Steadfast in Missions — Pr. Tom Chryst in Singapore

BJS has started a new column, “Steadfast in Missions”, which is intended to include news from the mission field. For this article we chose Pastor Tom Chryst’s initial newsletter as he prepares for a move to Singapore. We’ve excerpted some parts of his newsletter below. For the full newsletter see the bottom of this message.

If you want to include your own mission newsletter, click here to contact us and get us on your distribution list. BJS recommends that churches support one or more missionaries. My own church helps to support three missionaries in different parts of the world.

 

Southern Asia/Oceania

The Southern Asia/Oceania region for LCMS international work includes India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar (Burma), Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, East Timor, Australia and New Zealand.

These countries are diverse in culture, economics and language. But they are all fertile ground for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Needless to say, there’s plenty of work to do!

My work will be to plant a Lutheran congregation in Singapore, a strategic hub and the headquarters for LCMS witness and mercy work in the region.

Parish Pastor No More

WOW!! After 13 years as a parish pastor, God has called me to serve as a missionary in Singapore. We’ll be spending the next few months ramping up for our big move.

 

A New Relationship

Grace Lutheran Church, Racine, Wisconsin is where I have served as Associate Pastor for 13 years. The people of Grace have been a blessing to me in countless ways, and it’s been my privilege to serve as their pastor.

With my acceptance of the call to serve in World Missions, things will certainly change. I’ll being moving away, and I won’t be one of Grace’s pastors any more. But that doesn’t mean that our relationship is over!

Grace has been looking for new ways to reach out with the Gospel, and thinking of engaging in a major mission project. My opportunity is now their opportunity! As Grace continues to support me, not as their pastor, but now as their missionary, they will be helping to bring the Gospel to a far off land. Rather than losing me, they will be helping to send me for this important work planting a brand new congregation in Singapore.

This is the first time the LCMS has ever sent a missionary to this country, which is a small island city-state, but has great strategic importance for the region. It’s also a multi-cultural and multi-religious context with many challenges and possibilities for ministry.

To support my work financially, you may send a tax-deductible gift to:

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
P.O. Box 790089
St. Louis, MO 63179-0089.

Make checks payable to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Mark
checks “Support of Thomas Chryst.” Gifts can also be given securely online
through the LCMS website, on my online giving page

 

For the full newsletter, Click here.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

Steadfast in Missions — Pr. Tom Chryst in Singapore — 11 Comments

  1. God’s speed and blessings on Pr Chryst, as he and his family embark on this journey. I am glad to see the LCMS working to plant a truly Lutheran congregation in Singapore. Though I was born and raised in Hong Kong, I know Singapore reasonably well – it is an exciting, multicultural, multi-religious, very well educated, international city-state. I am sure it will present great opportunities and challenges.

    I pray that Pr Chryst will be steadfast in holding to the truth as a confessional Lutheran in Asia – do not succumb to the argument that you must adapt to and incorporate the culture of your mission field and in so doing compromise your confession and actions through unionism and syncretism. I saw this all too much during my time at Church of All Nations (CAN) in Hong Kong, and I have heard many times about this from my father-in-law who was an LCMS missionary in Hokkaido, Japan

  2. Singapore already has an established Lutheran Church. Unless said Church is theologically liberal, why does there need to be a new Lutheran Church in Singapore?

  3. I’ve been told that the LCMS did not even bother to contact the Lutheran Bishop of Singapore before deciding to send missionary to start a second Lutheran denomination there.

  4. @Anon123 #4
    Your informant, who told you that the Lutheran Church in Singapore is theologically conservative, is incorrect.

    While the LCS may be more confessional and/or conservative than, say, the ELCA or the European churches of the LWF, that’s really not saying much.

    And here’s a handy test for theological conservatism, at least among Lutherans: if a church allows for or promotes the ordination of women, it’s not conservative.

    There’s no more reason for the LCMS (or any other Lutheran church body) to consult with Bishop Kee before starting a mission in Singapore than for a Lutheran church-planter in the US to consult with the local ELCA pastor/district before starting a mission in any American city.

  5. Dear Pastor Jeff Samelson,

    I understand you are from WELS. I am from the Lutheran Church in Singapore. As an avid reader of Steadfastlutherans.org I have no illusions that we will ever be recognised by the LCMS as fellow Lutherans. It is okay. But I would like to say that the state in which we are in is not our own doing. We are the legacy a church planted by LCA missionaries in the past. The locals like myself just follow. Now we are kinda grown up a bit and realised what is happening.

    But surprisingly I noted that LCMS is in fellowship with many of so called “Confessional Lutheran” Asians churches in Indonesia, India, Cambodia, Myanmar,Taiwan and so on. Seriously if you really talk to their people/members, are you sure they are really Confessional in the Lutheran convictions? Some of them are receiving financial help from LCMS and so they may just be “Yes-men”. But do they really understand and practice from true Confessional Lutheran convictions?

    My Bishop has remarked that theologically we are closer to LCMS than ELCA. Our church takes a very strong anti gay lifestyle and marriage stand.

    Not being recognised by LCMS as genuine Lutherans is fine. We accept this as a reality.

    Yours in Christ,
    Martin Yee

  6. Martin Yee :Dear Pastor Jeff Samelson,
    Our church takes a very strong anti gay lifestyle and marriage stand.

    That’s a good sign, Mr. Yee. Do you ordain women?

    (I looked around a bit on your website and can’t immediately find posted what faith the LCS teaches and believes…)

  7. Dear Pastor Ted Crandall,

    Yes, we do ordain women as this practice was passed down to us after we separated from the Lutheran Church in Malaysia following Singapore’s independence from Malaysia.

    Like I have said, I know jolly well that the LCMS does NOT recognise us as fellow Lutherans. That is why despite being an avid reader of Steadfastlutherans.org, I have never posted anything here until now.

    I would like to clarify that I am not suggesting LCMS should seek my Bishop’s permission to plant a new congregation in Singapore. That is ludicrous as it is LCMS’ prerogative to do so. What I meant was LCMS could have contacted and informed him in a friendly way about this. It is like building a house next to your neighbour, and not saying hello to them, telling them what is going on. Of course again it is LCMS’ right not to do that but it is sad to me.

    Besides our tough anti-gay lifetsyle and marriage stand, our pastors have very high regards for the authority and inerrancy of scripture. We are using CPH materials in all our Sunday Schools and also bought hundreds of The Lutheran Study Bible (ESV) from CPH for our pastors and members. You can check with CPH if that is true.

    Yours in Christ,
    Martin Yee

  8. @Martin Yee #8
    “You can check with CPH if that is true.”

    Mr. Yee,

    I have no reason to doubt your word — you’ve been very forthright and I thank you.

    I’m pleased to hear how orthodox LCS is, but their ordination of women contradicts their claim to have “very high regards for the authority and inerrancy of scripture.” Living in a section of the United States where Lutheran congregations are few and far between, I sympathize with having to settle for what you inherit. Is there any movement within the LCS to reach doctrinal agreement with the LCMS?

    You make a good point about saying hello to your new neighbors. When I helped start an LCMS mission here, it was about an hour in any direction to the nearest LCMS church. An ELCA church was nearby, but no LCMS — or WELS — church. Perhaps I should have gone around introducing our mission to all the Christian churches already in town… Then again, don’t the established neighbors usually bring the cake to the new folks? 🙂

    Your brother, saint and sinner,
    Ted Crandall

    p.s. In my time with the Navy’s Chaplain Corps, I got to visit Singapore numerous times. It became and remains my favorite port. Beautiful tropical gardens adorning impressive British architecture! I always said, “If London has a Chinatown, it must look a lot like this!”

  9. @Pastor Ted Crandall #9

    Thanks Pastor Crandall. Not sure when was the last time you were in Singapore. It has changed its fascade quite a bit especially at the waterfront area, the new beautiful Gardens by the Bay, the Bio Domes, and the Marina Barrage. Chinatown and Little India are still around. Current craze here is Korean K Pop and TV dramas. Two lovely pandas from China have recently arrived and are doing well in our zoo. Singapore is quite a safe place to stay. There are many Westerners staying in Singapore anyway.

    Our church still maintains our tie with ELCA as our “parent” although we are financially completely independent. However our Bishop having written a strong letter to ELCA registerring our objection to of the stand ELCA took in their 2009 Synod Convention to recognise gay marriage.

    Some of your LCMS folks are actually worshipping with us. I was attending service together with an American brother last Sunday in one of our congregation. He is from a LCMS congregation in Nebraska looking for a job in Singapore.

    Regards,
    Martin Yee

  10. The book “Abundant Harvest: Stories of Asian Lutherans” edited by Edmond Yee has just been published. It is now widely circulated and read in Asia & USA. This book is indeed very interesting as it recorded the stories of how God work in and through the lives of hundreds of Asian Lutherans spanning from India to Japan, covering Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ceylon, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea. It contains the stories of my own bishop, theologian, pastor and lay leaders of the Lutheran Church in Singapore. The mission work in Asia by LCMS, ELCA and other Lutheran bodies are recorded for posterity. If you are interested to know about Lutheranism in Asia, this 475 page book may be useful. It can be ordered from Lutheran University Press, see http://www.lutheranupress.org/Books/Abundant_Harvest

    Thank you.

    Yours respectfully,
    Martin Yee

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