On Friday and Saturday, I was blessed to attend a Christian leaders’ conference on “Resolving African Problems”, held in a tent erected on our organization’s property. Through five lectures and four discussion sessions, the 150 participants wrestled with Biblical approaches to thorny cultural issues. The congregational hymns included several that our team has translated into the local ethnic language.
In the first lecture, a European showed that the gospel not only offers forgiveness for our guilt and acceptance for our shame, but also power to conquer our fears. We divided into groups to debate whether it’s possible for the living to communicate with the dead. Then Tim, the sponsoring organization’s leader, explained on the basis of Numbers 6:24-26 how God Himself provides better solutions to our guilt, shame, and fear than those supplied by paganism. After lunch, the discussion groups grappled with the church’s stance on initiation rites and whether they can be Christianized. My director gave Friday’s final lecture, on Biblical examples of and teaching regarding witchcraft.
Saturday began with a rousing lecture by a local pastor on how it is that we fight against evil spiritual powers, based on Ephesians 6:10-18. Then the groups debated on the source of spiritists’ powers and whether we must understand their secrets in order to conquer them with the gospel. The last lecture, by Tim again, addressed the role of ancestors in our lives and how we can learn from their legacy without worshipping them. The final debate was on whether it is sinful to use for medicinal purposes the same plant roots used in pagan healing rituals.
I thank God for men who have the courage to stand on the Bible’s authority and sufficiency in opposition to prevailing cultural currents. Please pray that He will continue to give these pastors wisdom in this challenging task. Thank you.