Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Testimony from a Metro Tabernacle Church Member.

We received this email from a reader who is not a Calvarite, and we publish this testimony here as an update to what God has done and how He has answered our prayers regarding the "Allah" issue which has led to the burning of a few churches in Malaysia. Our God answers our prayers and He has a plan and something good for all His Children in every situation that we face. We must also remember that God does not necessarily answer every prayer the same way. Just remember He works in mysterious ways.

We have withheld publishing the author and the friend's name.
Subject: Testimonies - MetroTabernacle Church

Very encouraging testimonies.

Anyway, the reason for writing is to encourage each and everyone of us. My colleague, "the church member" (TCM) is a member of the Metro Tabernacle church. This morning,  (TCM) shared with me the wonderful testimonies that has happened since the burning of their church. And I would like to share the same with you all too.

1) The night before the church was burned their Pastor was at the church past 11pm because he wanted to check his emails. He is a very hardworking person and has a habit of wanting to complete his work as much as possible. But he is also very sensitive to the Holy Spirit. When he got to the church premise and was about to swipe the card to open the door, he had a terrible stomachache that he had never had before. He knew that the Lord was telling him to go back home and he obeyed and left the church premise. It was past midnight that the church was torched. If he had not obeyed he would have been burned alive and would not be able to live to tell this wonderful testimony. God still has work for him to do on earth. His time was not up yet.

2) The MT Church had trouble moving to the new premises in Batu Caves. They had been waiting for approval from the Local Authorities and is still pending. Then they were facing financial difficulties as they needed to buy new furniture for the new premise. They had been raising funds on their own to relocate to Batu Caves but had been “stuck” due to approval permits and raising more $ to buy new furniture and equipment. So when the church was burned it was all the old stuff that they had been wanting to get rid off! And our Govt compensated them RM500K and CIMB and many other donations started to pour in. From an adversity it turned into a blessing! Our God truly provides!

3) (TCM) has been rejoicing in the office and shared with my MD. Today at our Management meeting, the MD said I had never seen anyone so full of joy when the church got burned down but instead, (TCM) said it was a blessing.

4) (TCM) said the church leaders and members shook hands with Najib and they released forgiveness for whatever that has happened in the past.  said Najib felt very welcomed at the church. Hishamuddin commented that during his visit he has never seen so many smiling faces when their church had just been burned down. To God be the glory!

5) They also requested for the Batu Caves new church premise to be turned into a place of worship and not a commercial zone. The Selangor Govt is looking into it and the MB, Khalid gave his assurance that he will look into it personally.

6) The Metro Tabernacle worship service appeared in the International Herald Tribune (they were on international news) and the photo of the worshippers with their hands raised was taken in the Wisma MCA hall. My MD asked what was happening and my friend told him, "we were praising and worshipping God." My MD didn’t know that this was how we praised and worshipped God.

7) A few years ago a visiting speaker from overseas prophesied that the MT Church would be in international news. At that time the congregation thought that their Pastor would be traveling around the world to preach as he was already doing that but she said now they understood what the speaker said. I told (TCM) if it was the doing of man, God would not be glorified but when it is not of man, then God would be glorified like in this situation.

8) It was good to see many church leaders of other denominations coming together at the MT Church worship service over the last few days, united and praying together.

9) Lastly, sometime last year (TCM) approached me and said that she has been praying and she was convicted in her heart to give me an invitation to ask our church/cell to partner with them in prayer with regards to the move to the new church premise in Batu Caves. They were facing a lot of spiritual warfare. I remember sharing with the cell. We didn’t know very much about them then. God is moving amongst us and we could choose to obey his call to pray or disregard and miss the excitement and blessing

I hope the above sharing would have encouraged us all to press on and serve our Almighty God. MT Church has found favour with God and so has many other churches. We must increase our faith to the next level and stay united. PRAYER is the only powerful weapon God has given to all of us. Let’s use it mightily for His Glory!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bishop Paul Tan's Statement on the "Allah" issue

This is a statement from Bishop Paul Tan taken from theZENIT, The world seen from Rome News Agency

Malaysian Bishop Laments Allah Ban Says Church Holds Firm on Minority Rights KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, JAN. 6, 2010 (Zenit.org).-

A Malaysian bishop is underlining the rights of minority religions faced to the controversy over a ban prohibiting non-Muslims from using the word "Allah."

Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing of the Melaka-Johor Diocese in Malaysia told ZENIT that the controversy over the use of the word "Allah," as well as other Arabic words, is "not a linguistic battle."
Rather, he said, it is a political "battle for votes."

On Dec. 31, the Kuala Lumpur High Court overruled the ban, which was instated three years ago, affirming that it was unconstitutional and that the word "Allah" is not exclusive to Islam. It granted the Catholic Herald, which was using the word as a translation for God in the Malay language section of the periodical, permission to print "Allah."

However, today the decision was suspended after days of protests. Meanwhile, the Home Ministry is appealing the act in an attempt to uphold the ban.

Muslim groups are protesting that Christians and other minorities should not use "Allah" for "fear of confusing Muslims," the Herald reported today. Muslims constitute some 60% of the country's 28 million people.

Pre-Islamic Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing explained that the debate has a definite political tone, as the ruling party "is afraid of losing the Malay votes, which make up of about 60% of the population."

He added, "In Malaysia, unfortunately, Malay is identified with Muslims -- the only country in the world where religion is tied to a race in the constitution."

Yet in the Quran, the bishop pointed out, "it is said that Jews, Christians, Sabeans and Muslims worship Allah."

He continued: "How can a Muslim go against its Holy Quran? Not possible.

"It is due to sheer ignorance or due to some political expediency. Any objective scholar can tell you that the word 'Allah' is pre-Islamic. It has its root in the Semitic language."

Not all Malay-Muslims are against non-Muslims using the word, Bishop Tan Chee Ing clarified, as long as it is not being "abused."

Those who are sparking the controversy, he said, are acting "due to ignorance or motivated by political biases or for some personal gains."

The "public declaration that non-Muslims can use the word 'Allah' is a contradiction to what the National Fatwa Council issued," the bishop affirmed, and "contradiction is another game for playing politics."

Non-Muslim rights In the midst of this, he said, "the Church's stand should be calm, firm in its stand for the rights of non-Muslims as enshrined in our federal constitution."

We must "cooperate with all reasonable persons, try to keep harmony by not provoking the other side with words or actions and not putting them down those who want to stop non-Muslims from using the word," the prelate said.

"It is a tightrope walk," he affirmed.

Bishop Tan Chee Ing told ZENIT that despite the current issues, the Church in his country is "very stable, united and strong."

"Our ecumenical movement and inter-religious cooperation have been good in spite of a few hiccups here and there," he said.

Although statistics are showing that the Catholic population is stagnant in numbers, the bishop acknowledged, this is due to the fact that "Chinese and Indian Catholics tend to have fewer children than the Malays."

As well, he continued, "their children are sent abroad to study because of discrimination against them in the universities and many of them do not return to Malaysia because of the fear of being discriminated."

Stand for truth "In spite of all this," the prelate affirmed, "the churches are generally full to their capacity with men, women and children."

He continued: "It is a vibrant Church. The local Church has been reaching out to help other poorer dioceses in other countries."

Bishop Tan Chee Ing reported that the people of his diocese, "in spite of the fact that we are not rich," has been sending money to the Church in Kenya, Myanmar and Laos.

"This is in imitation of the earliest Catholic Church during the apostolic times," he affirmed.

The prelate continued: "We have also cooperated with the Protestants and even the Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus.

"The one contribution we can offer to the Universal Church is standing up for the truth and the rights of people against all odds because we know that God who is the Lord of history, sees and knows all and will in his time and in his way right what is wrong. Patience!"


This is another report taken from the ZENIT, The world seen from Rome News Agency. Click here to link to the original source : http://zenit.org/article-28034?l=english


Note Muslim Support; Say Root Is Politics, Not Religion

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, JAN. 12, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Malaysian bishops are urging reconciliation in the wake of attacks against nine Christian churches over the weekend, and affirming the incidents stain the reputation of the country's Muslim majority.

The prelates responded to attacks on three Catholic and six Protestant churches in a communiqué made public today by the Fides news agency. The prelates are beginning their plenary assembly of bishops from Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

The assembly, planned some time ago, had to change its agenda completely in the wake of the violence.

Known as moderate

The bishops' communiqué noted harmony between Islam and Christianity in Malaysia, and said the attacks stain the reputation of Malay Islam, "known for its moderation and its peaceful coexistence with other religions."

In fact, Fides reported, moderate Muslim groups have organized watches in churches to prevent a repeat of the violence.

The communiqué stated Christians "are committed to do everything possible to keep calm, not to respond to the provocations, and to pray so that the violence will not spread."

The attacks over the weekend come in the context of a Dec. 31 high court decision overturning a ban on Christian groups referring to God as Allah.

Both Christians and Muslims pointed to political motivations behind the violence.

© Innovative Media, Inc.
Reprinting ZENIT's articles requires written permission from the editor.

Monday, January 11, 2010


For the past few years the Lord has been speaking to me about living in a manner that is the 'antithesis' to all that is happening in the church and in the nation. Over the years, as I waited on Him, I heard Him say, "There is darkness in My House. I am now calling those who can hear My voice to live lives that will be the antithesis to all that is happening. Stop your activities; start to pray and to live out that 'antithesis.'”

It was difficult because I had meetings lined up and my itinerant ministry was bringing in much financial blessing. The books and tapes were selling well and people were blessed. The only problem was, I did not have a deep sense of God's reality. I was finding it extremely hard to hear from Him and I did not enjoy the sense of joyful liberation and rest in my spirit that I am experiencing now. God settled my indecision by taking me through the typhoid incident! I was pathetic during that illness but so spiritually enriched after it. After I recovered, I could hear Him better and with His directives, came the explanations. I heard Him say, "Too many want to travel and speak for ministerial and money sake. They have no interest to build into my kingdom but into their own ministry which has no eternal validity. Now, will you obey and live in a manner that is the antithesis to all these?"

As I cancelled my itinerant ministry to stay back and spend time to pray, the directives also came to price down my books, to put them on the website for free reading. I was also to sell my house to buy a piece of land and to pioneer a prayer community. Oh, have I been struggling over these directives and decisions for the past two years! No wonder so many of us do not dare to spend time in His presence. Who knows what He will direct us to do next?

The struggles ceased lately as I read Matthew 7:13-14 and Jeremiah 7. In Matthew 7:14, Jesus commanded His disciples to walk the narrow way (or to live in a manner that is antithetical to the popular worldly order) although it was an unpopular choice and 'few there be that find it.' In Jeremiah 7 He convicted me that the deception in the church worldwide had already produced decline and darkness, a darkness which will finally lead to destruction. I then saw the decline of many local pastors and also much confusion in our local church scene as everything climaxes into what Jeremiah described in verse eleven:
" Is this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your eyes. Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord." Not only do we have semi-nudity, gays and lesbians, con-men and women, paedophiles, adulterers, fornicators, pseudo prophets / prophetesses and false apostles defiling the church, we now have an influx of the merchandizing and trading spirit. No wonder God said the final result is that His house will become 'a den of robbers.' As the mercenary and the merchandizing spirit join forces with the present profanity, we will not only rob God of His glory, we will also rob the nation of godly standards or ‘the sense of God,’ and the heathen of their hope and salvation.

Many non-Christians are already disgusted as they could not find the difference between the church and the world. Benedict called the present culture the ‘culture of death’, and weaved his recent Easter Day message around the contrast between material and spiritual riches an told Christians to undergo a ‘purification of hearts’ so that we can heal a lacerated world. He warned against selfishness, corruption and said that the temptation of worldly riches is ‘the language of the serpent’.Yes, even the church is now inundated with the ‘culture of death’ and the ‘language of the serpent.’

What, then, is God saying to us?
What is His urgent and fresh call at this hour to the church in our nation?
Are the prophets and prophetesses in Malaysia hearing Him or are we still prophesying ‘vain things’ and dishing out only favorable personal prophecies?
Can we hear God calling men and women to live lives that are the antithesis to the horrible system of greed, materialism and compromise that has defiled the church and the land?
Do we hear God calling us back to kingdom life and an apostolic lifestyle?
When we do hear, do we then, have the strength to obey?
To live a life that is the antithesis to all that is around us is like a fish swimming against the tide. Its strength could break against that onslaught.

Does God know?
Yes, He does. This is why He told Israel, “Go on this special diet. Feed on manna (Me) daily. If you do, then you can fight against that order. The journey is indeed too hard for you but you can do it as you feed on Me and let Me infuse you with My life.” But Israel rejected that special diet. This is why they could not make the journey.

Will we let the same happen to us?
God knows we can only walk the narrow way and be the antithesis to the defiled, worldly and devilish system if we have an infusion of the life of Jesus. But the church life today is hardly an ‘infusion of His life’; rather, it is an infusion of programs, activities, mental knowledge and great exteriors. If I had not stopped my itinerant ministry and spent time in His presence to hear from Him, and then to have been allowed to see what He showed me, I would not have the strength to carry out His directives. And to many of us these directives seem to be utter foolishness.

Does it seem too much for a single woman pastor who is in her ‘retirement years’ to sell her house and part with her only piece of visible and tangible asset?
Yet my disobedience, after the Lord has shown me the rich rewards of my decision, would be worse than total foolishness and wickedness. My heart came to a liberating rest and joy when I could finally agree with what God was saying to me.
“The church must not only pray. She must live her prayers. If the church in Malaysia will not live lives that are the antithesis to all that is around her she will never be able to defeat the powers of darkness in this land; neither will she have the strength to avert My coming judgment.”

The infusion of His strength has helped me to yield, to agree to His directives and to start to live in a manner that will be the ‘antithesis’ to that which is selfish, worldly and devilish. I am doing it not because I'm spiritual, wonderful or ‘one step above the rest’. I am doing it as an act of obedience and out of a deep love for God. I am also doing it because I want to ‘stand in the gap’ for many priests and prophets who are unable to come free of the psychic bondage to materialism. I am also doing it as an encouragement to others to follow. The Lord has given me the assurance that there will be many others who will follow as His reality enveloped us for “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power” (Psalm 110:3)

I now know what it means when I pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.” God’s kingdom cannot come if His will is not done. The ‘kingdom lifestyle’ is the antithesis to the selfish, worldly and devilish order which the enemy has set up. It is wonderful to give it all to Him instead of allowing an incoming tsunami to sweep it away. Of course many still do not believe that a tsunami will ever hit the Malaysian shore or that Malaysian houses or properties will get swept off. People in Acheh and New Orleans did not think it could happen; nevertheless it did. Did people think that Subang Jaya and Shah Alam would get that badly flooded and that winds of that magnitude can hit the city? It happened and the worse is yet to come.

Is your life, up to this time just a product of an institution (the church) or is it an infusion of the life of Jesus? If it is an infusion of the life of Jesus, then you can come free of the psychic attraction to materialism and the ‘culture of death.’ You can live the ‘kingdom lifestyle’ and not listen to the ‘language of the serpent’. You can speak God’s language, ‘go against the tide’ and live the life that is the ‘antithesis’ to all that is around you so that you can heal the lacerated world … and the church.

Rev Susan Tang - The Station of Life

Susan Tang heads The Station of Life, which is an Apostolic School of Renewal For Pastors, Missionaries and Lay Leaders. A Life Changing School That Will Bring You Back To God’s Ancient Ways and The Old Paths That Will Give You Rest. Jeremiah 6:16

Her books include the following :-

  1. Breakthrough at Sunset
  2. Broken Altars
  3. Lifting the nation above the “floods”.
  4. Ministry Principle 1&2
  5. The Anointed Priest Who Sins
  6. Demands of Love
  7. Spiritual Intimacy
Website : http://station-of-life.org/

The information about Rev Susan Tang is obtained from Wah Lok's Website which houses everything you want to know about Christian music and Christian Authors in Malaysia.
Click here for link to : Tabernacle Music


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Allah can’t be substituted with Tuhan in Bible translation

This article is reproduced from The Malaysian Insider. Click on the title to get to the said link.
Allah can’t be substituted with Tuhan in Bible translation — Dr Ng Kam Weng

JAN 6 — Muslims in other parts of the world (Arabs, Persians, North Africans, Pakistanis and Indonesians) have no objection and are not worried about getting confused when Christians using the word “Allah”. In contrast, some Malaysian Muslims claim to be confused; a strange phenomenon indeed.

This observation lends credence to the suggestion that the Allah issue is an artificial Malay issue and not a genuine Muslim issue. The truth is that the current orchestrated protests against the recent High Court decision to allow the Catholic Herald (and Christians) to use the word Allah must be seen to be as cynical manipulations by Malay politicians to gain votes from their community.

I am more interested in going beyond these political manoeuvres. Politicians (and that includes government bureaucrats) are happy just to stay at the level of vague suggestions since they have no competence nor care to address real issues of translation. In contrast, Christians must ensure their arguments for the right to use the word Allah are based on concrete evidence supported by a coherent linguistic philosophy of translation of Scripture.

One major demand from the Malay protestors is that Christians stop using the word Allah on grounds that Christians can find a simple alternative, that is, simply substitute the word Allah with the word Tuhan. Unfortunately, this demand only betrays the ignorance of the protestors.

I would have thought that any Malay would know that the meaning of the words Allah (God) and Tuhan (Lord, Rabb) are not the same. How can they suggest that Christians simply use the word Tuhan to substitute the word Allah? To express the issue linguistically, Allah and Tuhan have different senses even though they have the same reference.
Both the terms Allah and Tuhan are used in the Malay Bible. Following the precedent set by Arab Christians, Allah is used to translate el/elohim and Tuhan (or TUHAN in caps) is used to translate Yahweh (YHWH). The two words are sometimes paired together as Yahweh-Elohim in 372 places in the Old Testament (14 times in Genesis 2-3; 4 times in Exodus; 8 times in Joshua; 7 times in 2 Samuel; 22 times in Chronicles; 12 times in Psalms; 32 times in Isaiah; 16 times in Jeremiah and 210 times in Ezekiel, etc.).
More importantly, the word Tuhan is also applied to Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Thus we read of the LORD Jesus as Tuhan Yesus (The word LORD was used to translate the word kurios 8,400 times in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament. It refers to human beings in only 400 times and refers to God 8,000 times. Of these 8,000 times, 6,700 are substitute for the word YHWH). The transference of the title kurios LORD/YHWH to Jesus Christ is testimony to the belief in the deity of Christ right at the beginning of Christianity.
This simple statistical survey shows clearly that the demand by Muslim demonstrators that Christians simply substitute the word Allah with Tuhan is unreasonable since it renders many Biblical references to God and Jesus Christ incoherent. First, the substitution is incorrect since the meaning of Allah and Tuhan are different.
Second, it creates an absurd situation when Christians try to translate the paired words Tuhan Allah (LORD God). Are Christians now required to call the LORD God, Tuhan Tuhan? This sounds like committing linguistic redundancy. Worse still, the repeated words Tuhan Tuhan come across to Malay readers as suggesting that Christians believe in a plurality of Lords/Gods (since the plural form in Malay is expressed by repeating the noun and setting them in apposition).
Finally, Christians are unable to express the Lordship of Jesus Christ as one who is distinct from the Father and yet shares with the God of the Old Testament, the name that is above every other name — kurios/Tuhan (Philippians 2:9, cf. Isaiah 45:23). In other words, Christians are rendered unable to affirm the deity of Jesus Christ and teach the doctrine of Trinity without the foundational words that maintain the semantic relationship between the words Allah and Tuhan as they are applied distinctively in the Malay Bible.
Christians in Malaysia would do their utmost to maintain religious harmony in Malaysia. Indeed, the Christianity community has made many concessions to accommodate the concerns of the Malay community.
However, it cannot accept the demand that it abandons the use of the word Allah and adopts the word Tuhan as the substitute simply because some ill-informed Malays take offence at their practice — an offence which would not have arisen if only these people set aside emotions and prejudices and examine the historical and linguistic evidence in a calm and rational manner. At the very least, Malays (or rather Muslims) should understand that believers are not at liberty to change the meaning of their Scriptures, the word of God, to satisfy the unfounded scruples of man.
I refer readers to the accompanying post, “Translating the Names of God” published in the learned journal (The Bible Translator) that gives more concrete examples of how the names of God are translated in the Malay Bible.
The article also discusses the controversy among some scholars on how words Allah and Tuhan should be used in the revision of Shellabear’s version of the Malay Bible. In any case, all the scholars in the controversy agree that Christians need to use both the words Allah and Tuhan in the Malay Bible. Please note that the article is reproduced (partially) with permission from the author Dr D Soesilo. — mysinchew.com