Volume. XXXiii, No. 13
Sunday, 23 September 2018

From the Pastor’s Heart: Prepare for the Future

Changes are everywhere, and if we do not understand modernity from culture to technology, we are easily named as old-fashioned and snobby people.  Some changes are needed and good for us, but not all changes are credible and acceptable.  In particular, the biblical truths and principles belong to the latter category.  There are a few things I want to share with you so that you can see the sort of times we are living in and know what we should do for our future. 


Elizabeth Redden wrote a report, “Christian University Drops Ban on Same-Sex Student Relationships,” for Inside Higher Ed on August 15, 2018.  Here is an excerpt from her report: “An evangelical Christian university in Canada announced Tuesday that students will no longer be required to abide by a ‘community covenant’ barring same-sex relationships or any other form of sexual activity that ‘violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.’  The decision by Trinity Western University’s Board of Governors comes about two months after the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the denial of accreditation to Trinity Western’s proposed law school due to concerns about the covenant and discrimination against LGBTQ students.  The court found that in denying Trinity Western’s proposed law school accreditation, the Law Society of Upper Canada ‘was entitled to conclude that equal access to the legal profession, diversity within the bar, and preventing harm to LGBTQ law students were all within the scope of its duty to uphold the public interest.’”  Trinity Western’s board issued a statement as follows: “In furtherance of our desire to maintain TWU as a thriving community of Christian believers that is inclusive of all students wishing to learn from a Christian viewpoint and underlying philosophy, the community covenant will no longer be mandatory as of the 2018-19 academic year with respect to admission of students to, or continuation of students at, the university.”  You need to know about this school a bit more to make your own judgment.  Jim Bronskill for the Canadian press, reported on June 15 as follows: “Trinity Western University, a private post-secondary institution in Langley, was founded on evangelical Christian principles and requires students to adhere to a covenant allowing sexual intimacy only between a married man and woman.”


Though I understand the challenges and difficulties of the university, I cannot but feel that many of their words are only oxymorons, full of contradictions.  For example, its statement says of “Christian believers,” “inclusive,” “Christian viewpoint,” and “the community covenant will no longer be mandatory.”  Until this academic year (2017-18), the university has banned same-sex relationships from a Christian viewpoint, by being exclusive to the biblical truth, according to the community covenant, for all Christian believers.  However, the new statement has changed its stance on same-sex marriage, but uses the same terminology like, 'Christian viewpoint' or 'Christian believers', as if nothing has been changed.  I feel sorry for the school.  However, at the same time, we need to notice that the school had to change its covenant statement because of the oppressing decisions made by the Supreme Court of Canada.  The State begins to define Christian beliefs now.  Thus, yesterday’s unorthodox becomes orthodox today.  Obviously, the court used and interpreted the relevant law legislated by the parliament.  Now the administration will execute the law as explained and interpreted by the court.  Thus, the government, the court, and the parliament are working together against orthodox Christian beliefs.  Australia is not too far away from Canada in terms of trends, culture, and modernization.  It becomes very obvious that our children will be affected in their choices of studies, if the relevant schools will relate their decisions of acceptance to our children’s personal faith.  Their educational curriculums will be even more affected by such decisions.  We will wait and see, but their future is not easy.  What shall we do then?  How can we prepare our children for their turbulent future?  It adds more weight to the importance of Sunday School ministry.  If there is any way that we can help the Sunday School department, we should do.  Parents must resolve to encourage their children to learn the Bible in church.  Do not take them out of Sunday School rooms!  If we lose them from Sunday school rooms in their tender years, it will be hard to bring them back to church in their more mature years. 


When we study church history, in particular, Reformation history, we are amazed, impressed, and even surprised by the brave reformers who risked their own lives for the sake of the Gospel and by the conversions of so many souls.  One of such remarkable reformation stories is the story of John Knox in Scotland.  Scotland has been traditionally strong in the Christian religion.  However, things are changing.  According to the BBC (17/09/2017), the majority of Scots do not consider themselves as religious.  Though we are a bit suspicious of the statistics , according to the Humanist Society Scotland, just under a quarter (23.6%) of the Scots said they were religious, while 72.4% said they were not.  We may challenge the figure, but it is not in doubt that the religious, in particular, Christians, have decreased in number.  This trend brings a challenge to the believers of Jesus Christ.  Gordon MacRae, chief executive of the Humanist Society Scotland, said: “We need a new consensus in Scottish politics that respects and protects individuals' right to freedom of religion and belief and separating this from policy making.  Scotland’s democracy needs to get to a place where we stop blurring the lines of church and state.”  After all, in a democratic society, everything is decided by numbers, not by any particular values.  Thus, it is clear that Scotland will see dramatic changes in society in general, which will adversely affect the Church. 


Another sign of the dwindling influence of Christian faith is shown in wedding statistics.  The Guardian newspaper UK put out a column, “What God Has Not Joined Together: The Rise of The Humanist Wedding,” on August 14, 2018.  It says, “While marriage rates have fallen too in England and Wales, down by 26% between 2004 and 2015, the Church of England still carried out 43,000 weddings, or 18% of the 244,000 which took place in 2015.  Churches are privately critical of the humanist trend, suggesting it is a pick-and-mix form of consumerism, sometimes using Christian iconography such as crosses even though humanist events are intended to be secular.  Yet Rev Dr George Whyte, the principal clerk at the Church of Scotland, said his church had failed to market its increasingly liberal approach to weddings. The Church of England, by contrast, has a slick and cheery website devoted to selling its religious marriages. . . . [Prof Callum Brown, a historian at the University of Glasgow and an expert in secularism] said, ‘It’s undoubtedly true that fewer people attend church than 50 years ago. . . I suspect the Church of Scotland has been complacent in the sense of presuming that people will always come and ask, rather than us going out and offering, and I think we are waking up to the fact that we need to go out [to sell] rather than stay in.”


Such a high church figure like George Whyte and a reputable professor like Callum Brown see the main cause of the whole problem as a marketing problem!  As you probably know, whether the world is against the Church of Christ or not, is not my immediate concern.  It is not my primary concern whether Humanism is growing and threatening Christianity in Scotland.  Rather, my concern is to the main reason for the decline of once very powerful churches in Scotland.  What can we learn from it in order to prepare our children for their future?  One thing is for sure.  As long as we think like those two men that the main problem is a marketing problem, we are hopeless.  What matters is that we need Godly, Bible believing and preaching church leaders.  Without them, how can we expect to have Godly, Bible believing and sharing church members?  Even if we do have Godly church leaders for a while, for how long will it be?  We need faithful Bible preachers and teachers.  We need faithful members of our church who are clinging to the truth of God.  It does not surprise me that in the midst of the declining churches of Scotland, evangelical congregations are growing.  Let us not fear these challenges, but be faithful to God and keep His commandments.


Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



  • Holiday Bible Club flyers & registration forms are available in the foyer. More volunteers needed. If able to help, please notify Dn John Wong ASAP.
  • No Adult Sunday School today.
  • Hospitality Roster for Rev & Mrs Mathews Abraham is available in the foyer. Many slots still available. Please show your hospitality.
  • Visitation to Alwyndor Aged Care, Hove on 14 Oct, 2.30pm. If you wish to participate, please inform Sis Sally Teng or Bro Zach Liang.
  • New Basic Bible Knowledge Class (in English) will commence in Oct. Please inform Elder Michael D Lee of your interest by today so we know the number of booklets to print.
  • Missions Committee is planning a Missions trip to Cambodia (Jan) & Cebu (2-12 Feb). If interested, please see Elder Michael D Lee ASAP.
  • Lunch Duty: This week: Neighbourhood BS. Next week: Volunteers.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Visitors & church activities in the past week.
  • God’s daily provision, guidance & protection.



  • Speakers: IF Retreat - Rev Edward Paauwe; Holiday Bible Club & Seminar - Rev & Mrs Mathews Abraham.
  • Missions: Bros. Ginno Paulo,  Jose Mangco, Neil Caintic & other and their familes (Cebu).
  • Year 12 students: Exam preparation.
  • God’s provision of funds for our church missions, piano & building extensions.
  • Believers under persecution – Islamic & Communist countries.







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