April 28, 2008

Advancing Biblical Discernment in Uganda

What was it like to return to Uganda? It’s going to take an entire series of posts to work through my thoughts. I’m overwhelmed at how abundantly God blessed us—and how clearly He confirmed the urgency of our mission.

Lweza Conference Center One of the main ways we saw God at work was during my times of speaking and interacting with church leaders and other Christians. Right after arriving in Kampala, I went to the Lweza Conference Center to participate in a pastors’ conference on preaching. Dr. Solomon Nkesiga from the Kampala Evangelical School of Theology divided his platform time with me as he delivered a message from 1 Timothy 4:1–10. I focused on applying the first three verses, which warn us about deception and false teaching. Spending the night at Lweza gave me a great opportunity to talk frankly with pastors from across Uganda, learning more about the impact of the cults, false teaching, and other challenges they face.

John at Calvary Chapel KampalaOn Wednesday night, I spoke at Calvary Chapel Kampala about how to recognize error. Using the "Five Solas" of the Reformation as a guide, I offered five simple but powerful keys for discernment: Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone, and the Glory of God Alone. It was wonderful to worship there again!

John at ABUThe next day I was asked to teach an evangelism class at African Bible University, focusing on the challenges we face when witnessing to cultists. ABU is an excellent school devoted to training and preparing church leaders to properly handle the Word of God. Spending time in discussion with the professor and students on evangelism and the cults was enjoyable and enriching.

John PreachingOn the day before we left, I had the privilege of preaching at a local Baptist church at their Sunday-morning service. This was the first time I’ve spoken with an interpreter (translating my message into Luganda), and I thank God for the chance to open His Word to them. Preaching from 1 John 4:1–6, I showed the importance of testing what we hear in light of "the faith once for all delivered to the saints" as revealed in Scripture.

In the weeks ahead I hope to tell you much more about our time in Uganda and what it means for the future of ACFAR and our family. But one thing stood out as I was engaged in ministry: Everywhere we went, Christians spoke about the severe need for tools and training in countercult apologetics. The ABU students desperately wanted more information on the cults that I talked about, and I was literally swarmed with people asking questions for over an hour after speaking at Calvary Chapel Kampala.

I could give many more examples, but one thing is clear: the Africa Center for Apologetics Research is desperately needed, and it’s needed now. Please prayerfully consider how you can help us raise up a generation of Christian apologists in East Africa!