We thank God for the completion of the recent church camp on the theme, “Receiving
God’s Word”. Now that we have received God’s Word, our humble response should be
to love God with our all. Thus, the church theme for this year is, “Loving God with My
All” taken from Mark 12:30 – “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy
heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is
the first commandment.”

What exactly is “love”? The world has its own sentimentalised concept of “love” which
is oftentimes used as an excuse for sin and lust. However, the “love” which Christians
should “follow after” (1 Cor. 14:1) must be according to the definition in the Scriptures.
Thus, Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians Christians is that they may, “be able to
comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with
all the fulness of God.” (Eph. 3:18-19)

It is interesting to note that while the English has only one word for love, the Greek has
(1) Eros. This word is not used in the New Testament. It is used in the Greek to denote
physical or sexual love.

(2) Storgē. This word refers to family affection. It describes the love of parents for
children and children for parents. The word astorgoi is made up of the privative a
(‘without’) and the noun storgē (‘love’) and is used by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:3, where it
actually means lack of family love.

(3) Philia. This word is used in the English vocabulary, egs. philanthropist (literally,
one who loves man) and Philadelphia (City of Brotherly Love). The root meaning of
philein is “to befriend”. In the New Testament, the word is used to describe love within
family members (Matt. 10:37), and love between friends (John 11:3, 36; 20:2). It is also
a synonym for our next word agapē (John 21:15ff). It is used to emphasise how
Christians ought to love one another because we are all members of the heavenly family
(c.f. Rom 12:10).

(4) Agapē. This word is often used with reference to God’s love. The love which God
manifested through His Son (1 John 4:7, 8, 16). It is love in its purest sense.

The Lord being willing, we will study more on the doctrine and practice of love
throughout the year and thus come to a deeper comprehension of what it means to love
God with our all. We are thankful to the Lord that Reverend Quek Suan Yew, pastor of
Calvary Pandan Bible-Presbyterian Church will be preaching on, “The Book of
Proverbs on Love”. We also look forward to the end of the year church camp for an in-
depth Bible study on the church theme. The camp will be held from 4 to 8 December
(D.V.). Do mark it down on your calendars and commit yourself to attend this spiritual

Church Programme 2023

The Church Programme for 2023 will also be distributed alongside the weekly today. These
activities are organised for the promotion of the Lord’s glory and for the spiritual welfare of
members. We pray that this will assist members to plan for the year ahead and commit to
attending the various programs that will be organised (D.V). “If any man serve me, him
will my Father honour.” (John 12:26c).

Q&A: Is an Elder subjected to Church Discipline?

Every member in the church is subjected to the discipline of God, and thus subjected to
church discipline without exception. This includes the pastor and elders of the church.

Article 13.4 and 14.7 is instructive on this matter:

“The Pastor shall be subject to the discipline of the Board of Elders/Church Session and in
accordance with the procedure in the Bible Presbyterian Book of Discipline.”

“Elders shall be subject to the discipline of the Board of Elders/Church Session, in the same
manner and procedure applied to pastors.”

The discipline of an elder must be convened under a committee of elders when there is
cause of just accusation. Similarly, the discipline of a pastor should be convened under a
committee of pastors in the case of just accusation.

1 Timothy 5:19-20 instructs the church concerning the bringing of an accusation concerning
an elder and its subsequent discipline. The commentary of Calvin is instructive on this
matter (with some minor edits by Pastor):

After having commanded that salaries should be paid to pastors, he likewise instructs
Timothy not to allow them to be assailed by calumnies, or loaded with any accusation but
what is supported by sufficient proof. But it may be thought strange, that he represents, as
peculiar to elders, a law which is common to all. God lays down, authoritatively, this law as
applicable to all cases, that they shall be decided “by the mouth of two or three
witnesses.” (Deuteronomy 17:6; Matthew 18:16.) Why then does the Apostle protect elders
alone by this privilege, as if it were peculiar to them, that their innocence shall be defended
against false accusations?

“I reply, this is a necessary remedy against the malice of men; for none are more liable to
slanders and calumnies than godly teachers. [103] Not only does it arise from the difficulty
of their office, that sometimes they either sink under it, or stagger, or halt, or blunder, in
consequence of which wicked men seize many occasions for finding fault with them; but
there is this additional vexation, that, although they perform their duty correctly, so as not
to commit any error whatever, they never escape a thousand censures. And this is the
craftiness of Satan, to draw away the hearts of men from ministers, that instruction may
gradually fall into contempt. Thus not only is wrong done to innocent persons, in having
their reputation unjustly wounded, (which is exceedingly base in regard to those who hold
so honorable a rank,) but the authority of the sacred doctrine of God is diminished.

“And this is what Satan, as I have said, chiefly labors to accomplish… but the more
earnestly any pastor (or elder) strives to advance the kingdom of Christ, so much the
more is he loaded with envy, and so much the fiercer are the assaults made on him.
Not only so, but as soon as any charge against the ministers of the word has gone
abroad, it is believed as fully as if they were already convicted. This is not merely
owing to the higher degree of moral excellence which is demanded from them, but
because almost all are tempted by Satan to excessive credulity, so that, without
making any inquiry, they eagerly condemn their pastors, whose good name they
ought rather to have defended. “On good grounds, therefore, Paul opposes to heinous iniquity,
and forbids that elders shall be subjected to the slanders of wicked men till they have been
convicted by sufficient proof. We need not wonder, therefore, if they whose duty it is to reprove
the faults of all, to oppose the wicked desires of all, and to restrain by their severity
every person whom they see going astray, have many enemies. What, then, will be the
consequence; if we shall listen indiscriminately to all the slanders that are spread
abroad concerning them?

“(Nevertheless), whenever any measure is taken for the protection of good men, it is
immediately seized by bad men to prevent them from being condemned. Accordingly,
what Paul had said about repelling unjust accusations he modifies by this statement,
so that none may, on this presence, escape the punishment due to sin… It is therefore
proper, carefully to observe this moderation, that insolent tongues shall be restrained
from defaming elders by false accusations, and yet that every one of them who
conducts himself badly shall be severely corrected; for I understand this injunction to
relate to elders, that they who live a dissolute life shall be openly reproved.

“‘That others also may fear.’ Wherefore? That others, warned by such an example,
may fear the more, when they perceive that not even those who are placed above
them in rank and honour are spared; for as elders ought to lead the way to others by
the example of a holy life, so, if they commit crime, it is proper to exercise severity of
discipline toward them, that it may serve as an example to others. And why should
greater forbearance be used toward those whose offenses are much more hurtful than
those of others? Let it be understood that Paul speaks of crimes or glaring
transgressions, which are attended by public scandal; for, if any of the elders shall
have committed a fault, not of a public nature, it is certain that he ought to be
privately admonished and not openly reproved.”

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew