Dear Friends and Family,
In 1970 The Carpenters recorded the song, “We’ve Only Just Begun.” Believe it or not, Karen and I were in High School together and I have yearbook pictures to prove it. She was two years behind me. She died young due to an eating disorder. She remains my favorite female vocalist.
That song came to my mind today as we were finishing the third day of this four-day seminar and I talked with a few of the participants.
Before getting into the title of the song, allow me to recap the day. Bill started the day with the lecture on church discipline from Matthew 18:15-25. The purpose is to keep the church pure. I followed with the lecture on the major theme of the OT, which is the kingdom of God. Bill then did the themes of the first half of the NT, book by book. And I finished with the lecture covering the theology and resulting lifestyle of the letters to the Ephesians and the Romans.
The host church is a very hospitable bunch of people. They have treated us well. I was told today they are an extreme Pentecostal church. The young man who is doing the running around, getting us there and back is also influenced by general Pentecostal themes (see picture of his Facebook page in the photos album). One of those is “prophetic utterances.” More about him in a minute. I met with a missionary today (see pics) who says that just about every Christian group has adopted at least some of the distinctive Pentecostal themes.
ME AND APOSTLE DANIEL
At lunch today, a young man came up and smiled and introduced himself as Apostle Daniel. He wasn’t 30 years old, I don’t think. I started asking him what that meant to him? I asked him to define apostle, he said servant. I said “I am a servant of Christ, but I am not an apostle.” He said he was a pastor. I asked if all pastors. He said “no.” Since the apostles were the foundation of the church (Eph 2:20), I asked him if he saw himself as part of the foundation. He said “yes.” Since apostles could do signs and wonders in the NT, I asked him if he could. He said “yes.” He was obviously a confused young man. But he had never studied this from the Bible. He had always just believed what he was told.
AN OPEN DOOR FOR THE WORD
After lunch, my lecture was an overview of the theology of Ephesians and Romans. Eph 2:20-3:5 has a good discussion of Apostles and Prophets. So I used that as an opportunity to give a clear study of what the NT says about either one. They were the foundation of the church. The foundation was laid in the first century. Therefore, there are no true, biblical apostles or prophets today. (Much more was said today.)
THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD
I mentioned on Tuesday that it seems like the general response to the teaching of truth is to acknowledge it. Say AMEN to it. And to keep doing what you’ve always been doing indicating that they may not be “connecting the dots” to see how the Word contradicts some/much of their ministry focus and practice.
One of those I was thinking of was our seminar administrator (see his Facebook picture in the photo album). I, honestly, was a little disappointed with him for a couple of reasons, this being one of them.
Then tonight when he brought Bill’s and my dinner to us, he asked to talk with me, that he had a lot of questions. Of course I said “yes.”
Then for 45 minutes we talked about a lot of these very issues. He wanted answers. He wasn’t challenging. He wasn’t resisting. He was asking, seeking knowledge, seeking clarification, seeking answers. He had to leave to meet someone. He said he’d be back but hasn’t made it. I was thrilled by his questions and eager to answer all of them from the Word. And he is already sharing his “vision” for taking this training to the rest of Ghana.
I don’t know how many others in the room are beginning to connect some dots but it seems this young man is. Taking the title of The Carpenter’s classic song, and applying it to our work in Ghana. There are some major ministry opportunities in Ghana. We’ve seen some good things happen this week already, but WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN.
TOMORROW AND SATURDAY
We finish the seminar tomorrow. On Saturday, I have an evening flight back to Nairobi. With the time difference (they are 3 hours ahead), I arrive there 5:30am Sunday. Bill will leave even later, heading back home.
Pray that Bill and I continue to speak clearly and in a way that can be understood. Pray that the Spirit continues to work in the hearts of people. Pray for “Eric,” our administrator, that God will use me or others to answer his questions.
I will put today’s Q&A into tomorrow’s report.
Photo album with a few more pics.
By His grace,