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Scripture Memory: Rejoicing.

VERSE : Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

10 July 2016

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Lee Hock Chin (Called to Serve, Acts 13:1-5)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Believing Without Seeing, Jn 4:46-54)

17 July 2016

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Charles Seet (The Word that Impacts Lives, Acts 13:13-52)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Colin Wong (It doesn’t Make any Sense, Lk 5:1-11)

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THE HISTORY OF CATECHIZING (Part 2)

By Rev Mark Chen

Is it not so, that a church is only as Christian as its leaders and parishioners? And is it not so, that a household is only as Christian as its head and family members? But the lost art of systematic Bible instruction, coupled with the lack of family religion, impounded by a general and modern distaste for creedal adherence, has caused many a church to lose their Reformed heritage and spiritual standard.

The Second Law of Entropy in physics tells us that all things tend toward disorder. In other words, if left alone, they will become less organized. This is not untrue from a Christian stand point. If left alone without Bible instruction and follow-up, Christians will backslide. If given a weekly dose of instruction (and a weakly dose at that), how much better does the Christian fare? The catechetical system was devised to fight spiritual entropy. It is a strong dose of Christian instruction, with all the vital doctrines that a person requires to be spiritually fit and mature. It is akin to a combination of multi-vitamins and designer antibiotics, to be taken in conjunction with a regular diet of healthy foods. If a person is well-versed in the catechism and has a daily devotion with his Lord, imagine his spiritual maturity!

The testimony of the use of catechisms is seen in an anecdote by B.B. Warfield in his Selected Short Writings. Dwight L. Moody was once staying with a friend in London when “…a young man had come to speak to Mr. Moody about spiritual things. He was in difficulty about a number of points, among the rest about prayer and natural laws. ‘What is prayer?,’ he said, ‘I can’t tell what you mean by it!’ They were in the hall of a large London house. Before Moody could answer, a child’s voice was heard singing on the stairs. It was that of a little girl of nine or ten, the daughter of their host. She came running down the stairs and paused as she saw strangers in the hall. ‘Come here, Jenny,’ her father said, ‘and tell this gentleman “What is prayer.”’ Jenny did not know what had been going on, but she quite understood that she was now called upon to say her Catechism. So she drew herself up, and folded her hands in front of her, like a good little girl who was going to ‘say her questions,’ and she said in her clear childish voice: ‘Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies.’ ‘Ah! That’s the Catechism!’ Moody said, ‘thank God for that Catechism.’”

The use of the catechisms among the Reformed Churches raised up a generation of faithful stalwarts of Christendom. So successful were the use of catechisms among Protestants that the Roman Catholic Church observed at their Council of Trent (1545-1563), convened to arrest the spread of the Reformation, that “the heretics (meaning, Protestants) have chiefly made use of catechisms to corrupt the minds of Christians.” Even Dr Lancelot Andrews (chairman of the overall translating committee of the KJV) said, “The papists...acknowledge that all the advantage which the Protestants have gotten of them hath come by this exercise (meaning, catechism).”

Catechizing ensures the dissemination of Biblical knowledge to future generations, that nothing will be watered down. The duty is important. In Genesis 18:19, God says of Abraham, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”

Such instruction is not only in the church, but as mentioned, also at home. In Deuteronomy 6:7, it is commanded by God, “And the words which I command thee shall be in thy heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up.”

And the charge is serious because we are prone to forget. Deuteronomy 4:9 says, “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.”

And what better means does the modern Presbyterian church have to disseminate the Doctrines of Grace than with the time-tested Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms? Matthew Henry, in his defense of catechisms and confessions, outlined three basic uses for the catechism:

1.    Hereby the main principles of Christianity, which lie scattered in the Scripture, are collected and brought together; and by this means they are set in much easier view before the minds of men.

2.    Hereby the truths of God, the several articles of Christian doctrine and duty are methodized and put in order.

3.    Hereby the truths of God are brought down to the capacity of those who are as yet but weak in understanding.

Richard Baxter said, “Those that will deride all catechisms and professions, as unprofitable forms, had better deride themselves for talking and using the form of their own words to make known their mind to others.” Meaning, if catechisms are unprofitable, what makes us think that we can do better – that our instruction is good enough?

If asked for a definition of God, how many of us can give a comprehensive answer which covers all the attributes of God? If asked what the chief goal of man is, how many of us can answer this profound question with equal profoundness? The catechisms, in particular the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms, give simple answers that make the great depths of Scripture truths understandable to the simplest of us, even the youngest.

What is God? “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”

What is the chief end of man? “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

May the Lord help us to see the good uses of catechisms and to use them to the edification and maturation of ourselves and our children in these days of lack-luster Christianity, lest a further decline of the practice leads to another Dark Ages. Amen.

 

Resources for Catechism:

For catechizing young children:

http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/cat_for_young_children.html

 

The Westminster Shorter Catechism:

http://www.opc.org/documents/SCLayout.pdf

 

The Westminster Larger Catechism:

https://prts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Larger_Catechism.pdf

 

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GOSPEL SUNDAY

Date: 31st July 2016    Time: 8 am & 11 am

Topic: “The Unchanging Christ in a Changing World”

Speakers:   Rev Peter Tan (English Service)

Rev Kew See Seong (Mandarin/Cantonese)

Members are encouraged to invite their friends and relatives.

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CMI SEMINAR

Topic: QUESTION EVOLUTION! ARE YOU READY FOR ANSWERS?
Speaker:
Dr Mark Harwood
Date:
23 July 2016 (Saturday)
Time:
9.30am – 2.30pm  (Lunch provided)
Venue:
Beulah Centre MPH
On-line registration:
http://www.lifebpc.com/cmi-seminar

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1) Catechism Class for Anniversary Baptism on 16 Oct 2016 commences on TODAY at Beulah Centre Rm 2-1 at 9.40am. Those seeking baptism, reaffirmation of faith and transfer of membership must attend the catechism class.

2) Coffee Corner. 3 more helpers required at 8.30 am. Please contact Sis Evelyn Chan .  Members wishing to contribute food, for hygiene reasons, kindly contact Sis Amy Khoo  to collect food.

3) Musicians are needed for vigil services. Please contact Daniel Phang . 

 

Preaching appt:  Rev Wong at New Life BPC (Tamil), 9.30 am and Thai Service, 2.30 pm. Rev Khoo at Maranatha BPC (Chinese), 10.30 am.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25