Dear ITEM Next Gen Friends,
Well, phase two of this trip is over. Phase one was Nairobi last weekend. Phase two was here in Kigali, Rwanda. Yesterday is was radio and TV. Today it was a day long seminar of carefully selected individuals. It was a sensational kickoff of what promises to be a powerful Next Gen “youth (ages 18-35)” ministry here.
We ended up with 50. They were carefully selected by the organizer, Paul Norman or Norman Paul (either works in this part of the world).
The first session was an Introduction to Apologetics. We looked at the definition of apologetics, then explained why it is not as threatening as it sounds to some believers, and that we are all instructed to be ready to give reasonable, rational answers to the questions that we are asked about Jesus, God, the Bible, Christianity, etc.
The second session was on worldviews and how they evolved over the past 1000 years (yes you read that right). In the premodern era, beginning about 1000AD, knowledge came from God’s revelation (the Bible and nature), studied by man who had been given the ability to reason from God.
Then the modern era came, the Enlightenment, when God’s revelation was set aside and it was said that God given reason looking at nature
was enough to lead man to find knowledge.
Then came naturalism (atheism), where God given reason was replaced by human reason alone was enough to gain knowledge. But when there was no consensus on “knowledge,” it led to postmodernism.
Postmodernism questions the ability to find knowledge at all. And with no agreement, it has become a struggle for power so one can enforce their personal ideology.
Obviously, there is much more to each.
We looked at how each worldview answers the questions regarding Origin, Meaning, Morality, Destiny.
The final talk was on God’s Story of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and New Creation, and how, if we understand each of these “chapters” in God’s story it helps us frame answers to tough questions we are asked
Following the first lecture, we asked for questions.
Some believe that the threat of hell is being used to force people to become Christians. How should we respond? ANS: God doesn’t send anyone to hell. He gives each of us (who are sinners by nature when we are born) a choice. Believe on Jesus as the one who received the judgment we deserve or refuse it and receive the judgment that we deserve (because of sin). It’s our choice.
Some believe that since we are saved by grace, we can live anyway we want, including living in sin. How do we respond? ANS: Romans 6-7 makes it clear that when we come to Christ, transformation takes place and we will not be able to go on living in sin guilt free.
Heb 6:4-6 and 10:26,27 seem to indicate that if a person is saved and falls away from the faith, they are then doomed to judgment. ANS: If you look closely at the context, and other verses like 2 Pet 2:20-23 and John 15, you will see that these verses are talking about those who claim to be “saved” but are not. They eventually go back to their previous lifestyle and unless they truly repent and trust Christ, they will be judged.
Some say Christianity was created for the weak, and the poor, not for the educated. Your thoughts? ANS: The apostle Paul was very well educated. And in the West, there are many many top scholars, philosophers, scientists, mathematicians who are followers of Christ.
But perhaps the highlight of the day was sitting with three members of the next generation, all of whom are youth leaders, talking about social justice and all of the related issues. What I heard them describe is exactly what we see happening in our culture where masculinity is being attacked and “equity” (not equality) is being stresses, and certain so called “oppressed groups” are being favored over groups considered to be “oppressors.”
This is only the beginning here. We already agreed to some Zoom meetings for additional training and Q&A. They were excited about that possibility.
We are already talking about the next time here. We will continue training these 50 plus have a separate session for a youth meeting for a presentation and a Q&A time.
One quote by one of the guys in the small group of youth leaders grabbed me. “We see apologists on You Tube, and we read articles but this is the first time an apologist has actually come to Rwanda. It’s amazing.” (or something like that). I am not an accomplished “apologist” by any measure. And I am probably not the first to do a seminar here. But it was their first time.
Like I said. This is only the beginning.
Now it is time to pack up and tomorrow I head to the Univ of Rwanda in Huye. It’s a two hour drive from the capital city. We “set up camp” Thursday and plan for big events Friday night and Saturday before driving back to Kigali and flying back to Nairobi on Sunday.
For safe travel on the road Thursday.
Continued good health.
A receptive audience at the University.
Wisdom as I share.
For God to raise up someone that I can train who will take my spot when I am not able to travel any more.
By His grace,
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P.S. I just received word that the school paid $128 duty for those two boxes of used books. I was VERY surprised they ended up paying that much. I wonder how that will affect me bringing the final 8 boxes.