I first came to know Lau Chin Kwee in Singapore when I was called there to be a missionary to the Gospel Literature and Tract Society (GLTS). The GLTS was a vibrant group of mostly Chinese new Christians. Chin Kwee was already at that time a leader of the GLTS. He was instructing the group in the Heidelberg Catechism. Many of the members of GLTS were brilliant college and university students. God used the young brother Chin Kwee, at the time a school teacher, in very exciting days, to work towards the establishing of a new Reformed church in Singapore. Chin Kwee was used of the Lord to nourish and develop the newfound excitement in the GLTS for the glorious truths of God’s sovereign and particular saving grace. There was also immediate need to defend the truth against opposition. Chin Kwee was able to face the challenges and give the necessary leadership.
Chin Kwee found the love of his life in a young girl named Lim Foong Ngee, whom he saw among the members of the GLTS. I was privileged to officiate at their wedding. Over the years God blessed their marriage with three children, Tabitha, Paul, and Given. The Laus then became an example of a Christian marriage and family in a pagan culture.
God greatly blessed the GLTS. Soon more than 100 young people were regularly attending meetings. A decision was made to send Chin Kwee to the USA for seminary training in the Theological School of the Protestant Reformed Churches in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In January of 1982, after a vigorous study of the Three Forms of Unity, the GLTS was instituted as a new church, adopting the name Evangelical Reformed
Church of Singapore (ERCS). The Three Forms of Unity were officially adopted as the confessional basis of the ERCS. After Chin Kwee’s return from training in the USA, another joyful event took place, the ordination of the brother into the ministry in the ERCS. After his ordination, Pastor Lau served as a faithful minister of ERCS during the very first years of its existence. Pastor Lau was registered with the authorities officially to conduct the many marriages taking place among the youthful members of ERCS.
Years of joy and growth followed in which exciting events took place. A second congregation was organized. The two congregations were formed into a denomination. The new denomination was soon actively involved in its own mission work, especially in the country of Myanmar, but also with contacts in Malaysia. A small theological school had its birth, the Asian Reformed Theological School (ARTS). Many of us have fond memories of the tireless and devoted work of Pastor Chin Kwee in all of this history, in several capacities.
The new Reformed denomination soon faced challenges and sorrows. Struggles arose over distinctive truths of the Word of God that it had been taught, which led finally to the breakup of the denomination. One of the subjects of controversy was the truth of God’s unbreakable bond of marriage. We are thankful that Pastor Lau was a teacher and valiant defender of the truth during the times of controversy. The Protestant Reformed Churches of which I am minister are thankful to the Lord for the faithfulness of Pastor Lau. He took his stand with the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church when the denomination was dissolved.
For a long time Pastor Lau struggled with a genetic disease that caused his health to deteriorate very seriously. A major operation was performed about four years ago involving a double organ transplant (heart and liver), in hopes of extending the life of Pastor Lau. This was the first such operation ever to be performed in Singapore. Everyone hoped and prayed that it would improve the quality of life of Pastor Lau. However, after the operation Pastor Lau faced a long and valiant struggle with his health, including many treatments and repeated hospitalizations. He was no longer able to serve as full-time pastor. However, even with grievous sickness and many physical limitations, Pastor Lau continued by the grace of God to minister to the saints. In the years of suffering, Pastor Lau was an example of a saint of God who was able to endure great suffering and trials, remaining by the grace of God steadfast in the faith. On March 31, 2013 he was taken home to glory.
The undersigned is very thankful to have been given the opportunity to travel to Singapore to be part of the funeral services of Pastor Lau. These services included three evenings of funeral ‘wakes.’ At the wakes and the funeral service hundreds of people came to express their sympathies and thankful remembrances of Pastor Lau’s years of ministry. The many who attended the wakes were evidences of all the lives that had been touched in wonderful ways through this servant of the Lord.
We all sorrow because of the loss of a dear brother and faithful servant of the Lord. But we also rejoice to know that Pastor Lau is now in the presence of the Lord whom He served faithfully. At the funeral service I preached on the encouraging final words of the inspired apostle Paul recorded in II Timothy 4:7, 8: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge will give me in that day.” Appropriate words, we think, to summarize also the ministry of the late Pastor Lau Chin Kwee.