Enjoying religious freedom – combating Biblical ignorance
South Sudan is the world’s youngest country. It came into existence just over two years ago and most people there call themselves Christians.
But whilst they rejoice in their independence and freedom from the persecution of the strict Islamic government of the former regime, South Sudan’s spiritual leaders are concerned about the widespread Biblical ignorance they encounter. Far too much preaching is just retelling stories or repeating sermons heard on one of the many satellite religious channels.
The huge need, therefore, is to train the pastors so that they root their sermons in the Word of God. This is the task that PTI is dedicated to doing, which was why I was in both South Sudan and Tanzania to prepare the ground for later preaching conferences.So in South Sudan I met a number of church leaders, including Presiding Bishop Arkanjelo. All were very keen on hosting future conferences. The first venues could be inTorit,for rural pastors who speak Arabic because they have relocated from the old capital Khartoum. The other might take place in South Sudan’s capital Juba.
Moving to Tanzania I met both Pastor Michael Nhonya, PTI’s contact in Arusha, and Pastor Alfayo, the president of the local Baptist churches.
Later I met a larger group of church leaders. They wanted to know more about PTI and, quite rightly, insisted on checking my credentials! Praise the Lord for the spiritual oversight which meant they wanted to be sure that I would be teaching the Truth before they ‘gave me the floor.’
Further meetings with pastors included me giving a taster of what a conference would look like in practice, including a workshop. We ended with a lively Question Time, which gave me a good opportunity to discover the key issues (such as the Prosperity Gospel, and how to combat it) that most concern them.
The men were thrilled with what they heard and have invited PTI to hold two conferences, in Arusha and Morogoro, perhaps sometime in [date??].
Later I had an amazing opportunity to preach in two Maasai villages. The churches there are only a few years old so it was wonderful to see how God has been at work amongst these people. One of the Maasai traditions is to give the guest food and at one church I was even given chips!
On my final day I met Mike Taylor, the principal of MunguishiBibleCollege. He is a graduate of Moore College Sydney and is keen to partner with PTI in Tanzania and to encourage the faithful handling of God’s Word. It was good to meet him and his family and to introduce Michael Nhoyna to him. All in all it was a very successful visit and will I am sure lead to many excellent opportunities for the Gospel in the years to come.