A warning from Pastor
I was raised a B-P Church member since 1960 when I first attended Galilee B-P Church in Pasir Panjang. I got to know Rev Timothy Tow at a very young age. I remembered Rev Tow visiting our family when we were living in No. 5 Pasir Panjang Road.
In 1974 the Lord called me into the full-time Christian ministry and I began my theological education in the Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC). I graduated in 1977 and served in Grace B-P Church. I have been in the B-P Church ever since.
I have seen the many good sides of the B-P Church. I have been blessed by her strong doctrinal teachings. FEBC was once a strong school of theology, producing many Bible believing pastors and full-time workers for the church. I am thankful to the Lord for FEBC and her fundamental teachings in those days.
The changes today in the B-P Church
Something has gone terribly wrong with the B-P denomination today. Just about six years ago, a new teaching was introduced into FEBC by some young lecturers. The Verbal Plenary Preservation (VPP) teaches that God has preserved certain Greek and Hebrew manuscripts which underline the King James Version (KJV). So these people say that God has given the English speaking world only one Bible, the KJV. To them, the KJV is the "inspired" Bible for the English speaking church. All other versions namely NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV, etc, are corrupt versions. They will condemn anyone or any church that uses a version other than the KJV. They have even gone to the extreme to say that other Bible versions present a different Jesus from the KJV.
I have never, in all my life, in the B-P Church seen such extreme teaching which had led to church splits, name calling, and the soon to be, public court battle between FEBC and Life B-P Church.
This VPP teaching has been a curse in the B-P Church. Once upon a time, we were all united and growing strong together as a denomination. Today it is a laughing stock to the Christian community in Singapore.
This year especially is bad for the B-P Church as news of both FEBC and Life B-P Church's public court case have been announced in the papers. This is against God's Word. See what the apostle Paul has to say about this matter in 1 Cor. 6: 1- 6
"Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!"
How could believers who know God's Word do such a thing?
The VPP teaching has not been a blessing to the B-P denomination. Instead it has caused trouble and disunity.
For your information, a large majority of B-P Pastors are not supporting this teaching. We strongly oppose it. Very few B-P Pastors and B-P Churches are for this teaching. They should rightly call themselves the VPP B-P Church and not be confused with those of us who are the original B-P Church.
Churches which are for VPP:" Calvary-Pandan BPC, Calvary Tengah BPC, Gethsemane BPC, True Life BPC, Truth BPC, Berean BPC
B-P Churches that are not for VPP:" Life BPC, Olivet BPC, Grace BPC, Shalom BPC, Nazareth BPC, Galilee BPC, Maranatha BPC, Sharon BPC, Gospel Light BPC, Moriah BPC, Emmanuel BPC, Herald BPC, Calvary-Jurong BPC, Eden BPC, Jireh BPC, Macedonia BPC, Sembawang BPC, Zion BPC (Serangoon Gardens and Bishan), Faith BPC, All the Tamil B-P Churches, All the Mountain B-P Churches (i.e., Hebron, Herman, Mt. Carmel BPCs etc).
We live in the last days. The Bible warned of many false teachers coming into the church who will deceive even the elect. And sad to say, many will follow their pernicious way (2 Peter 2: 1-2).
The VPP Traits
We should know that these people are a very combative group.
One of the traits in this group of VPPers is to fight anyone who disagrees with them. The recent and earlier editions of "The Burning Bush", a publication of FEBC, and the writings and the correspondences of some of these advocates of VPPs resonate their argumentative attitude. "The Burning Bush" is targetted to combat non-VPPs. It was once an edifying magazine, but today, it is used to put down B-P pastors and elders who are not supportive of their cause. There is nothing edifying in this magazine which publishes only about VPP.
"The Burning Bush" has also been blasting the newly setup "Asia Seminary for Ministry" (ASM), in which Rev. Goh Seng Fong, Rev. Tan Choon Seng, Rev. Yap Beng Shin, Dn. John Chin and myself are the founding members. "ASM" has been accused of being neo-evangelical and ecumenical.
The aggressive nature of their correspondences in the many emails I have read is unbecoming of a Christian leader.
The issue of VPP creates a huge problem and results in split of Churches. This is witnessed in the States as well as on our own shores. Since the day VPP came to the B-P Church in Singapore, we had seen with our own eyes the problems encountered by Life B-P Church, Calvary-Jurong B-P Church and Calvary-Pandan B-P Church.
A Lack of Love
Another of their trait is the lack of love in dealing with fellow B-P pastors and elders over this issue. To them, this matter of VPP is life and death. If the B-P Pastor or Elder is not supporting them, they are swiftly condemned as neo-evangelicals or neo-fundamentalists. Their names are highlighted in their magazines and church weekly, etc. There is no personal and friendly conversation over how to solve this issue in a loving manner.
They are quick to call anyone who are not for their cause, neo-evangelicals, neo-fundamentalists, ecumenical, etc. They have also labelled fellow B-P pastors as liars. They have published openly the names of Bible colleges, seminaries and gave them such names.
Claim to possess the truth
They claim to have the perfect Bible. They have the "inspired" KJV with them. So long as other Christians do not use the KJV, they do not have the truth. To these people, all other Bible versions are corrupt and don't have the the Word of God. They are the only ones who have it because they use the KJV. So they have the truth. Is that so?
Martin Luther, the reformer, did not use the KJV. Did he have the truth of God's Word? What about Christians of other races, like the Indonesians, for example, whose Bibles are in the Indonesian language, do they have the truth of God's Word? What about Christian leaders like John MacArthur who uses ESV or NASB? Is he teaching the truth from God's Word?
Do not fear at all, my brethren! We have the truth of God's Word in other Bible versions and diverse languages. God did not give us one Bible version only, i.e., the KJV, even though we may love this version.
"In the first place, then, let it be said that we believers in the plenary inspiration of the Bible do not hold that the Authorized Version or any other form of the English Bible is inspired. I beg your pardon for saying anything so obvious as that, but, do you know, my friends, it is necessary to say it. There are scarcely any limits to the ignorance which is attributed to us today by people who have never given themselves the trouble to discover what our view really is. Let it be said then very plainly that we do not hold that the Authorized Version or any other form of the English Bible is inspired. We are really quite well aware of the fact that the Bible was written in Hebrew and in Greek. The Authorized Version is a translation from the Hebrew and the Greek. It is a marvelously good translation, but it is not a perfect translation. There are errors in it. The translators were not supernaturally preserved from making mistakes. It is not inspired."
"Is the Bible the Word of God?"(A quote by J. Gresham Machen taken "The Christian Faith in the Modern World" 1936)
Claim to defend the truth?VPPers like to see themselves as defenders of the truth. It seems that they see themselves as the only ones who have the perfect and "inspired" Bible (the KJV) and they are defending this Bible version. Anyone who speak against this version is immediately taken to task.
Has not the original B-P Church been defending the truth since the days of Rev. Timothy Tow? We have been taught and we will continue to teach our B-P Church members that God has given to us the inspired, inerrant Word of God in the original autographs. This is VPI (Verbal Plenary Inspiration). We have never heard of VPP which is a new and strange teaching that has infiltrated the B-P Church some years ago. We have defended the truth of God's Word and we will continue to do so. We will defend our flock against this teaching of VPP. That is what the original B-P Church is doing today. So who is the original B-P Church? Are we not the ones?
Rev Tan Eng Boo
Pastor, Grace B-P Church