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From the Synod Moderator
Rt Rev Dr Teoh Boo Cheow
Jun 2021

The 47th Executive Committee is very special - it is unprecedented, and I wonder if it will be a first and a last? Because we were formed in the grip of the pandemic, we were not elected a year in advance, as was the tradition in the past, so that the members could be prepared. After we were elected, we took office immediately, and there are still adjustments to be made.

In addition, this year is the 140th anniversary of the Presbyterian Church in Singapore. We thank the Lord for His gracious leading at this very moment! Secondly, we would like to thank the 140th Anniversary Committee, under the leadership of Rev Wong Shyun Jye, for their dedication in planning and arranging a series of prayer meetings for us to get to know the churches and to pray for them. We are also thankful for the anniversary worship celebration which is coming up on July 11; we will give glory to the Lord when the time comes.

This is precisely the spirit of the Session system of the Presbyterian Church in Singapore! The spirit of our Session system is real, as can be seen from the newly elected moderator and the vice-moderator. Both of us are from a small congregation. I am serving at the Christian Grace Presbyterian Church while Rev Vincent Lee is ministering at the English congregation of Toong Chai Presbyterian Church. We were nominated and elected by the Session to take on this important role, and though we are unworthy, we will respect the Session. Please pray for us......

As I recall, Calvin's interpretation of church authority is that it is not concentrated in one person or a small group of people around him. Rather, authority needs to come through the Session for which there must be respect. Of course Calvin did not say that the Session is always right, but the Reformed emphasis is on "going back to the Bible"! Therefore, our thoughts and ideas should be faithful to the Bible. Even the apostles were not allowed to go beyond the teachings of Scripture, and to renounce doctrines that are outside of Scripture. (cf. Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, vol. 4, chapters 8 and 9)

I think the model for the Session is the Jerusalem Council as recorded in Acts 15. According to F. F. Bruce and others, this Session can be divided into:

  1. The origin of the Session (v1-3)
    Session meeting was convened to address the issue faced
  2. The deliberations of the Session (v4-21)
    Each representative expresses his or her views and a summary of the resolution
  3. Decision of the Session (v22-29)
    The Session summarizes the resolutions and assigns executors to carry out the resolutions
  4. Post-meeting report (v30-35)
    Executors to give a report after carrying out the resolutions.

I hope our churches will attach importance not only to the Session in their pastoral care, but also to the two presbyteries, as well as the Synod. Amen!


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