Dear ITEM Friends,
We are finishing up our long day of the East Africa Apologetics Summit and I must tell you that I have been blown away by what I have heard today as speaker after speaker shared what they are doing individually in this critical area. I must admit that I felt like a rookie in the ministry of apologetics. At the same time, I felt right at home.
A THINKER AMONG THINKERS
The training we offer pastors is western in nature. It is systematic, line up line, and fully outlined. But African cultures are story telling cultures. They tell stories and learn from stories. So, I’ve asked pastors in the past if we should change the way we teach and both times the answer was the same: “No, you are making us think and we need to learn to think.”
As I sat and listened to leader after leader I was humbled by their collective experience, wisdom, knowledge, and insights.
Those who have been brought together by Adventurous Apologetics is impressive. See pictures with descriptions.
EYE OPENING HIGHLIGHTS
The following are comments that were made by the various speakers that give us some insights into the importance of apologetics here in Africa. Here they are in no particular order.
- There is a TicTok video where a Muslim took apart a Christian by asking the Christian, “Your God will not accept a sincere apology from you when you sin. He killed His only Son because of your sin. Any father will accept the sincere apology of his child. You God will not. What kind of a father is He?”
- Gadgets are destroying our kids.
- What is Christianity’s answer to African poverty?
- Isn’t Christianity only a white-man’s religion?
- How could Moses have written Deuteronomy when that book records the death of Moses? (That was asked by a 15 year old.)
- People in Africa are returning to the African Traditional Religions because they have concluded that Christianity has failed them and they are cursed by their ancestors.
- Jihadists caused 911. Isn’t the God of the Old Testament the same by telling Israel to kill an entire nation?
- We cannot apply human logic to God.
- We need to start with logic. People need to learn to think about their faith logically.
- People lack discernment. I (the speaker) was at a conference. One speaker shared the gospel and talked of repentance. When he finished all the people clapped. Then the second speaker got up and told the people to list all their enemies then prophesied that all of their enemies would be dead by December. The same group of people clapped again. (Lack of discernment.)
- The youth are not asking questions but questioning the answers.
I am sure I missed some but these are the ones I wrote down.
PRIORITIZING THE QUESTIONS AND PLANNING A STRATEGY
As we finished up today, we gathered into two groups to suggest the three top questions or category of questions that people here need to be prepared to answer. Both groups came up with the same top priority question: Why does a good, loving, all powerful God allow so much suffering? And the way some of the related questions were asked distinguished between suffering in Africa and suffering in the west.
There were other categories as well. One was the need to clarify the gospel (considering the cults and the prosperity gospel), and to be able to explain why the Bible is unique and should be trusted more than other “holy books.”
Before we finish up tomorrow we hope to have a strategy for working together in East Africa.
We are all called on from time to time to “give an answer for the hope that is within us (1 Pet 3:15).” Being able to give a reasonable answer is called apologetics. We are ALL apologists.
Thanks for your interest and prayers!
By His grace,
ADDENDUM: When the evening was all but over, during dinner, I heard a theological discussion taking place next to me at the table. It was in reference to speaking in tongues. I wanted to join the conversation to explain ITEM’s approach to the controversial topic. The young man, Jackson, is a medical doctor who is interested in apologetics and proper theology. We probably talked for an hour and one thing let to another to another to another. In the end he was very satisfied and excited about the time. He has a different view than I do but I never criticized his position, I just kept challenging him to check his conclusions with what the Bible says in context. His name is Jackson and he wanted me to pass on his greetings.
Many new pictures added today. CLICK HERE FOR PICS