Excerpt from Rev. Lai’s Legacy
In this pluralistic world, as people prefer secular teaching to Biblical teaching, more and more churches choose to eschew from teaching the Bible to slake the appetite of man to appease congregation and retain them. Under such ‘peer pressure’, teaching the Bible faithfully becomes a painstaking yet unappreciated task. Once I attended a graduation ceremony of a prominent seminary, the speech delivered that evening was disappointing as it did not make any reference to the Bible throughout, except for the opening where the Scripture passage cited was quoted just for formality. Regrettably, this type of speech is becoming increasingly common in churches nowadays. In retrospect, it is evident that the appetite of the congregation is steering the direction of the church, which in turns is steering that of the seminaries. This is a vicious cycle that those who fear God are not to ignore.
Many years ago, in the process of preparing for full time ministry, I collected the syllabus offered by a few prominent seminaries. I was astounded to find that studying the whole bible is not a prerequisite for these seminaries. While it is understandable that different people require different amount of effort to complete studying the whole Bible, we marvel how a pastor who himself did not complete studying the Bible could encourage his brothers and sisters to do otherwise. It is no wonder Bible teaching is becoming less emphasised from one generation to another in churches today. I was gravely burdened by this phenomenon. After having some grim discussions with a few respectable pastors, I vividly heard a voice that said, ‘No time to mourn. Begin with yourself. Do it!’ and I sprang into action.
My direction is clear, and my stance is firm. I am equally enthusiastic in theological research as other Bible scholars, but I mindfully avoid using academic terms in my teaching in church; I read extensively on psychology and acquire profound counselling skill but I am adamant to lead the troubled to seek the illumination of the Bible; I immerse myself in Biblical archaeology and yet I maintain firmly that all discoveries are led by God alone. As I mindfully base my teaching on the Bible it soon becomes clear to me that this is a lonesome path. Nevertheless, affront, scorn and ridicule cannot deter me but only spurred me into serving you with trembling. Please uphold me and those pastors who press on in this path. ‘Bible – the ultimate authority’ is not to be a slogan for us to brag about. We shall practice what we believe, that is to teach, to preach and live by the word of God. We know that we can still do something about the pathetic situation if we put our trust in the Lord Jesus; and it is only by His word that we can reclaim the birthright of the firstborn in this crooked generation.
My brothers and sisters, if the Lord allows you to live for many more years and He provides you with a pulpit, a Sunday School and a prayer meeting that cover the teaching of the entire Bible in every five years, or even a two-hour weekly Bible self-study course, are you willing to make a resolution to the Lord that you will study the entire Bible at least once in your life? I urge you, my beloved brothers and sisters, to give it a serious thought and take up the challenge boldly. When more Christians are committed to study the entire Bible, more pastors will be compelled to study the Bible more diligently, and the Kingdom of the Lord will prosper!
Indeed, ‘begin with me’ is the way to move forth. May the Lord anoint each one of you.