The Church in Africa

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Leslie

Puritan Board Junior
Amen to the above as regards advanced theological training. Yet more than theology, the scriptures need to be taught in the vernacular language starting from childhood. Cases in point:
1. I am teaching English to a group of teens, all from believing families, some pastors' kids. While they know the basic stories such as Adam and Eve, Abraham and David, they have never heard of Joseph, Elijah, Gideon, Samson and the like. This in spite of their having gone to church weekly since early chilldhood. The reason is that the local clergy have rejected teaching or even reading the scripture in the vernacular translation.
2. Our family security guard, a leader in a local church and evening Bible class teacher, named his newborn son 'Esau'. His sister informed me that the name was because it was from the Bible: Jacob's brother. We sent our guard to Bible school for a semester, after which the boy's name was transformed to Isaiah (which sounds similar).
3. It is a 'given' in the local church that Amharic (the trade language) is the 'holy' language and all legitimate teaching must be done therefrom.

When we first arrived in Ethiopia in '94, the majority of evangelical pastors in this language group were functionally illiterate. It seems to me that worrying about Reformed vs. Charismatic should take second place to making sure pastors can read.
 

scottmaciver

Puritan Board Sophomore
Amen to the above as regards advanced theological training. Yet more than theology, the scriptures need to be taught in the vernacular language starting from childhood. Cases in point:
1. I am teaching English to a group of teens, all from believing families, some pastors' kids. While they know the basic stories such as Adam and Eve, Abraham and David, they have never heard of Joseph, Elijah, Gideon, Samson and the like. This in spite of their having gone to church weekly since early chilldhood. The reason is that the local clergy have rejected teaching or even reading the scripture in the vernacular translation.
2. Our family security guard, a leader in a local church and evening Bible class teacher, named his newborn son 'Esau'. His sister informed me that the name was because it was from the Bible: Jacob's brother. We sent our guard to Bible school for a semester, after which the boy's name was transformed to Isaiah (which sounds similar).
3. It is a 'given' in the local church that Amharic (the trade language) is the 'holy' language and all legitimate teaching must be done therefrom.

When we first arrived in Ethiopia in '94, the majority of evangelical pastors in this language group were functionally illiterate. It seems to me that worrying about Reformed vs. Charismatic should take second place to making sure pastors can read.

Thanks for sharing some of your own experience in Ethiopia Leslie.

I suppose in my thinking, at least, any theological training would presuppose sound literacy levels.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Conrad Mbewe has noted, “There is a growing view that Christianity in Africa must be different from Christianity in the East or West. I think this view is wrong because it creates a divide that the Bible knows nothing about and would not even want to encourage. For instance, it wants us to deliberately and intentionally worship differently from our brethren in the West.”

His statement needs more context and explanation.

There is the RPW. But a Scotsman and a Sub-saharan African might not worship just alike, nor do they need to. In Papua they have chants for singing. We need not import a pipe organ like the Dutch nor expect all cultures to worship exactly the same way. The principles of worship are the same, but the circumstances may vary widely. It is not good to see cookie-cooker Presbyterianism spread all across the globe stifling local variations in worship. Congregations all dressed alike, in buildings all the same, and music all the same is not required.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
The situation of the church in Africa is way too big for me to comprehend, but, having taught there twice at a compound in Lokichoggio (Loki), northern Kenya, I have a little understanding. Plus, the church I am now serving in Cyprus is comprised mainly of young Nigerian men (2 women among them).

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned MERF (Middle East Reformed Fellowship), as their labors in Kenya, South Sudan, and beyond are extensive. Basically, they support indigenous ministries, while training pastors and elders for 3-month or more intensive educational seminars, while housing and feeding the visiting students. The training is Presbyterian and/or Reformed, according to their confessions.

MERF also has ministries to numerous Islamic countries, calling God's elect to Himself out of those cultures.

The Nigerian men and women I serve presently I seek to disciple to walk with Christ. I have so far taught (in our midweek Bible studies) the first 9 chapters of Genesis, and Lord's Day preaching through the first 5 chapters of Romans – so as to set a basic foundation of Biblical understanding, to which I refer constantly.

The Gospel of Christ is constantly held before them (we are going through the Gospel of Mark now, so they are becoming familiar with His Person), and the doctrines of grace are reiterated continually, so they cannot escape the deep truths of the Good News.

Besides the sound teachings, we care for them, and help them in their precarious refugee situations as best we can. They delight that they are received as brothers and sisters – genuine family – with none of the prejudice they meet with elsewhere here.

I don't know if the Lord will keep my wife and me here permanently, or if our church members will be able to remain here, so we serve them with the view that this is a golden opportunity to instill gospel knowledge, godly living, and Christian community and family into their hearts, that they may have this experience of His grace to remember and live by wherever they are.
 
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scottmaciver

Puritan Board Sophomore
The situation of the church in Africa is way too big for me to comprehend, but, having taught there twice at a compound in Lokichoggio (Loki), northern Kenya, I have a little understanding. Plus, the church I am now serving in Cyprus is comprised mainly of young Nigerian men (2 women among them).

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned MERF (Middle East Reformed Fellowship), as their labors in Kenya, South Sudan, and beyond are extensive. Basically, they support indigenous ministries, while training pastors and elders for 3-month or more intensive educational seminars, while housing and feeding the visiting students. The training is Presbyterian and/or Reformed, according to their confessions.

MERF also has ministries to numerous Islamic countries, calling God's elect to Himself out of those cultures.

The Nigerian men and women I serve presently I seek to disciple to walk with Christ. I have so far taught (in our midweek Bible studies) the first 9 chapters of Genesis, and Lord's Day preaching through the first 5 chapters of Romans – so as to set a basic foundation of Biblical understanding, to which I refer constantly.

The Gospel of Christ is constantly held before them (we are going through the Gospel of Mark now, so they are becoming familiar with His Person), and the doctrines of grace are reiterated continually, so they cannot escape the deep truths of the Good News.

Besides the sound teachings, we care for them, and help them in their precarious refugee situations as best we can. They delight that they are received as brothers and sisters – genuine family – with none of the prejudice they meet with elsewhere here.

I don't know if the Lord will keep my wife and me here permanently, or if our church members will be able to remain here, so we serve them with the view that this is a golden opportunity to instill gospel knowledge, godly living, and Christian community and family into their hearts, that they may have this experience of His grace to remember and live by wherever they are.

Thanks for sharing some of your own experience Steve, both in Kenya and in Cyprus . I am familiar with MERF as they have a base in Scotland. Do you happen to know who the main contact in Scotland is?
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for sharing some of your own experience Steve, both in Kenya and in Cyprus . I am familiar with MERF as they have a base in Scotland. Do you happen to know who the main contact in Scotland is?
Gun teagamh mas e duine math a th’ ann, gu cinnteach chan e Sasannach a bhios ann :D
 
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