Symposium on Justification by Faith - Asia Pacific Region

Rolly Dumaguit
September 13, 2018
Philippines
With the help of our Almighty God, the first Asia Pacific Region Symposium on Justification by Faith, or Christ Our Righteousness Forum, was held in the Philippines at the Bible Missionary Training School compound in the Philippines.

CABATANG, PHILIPPINES—With the help of our Almighty God, the first Asia Pacific Region Symposium on Justification by Faith, or Christ Our Righteousness Forum, was held in the Philippines at the Bible Missionary Training School compound in Cabatang, Tiaong, Quezon Province from May 21-26, 2018. Representatives from the different countries in the Asia Pacific Region under the supervision of the Regional Secretary, Brother Rolly Dumaguit, attended this forum.

 

The countries represented were:

Vietnam – 2 representatives

Thailand – 3 representatives

Indonesia – 13 representatives

East Timor – 1 representative

China – 13 representatives

South Korea – 12 representatives

Australia – 2 representatives

Malaysia – 2 representatives

The Philippines – 42 representatives

 

Attendees included Ministers, Bible Workers, Lay Evangelists, church leaders, and members that felt the need to deepen their understanding of the precious message of Justification by Faith. 

 

Three representatives from the General Conference attended the symposium—Brother Davi Paes Silva, GC president; Brother Peter Lausevic, first Vice President; and Brother Rolly Dumaguit, second GC Vice President. They were the main speakers during the five-day event.

 

Most of the attendees arrived on Sunday, May 20, 2018. But some arrived on Friday to make sure that they would be mentally and physically prepared to listen to the words of God, having two days rest before the program started. 

 

Monday

The symposium started on Monday. The brethren began the day with morning worship with Brother Frederick Felipe giving the devotional message on the topic of the Godhead. He carefully proved from the Bible and the SOP that the three persons of the Godhead—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—are three individual Beings and each of them is God in their own right.

 

After breakfast, all gathered in the church at 8 o’clock in the morning and the Philippine Union Conference President Brother Samuel Andres, gave a warm welcome to all participants of the symposium. At 9 o’clock, Brother Silva led a study on the Godhead. The study continued after lunch.

 

The participants looked forward to the Q&A period of the day when they had the opportunity to ask their questions and have their doubts addressed by the speaker. The Q&A period ended at 5pm. Activities of the day ended with the evening worship conducted by Brother J.H. Hyun from South Korea.

 

Tuesday

The delegate from East Timor, Brother Daniel Micu, held morning worship. His message was on "Christ Our Righteousness" which he delivered in Portuguese. Brother Silva translated.

 

After a hearty breakfast, the symposium resumed at 8am with Brother Peter Lausevic presenting on the faith of Abraham. He clarified the difference between the faith that justifies like the faith of Abraham and the faith that does not justify, like the belief of the devils. The larger part of the afternoon was dedicated to another Q&A period. 

 

After dinner, the brethren gathered for the evening worship when Brother Marcelo Gines, a minister assigned to Thailand, gave a study about the Incarnation of Christ that made it possible for Him to possess two natures—human and divine. He proved from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy that Christ did not use His own divine power in His work of overcoming temptations. As “the author of sin” “left no means untried to overcome Christ with his wily, deceptive power,” Christ did not use His own divine power to resist and overcome, “But our Saviour relied upon His heavenly Father for wisdom and strength to resist and overcome the tempter. The Spirit of His heavenly Father animated and regulated His life. He was sinless. Virtue and purity characterized His life.” --The Youth's Instructor, February, 1873.  {3SM 134.1}   

 

Wednesday

The third day of the symposium began as usual with the morning worship from 6:00-6:30am during which Brother JH Hyun delivered the devotional message entitled “The True Sign”. He explained that “the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth.” (RH Nov. 22, 1892).  

 

Brother Silva was the main speaker of the day once again. This time he talked about the two kinds of righteousness, namely: the righteousness of Christ and righteousness of the Pharisees. He emphasized the fact that we are justified by faith alone through the merits of Christ’s righteousness and His atoning death and warned that following the example of the Pharisees in hoping to be justified through the works of the law will avail nothing. He developed his thesis with a verse by verse exposition of Romans chapter three, four, and five. The afternoon from 2-5pm was again dedicated to answering the participants' questions on various topics.

 

During the evening worship, Brother Rolly Dumaguit gave an inspiring message on Justification. He expounded on the principle of representation as it applies to Adam and Christ. He explained that it was through the disobedience of one man, Adam, the first head and representative of the human race, that all men came under the condemnation of the law. In like manner, it was through the obedience and death of one man, Christ, that the human race was legally justified from their sins and is made righteous in Him. His obedience and death for our sin is the legal basis of justification by faith and the work of sanctification, without which none shall be justified nor be sanctified by faith. 

 

Thursday

On the fourth day, Brother Benyamin Linga from Indonesia led the morning worship with the message, “The People of God Must Have the Courage to Face the Temptations of Satan.” It was a wonderful experience to be able to worship God together and study the word of God together.

 

The main speaker of the day was Brother Peter Lausevic. For the three hours in the morning, he presented “Married to Christ”. He discussed divorce and remarriage and applied it to our spiritual condition. The speaker resumed his topic in the afternoon, explaining that we were married to Sin, our first husband. After we die and resurrect, we were then married to Christ, our second husband.

 

During the evening worship, Brother Peter Cay-ohen shared “Clarifying Issues on the Doctrine of Justification by Faith.” He discussed the two equally dangerous errors that Christians need to avoid: legalism, the idea that one can make himself deserve forgiveness and eternal life by keeping the law and doing good works; and antinomianism, the idea that since we are saved by grace through faith, we need not keep God’s law. He closed his study by briefly discussing the two kinds of justification accomplished by Christ for us: justification from sin for all men, accomplished through His death, and justification of life for all men, accomplished through His perfect obedience to the law.  

 

Friday

On the last day, Brother Ding from China led morning worship speaking on "Christ our Righteousness". In the morning, Brother Peter Lausevic expounded more on the errors of legalism and antinomianism that was presented the night before and concluded that at the end of the day both the legalist and the antinomian do not really keep the law of God. They are both transgressors of the law but with different reasons. He went on to discuss also the danger of conservatism.

 

In the afternoon, all were free to prepare for the Sabbath. Also in the afternoon, the local mission that hosted the symposium had a very special event—the baptism of two souls. 

 

An early supper was served, following which Brother Samuel Andres, the PUC president, gave a short inspiring message to welcome the Sabbath. His message was about the relationship between God and man, and man and the Sabbath: its importance and proper observance.

 

After a short break, another season of worship was held, and Brother Peter Lausevic shared some insights regarding the experiences of some of the Protestant Reformers and how they were ready to risk their lives for the sake of the truth. He drew a parallel with the experience of the SDA pioneers who were ready to die for the sake of the truth of the three angel’s messages.  

 

Sabbath

On Sabbath, many brethren from different parts of Luzon, some from the Visayas, and some from Mindanao came to join us for Sabbath worship. A special Sabbath School teachers’ class was conducted by Brother Jeremias Cano before the start of the regular Sabbath School program.

 

Brother Allan Alingan, the PUC Sabbath School Department leader led the Sabbath School program. After Sabbath School, the divine service was held. The sermon was a special one for the dedication of the new church building at Cabatang, Tiaong, Quezon Province (the venue of the seminar). Brother Silva was the speaker. He talked about the churches and temples in a physical sense and spiritual sense. After his message, Brother Samuel Andres related the short history of BMTS local church and explained how it started. The dedication ceremony then followed, and the program was closed with the benediction pronounced by Brother Silva.

 

In the afternoon the young people’s program was led by our youth leader in the Philippines. The program allowed representatives from different countries to share experiences from their countries. They were also given the chance to present musical items. After all were done, the service was conducted to accept the two newly baptized souls as bonafide members of the church. This was led by Brother Rolly Dumaguit.

 

Dinner was served early before sunset. Then the brethren gathered in the church to close the Sabbath. Brother Vincente Villapando, a Filipino brother working in Thailand as a teacher, gave a short message and shared some experiences.

 

And finally, to end the seminar, Brother Rolly Dumaguit led the farewell meeting. All representatives from different countries who attended the symposium were given their certificates of attendance including our GC Representatives. The presidents of every union were also given the chance to express their gratitude to God.

 

It was a blessed gathering for all who gave their time to attend. It is hoped that as the brethren they took with them God's many blessings to share with the brethren in their own respective countries and that our members will be encouraged to share the Gospel of salvation to every people, tongue, and nation.