I graduated from medical school seven young people cam together to start a Youth Fellowship, the first B-P Youth Fellowship of which I became president. The next year, I was elected Superintendent of the Sunday School. Both Youth Fellowship and Sunday School were great instruments for the development of Christian leadership skills under Big Brother’s watchful eye. About 1955, I was elected Deacon.

Big Brother assigned me to teach the Basic Bible Knowledge Class. This set me to serious self study of God’s Word and the classic works pertaining to the Christian faith such as the Westminster Confession of Faith and Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhoff.

In the Sixties, I was elected to the Eldership and continued to labour together with Big Brother and the Session. Those of years of learning by serving. Thereafter, the Lord opened a new door of Gospel outreach, Cal-vary B-P Church, Jurong, when I said goodbye to Life Church.

Looking back, I thank God for precious lessons learnt under Big Brother, Pastor and Founder of the Bible-Presbyterian Church Movement in Singapore and Malaysia. True to his calling, he proved to be a faithful witness for the Word of God and the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Indefatigable in the service of Life Church for over fifty years, he was a Pastor available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to all who had a legitimate need. For the Lord’s people he was ever ready to spend and be spent. In the building of God’s House, he played a leading role in its design, construction and funding. He patterned the design after the typical American country church, with a porch lined with seven stately Grecian pillars, topped with a bell-tower and steeple. The structure is now a national heritage building.

From the earliest days, Big Brother was fired with a burning zeal for souls. This sent him and Elder Hsu Chiang Tai on numerous missions to Malaysia’s New Villages to evangelise the Chinese who were resettled by General Sir Harold Templer in the war against Communism. I had the joy of accompanying Big Brother on those mission trips, to gain a first-hand experience of practical evangelism.

In those villages, his knowledge of Chinese dialects was put to excellent use. He spoke fluent Teochew, Hokkien, Hakka, Cantonese, and Mandarin, to convey the Gospel message to the villagers.

Life Church, true to its name, was full of life, like a fruitful vine bearing much fruit for the Lord. In quick session, Life Church brought forth many daughter churches: Sembawang, Faith, Galilee, Kelapa Sawit, Kulai, etc.

While a student at Faith Theological Seminary, Big Brother first heard the call to Biblical Separation from Dr Carl McIntire. Big Brother testified that his heart was strangely warmed, gripped by the clarion call, to . . . earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3).

While many of those who started out well, apparently striving together with us, have defected and fallen by the wayside, Big Brother remained faithful and steadfast, abounding in the work of the Lord, till his death in his ninth decade.

The motto . . . for the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:9) has kept Big Brother faithful and steadfast; holding forth the Word of Life (Philippians 2:16) unmoveable in his stand on the King James Bible, the Bible of the Reformation, the only Bible whose translators suffered the fires of Rome. While many B-Ps have defected from the KJV to embrace the NIV, NKJV and other corrupt Modern English Versions, Big Brother continued to hold fast, unmoveable to the end.


In money matters, Big Brother taught me to be completely clean and transparent. During my years sitting with him in Life Church Session, it was always a difficult thing to persuade him to accept a pay rise. His chief concern was for God’s House. During the purchase of Beulah House at a cost of about $7 million, his entire salary went toward the building fund; he led by example and the people followed. Inspired by his leadership, in six months, the entire sum was realised.

A man of prophetic vision, he founded the Far Eastern Bible College. In his words: “Without a college to train our own workers, the B-P Church will die.” Founded in 1962 the FEBC to date (2009) has turned out over 600 graduates, workers for God’s vineyard in all parts of the world.

Not only does FEBC keep on enlarging its training programme, but it has helped to found Bible Institutes and Colleges in Myanmar, Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania and Cambodia.

Amazingly, in his eighty-third year, he left Life Church to found True Life B-P Church. While men may wonder, we are persuaded that the things is of the Lord for the words of Jude 3 still apply.

Big Brother, my spiritual mentor, continue faithful in the Lord’s service for fifty-eight years, steadfast, unmoveable, fighting the good fight of faith. Amen.


Big Brother conducted his last baptismal Service on Easter Sunday, 12 April 2009, and attended his last Lord’s Day service on 19 April. The Lord called him home on Monday morning, 20 April 2009.

Who among the readers will follow in the footsteps of Big Brother, faith-ful and fearless soldier of the cross of Jesus Christ?

While Time Permits
(Footprints in the Sands of Time, pp. 245-247)

Not too long ago – it seems like yesterday – I was young, strong and able. Eternity seemed a distant prospect. Today, I can almost hear eternity knocking on the door! Pressed by the relentless flight of time, the inevitable event draws nearer by the day. Every morning, I greet my Sweet Mu-sic (Mrs S H Tow) with a cheery “Good Morning” as we begin another day of our earthly sojourn, by the grace of God.

It could well be the last day for one of us, so we always appreciate one another, and thank God for it.

One of Singapore’s rich men was so carried away by the joy of the family lunch that he called for the delightful gathering to be repeated the same evening. However, before dinner time, the Maker’s summons had come. Eternity for him had begun.

What happened to one can happen to all, for eternity respects none – not the wealthy, healthy, or young.

How will it be with you when time gives way to eternity? Some may believe otherwise, but it will be a conscious experience. At the last breath, as the light of time switches off, the light of eternity switches on. Suddenly, the things hitherto, invisible come into view. Then we see the things that really matter, the changeless and weighty things of eternity.

One little step from time, one great leap into eternity! It will be a stupendous step of no return. The soul which finds its new abode intolerable has no way of re-entry into the domain of time. It is a one-way street of no return.

When your turn comes to take that final step, how will it be? Will it be with fear and reluctance, or with joy unspeakable?


The day is far spent, the night is at hand. Awake! It’s later than you think. But men and women are caught up with the world’s hollow pleasures and seductive lifestyles, swept ever onward by the relentless tide of time. All they care for are the demands of the dying body, with not a thought for the deathless soul.

A young lady, receiving a priceless diamond ring, exclaimed to her young man, “Dearest, thank you for the lovely box! I promise to look after it with utmost care so that no harm or loss will come to it!” Ridiculous, you say. So we all agree. Yet it is a picture of time-bound men and women, young people lavishing everything on their perishing bodies, without a though for their priceless souls. Before they realise it, the day of judgement will have dawned.


Did you realise our coming on to Earth and our departing are completely passive events? We were put here without our consent, and we are taken out like-wise. However, that is not the end. The soul – the real you – will face judgement before the Creator Judge.

How do I know? Because God who directs our coming and going says so.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
(Hebrews 9:27)

What then must we do?

As for me, I made my peace with the Judge when I was ten. I received Him as my Saviour and Lord. I went to Him and He took me in and forgave me all of my sins.

Those who go to Jesus will not be disappointed. He says,

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

. . . him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (John 6:37)

Jesus is a loving Saviour. He died for our sins – yours and mine – on the cross, and He rose from the grave for our justification. Take Him now as your Friend and you will not face Him as your Judge. Lovingly, He invites you:

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

Receive Jesus today as your Saviour. He is waiting to be your Friend.