Friday, April 15, 2011

Epistle to the Church in Malaysia by Thomas Lee

This is an article taken from The Malaysian Insider. (Click on the Title for the original source)

Epistle to the Church in Malaysia — Thomas Lee Seng Hock

April 15, 2011
APRIL 15 — Dear sisters and brothers in the faith,
Greetings in the name of our beloved Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. His love, grace, peace, joy and blessings be upon all of you who love, honour and obey him.
I write this open letter as a fellow believer and as a humble servant of the Almighty God to make a clarion call to my sisters and brothers in the faith to unite in solidarity of vision and mission to bring about a moral and spiritual transformation of our beloved nation, by our individual prayers and united corporate intercession, and through our vocal articulation and visible demonstration of our life and faith beyond the walls of our comfort zone within our churches. The time has come for us to wake up from our spiritual slumber, and stand up, without fear or favour, and be counted for the Lord Jesus.
Most, if not all, of you are surely aware and concerned that our beloved country is currently going through a very critical and uncertain time, during which various delicate and sensitive matters are being exploited and abused by the evil forces out to destroy the peaceful and harmonious co-existence of our multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-cultural, multi-ideological and multi-lingual nation. It is during such a time as this that we as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ need to go on our knees before the throne of grace to seek forgiveness, mercy and divine intervention to save our nation from disintegration and destruction.
The church and state
One of the most heretical deceptions that the Christian community has been infused with by misguided western missionaries is the so-called separation of the church and state, meaning that Christians should not be involved in matters of the state, or take any stand on political issues. This teaching is based on a distorted exegesis of the statement by the Lord Jesus on the issue of paying tax: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21).
The traditional church community has always used this statement to mark a demarcation between what is supposed to be “spiritual” or sacred, and what is considered “secular” or worldly. Hence, a broad boundary exists today between the church and the world outside its walls, with Christians having two distinct spheres of lifestyle.
Such a compartmentalisation of life into “spiritual” and “secular” is certainly bad theology, and is, in fact, contrary to the biblical doctrine of man with its emphasis on the whole person, with the involvement in the whole of life in every area and sphere of life and thoughts. Unfortunately, many Malaysian pastors and church leaders still have such misconceived and mislaid socio-political conscience, and are even paranoid over anything political. Many are also living in fear and trembling of such harsh and draconian laws like the Internal Security Act (ISA), which provides for indiscriminate detention with trial.
Hence, there is much reluctance of the part of the pastors and church leaders to preach, teach and articulate on socio-economic and political matters, even though the Bible is full of such stories and teachings of social ethical values and practices. For example, the story of the Exodus in the Old Testament is a narration of a political liberation movement led by Moses to free the Hebrew slaves from the despotic Pharaoh of Egypt. In the New Testament, the beheading of John the Baptist was the result of the prophet’s moral-political campaign against the immorality in high places. The Lord Jesus himself was crucified for his challenge to the corrupt religious leaders and the oppressive Roman authorities.
In the Malaysian Christian community, there are many, especially pastors and church leaders, who are sincere and anxious to preserve and protect the fundamental faith without compromise and condensation, and are faithful and obedient to strive for the fulfilment of the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus. However, due to the shallow theological education they received at local seminaries, which are mere clones of the western seminaries, many of them have developed unbalanced and narrow views and attitudes, especially in relation to socio-economic and political matters. This is why many pastors and church leaders are perceived as docile and submissive, and are easily frightened, bullied or placated by the bureaucracy outside the church. This can also be observed when a VIP government personality visits their church. They dress up in their formal best and get so excited like little children getting gifts from Santa Claus.
And over the years till even now, the pastors and church leaders who represent the Christian community in negotiations with the governmental authorities over matters of dispute have used the so-called soft diplomatic approach, meeting behind closed doors, without press coverage, although the issues are of public interest and concern. However, all these meetings seemed to end with meaningless conclusions, with the pastors and church leaders apparently at a loss over what had actually transpired, and what had been pledged, since all the so-called agreements were never ever implemented. 
I expect the so-called instant 10-point plan proposed by the federal government to resolve the current controversy over the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible to similarly become a political mirage that will disappear as soon as the current Sarawak state election and the impending 13th general election are over. Basically, the 10-point plan, amazingly formulated instantly within a few days, is an expedient tool to deal with the impounding of the Bahasa Malaysia Bible, to provide a convenient political diversion for the Sarawak state election. The pastors and church leaders who agree to endorse such an illusive and delusive “solution” to the Bahasa Malaysia Bible controversy certainly lack wisdom and are short-sighted. Thankfully, the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) chairman Bishop Ng Moon Hing is a wise leader who is able to discern the real situation. He made the following media statement on the issue:
“The 10-point solution deals with the impounding of the Alkitab but not with the prohibition of publications containing the word ‘Allah’. The root cause of the problem of the impounding of the Alkitab lies in the following:
(a) The 1982 prohibition of the Alkitab and the 1983 prohibition of the Perjanjian Baru under the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) on the grounds that the Alkitab is prejudicial to national interest and the security of Malaysia.
(b) The 1986 administrative order prohibiting the use of the term ‘Allah’ in Christian publications on the grounds of public order and prevention of misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians.
(c)  The Garis Panduan of the Bahagian Kawalan Penerbitan dan Teks Al-Quran of the Ministry of Home Affairs prohibiting the use of the word ‘Allah’.
In this regard we refer to item 9 of the 10-point solution which reiterates the government’s commitment to address religious issues. The government, therefore, should take immediate steps to remove the root causes by revoking the orders made under the ISA and the administrative order and to amend the Garis Panduan to remove the prohibition.
The ‘one country two policies’ approach is confusing and unacceptable. We look forward to working with the government to address other long-standing issues affecting the Christian community including the relevant provisions in the state enactments.”
Syabas, Bishop Ng. We stand firmly in support of your stand. 
Time to take a firm stand
At such a time as this when our nation is immersed in such serious controversies involving the question of human, civil and constitutional rights of Christians to freely profess, practise, promote, and propagate our faith without constraints and restraints, Christians of all denominations and differing theological inclinations should stand in solidarity to preserve and protect our rights from being diluted, deprived, and severely undermined.
There is also the increasingly dangerous moral decline infesting the soul of our nation, with corruption, cronyism, nepotism, and immorality fast becoming a way of life among some of the elites of the nation.
English historian Edward Gibbon, in his famous six-volume “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, has shown us that it was the immoral behaviour of the Roman emperors, politicians and rich people that led to the decay and eventual fall of the Roman Empire.
According to Gibbon, the Roman Empire succumbed to external invasions because of the gradual loss of moral values and virtue among its political leaders, who were enjoying the luxurious comfortable life and lifestyle, with nary a concern about the country, its future, and posterity. The emperors and the political leaders were immoral, corrupt, weak and lazy. They outsourced their responsibilities and duties to develop and defend their nation to foreign migrants, who later became so numerous that they were able to overrun the country and take control of it.
If we are not to go the way of the Romans, surely we need to protect our children and progenies from the current onslaught of the destabilising and destructive sensually self-indulgent hedonistic culture invading our nation from the West, transmitted directly to our homes via the globalwide cyber network connection and by satellite television.
The horror of such a moral incursion into our society should not be simply dismissed as scaremongering, or as spreading ominous reports or rumours of impending disaster.
The moral decay is fast descending upon us. Truth, righteousness, justice, fairness, love, equality and basic human rights are being compromised too. Then there are the racists with their insensitive, offensive and outrageous attitude and actions. The horror of such a scenario cannot be ignore, and we need to act fast to arrest the increasingly fast moral decline in our nation.
Need for electoral revolution
Hence, we need to initiate an electoral revolution, by going all out to vote en bloc for candidates who have impeccable integrity, blameless character, irreproachable moral and virtuous immaculate lifestyle.
As Christians constitute 10 per cent of the nation’s population, and nearly 45 per cent of the Sarawak population, we are a formidable force with tremendous electoral clout to bring about a transformation of the political landscape in our nation. We should exercise our civil and constitutional right to vote for the best possible candidates to lead our state and nation.
The fate of our nation and the future of our children are in our hands. We must not waste this opportune kairos time to bring about a moral transformation in our nation, so that righteousness will exalt our nation (Proverb 14:34).
As we pray the Lord’s Prayer, saying “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:19), let us allow the Lord to do his will through us when we exercise our right to vote.
May God bless all you real good, and may he also look favourably upon our homeland and bless it with peace, harmony, and prosperity.
Your servant in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.
* Thomas Lee Seng Hock is a veteran journalist.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bario Revival 1973, Revisited

This is a major Revival which happened in Bario, Sarawak which we believe should be told and retold so that what God has done in Malaysia will never be forgotten for generations to come. In fact, it is our prayer that God will revisit us and send us a fresh Revival. As an introduction to the Bario Revival, we found this article which gives a very comprehensive in depth information. Please click on the Title to read the full article. It is worth your time.

by John C. Miller (Peniel International Ministries)
I hope this short report may inspire your faith and praise for our magnificent Redeemer.
Malaysia is divided into two sections: the west occupies part of the peninsula at the south eastern tip of Asia and the eastern section is part of the island of Borneo. Ethnic groups include the Malays, Chinese and Indians.
Among the aboriginal tribes there are the famous ex-head hunters. One of their customs was that, when a youth reached maturity, he should bring back the head of an inhabitant of a neighbouring village. This continued until missionaries took the Good News of the gospel and there were great changes among them.
The people in Borneo were more open to the Spirit than in the western section of Malaysia. Some of the aboriginal tribes of the island had known several revivals accompanied by miracles and signs. The first of these moves took place in the forties.
The Lung Bawang tribe of Borneo was looked down upon by the others. They lived practically drunk, under the influence of alcohol, one hundred days in the year. A book called «Drunk Before Dawn» tells how God intervened in their lives. They were so degraded that, after head hunting was forbidden, they gave themselves over to drinking. A government report said that only the dogs remained sober. Because of there behavior, they became subject to plagues and pests. God intervened when they faced extinction. Christianity brought tremendous changes, today they are the tribe with the highest percentage of professionals.
In the year 1973 another sovereign move of God began in a high school among a group of young people in a place called Bario. This group used to get together at night to pray for hours after class. They were inspired by the book «Like a Mighty Wind» and believed God could sovereignly move among them also. They prayed: "God, if you did it in Indonesia, you can also do it here."
When the answer came from heaven, they were overwhelmed by deep repentance accompanied by crying. Conviction was such that even small things appeared great in their eyes. Impoliteness or arriving late to class was seen as something terrible in the eyes of God. At first the teachers were very put out. The students spent all night praying when they would soon be having their final exams. The Spirit of God began convicting the teachers till they also started to cry out to God. Revival began with a group of 20 or 30 people, but it became so large that it can be read about in government archives.
(To read the full article Click Here : Malaysian Revivals)

This is a recording on the introduction to the first hand witnesses to the Bario Revival.

This is the testimony of Pastor Solomon Bulan, a first hand witness and the teacher then, responsible for the start of the Bario Revival

This is the testimony of Dato' Sri Idris Jala, a first hand witness and a student then, who was present at the start of the Bario Revival

This is the testimony of Osart Jallong, together with Dato' Sri Idris Jala, who were students then, share their personal experiences regarding the Bario Revival

More testimonies on the supernatural signs & wonders of the Bario Revival

Dato' Sri Idris Jala shared on what happened to him after the Bario Revival.

Pastor Solomon's concluding exhortation

This is a book documenting the events that happened in Bario, Sarawak.
The Bario Revival written by Solomon Bulan & Lillian Bulan-Dorai.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ba' kelalan Revival, 1984 Revisited

We received a copy of the recording of the first hand witnesses share their testimonies to the Ba' kelalan Revival. We believe that this is a heritage that we as Christians in Malaysia should know about and to be proud of. Let this Revival be told again and again and let it never be forgotten for generations to come. Let us listen to the recordings and pray for God to send another Revival to us.

There is a book "DRUNK BEFORE DAWN" written by Shirley Lees documenting this Revival and the book is sold in most of the major Christian bookstores in Malaysia. This book has also been translated into Bahasa Malaysia called, "MABUK SEBELUM FAJAR MENYINSING" by Evelyn Tan

After searching through the net, we found this write up on the Bakalalan Revival which happened in Sarawak in 1984, from Ps Dr Philip Lyn's blog. Click here for original source : Skyline

Ba’kalalan is a cluster of village located near the Sarawak/Sabah/Kalimantan border, some 2700 feet above sea level. Named after the Kelalan river which flows through the fertile area, it is home of the hospitable Lun Bawang people (formerly called Muruts),

once fierce head-hunters given to excessive drinking and quarrels in the days of the Rajah Brooke. The early British colonia government had more or less left them to die out as a tribe because they were often “drunk before dawn”, plagued with diseases and deemed unsalvageable as a people. When the gospel reached them 60 years ago, their lifestyles changed. Prized heads inherited from their ancestor were destroyed. The drinking stopped. So did their animistic practices. Wholesale conversion of longhouses and villages took place. However, over the next thirty years, the fire dimmed and the Lun Bawang people became spiritually complacent and dry.

In 1984, an outpouring of the Spirit took place in the villages of Bakalalan. This visitation was accompanied with unusual signs and wonders; water changed to oil, rice to flour, fireballs and stars of fire lit up in the sky. There were angelic visitations. Central to this was a man of prayer and much humility called Agung Bangau. Just as God used Evan Roberts in Wales, William J Seymour in Azusa, Pak Agung (as he was known) was used of God as the point man. He used to foretell the appearance of many of the signs that appeared during the years of 1984-85. Both the timing and the nature of these unusual manifestations together with the prophetic words released by him brought the people into an awe and reverence of God and led to widespread repentance and worship. Some of the most beautiful singing you will ever hear in Sarawak are from this part of the world. It reminds you of what God did in Wales when new songs flowed from the softened hearts of previously crude, hardened coal miners.

Today we look at what God did in Bakalalan over 25 years ago. I had just arrived in Sabah then and had heard of revival but did not have the heart or means to visit Bakalalan. Today we won’t miss out. With us this morning is Roland Satu, a school principal in the days when the revival broke out, who will share with us a first-hand account of what God did. Also to give us a glimpse into the heart of his father, who went to be with the Lord in 1992, is Jeffry Agung, (son of Agung Bangau), now a pastor of a church near Kuching. Catch the fire of what God can do in our nation again. We are of all people, most blessed to have had revival, not just once, but twice since the formation of Malaysia. Do it again, Lord and start with us!

Ps Dr Philip Lyn





Sunday, April 3, 2011

Solutions to address Bible issue - The Star Online

Sunday April 3, 2011
Solutions to address Bible issue
Press statement by Datuk Seri Idris Jala, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, on a 10-point solution.
THE Government confirmed that it has been in dialogue with the Christian groups to look into their specific requests on the Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia Bible and also other religious issues. Taking into account the polarity of views of the different religious groups, including the Muslims, the Government decided on a 10-point solution.
1. Bibles in all languages can be imported into the country, including Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia.

2. These Bibles can also be printed locally in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. This is a new development which should be welcomed by the Christian groups.
3. Bibles in indigenous languages of Sabah and Sarawak such as Iban, Kadazan-Dusun and Lun Bawang can also be printed locally and imported.
4. For Sabah and Sarawak, in recognition of the large Christian community in these states, there are no conditions attached to the importation and local printing of the Bible in all languages, including Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia and indigenous languages. There is no requirement for any stamp or serial number.
5. Taking into account the interest of the larger Muslim community, for Peninsular Malaysia, Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia, imported or printed, must have the words “Christian Publication” and the cross sign printed on the front covers.
6. In the spirit of 1Malaysia and recognising that many people travel between Sabah and Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, there should be no prohibitions and restrictions for people who bring along their Bible and Christian materials on such travels.
7. A directive on the Bible has been issued by the Ketua Setiausaha (KSU) of the Home Ministry to ensure proper implementation of this Cabinet decision. Failure to comply will subject the officers to disciplinary action under the General Orders. A comprehensive briefing by top officials, including the Attorney-General (AG), will be given to all relevant civil servants to ensure good understanding and proper implementation of the directive.
8. For the impounded Bibles in Kuching, Gideon, the importer can collect all the 30,000 Bibles free of charge. We undertake to ensure the parties involved are reimbursed. The same offer remains available for the importer of the 5,100 Bibles in Port Klang, which have already been collected by the Bible Society Malaysia (BSM) last week.
9. Beyond the Bible issue, the Govern­ment wishes to reiterate its commitment to work with the Christian groups and all the different religious groups in order to address inter-religious issues and work towards the fulfilment of all religious aspirations in accordance with the Constitution, taking into account the other relevant laws of the country. In order to bring urgency to this work, the Prime Minister will meet the representatives of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) soon to discuss the way forward.
10. The Christian ministers in the Cabinet will meet on a regular basis with representatives of the various Christian groups in order to discuss their issues and work with the relevant ministries and the PM in order to resolve them.
I hope this 10-point solution will be received positively by the Christian groups as being fair and reasonable. We have to look for a solution that deals with the Bible issue and also put a way forward to handle other issues raised by the Christian groups.
I think the Bible issue is very unfortunate, and in the spirit of Lent, it is time for sacrifice, reconciliation and forgiveness.
In our history, as a young nation, we achieved a lot in a short period of time, but we have our shortcomings.
The Government and our civil servants are not perfect as indeed all human beings are “beautifully imperfect” in the eyes of God.
And for all our shortcomings in handling the Bible issue, I hope the Christians would find it in their hearts to forgive us.
In my Church at SIBKL, we have been praying for a Christian revival to take place in our country. For all the hurt that exists as a result of our differences, I believe that we need healing, forgiveness and reconciliation in this country.
The Bible says in Matthew 18:21-22 – Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered: “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

Green light to import and print the Bible locally in all languages - The Star Online

Sunday April 3, 2011
Green light to import and print the Bible locally in all languages
PETALING JAYA: The Government has decided to allow the Bible in all languages, including Bahasa Malaysia and Indonesia, to be imported into the country.
The Bible can also be printed locally in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak and in indigenous languages such as Iban, Kadazandusun and Lun Bawang.
For Sabah and Sarawak, there will be no conditions attached to the importation and local printing of the Bible in all languages, with no requirement for any stamp or serial number.
For Peninsular Malaysia, the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia, imported or printed, must have the words “Christian Publication” and the cross sign printed on the front cover.
No restriction would be imposed on people who bring their Bibles and Christian materials on travels between Sabah and Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.
These were part of a 10-point solution announced in a statement yesterday by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala, who said the views of the various religious groups, including Muslims, had been considered.
For the impounded Bibles in Kuching, the importer The Gideons International could collect all the 30,000 Bibles free of charge, he said, adding that the same offer was applicable to the importer of the 5,100 Bibles in Port Klang.