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Pastor JJ Lim | Singapore
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Reformed Church in Singapore (Reformatorische gemeente in Singapore)
PERMANENT NOTICE
Posted by: Pilgrim Covenant Church 朝圣者圣约教会 | more..
10,200+ views | 1,600+ clicks | 1 user comments

The following article appeared in Reformatorisch Dagblad (Date : 26 Feb 2015)

Text: Janita van Hoeven ten Voorde

Photo’s: Jeff Low

Refo’s in Singapore. That sounds like an unlikely combination. But they are there, reformed Singaporeans. Every Sunday they come together on the seventh floor of an industrial building. Then you hear the sound of psalms and the Gospel of a rich Christ for a poor sinner.

It is sober in the reformed Pilgrim Covenant Church (PCC). No modern church building but a bare office space. No decorated wooden psalm board, but a white board where the psalms are noted down with a marker. The congregation sings only psalms. Without instruments, with a precantor.

PCC was founded in 1999 by PS JJ Lim. Jyh Jang Lim was working as an information technology engineer and was studying theology with the expectation to become a minister in the B-P Church, a fundamental church. For his studies he went for a period to Wales. There he came in contact with the reformed faith. His changing opinions on the Sabbath and worship principles resulted Ps. Lim in founding a reformed congregation when he came back. There was not such a church in Singapore. Since 2012 Ps. Linus Chua is serving the congregation as an associate pastor.

Through the whole Bible

The Bible is in the heart of the services in PCC. There are two Scripture readings and a forty-five minute sermon. The two pastor minister take turns and preach, as Calvin, through the whole Bible. In the evening sermons the Westminster Catechisms is used.
More than half of the ladies have the head covered. A principle that the ministers based on 1 Corinthians 11 heartily subscribe but what they don’t want to mandate to those who are convicted by heart themselves.

In a separate room about twenty five Chinese speaking come together, mainly elderly. The sermon is translated for them simultaneously. Once per month one of the pastors serves them in a separate service.

Children’s sounds are not rare during the service. Baby’s will join from after birth onwards. Young parents are sitting the back. If necessary they walk out of the room. Or are listening behind a separate glass-wall room.

And the young children are many. The reformed-Presbyterian church counts about 200 members and baptized children in many young families. The majority are first generation Christians from the Chinese race who have come to faith via Scottish, American or Australian mission work.

Materialism

PCC stresses the importance of catechism and family worship. Practicing the baptism of children, they stress that God made His covenant with Abraham and his children. This in contrast to the growing Pentecostal and Baptist movements in Singapore that focus on adult baptism. After the morning service there are catechism classes for the whole church. There are also some other programs before the start of the evening service at 6.30pm. A couple of families, especially those who live further away, will stay in church the whole day.

To modern standards, PCC is not an very energetic or lively congregation, says Ps Lim. “But there may be spoken of as full of faith and good works. Many of her members are very serious about their walk with Christ, and seek make His name known by biblical obedience and witness.” The greatest threat for PCC is materialism and unbelief, says the minister. “The leaven of materialism threatens every believer in Singapore because we have been brought up under the principle that a man is valued according to how much he can achieve and gain in the things of this world. Unbelief is another assault, especially when most churches, including those which profess to be reformed have long ceased to emphasise the principles of for example Sabbath rest and worship practices.”

He is hopeful for the future of the Pilgrim Covenant Church. “I believe that the congregation is a planting of the Lord, and therefore He will preserve her unto the day of the Lord.” Simultaneously, stresses Ps. Lim, the reformed church must always be reforming. “We do not believe that reforming means changing to be more acceptable to the modern society. However, there are many things which we may have to improve on. For example, we can improve on congregation singing and our demonstration of love and warmth towards one another. Unless we build a stronger covenant community life, many will be tempted to leave for churches that are partially reformed or even not reformed simply because it feels better and freer to be in such congregations.”

Number of Christians in Singapore increases rapidly

Singapore is the smallest country of South-East Asia; with 684km2 this city-state is comparable to the Dutch Noordoostpolder. The country changed in one generation from a third to a first world country. Buddhism is the largest religion in absolute numbers (33% of the population), but decreases steadily. The number of Christians is increasing rapidly and is now about 20 percent. The reformed-Presbyterian Pilgrim Covenant Church represents this trend. The church has a large number of younger people.

People whose parents begrudge the fact they have left the old paths of Buddhism and have fallen for the modern Christianity of Westerners as Luther, Calvin and Spurgeon. Their disappointment is understandable from their religious roots, according to De Korne. “Ancestor worship plays an important role in Buddhism. So many elderly fear that nobody will take care of them when they have left this earth.”

The parents stand results in a balancing act for many of the younger generation. “On the one hand they want to be a good and obedient child, which is very important in the Chinese culture. On the other hand the Lord asks them to leave father and mother and follow Him.”

Christianity in Singapore is known in different variation and each of them has own churches. Most of them are founded by missionaries at the time Singapore was colonised by England in the 19th century.

The Pilgrim Covenant Church is not the only reformed church in Singapore, says De Korne. “There are five evangelical-reformed congregations, two Baptist congregations and more than twenty-five Bible-Presbyterian churches. All claim to be reformed. As far as I know PCC is the only one that keeps the Sabbath, has no woman in office, and keeps to psalm-singing.”

Dr. Dirk de Korne, since 2013 a deputy director and adjunct assistant professor at the Singapore National Eye Centre and Duke-National University of Singapore, recently became a deacon in the Pilgrim Covenant Church.

During a two-week orientation he and his wife visited the congregation for the first time. “We simply googled for ‘reformed church’. So we found this church that also was relatively close to our hotel. And we never left.” He and his wife Andrien are the only Caucasians in the church. Besides the couple there is a Sri-Lankan family and some Asians from countries as Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines, but the large majority are Singaporean from the Chinese race.

Nevertheless they feel completely at home in PCC. “From the very first moment we were amazed that this congregation existed in Singapore. It was as if we came home. That was related to the preaching in the first place, but also to the fact that were many similarities with the reformed congregation in Rotterdam where we were members.”

Cultural differences can lead to surprising situations. “We are open and direct. Here it is not uncommon that there will be a long silence when the pastor asks a question during a catechism class or Biblestudy. Singaporeans otherwise are very good listeners and stars in learning by heart and the development of ready knowledge.”

Tithes

He is also amazed about the generosity of the members of PCC. ”More than 4000 euro is a service with 150 people is no exception. I know, you pay admittedly less taxes in Singapore and it is not the Dutch welfare state. There are also less other Christian charities. But yet: they open the Bible and read directions for giving tithes. And so they do.”

The congregation can support two pastors from what comes in. There is also a related translate and publishing association, Gratia Dei Sola (GDS) Media, and the congregation supports mission work in Thailand, Philippines and Malawi. “Recently we collected in one service almost 15.000 euro for emergency relief after floods in Malawi. That takes my breath.”

Category:  News and Politics

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· Page 1 ·  Found: 1 user comment(s)

Blog Item3/16/2021 9:54 PM
B. McCausland  Find all comments by B. McCausland
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This was a pleasant article to read to find
out about God's workings and the excercise
of your faith in response to such in your
land. Praise be the Lord. Surely female
headcovering is generally disregarded in
this day of church apostacy, but it becomes
and indicator of godly submission where
ever its practice is observed .

There are a total of 1 user comments found, add new comment...




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