“For the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”
These are words from Revelation 1:9. You can see them engraved on the wall inside of our church next to the entry of the main chapel (photo).
They are also written on each week’s bulletin (the program for the church service).
And they are put on the name of our church throughout this internet site.
This is because these words express the aim of our church.
As every church, we also wish for peace and justice for mankind, but this point, ‘for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus’, is the essence that makes the church differ from any organization of this world.
The Church is not perfect. We are an assembly of small and weak human beings. But “For the word of God and the testimony of Jesus”, we come together, worship God, study His word, and work toward the world around us.
NAKAYAMA Shiro, Pastor
When I was a High School student, I committed myself to the baseball club, and dreamed of appearing at Koushien (Japan’s National High School Baseball Tournament). From there I moved on to an agricultural college, and then to the United States for two years of agricultural training. There, in California, my way led me into a Reformed Baptist church, where I entered faith and was baptized. Returning to Japan I moved to Tokyo to be able to attend this church, which had been suggested to me in America. From 2002 to 2012 while working in Saitama prefecture I engaged in mission work there. After that, I returned to this church where I was later appointed missionary, and then called to the Pastor of this church in 2020.
Born in 1962, in Saga prefecture.
Tokyo Bible Church was founded by missionary Timothy Pietsch and pastor Suzuki Atsushi. Pietsch had come to Japan in 1936 and worked as a missionary in Gifu prefecture and Nagoya but had to return to America in 1941 when the tensions between Japan and the United States intensified. After the Second World War, he came back to Japan and recommenced spreading the Gospel, this time mainly in Tokyo’s Setagaya district. In 1949 he left his previous missionary organization to become an independent missionary and founded the “Tokyo Bible Center”. Located at the current place of our church it became the starting point of the Tokyo Bible Church. On December 25, 1950, Tokyo Bible Church conducted its first service, and since January 7, 1951, Lord’s day services are conducted weekly.
In October 1952 the church was recognized by the government and as a religious institution, outreach, a kindergarten, radio service and booklet publications began (for various reasons the kindergarten was discontinued in 1997 and the radio service in 2012). Services, missionary work, and prayer meetings were also conducted but it was on April 7, 1957, that the center became a real church by appointing Suzuki Atsushi as its first pastor.
The church’s faith’s foundation is nondenominational Calvinistic Baptist as formulated in the Second London Baptist Confession (1689) and the Baptist Catechism (1693). The church participates in yearly meetings with other churches of common faith from all over Japan and continues learning and exchange. In April 1996 Takeguchi Hideki became the pastor, in April 2015 Nakayama Shiro missionary. In March 2016, the church building was renewed. In February 2020, Shiro Nakayama became the pastor.
Concept of the church building
A front on three sides
The shape of the sanctuary is a unique octagon consisting of two rectangles overlapping each other horizontally alternated by 45 degrees. This shape is not calling for attention. Instead, its structure endows our church with three front sides valuing the two sacraments of the Christian faith (baptism and communion). The altar in the center, the basin for baptism on its left and the table for the Lord’s supper on the right can each be considered facing the congregation.
As the church is positioned at the crossing of Meguro-dori and Jiyu-dori the noise of the street used to be an issue, but by building a corridor around the chapel we achieved a tranquil place for listening to sermons, praying and singing. The all-wooden floor, walls, and ceiling add to the friendly and peaceful atmosphere of the sanctuary. The corridor surrounding it offers space for library and prayer rooms.
Clearness of Speech and Richness of Sound
Church architecture demands a space that makes the listening to the preacher easy while at the same time offering optimal conditions for organ play and the church chorus. These two elements often stay in conflict with each other, but the construction of our chapel reached harmony between them. Speaker boxes, sound absorption mechanisms, and a control room are distributed in a way you will hardly notice them.
Our octagon-shaped sanctuary assures that also families with children and those serving in acoustics can take part in the services. The organ, the control room and a corner for little children are placed in three corners of the chapel. Our hope is for all to be able to joyfully worship God together.
We’re located in the center of the city but there is a parking lot on the church ground (for 35 cars) and so you are welcome to visit church by car. In addition, next to the church at Meguro-dori, there is a place where wheelchair users can easily get off a car.
Our church regards it important to pass on the word of God through music. Each week the church choir will sing a cappella with a focus on traditional hymns published by TAKETO Goki. Rehearsal is twice a month on Sunday afternoon.
*TAKETO Goki (1935-2007)
Taketo was the first Japanese to pass Germany’s highest exam in church music. On his return to Japan in 1973, he started the Evangelical choir Evangelium Kantorei in Tokyo and Nagoya convinced that “the essence of Protestant music is the spreading of Christianity”. At Tokyo Bible Church he worked as Cantor (music instructor) and laid the foundation of the current church choir.