Recently, someone lent me a copy of the book: “The Clock Tower Story: the beginnings of the charismatic renewals in Singapore”, edited by Canon Michael Poon and Rev Malcolm Tan.
I am not going to recount the whole story here, but just some of the things I found interesting.
Luke Goh who helped lead the Christian fellowship in ACS had just returned from the Keswick convention. It is an annual conference that aims to encourage Christians to move beyond intial conversion to a deeper experience of holiness. There Luke heard the message of total surrender to Jesus Christ.
Soon enough, Luke began leading the boys in the CF to do the same: surrender fully to God. Many small groups began meeting in school to pray for revival. In ACS, every recess, boys would run to the clock tower just to pray. They would even come in early or stay back later to pray too! This carried on for a while, and spread through the school.
Then it was the year 1972. A big year of renewal in the Singapore church. During the June holidays, a day before the ACS CF camp, Malcolm Tan was alone at home.
He prayed for the Lord to baptize him with th Holy Spirit, and then there was a shaking in his room. He felt the room shake, and then saw a figure of a dove go through his window, fly straight at him, and hit him with a thud! He then felt God’s presence and began worshipping God, and speaking in tongues.
Malcolm then began teaching the rest of the CF about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Great numbers of students came to know the Lord. During this time, the students were marked by:
- Hunger for the Word of God
- Hunger for prayer
- Hunger for evangelism and preaching
There was even news that many people in Ipoh, Perak were praying for Singapore. They knew prophetically that God was going to pour out His Spirit, and they started to pray for us!
An interesting and important character in the revival is Rev Hugh Baker, who was an Assemblies of God missionary to Singapore. I find what he said very funny:
…in the early days beginning in 1972…the word to use was “spiritual renewal” or “charismatic”, we dared not use the word “Pentecostal”. … Before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit we were forbidden to talk about it in the Angican church. We were not methodical enough for the Methodists, and we did not have enough doctrine for the Lutherans. As for the Brethrens, the door was shut tighter than it had ever been before.
The year 1972 is important, for in Dec 1972, Bishop Chiu Ban It was also baptized in the Holy Spirit and led to renewal in the Anglican church, starting with St Andrew’s cathedral.
Bishop Chiu had been at a conference in Bangkok reading Dennis Bennett’s book Nine O’clock in the Morning. He asked God to do the same in him. After a nap, he took a shower and began speaking in tongues! He was transformed and SAC began holding healing services, prayer and praise meetings.
The revival spread from ACS, through several other schools. To the Methodist church, Anglican church and beyond in that eventful 1972.
We’ve often prayed for revival in Singapore. What does Rev Hugh Baker have to say about it?
Regarding the baptism of the Spirit, Hugh Baker says,
There is nothing in ourselves that merits anything from God. But God in his mercy and his grace and his love sees the hunger of our hearts and the channel that is open for the moving of the Holy Spirit. And He begins to pour his Spirit into that channel and that begins to spread out.
You can pray right now: “Lord I want to be a channel, just a channel, someone that you can use to pour your Spirit through.”
“Father here I am. I just want to be a channel that you can use to ignite the revival that will not only spread across Singapore but will spread out to the rest of the world. And the world will come to know the glory, the majesty and the power of your name. And the free flow of your Holy Spirit will demonstrate to the world the power of a living Christ. Thank you Father, thank you Father, thank you Father.”