A New Mind


Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

                         (Paul to the Roman Christians. Romans 12:1-2)

Are you a child of your generation?

We will interact with our generation. There is no denying it. We can affirm what our generation tells us or we can think differently. Neither is good or bad. It all depends on whether we are affirming the right or wrong thing.

The Word of God calls us to think of our body “in view of God’s mercy.” He has clothed us with health, strength, goodness, and beauty. In view of our good bodies, instead of the broken body we deserve because of our sin, we ought to offer our body to God as a living sacrifice. That is worship. Because our body with its appetites dictates to our mind what to think.

The world has a pattern of thinking that is body-appetite driven. To live with the wisdom of God requires us to think above the way the world thinks. “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world.” Conformity is easy. Do you have the courage and mental fortitude to think as God thinks rather than follow the ways of the world? In our own strength we will conform.

We all start at a bad place – conformity to the world. This is why we need to make our minds new again. To renew it as though it were new from God’s hand. This will transform our life. We will “be transformed by the renewing of our mind.”

When the Holy Spirit transforms your mind, you will see the good and perfect will of God. From there, you will test God’s will, and you will approve it, because you will see it is true, and it stands the test of truth.

Life is not about a compromise of views. For the child of God, it is the transforming of lives through the renewing of our mind. To conform to God’s mind is to be delivered from the corruption of our generation.

“Let God be true and every human being a liar.”
(Romans 3:4)

Pastor Peter Eng


The Pastor behind the Turkey-US Dispute


The Singapore Dollar, together with most currencies, has been losing value against the US Dollar. Whenever any country is in dispute with America, that country’s currency loses value. Trump’s latest quarrel is with Turkey. Their currency crashed and we are affected. Today, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to read up on this.

To my surprise, this is about an American missionary pastor in Turkey, who was arrested two years ago on an espionage charge. (It is possible that Turkey did this as a ransom so America will extradite a Turk living in the US.) Trump warned that if Turkey will not release the pastor, the US will impose sanctions, and it has come in the form of tariffs.

This American pastor has been a missionary in Turkey for some 20 years with a small congregation of around 25 people. The Turkish president Erdogan is pro-Islamist, and had purged his political opponents in a massive crackdown that continues to this day. “OK,” I thought, “it is possible that a missionary might be in favor of a secular government rather than a pro-Islamist government. But it is unlikely that a pastor actually engages in espionage.”(We pastors are not that useful to governments!)

I read the pastor at the center of the controversy is Pastor Andrew Brunson. That name sounds familiar to me. I then look for his face and see an arrest picture. Yes, I think I know that face. Let me find a “non-arrest” picture. Yes, I almost certainly know him. I also remember the conversation I had with Andrew. I need one more confirmation. I search and true enough, I do know him. We met in Aberdeen Scotland around 20 years ago. There were three of us graduates from American Seminaries who hung out from time to time.

At that time, Andrew had served a stint in Turkey and was going to return to Turkey after his PhD. I knew nothing about present day Turkey, so I got an education from Andrew. Turkey transitioned from the distinctly Muslim Ottoman Empire to the modern day secular government even though it has a Muslim majority.(Something like Indonesia.).

What really impressed me was Andrew’s love for the Turkish people, and for Turkey as a country. He praised the warmth and openness of the people. He spoke glowingly of the Turkish government. He doesn’t wear rose-tinted glasses and understood the issues well. But God has clearly placed in his heart a love for the people of Turkey.

This is ironic. I was the one most interested in the theology of politics when we talked, but he is the one arrested on a political charge. Andrew is not a political creature. He made a commitment to a live a life of simplicity and to use his considerable capabilities to serve the people of Turkey as God’s call to him. He is not motivated by money, fame, success as the world sees it, or any sort of political activism. He is focused on bringing the Good News to the people he loves – the people of Turkey.

It is impossible for me to imagine how a person of this passion and clarity of heart and mind can get engaged in espionage. It is far more likely that the politicians are using him as a pawn towards their political end. This is my personal assessment.

Regardless, I am praying for him, and I invite you to pray with me and to open your heart to God’s servant who lives for the Kingdom of God. There is a report that he will be released tomorrow (15 Aug). Keep him in your prayer!

Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.

(Matthew 25:44-45)


Pastor Peter Eng


In Praise of the Disruptive?


You would have heard it. Our local media repeatedly extol “disruptive technology.” It is always spoken in glowing terms or with an assumption that disruptive technology is wonderful and we should jump in as soon as possible, and to the best of our ability. I wonder why.

When a child is disruptive in school, it’s considered a negative. If we have someone disruptive at our worship service that is not good. If someone is disruptive to our political system, that person would be a threat to the establishment. Yet the media, and it is surely done with approval from others above them, seem infatuated with disruption.

When disruption is the goal

Disruption should never be the goal. And it rarely is. The media focus for people to come up with disruptive technology is a wrong social construct. Disruptive technologies put people out of work, it impoverishes people and makes desperate people out of decent folks. For instance, if driverless cars take control, many taxi operators and truck drivers will lose their means of gainful employment. Yet, I must be quick to add that I am in favor of progress, even when there is disruption.

Every time something is done differently, there will be winners and losers. It doesn’t have to be technology. For instance, when highways are built, they bypass small towns and these towns languish. The ability to move quickly from one place to another and the ability to cover great distances is a winner for some and a loser for others.

This is the same with any government policy. For instance, the ability to acquire private land for public housing results in gain for many who need housing, but loss for those whose lands are acquired for a pittance. This action is disruptive to land owners. I am not making a moral judgment here but I am here to point out that with the exception of the status quo, there will always be disruption, and new technology is not the reason for disruption.

While it is apparent that the Bible does not talk about disruptive technology, God is very concerned with the welfare of people in a society. The praise of disruptive technology cheers the winners and ignores the losers. That is where I believe the media got it wrong. A compassionate society is not one that roots for winners and abandons losers. And again, I acknowledge that the government has all kinds of schemes to help people adapt to change. I do not dispute these attempts. I just take issue with the narrative that disruptive technology is good.

Innovation not disruption

Innovative technology should be the goal, not disruptive technology. Innovation seeks to improve things. When things improve, some will be left behind. There will be disruption. But that disruption is the unintended consequence of progress. This may seem like a fine point for some, but it is significant.

Innovations begin with the premise there are some unmet needs and you have a way to meet those needs. Perhaps you have a way to alleviate traffic jams. Perhaps you have a way to organize so we waste less. Whatever the issue may be, you come up with an innovation (technology or management) to make things better. In the process of making things better, some people will lose out, but many will benefit. Innovation focuses on how to be a positive contribution to society. The goal of innovation is good (usually), but the goal of disruption is selfish.

Disruptive technology or disruptive management is not interested in producing good in society. Its goal is to do things differently so it can grab market share, prosper, and put other people out of business. Disruptive approaches do not seek the public good, but only the good of the disrupter. It is a social evil. For this reason, there are antitrust laws that prohibit predatory corporate behavior to serve its own interest. For instance, if my goal is to disrupt the taxi services in Singapore, I may discover a way to buy up the competition and then raise the prices. That is disruption for personal gain, and there is nothing good about this.

If the goal of driverless cars is to improve safety, reduce cost, improve comfort, etc. then, the innovation is intended for good, even though there may be people who suffer loss. The goal of innovation is to bless society. The goal of disruption for its own sake is to enrich self and impoverish others.

They cannot deny the march of progress. Farming used to take up 80% of the work force. Inventions, different methods, and such like, reduced the number of people needed to produce food. Today in America, only 3% are involved in farming, and yet they have the capacity to export food. The people who lose their farming jobs go into other sectors. These farming jobs will never return. Manufacturing picked up the manpower demand lost in farming. But manufacturing is now shedding jobs on account of greater efficiencies. Lost manufacturing jobs are not coming back.

Innovations create disruptions to the lives of people. But that is not the goal, that is the unintended negative result of innovation. Innovation would produce many effects, mostly good, but there will be an unintended disruption to some people.

Don’t beggar your neighbor

It starts with the heart. When our life purpose is to love God supremely and love our neighbor as ourselves, we will not try to beggar our neighbor for personal gain. If we do that, we will pull the rug under our own feet. The classic case is Napster. It was a disruptive technology based on Peer-to-Peer sharing of music. This means the musicians were no longer able to derive an income from the music they produce. If that had persisted, musicians will stop producing new music because they will not be able to survive. Napster was disruptive without regard to musicians and it beggared musicians. Napster was no more than a new way of stealing. There is nothing to celebrate about that.

If I were a developer and I want to acquire a piece of land to build and make money, I can go the collective sale route or I can simply send in arsonists to torch the place and buy it at fire-sale prices. Both actions are ultimately disruptive because the residents have to move. But one seeks to share the wealth whereas the other seeks to maximize profit by beggaring the neighbor.

While no technology is involved in the above example, the point is that there will be disruptions in life. We cannot escape it. It is neither good nor bad in itself. But when there is no love for one’s neighbor and one uses technology, or arson, or any other means to disrupt for personal gain, it is morally wrong.

Building God’s kingdom

Sometimes we wonder how our work-a-day lives contribute to live out our life purpose and build the kingdom of God.

It is not easy to give an answer because our world has become extremely complex. Your job may seem very remote from any relevance to building God’s kingdom. But the principle is actually simple enough. But it is the application of the principle that we need to recognize.

Our purpose is to live out the Great Command (love God and neighbor) and the Great Commission (make disciples).

So how do I love God in my weekly or my daily schedule? Do I set aside time to spend with him and enjoy his presence? I don’t understand the work of investment banking and cannot tell you whether it is virtuous or not. But investment banking is notorious for burning out their staff. Recently, an email from Moelis & Co (global independent investment bank) went viral. Apparently a staffer sent out an email that he checked and found no one in office at 2:00am (apparently actual time was 12:30am). He chided the staff for not being there! (Moelis is notorious for long hours, so this may be a fabrication to put the issue in the spotlight.)

If your job leaves you no place for God, that job should have no place in your life. If your job beggars your neighbor rather than bless him, then it is time to plan your exit.

I believe there is a fundamental problem with trying to be disruptive and there is a fundamental virtue in innovation. The goal of disruption is inconsistent with kingdom building work. The goal of innovation is consistent with kingdom building. But if our innovation is inadvertently disruptive, we need to ask if we have the power to ameliorate that disruption; and if we do, then we have a moral duty to provide a softer landing for those we inadvertently disrupt.

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”
(1 Corinthians 13:6)

Pastor Peter Eng


I Am Not Anointed

Some Christians, disciples of Christ our Lord, like to honor effective preachers or other people doing visible spiritual work by giving them the title “anointed.” On several occasions, I have been also honored with this term. “You are anointed of the Lord!”

If you ask them what that means, they probably have a hard time explaining to you, but in the context of how it is said, we can take it to mean someone who is empowered by the Holy Spirit of God and does a good job. Few people know the real meaning of anointed. However, every minister who has received theological training knows, or ought to know the meaning of “anointed.” And from the wrong use of the term, I cannot help but conclude that they either don’t know the meaning, or choose to bask in it—when they should not.

Why not?

Because the word “anointed” means “Christ.”

I am not anointed because I am not Christ!

The Story Of The Word

The English word “anointed” is from the verb “to anoint.” It is an old word from an old practice. It is the practice of pouring or applying oil on a person. In ordinary use, it is used for people anointing themselves with oil (splashing on some fragrance, or applying some grooming oil on the head (Matthew 6:17), or anointing the sick with oil (James 5).

The Greek word for anoint is “chrio” from which we get the word “Christ,” meaning the Anointed one. This is carried over from the Hebrew word “HaMashiach” from which we get the word “Messiah” also meaning “the Anointed One.” The meaning is quite simple and without dispute:

Anointed (English) = Christ (Greek) = Messiah (Hebrew).

The special meaning of this word has its roots in the OT. Setting aside the mundane use of the word, to be anointed in the OT means to be chosen by God and set aside, to be consecrated, and to be divinely authorized to serve as prophet, priest or king. (Leviticus 8:12; 1 Kings 19:16; Psalm 133:2). The most prominent use in the OT is the anointing of kings. This means BEFORE a person becomes a king, God sends his prophets to anoint the man to indicate that he will become king. The person the prophet anoints is the appointed king even though he may not take his throne at that time or even soon after.

God sent the prophet Samuel to anoint Saul and he became the first king of Israel (1 Samuel 9:16; 10:1) When God rejected Saul, he sent Samuel to anoint David as the new king (1 Samuel 16:3, 13).

In the New Testament, the verb “anoint” (Greek: chrio) is used once to mean consecrate (2 Corinthians 1:21); but it is used with increasing restraint to refer to Jesus: (Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27; 10:38; Hebrews 1:9). The noun form, “the anointed one” refers primarily to Jesus as the anointed King over God’s kingdom. For example: “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, or whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ” (Matthew 1:16, KJV) “Messiah” (NIV); “Christos” (Greek) “Anointed One” (Voice).

Jesus is the final king of God’s kingdom. He is the fulfillment of all the anointed kings of the OT and he is the eternal ruler on David’s throne. Jesus is THE Messiah. By the time of the NT, the people restricted the use of the word “the Anointed One / Messiah / Christ” to the one who would come and bring in God’s kingdom. In contrast to the true Anointed One / Messiah / Christ are the false anointed ones / messiahs / christs.

So I am quite horrified to hear people say things like, “He is an anointed preacher.” Or “He is an anointed healer.” Or “He is anointed by God.” While I understand they do not know what they are saying, it baffles me that their pastors do not tell them what it means. From the time of Christ, no Christian should wait for another Christ. Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the King over God’s Kingdom. That is the primary meaning of Jesus being the fulfilment of all the prophecies that come before Jesus—that on the throne of David will come the ultimate Anointed One, the hope of Israel, the light of the world.

There is no other Christ beside Jesus. There is no other Messiah beside Jesus. There can be no Anointed One after Jesus.

To Jesus alone will I proclaim the title the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One of the Father. It does not come to my mind that I or anyone should have the temerity to say “I am anointed.” To me, that is tantamount to an attempt to share the title of Messiah that belongs to Jesus alone.

Claiming to be anointed / christ

John the Baptist is enjoying great popularity as a preacher. The religious leaders come to him asking, “Who are you?” John replied, “I am not the Messiah (John 1:20, NIV); that is the same as saying, “I am not the Anointed One” (Voice).

Words have meaning. And that meaning changes over time. When the fulfillment of something has come, and there can be no more after him, the term used for him that might be a common term used earlier, takes on an exclusivity. For example: “imperator” was the term used for a successful Roman general. Later, all military successes were to be attributed to Augustus Caesar. So the term “imperator” fell out of use for generals, and was applied to Augustus exclusively. This is the term that became “emperor” in English. A common term became an exclusive term.

In the English speaking world, children are not named “Jesus” because we want to reserve that for Jesus the Christ. I think that is a good thing, even though I have no quarrel with the Spanish speaking world that continues to use “Jesus” as a name. Generally, the name “Jesus” a common name, became an exclusive name, because we dare not get too close to the name used by Jesus our Lord.

Kings were anointed by God, especially when they were going to be a first king of a new dynasty. Saul was anointed to kingship (1 Samuel 10:1). David was anointed to kingship to replace Saul (1 Samuel 16:13). Solomon was anointed to indicate he is to be the rightful king (1 Kings 1:34).

The non-exclusive use of the verb “to anoint” remains in use in the New Testament, but it is not common. The Christians in Corinth were all called anointed who stand in Christ, that is, all believers (2 Corinthians 1:21). The Christians to whom John wrote all have an anointing from the Holy One (1 John 2:20).

When it is used in this way, “anointed” refers to all Christians being consecrated to God. There is no special group of Christians who are anointed (consecrated) as opposed to Christians who are not anointed (consecrated). Any special anointing referred only to Jesus.

Jesus warns his disciples (Matthew 24):

4 … “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ [the Anointed One] and they will lead many astray.
23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ [Anointed One] or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs [anointed ones] and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
Jesus tells us that anyone who claims to be an anointed one is to be rejected. At the very least, it should be a red flag, a sign that they are false. “Anointed / Messiah” is not a badge of honor, it is a warning of danger. Jesus has come, there is no other Anointed One / Messiah.


I am not anointed, I am only ordained.

The Christian Church usually practices “ordination.” not “anointing.” The person who is ordained is one who has committed his life to serving God in his Church. He is first examined by a group of senior ministers and upon acceptance he is consecrated (ordained) to the work of the Lord. This person takes on the title “the Reverend” and that title remains unless he is defrocked. The word “Reverend” is from the hoary past, and it means someone deserving of respect. In today’s world, “Reverend” is used less and less as people become less formal. But the term is still important because it indicates to the observer that this person has received affirmation from a recognized church body that he is a minister of God.

It is ironic that the less grandiose title of “reverend” should be losing popularity against the super grandiose title of “anointed.” Even though I don’t tout my “Reverend” title it is indicated in formal documentation so the reader knows how to place me. But you will never find me with the title “Anointed.” I am a servant of the Anointed One, I am not the anointed one.

I am not “anointed” because I am not “Christ.”

Pastor Peter Eng


The Latter Rain

From time to time, you will hear people talk about “The Latter Rain,” usually in the context of a revival that we are to expect just before the return of Jesus. The latter rain comes from the agricultural calendar of the people of Israel. As we are going through the Jewish calendar this year, it is an excellent opportunity for us to gain clarity on this subject.

The prophecy of Joel says:
Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. (Joel 2:23, KJV)

Capturing the imagination

Joel 2 is cited by Peter during Pentecost, and the “latter rain” movement says that Pentecost was the “former rain,” and just before the return of Jesus, there will be a “latter rain,” a repeat and an amplification of Pentecost.

This has captured the imagination of many, and even people who do not belong to the Latter Rain movement somehow see the promise of a global super revival in the end-times. Let’s look at the text(s) concerning the latter rain to see if that is what it means.

Meaning of terms

The “former rain” refers to the autumn rain that comes starting October. It is a light rain that prepares the ground for planting and for the newly planted wheat to germinate and take root. The “latter rain” comes in spring to swell the grain and prepare it for harvest in late spring. I find it hard to understand Joel 2:23 because the latter rain (spring rain) is supposed to come “in the first month.” The reference to “the first month” makes no sense.

The solution is found in that the word “month” is supplied by the KJV translators, it does not exist in the Hebrew text. So we need to remove the word “month” to clarify the meaning. Most interpreters understand “in the first,” to mean “as before.” This means the latter (spring) rain will come as it did in the past, and God’s people will enjoy God’s blessings again. Most translations take this understanding, as seen in the NIV: “Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.”

Meaning in context

Joel’s message from the LORD comes in the wake of a devastating locust swarm (Joel 1:1-4). It is described as though it were an invading army (not an army described as locusts). Joel calls the people to lament and to look to God for deliverance. In the face of this disaster, the people plead with God.

18 Then the LORD was jealous for his land
and took pity on his people.
19 The LORD replied to them:
“I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil,
enough to satisfy you fully;
Be glad, people of Zion,
rejoice in the LORD your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains
because he is faithful.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before.
24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.
(Joel 2, NIV)

The message of the LORD through Joel is that they are not to be despondent because if they will resume planting, God will send them the autumn rain to make the planting productive, and the spring rain (latter rain) to make the harvest bounteous. There is nothing here to suggest the spring rain to be anything other than literal spring rain for a people desperate for help to recover from the devastating locust plague. Of course, we can apply this to God’s heart for his hurting people and find great relevance in this. But there is no hint this is about an end-time revival.

What follows

Peter quotes from Joel 2 during Pentecost saying it’s about the last days. Even a cursory reading will tell us why.

28 “And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.

32 And everyone who calls
on the name of the LORD will be saved;
(Joel 2, NIV)

AFTER the LORD has delivered the people from the locust plague, he will bring about a greater blessing. “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.”

Peter is explaining the second part of Joel’s blessings fulfilled at Pentecost. There will be a great blessing of God’s Spirit after the deliverance of the locust plague. This is the typical way prophecies of the future are given. The Lord addresses the then current situation, and adds, “By the way, this other thing will also happen before or after this.” For example, Micah (5:2) prophesies that their enemies will defeat them (current), but God will raise up a ruler born in Bethlehem, who will deliver them (future), whom all agree refers to the coming Messiah Jesus.

Joel comforts the people with God’s promise to bless the people with a fruitful harvest, and he says clearly, AFTER this blessing of the autumn and spring rain, there will be the blessing of the Spirit of God.

All the references to Latter Rain / Spring Rain

There are nine references to “latter rain” (“spring rain”) in the Bible: Deuteronomy 11:14; Job 29:23; Proverbs 16:15; Jeremiah 3:3; 5:24; Hosea 6:3; Joel 2:23; Zechariah 10:1; James 5:7. Not a single reference to “latter/spring rain” refers to some great end-time revival before the coming of Jesus.

While there may be a Pentecost type revival in the end times, though that is in doubt, it is clear that if such a revival were to happen, it has nothing to do with the expression “latter/spring rain.” Prophecies concerning the return of Jesus must be approached with humility, not presumption. We can find information that would not fit together well. That is just like the first coming of Jesus. The Jewish people fumbled by rejecting the servant Messiah because it does not fit the king Messiah. Yet in Jesus, it is all fulfilled.

If we were to accept there will be an end-time revival (but not found in the “latter rain” expression), we must balance that against the prophecy that there will be a rebellion (or apostasy) before the Lord Jesus returns. The exact opposite of a revival. We know this because Paul assures the worried Thessalonians that they have not missed the coming of the Lord. He tells them, “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3; cf Matthew 24:10-12).

Until there is a “rebellion,” or “falling away” the Lord will not return. What we do not know is the timeline. There can be both a rebellion and a revival, but at different times. From what Paul says, it appears that the rebellion will be one of the events that will happen at the very end, and it comes with the appearance of “the man of lawlessness” (which we cannot go into here).

Imagine the danger of assuming there will be a revival when instead there will be a falling away. Christians will then be embracing the work of the devil in the guise of a revival. (I speak hypothetically, I am not saying that the latter rain claims are advocated by people who are agents of the devil.) One of the worst mistakes we can make is to call the end-time rebellion the end-time revival.

The Latter Rain Movement

The idea that there will be a great revival before the return of Jesus began in the late 18th century, and the key belief is that the last days have arrived, Jesus is coming soon, and there will be Spirit baptism seen in tongues, prophecy, miracles, etc. This gave birth to the Pentecostal Movement (1900). In the second half of the 20th century, the Pentecostal Movement was losing steam and became greatly concerned. A Pentecostal group in Saskatchewan, Canada, experienced a revival, which is dubbed a “Latter Rain Revival.” This is followed by many other claims of latter rain revivals, many of which are extreme, bizarre, short-lived, and ultimately self-discrediting (e.g. the “holy laughter” phenomenon).

The attractiveness of the Latter Rain Movement is that it gives people something to hope for, even though the basis of that hope is not founded in Scripture or on truth. So many Christians take the pessimistic view that things are going to get worse till Jesus comes, that they are desperate for some Bible sounding reason to pray for revival and to hope for something good in their own life-time.

The reason for true hope will be another discussion. What I hope to establish in this article is to point out that there is no basis for the use of “latter rain” as a tag for end-time revival.

Do Not Be Deceived

Here @theWell, we are deeply committed to the Word of God as our source of spiritual truth. Our core values: B-A-R-E starts with “B” for “Biblical.” We say what Scripture says and will not say what Scripture does not say. It is clear that the “latter rain” basis of revival is incorrect. If there will be a revival, it cannot be found in the biblical references to the latter rain. The latter rain is no more and no less than a reference to the spring rain.

Many good things are done in spite of false hope. But we must not assume false hope is harmless. It leads to terrible disappointment, and perhaps even to the end-time rebellion Paul warns us about.

If good things can happen with false hope, imagine what God has in store for those who possess true hope.

Pastor Peter Eng


Is It True?

That question “Is it true” does not seem to matter anymore.

We are in a “post-modernist” world—for better or for worse. And one aspect of this world is that we all have our opinions. Four people can have five opinions, and they are all supposed to be equally right. We are hearing the angry, frustrated, and increasingly strident assertion: “You can have your own opinion; but you cannot have your own facts.” There is a desperation to this call for truth. But it is falling on deaf ears.

We are moving into the post-truth era. It is no longer “I have a right to my opinion,” but “I have a right to my own facts.” False information is not so blatant that we can spot it easily. Most of us will admit we were mistaken before, but too many believe we cannot be mistaken at this point in time.

There have been times when I come across some information that makes so much sense, and it confirms what I think is true. This information can be an email, or an appeal letter, etc. I promptly send it off to other people because the sender says if you agree, send it to 10 other people. Some are indeed genuine appeals. But I discover to my dismay that what I have resent is fake news thinking it is true. For instance, I get a message that says as we speak, Christians in Syria was being massacred by Daesh, but that news is two years old. I can be fooled because these atrocities are generally true.

You can say there is no harm in praying even if the appeal is not true. Yes, there is some truth in that. But believing a lie to be truth is harmful to us as Christians. It is like saying, “I have a right to be gullible because it is a spiritual matter.” Or worse, to think “So long as it increases my devotion to God, it’s all right.”

That was the take of the Roman Catholic Church which led to the Reformation. The reformer John Calvin rightly said there were so many pieces of wood claiming to be from the cross of Christ that if you were to bring them together, you have enough to build an ark. During the Reformation, people got their religious kick from venerating relics. (These are pieces or remains of “saints” or articles of religious significance.) There arose the powerful myth of the “holy grail” which remains the grist of many a story today.

It’s easy to point out false information from the past. What is not so easy to spot is present falsehood. We will find certain falsehood easy to believe, and we pass them on with good intention but they remain bad information.

There was a time when we get our news from the mass media, like certain news reporting agencies. Today, we use them less and less. We get news from tweets, or messages sent to us by friends, and in various other ways through the internet. We have good reason to distrust the mass media, but we trust our friends. Christians have always been bullied by a left-leaning, god-hating, and now, LGBT-promoting media. Many of us switch off. In Singapore, our media used to operate under fairly strict guidelines from the political powers that be. Today, the media is less controlled, but it remains unsatisfactory because: (1) it is left-leaning and LGBT promoting; (2) it presents selective, politically-correct reporting; and (3) it exercises political self-censorship, and remains the stooge of the government.

Many of us are fed-up with the mass media, and we take delight in news reports that challenge the established platform. Example one: the surreptitious moving of MRT train cars for repairs. Example two: our armored personnel carriers impounded by Hong Kong. These two recent events came to light through non-standard media. They help confirm our suspicion towards the mass media. If you are still too trusting of the media, you may benefit from a more critical view of the news you hear. (I am not advocating unhealthy cynicism; or supporting conspiracy theories.)

Our weakness, our typical failure, where we fall prey, is when we discover something that confirms what we already suspect is true. We believe it is true because we want it to be true. Let me give you some examples.

Many Christians dislike Obama for his leftist principles. So we are prepared to believe everything bad about him. It doesn’t matter that these assertions are not true but we love them so much we believe them and pass them on, and we don’t care that there is no credible evidence to support these assertions. Before Obama was George Bush. Some people hated George Bush so much they choose to believe lies about him, like the common assertion that he attacked Iraq for oil. This myth is fueled by hatred, not common sense. War for oil must be the most expensive way to get it. (Today, there is similar myth that China’s interest in the South China Sea is about oil.)

Do you know how people are trying to manipulate you?

1. They make use of your assumption and create fake news out of it. If you are a conservative Christian (which I am), I will invariably get a lot of negative news about Clinton. Google records where we surf and what we click. They create a profile of you through your searches, and begin to pitch things to you based on relevance. For instance, I will get a lot of fake news against Hillary Clinton, and a lot of fake news about how dangerous the world is, and how America needs a strong leader to reverse the policy of Obama. These reports mix truth with scary falsehood based on my assumptions so I will be tilted to support a certain candidate. And Google (or Facebook) does not censor or filter.

Another example is that I prefer food products that are not processed. What I search online tells Google that. What I get on my YouTube recommendations will skew towards that. I will see a lot of false claims based on my own bias (together with reliable studies). I will see a lot of posts on natural cures, home cures, alternative medicine, TCM, holistic medicine, etc. And I need to be quick to add that most of it is nonsense. And as I turn away from these posts, they magically appear less and less.

2. Beware! Your assumptions will do you in. The internet is NOT a filtered source of information. I do not like the liberal filter I see in the mass media. And if you are conservative in your thinking like me, you would probably be also getting a lot of false news that support the conservative position. My red flag goes up when I see news that seems to fit everything nicely. That is not the nature of reality. Truth is simple but not simplistic. Truth often surprises us, and may not be what appears at first. If we see our assumptions affirmed by “secrets” or if the news fits everything too nicely, I would suggest the need to verify. Someone may be trying to strum your strings and nudge you to where they want you to go. Whatever you want to believe, you will have the fake news to back you up. Keep your beliefs, but reject the fake proofs. People cannot manipulate you in what you are skeptical about. But you will have a tendency to be gullible in what you already believe, even if that belief is fundamentally sound.

Christians must stand as defenders of all truth – even when truth is inconvenient. Our faith is not based on feelings though it is a passionate faith. It is not based on community though there is a lot of community. It is not based on personal views though there is enough of it. The Christian faith is based on truth. On the one hand, there is truth that is clearly demonstrable – like the resurrection of Jesus; and on the other, there is truth that cannot be falsified, like the reality of God.

If we make it a habit to allow falsehood to justify religious passion, we will head the path of the dark ages. That is when the ability of relics to inflame passion is more important than the reality that relics are useless at best, and fake at worst.

Most of us come from a good church tradition that emphasizes truth. That is one invaluable aspect of our tradition we must promote without apology.

Preconceived notions that are reinforced by means of false news are harmful to us individually and to us as the body of Christ. When the Christian faith values views more than truth, we condemn ourselves to darkness. And you can be sure the same darkness that breeds the evil found in the medieval church will resurface if we, like them, choose the false news that is convenient rather than hard truth that makes our case more difficult. But a case for truth that is hard won will be thorough, enduring, and pleasing to God.

Pastor Peter Eng


Christian Political Engagement

To the delight of some and the dismay of many, Donald Trump has been elected POTUS 45. I am among those who dread Trump as president. There is a general agreement both Hilary and Trump are terrible choices, but in the case of Trump I have publicly rejected him as unfit for the office. He is the only candidate on whom I have spoken so outwardly against. And it is fair if some wonder why I am so opposed to him, or even if I should talk about him. Let’s discuss.

Minister of the Good News of the Kingdom

I may have my views on Trump’s wall, his take on the TPP, on his view of Russia, taxation, etc. But I do not speak of them as a minister of the Good News because that is not my calling. I am, however, called to uphold biblical truth and Christian character, and to that, I have both right and duty to speak to you as a minister from the truth of God’s Word.


Some of you have been with me for a time, and you may have noticed a pattern on my political engagement. I wrote about whether Ben Carson is electable on account of his being a Seventh Day Adventist, and concluded that he is electable as an Adventist. That is a faith matter. Before that, I wrote about whether Mitt Romney is electable as a Mormon, and concluded he is not electable because Mormonism is a cult and his presidency would give Mormonism permanent legitimacy. That is a faith matter. Both of these are Republicans. But it does not mean I support Democrats!

When Obama was candidating and gaining the support of many Christians, I evaluated Obama’s candidacy on three things. (1) Obama is not just a supporter of abortion, but a promoter of it. He has blatant disregard for the life of the unborn and was only one of two senators who chose not to support the ban on partial birth abortion. This is a procedure when a child is partially delivered and the abortionist inserts a tube to puncture and suck out the child’s brain. (2) Obama has been a lifelong liberal on the far left spectrum, farther left than Hilary Clinton. I was incredulous when he declared that marriage is between a man and a woman when the left position had always supported gay marriage. I did not believe him, and asked Christians to question his sincerity. (3) Obama belonged to a church that taught black liberation theology. This is a black-people first ideology and it is corrosive and socially divisive. I believed that would not be helpful to the nation. (No, he is not a Muslim.). All these are matters of faith.

I did not believe Obamacare could work, but I did not talk about it because it was not a faith issue. I think his economic plan will produce an anemic recovery and it turns out I am right, but I did not talk about that either. I believe he will engage in cronyism and he did, wasting national resources. That is a moral-ethical thing, but I was not as certain about it and did not talk about it. If I have considerable doubt about where he stood, or if the subject matter does not concern biblical values, I abstain from public comment.

I openly reject Trump as unsuitable to become POTUS on biblical values. I agree with many of the non-religious issues he raised, and disagree with many. But I do not comment on them. I am a minister and I come to you as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. I do not speak my views on non-biblical matters; only on biblical ones.


Trump is the worst possible candidate because he is a moral and ethical wreck. Let me just give you a short list. (1) He owns casinos and makes dirty money. (2) He owns strip clubs that abuse women for his personal gain. (3) He uses bankruptcy laws to protect himself and defraud creditors. (4) His rhetoric promotes hatred and racial divisiveness. This is an ethical issue, and we who live in Singapore are aware that racial harmony is a function of an upright government. He actively promotes racial division. (5) He abuses women through his power and teaches other men to do the same. (6) His pride is legendary, and God hates pride, perhaps above all the sins of man. (The list goes on.)trump-casino

But, Christians don’t care. And I wonder why. People tell me, “It’s the economy, stupid.” OK, so I am stupid and I am not talking about the economy. But the economy, or security, or defense, are not my right to comment. My only right to comment is on matters related to faith. But Christians don’t care. I get that. Christians don’t care about how flawed Trump is as a person. I maintain that character matters first (apparently most Christians don’t think that character matters.)

So I lay out for you the nature of my political engagement, and I believe that is also the right Christian political engagement in terms of political leaders. Yet, I do not believe we have come to the core of Christian political engagement because these are only peripheral to the main point of our engagement in politics.


Our Main Political Engagement

Let us remember that Jesus died on a political charge: “Jesus King of the Jews,” still seen today on crosses and crucifixes as “INRI” (Latin). When Jesus rose from death, he made it clear that things are not to continue as before. In relation to the powers of this world, he said, “All authority has been given to me, in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Jesus did no less than to declare that with his resurrection, he is now the true king over all the earth. Anyone who does not receive him as king is in effect living in rebellion.

Christians need to remove our spiritualizing of the rule of Jesus Christ. He is the Lord of heaven and earth. He has come to redeem humankind and to redeem the earth itself. The Word of God declares, “…creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:21). Jesus has come to redeem us, and through us, to redeem the world, before he comes and brings that work to completion.

Jesus also gives clear instruction on how we are to bring about his kingdom. First he makes it clear he has authority over heaven and earth. Next he tells us how he will exercise his authority through his disciples, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20, NLT).

The main course of Christian political engagement is not in politics itself, but in building God’s kingdom by making disciples.

Look at the example of the early church. They did not engage in the politics of Rome by trying to overthrow Rome. They were not even fighting over the issues of public morals or ethics in the Roman Empire. For instance, many children were exposed and left to die. Christians did not petition Rome to outlaw this practice. Instead, they adopted these children and raised them as their own, and founded orphanages. They saw the poor impoverished care given to the sick, especially those who were poor, and they started hospitals to look after the sick.

The early Christians eventually won over those who persecuted them because they obeyed Jesus in their political engagement: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And when the situation arises, “Love your enemy;” “Bless those who persecute you.”

Christians engage in politics by making disciples. The Bible cannot be more clear how Jesus wants to assert his lordship. And for the longest time I too was caught up with the easy road of hatred. It is easier to hate Muslims or atheists than to love them. It is easier to hate communists than to love them. It is easier to engage in the politics of this world and roll in the mud with all the commotion than to stand aside and win them. It is easier to swing a violent fist than to offer an open hand.

One reason why Christians forget to love is our pessimism. Many Christians today will tell without hesitation this world is getting worse, not better. And that the world must get worse until Jesus comes to make it better. That is one view of the end times, and by no means the only view. The historic Christians were more positive about the world. They believe that by making disciples for Jesus, they can change the world for the better.

The result of a pessimistic view of history is that Christians have joined the ranks of those who grab what they can. After all, if the world will be destroyed and all will be gone, and everything is getting worse, it makes sense for me to grab a piece of the pie for myself before it’s all gone! Brethren, our core beliefs control our view of the world around us. And that is a very wrong view. (It is possible to have a pessimistic view of the world and still do good, but that is not my narrative, and someone who advocates it must create that narrative.)

Christians today are many times more passionate about engaging politics like the world does, and lack the passion to make disciples – even though Jesus is as clear as he could be that disciple making is to be our main political engagement.

It is fair to ask how making disciples translate into political engagement. The answer is both simple and sublime. Genuine Christians in power living out what is true in their walk with God at all levels of government regardless of political party is powerful. It is more powerful than for American Christians to rush behind Trump or before that, to rush behind Obama.

Look at Obama as the case in point. How has Obama’s administration in 8 years advanced the cause of Jesus Christ our Lord? Was the Christian view of marriage protected? Did those suffering injustice get justice? Did the gap between the rich and poor not widen (assuming that is one measure of social justice)? Is the church blessed in any way? Christians who supported Obama have to admit that his administration failed to produce anything that is worthwhile to Jesus Christ. Why? Because Obama was a social activist, who subsumed his faith to the interest of the blacks in America, as seen in his long standing attachment to the black liberation theology church.

In contrast, look at George Bush who is a true believer in Christ. The media vilify him because of their liberal bias. But look at what he did or tried to do. He outlawed federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research and was pilloried for this. The result is that scientists discovered how to get stem-cells from skin, and the sanctity of life is preserved. He tried to amend the constitution to assert that marriage is between a man and a woman, but there was inadequate support. At least he tried to do things in the right direction. He promoted family life among the blacks as there is clear evidence that children from homes with a father and a mother grow up much better. He was gaining success when the liberals took power under Obama and reverted to single moms looking after children.

Bear in mind I have excluded non-faith related aspects from the discussion.

What I want to point out is that when we place good Christians in position of power, they may or may not do things we agree with in some areas, but they do advance the kingdom of God among humankind.

Making disciples who gain political power, or the conversion of those in power to become true disciples of Jesus, is the best way to realize the authority of Jesus. This is so simple and so powerful. It can be used anywhere in the world.

We see this direct teaching of Jesus and in the actions of the disciples. Jesus taught his disciples, “You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me.” (Matthew 10:18, NLT). “You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.” (Mark 13:9, NLT)

Jesus tells his disciples they will be tried and that is the price they must pay to get an audience with those in authority. When the disciples appear before these people, they are to testify of Jesus and not present their own defense. What a price to win over those in power! At the same time, Christians will be tried without choosing to be arrested. And in that situation, they are to testify for Jesus.

We see this played out in Acts. When Peter and John stood before the Sanhedrin they did not talk about the charges for which they were arrested. The talked about the resurrection of Jesus whom the Sanhedrin killed (Acts 4:8-12). When Stephen was put on trial he explained why God is more than the God of the Jews (Acts 7:2ff). God interrupted Philip’s work among the Samaritans to speak to one strategic man, the Ethiopian who eventually turned Ethiopia to Christ (Acts 8:26ff). When Paul and Barnabas arrived at Paphos in Cyprus, they reached out to the proconsul there named Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:6-12). When Paul was tried by the crowd he presented Jesus (Acts 22:3ff). Paul before Felix the Roman governor in Caesarea focused on the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 24:-21); and when Paul explained to him the judgment of God, he became afraid (Acts 24:24-26). Paul stood before King Agrippa II and it became clear to Agrippa that Paul was trying to convert him (Acts 26:28). When Paul was shipwrecked on Malta, he ministered directly to Publius the chief official of the island (Acts 28:7-10).

The early Christians were politically engaged by reaching out to political leaders so they become disciples of Jesus. Christians have lost sight of this truth. Let us return to the political engagement Jesus calls us to build the kingdom of God. It is to make disciples.

Why do we get worked up over politics?

We get worked up over politics because who gains power and how they govern affects us. In the recent election, it is clear to all that if Trump were to carry out policies on which he built his platform, it would adversely affect Singapore. This is not my expertise, but I am referring to what is commonly reported and so widely accepted as true (and reasonably so). If Trump were to throw out TPP, trade will slow and Singapore would be affected. Trump had singled out Singapore as one of the places stealing American jobs. Motely Fool, a popular commentator on Singapore markets comes to the same conclusion as the more established media that Trump is bad for Singapore. Our economy is barely in the positive and with the inward looking Trump we may slide into recession. So we have very strong anti-Trump sentiment – I think.

Or perhaps we just get caught up with the social mood even when there is little or no stake on our part.

It was not too long ago that Singapore had our elections, and I know I had to forcibly refuse to allow anyone to use our church as a platform to advocate party politics. You can belong to, or support a party. I will be happy to hear you out whatever your position. But the church of Jesus Christ is not about party politics. We can and should talk about Christian values. In the case of Singapore politics, there is little by way of reprehensible character like Trump that I had to talk about. But I publicly addressed the legal challenge to Section 377A of the penal code against male homosexual practices. In this case, I supported the status quo which outlaws such activity and gave my reasons for it.

I make a deliberate effort to emotionally distance myself from political parties or people. In Singapore politics, I will support whichever party best expresses the values of biblical faith. I will not accept or support a party platform uncritically. For instance, all parties in Singapore fail in that no one is interested to protect the interest of the unborn child. If one party supports the unborn child, I will lean towards that party. At the moment Singapore’s governance does not favor churches and causes Christians to compete for land in an unseemly manner and pay exorbitant prices for land leases which only enrich the state. I do not find this arrangement acceptable, and I would support the politicians who provide a more equitable way for churches to meet.

It takes special effort to disengage emotionally. But I can say that it has been a great blessing for me to do so. I recommend it.


I think Christians need to return to God’s agenda on politics. God is not PAP or opposition. God is not Republican or Democrat. Jesus is Lord over all.

Would you consider with me to rethink your political stance? Will you seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness? Will you direct your political energies to Jesus’ politics of making disciples?

Pastor Peter Eng


Should I Remove My Tattoos?

It is not uncommon to find Christians with tattoos.

As much as you will find every possible position on every possible issue, you will find Christians in support of tattoos. While I think having tattoos is not the best option for Christians, I do not think it is so important an issue as to divide Christians.

Even though the biblical evidence with other implications suggests to us we should avoid tattoos, and Christians should think before they ink, what should you do if you regret your ink? Should you remove your tattoo?


My first consideration is that the biblical evidence is not so conclusive as to preclude fair objection. And in keeping with our value of being biblical: asserting what the Bible clearly asserts and refraining from asserting what the Bible does not clearly assert, I would not overreach and treat tattoos as something so terrible that Christians need to undo them. At the same time, if you have reasons for removing your tattoo, it is also something you may do.

Remember your tattoo is only skin deep. Many sins of the heart are truly pernicious and bring us to our knees for God’s Spirit to root them out. But a tattoo is a matter of the skin – literally. If we overreact to tattoos, we canal into the danger of minding the superficial and ignoring the weightier matters of our faith, like when Jesus cautions against cleaning the outside of the cup and not the inside. While I think Scripture and reason bring us to a largely negative view of tattoos, I remind most of us have more compelling sin issues than tattoos. The removal of an existing tattoo should never take priority over the removal of a besetting sin in our life.

Many mistakes in life cannot be undone. For example: losing your virginity before marriage, marital infidelity, perverse unjustified divorce, experimenting with harmful drugs, hurting people we love, foolhardiness that leaves you permanently crippled, etc. The tattoo is something you do to yourself, and possibly to the disappointment of people who love you. And in the grand scheme of things, it is not a terrible mistake. In some ways, a tattoo can be easily undone in a way that other mistakes in our life cannot be easily undone.

When I say “easily undone” I am not underestimating the pain and cost of a tattoo removal which usually leaves a scar behind. In effect, you will probably be replacing a tattoo with a scar. I am not sure how much undoing that really is.

In certain cultures, like the Maoris, tattooing is common, even face tattoos. It is unlikely that a Maori Christian can come to a point when he will say his tattoos are not good. When people are so invested into something, they are extraordinary if they can break from their investment. I would not make a big issue about it; in all likelihood, you will not find me engaged in conversation with a Maori Christian about his tattoos. It is too minor an issue to expend excessive energy over it. It does not concern our salvation, and it concerns only one or two texts in Scripture.

My take on the removal of tattoos is that it gives you only a small advantage and unless there are other reasons, the fact that Scripture and reason suggest we should not have tattoos, is not reason enough to remove them. However, there can be other reasons why a Christian may want to remove a tattoo.

(1) You want the removed tattoo as a reminder not to act impulsively in the future. (2) You don’t want a visible tattoo to influence other Christians to make the same mistake. (3) Your tattoo is sending a message that is not glorifying to God: such as a racist tattoo, a gang tattoo, promotion of violence, an ex-lover, an unchristian value, etc.

I would suggest that the presence of a tattoo in itself is not enough motivation to remove it because it actually does additional injury to your body. However, if the tattoo conveys something you now want to disavow, then there is good reason to remove it.

There are times when the undoing of a wrong act may be both unnecessary and harmful to the body. We remember the Christian view of the body is that the body is good, but the body, like the soul, has been corrupted by sin. We do not abuse the body; instead, we treat it with dignity while we wait for God to restore our body during the resurrection.

One instance of undoing a wrong is the issue of reverse gender reassignment. That is, sex change. This means a person, usually a man, chooses to go for surgery to become a woman. He then decides that it is not good and goes for surgery to become a man again. That is the reversal of a reassignment.

Sex change is not limited to the surgery. There is a prolonged period of hormone treatment to change a person’s gender characteristics ending with surgery, often multiple surgeries. Sex change does great violence to the body, and requires hormone therapy for life. When a person reverses the sex change, the whole process reboots with a second round of violence to the body. To reverse what was once violent by another violation of the body does not naturally commend itself to most people to be a God-honouring way to treat the body.

While undoing a tattoo is nothing close to undoing a sex change, there are important Christian principles in the act of trying to change something on-essential. Let’s hear what the Holy Spirit instructs us through Paul:

17Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches. 18For instance, a man who was circumcised before he became a believer should not try to reverse it. And the man who was uncircumcised when he became a believer should not be circumcised now. 19For it makes no difference whether or not a man has been circumcised. The important thing is to keep God’s commandments.

20Yes, each of you should remain as you were when God called you. 21Are you a slave? Don’t let that worry you—but if you get a chance to be free, take it. 22And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ. 23God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world. 24Each of you, dear brothers and sisters, should remain as you were when God first called you. (1 Corinthians 7, NLT).

The powerful principles we have before us are:

1. The principle concerning the non-essential. Do not get fixated on anon-essential matter. Focus on what counts. The important thing for a child of God is to learn to obey Abba Father from that point on rather than to try and change circumstances or reverse what is done to the body.

2. The case of circumcision. In the case of Gentile converts to Judaism who underwent circumcision, the question seems to have arisen as to whether they should reverse their circumcision. (The traditional Jewish circumcision involves only a small cut, and it was possible to reverse circumcision.) Paul tells us uncircumcision is inconsequential. There is no virtue in uncircumcision as there is no virtue in circumcision.

3. The principle concerning the past. What is past is past. The redemption of Jesus Christ is good for all our major and minor follies or sins. The Christian is called to focus on the present into the future. We can focus on making right the things that are less than ideal, or we can focus on making the non-ideal situation work for us. If the Lord is willing to redeem us from a bad situation (like slavery), we gladly embrace it. But we will focus on our own obedience despite non-ideal situations.

4. The case of slavery. Some of the Christians were slaves. We would think slavery was a life situation they should try to change. Paul counsels otherwise. Even slavery does not keep us from the freedom in the Lord. Today, we are free from slavery, but Christians today remain enslaved to things of this world. Paul is surely right to point out our enslavement to the world is the bigger issue. However, “if you get a chance to be free, take it.” Paul is not saying that remaining a slave is a good thing. He is saying being a slave is not the ultimate enslavement; and our spiritual freedom in Christ is not limited by our lack of freedom in the world. In fact, being a slave can put you in a situation where you find it easier to die to the world.

The example from slavery, like the example of circumcision, calls us to the things that matter – our heart before our Father. We can work to change all the external matters and ignore the internal changes we need to make.

It is easy for Christians to fall into legalism that says everything must be pristine – which is impossible – and neglect the more significant matters of our walk with God. Shallow is always easier than deep. The removal of a tattoo that is only skin deep must be seen in light of the depth of sinfulness and rebellion on our hearts.

Remove the tattoo? Sure, if you want to do it. But that is not the point. Removing our stubborn refusal to obey God fully—that is worthy of great effort.

Pastor Peter Eng


Pastor Peter’s “Letter to My Grown Children: Securing God’s Blessings”





An open letter to my grown children

When we look for direction in life, it is so easy for us to do it the same way as everybody else. We look at the money prospects, the security or lack thereof, the quality of life, our interests, abilities, etc. All of these are important and I would agree you look at them. But if you want God’s blessings in your life, you need to ask what God says about securing his blessings as you launch out into life.

I find it interesting that the very first statement in the Psalms tells us

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers
(Psalm 1:1)

It seems that our Father in heaven begins the story of how we can be blessed by what we should not do.

At one point in my life, when you were all very young, I became interested in market trading. I asked questions about the ethics of trading, the contribution to society, etc. I then joined a commodities trading company to learn about commodities trading. I soon learned the environment was toxic, and it was likely that this was a “bucket shop.” I was out as quickly as I knew how. [Bucket shop: a fraudulent trading firm that secures clients through aggressive sales, and churns the clients’ accounts to generate brokerage fees for themselves.]

I knew I could not “walk in step with the wicked” and try to live above them at the same time. The entire setup was there to make use of the relationships the broker has to gouge his relatives and friends (or strangers) for the broker’s own benefit. But the Lord showed me their scam. The brokerage was using the brokers’ greed to steal from the people around him, and in the end, the company steals from these people and the broker himself. There was no soundness in the business, and I cannot be blessed by God if I walk in step with them. As long as I do what they do, I am unblessable. I had inadvertently joined a brokerage that was fraudulent; I am deceived. But that does not mean I stay deceived and deceive others in turn. So by the grace of God, I did not do a single trade with them, and just left the brokerage. This experience led me to join the Singapore Monetary Exchange as a legit setup. But I also left SIMEX because though the organization was legit, I had reservations about my own spiritual health in such an environment.

Certain industries are fundamentally sound, and some are unsound. Certain companies within an industry have integrity while others do not. Let’s take education. It is an industry that is fundamentally virtuous. There is no issue for the person who wants to teach. At the same time, there are educational institutions that are scam institutions out there to make money without providing a real education (e.g. degree mills). So being in education does not guarantee you do not “stand in the way that sinners take.”

Certain industries are neutral, like finance or banking. But it is apparent there are different types of banks with different standards of moral-ethical integrity. The financial crisis of 2008 was caused by banks creating fraudulent products. People, institutions and whole countries were brought to their knees. Now eight years on, the world is still picking up the pieces. How can God bless you if you are involved in something like this? Yet at the height of the scam, the math is so complicated, created by people so clever that most who do it were not even aware they are part of a fraudulent scheme. And that is the real thing to look out for. If you are part of an evil enterprise, you will not even know it unless you are the one planning it. You need discernment to know it.

Some banks are notorious for ethically questionable actions or outright participation in fraud. It doesn’t matter they are not doing it now. It is more likely they are still doing it, but you don’t see it. If they have a reputation for unethical actions, you must keep away from them if you want God’s blessings in your life.

On the other hand, there are banks that stepped in to prevent the financial market from collapsing from the sub-prime crisis. People can dismiss their motivation as self-preservation, of which there is some truth, but they did take the bullet to prevent a greater disaster. These banks have a record of social responsibility. When you work for such a bank, you are blessable.

I think it is even possible to be in an unblessable church, not to talk about an unblessable financial or educational institution.

We have a picture of this in Revelation 1-3. There are seven churches in those chapters. These are real historic churches. And of those seven, two churches receive no commendation (Sardis and Laodicea). They are like many churches today. Imagine a church where Jesus is not present. That is what Jesus tells the church in Laodicea. He tells them he is outside of the church. He does not live with them, and does not fellowship with them. They are churches only in name. And the heart-breaking picture is painted for us: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20).

Jesus stands outside his own church and knocks at the door. How unblessable it is to be in such a church! And what sorrow lies in store for the leaders of that church who lead the church into this alienation from Jesus Christ!

I propose to you then, the first order of the day to secure God’s blessing on your life is to know where you should not be.

Above all else, seek God’s blessings in your life.
With my love, papa

Plastic People

Every generation rejects fakeness.

“Plastic” refers to the girls who go for plastic surgery to achieve an ideal look. In the process, we see a generation of American girls asking for plastic surgery as their 18th birthday presents. We find Korea leading the charge in perfecting female beauty, and today, beautiful Korean girls look strangely similar. China’s women will not be left behind and China’s “surgeons” compete on price. Singapore girls lament we lose out. But really? Is plastic that desirable?

The plastic face is nothing compared to the tsunami of plastic lives. The plastic is promoted by Facebook. We use it to tell the world, “Look at my perfect, wonderful I am.”

I know it is easy to be ashamed of our imperfections.

There was a seminary student who listened to me preach and afterward, he expressed his appreciation, not only for the sermon but for the candor, and the personal imperfections that come through. To him the imperfections make me real and lovable. He had intended it to be a compliment, but I was uncomfortable with his remark. This was more than 10 years ago, but I remember it because I ask myself why I am embarrassed by my distinctiveness. I know I enjoy the distinctiveness of my family members, their imperfections that make them unique. A mole here, a wrinkle there, a dimple, a funny gesture, etc.

God in his perfect wisdom makes us different—mild imperfections to make us more lovable.

The church is the bride of Christ. Each local church is also a bride of Christ. Every woman is blessed with imperfections that make her perfectly desirable to her husband. Every local church is blessed with imperfection to better enjoy the love of Jesus Christ our Lord.

When the church was born, the Christians were so excited about what God was going to do through them that many sold all they had and gave it to the common purse to feed the many needy people. Naturally, the people who did that were recognized and held up as examples of faith and generosity. Ananias and his wife Sapphira also sold their immoveable assets and claimed they too join those who surrendered all to the work of the Kingdom of God. But in truth, they hid some of that money for themselves.

They did not have to hide anything. There is no dishonor in not giving everything. But they wanted the praise of man for giving everything when they did not. They lied as though there is no God in heaven watching over their actions. And they were struck dead. For all their profession of faith and generosity, they didn’t seem to think it mattered that they sought the praise of man by lying to God.

The church was going through explosive growth. That was a good thing. But there was one problem that God considers more important than making ever more disciples – it was the making disciples who are real. We are not given the ability to judge the hearts of men, only God has that ability. We have no ability to judge hypocrisy, pretense, even self-deceptive spirituality. Ananias and Sapphira were wonderful people as far as we can tell. But God wanted a lesson to go out into the new community.

Here is the Good News of the Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ. While the disciples did not know if the new disciples were frauds, God knew. And just as surely, God knows today, he knows on the judgement day when he brings in his kingdom to its full extent. So let all who wish to enter the kingdom of God know this: God knows your heart. You don’t have to be perfect—just don’t be plastic. You can appear wonderful to everyone, but God will hold your pretense to account.

I am surprised at the importance God placed on honesty-integrity in the church. We live in a world that looks at the bottom-line of donation given by Ananias and Sapphira, and say a little undeserved glory is surely not too bad. But the Holy Spirit of God sets the standard here. We can be honestly imperfect. But God does not accept the dishonestly perfect.

The plastic face is only a chasing for a beauty that fades;, but the plastic life is a far more dangerous thing. Jesus said, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.” (Matthew 23:27).

The dirty, smelly, imperfect Sabbath keeping people of the land have hope because they are real. The plastic Pharisees are in a moral tailspin because their external perfection hides a rotting evil inside that they themselves can neither smell nor see.

Maybe, we should not be too surprised that the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ applied judgment on the plastic couple since Jesus Christ himself condemned the same when he walked this earth.

Pastor Peter Eng