August 31, 2009

Why I'm Excited about the Future of ACFAR...

Many leaders can’t tell the difference between true orthodox faith and cultism....
As a trained minister, and as a former victim of the above, I believe it’s my mandate to go out and teach the centrality and essentiality of Scripture—the Christ-centered Christian worldview and the integration of faith with the rest of life”
Rodgers Atwebembeire, new Ugandan Coordinator for ACFAR

Dear Friend,

John DivitoAfter the deadline of my family moving to East Africa by the end of May came and went, I wondered about the future of ACFAR. As it turns out, God was about to answer our prayers in a wonderful and unexpected way.

But before I explain, consider how much Christ has already blessed our ministry! Thanks to your support…
  • We’ve developed a strong network of strategic partnerships with ministries here and in Africa
  • We’ve taught in various venues—including over 200 pastors at last month’s conference in Kampala
  • We’ve conducted substantial research into a wide range of cults and false teachings in East Africa
  • We’ve built a blog and web site—both of which will serve as a growing and ongoing resource
  • We’ve begun distributing tracts, pamphlets, books, CDs, and DVDs to Christian workers and organizations across Uganda
  • We’ve laid the foundation for long-term outreach in the region, including training events for pastors and Christian workers
My most recent trip to Uganda confirmed the great strides we’ve made in advancing biblical discernment in Africa. Over the last few years, our Lord has allowed us to do far more than I imagined possible. So many wonderful things happened in Kampala last month that I can’t recount them all.

But one meeting in particular has enabled us to finalize our transition period and launch a revised strategy for equipping Christians across East Africa...

When we met with Pastor Gerald Sseruwagi of New City Church in Kampala, he strongly recommended Rodgers Atwebembeire, one of his personal disciples, as a candidate to coordinate ACFAR’s work in East Africa.

Rodgers AtwebembeireWho is Rodgers? A Ugandan minister who just graduated from Africa Bible University at the top of his class. He comes highly recommended by everyone with whom we’ve spoken, from his professors to his pastor. And he has a heart for apologetics, having already done live question-and-answer radio programs in English and other languages to help Ugandan believers, along with many other ministry opportunities.

With Rogers as ACFAR’s new coordinator, the future is bright. Our strategy for the next phase of ministry includes:
  • Literature—including all-new tracts in English and local languages, and a practical quarterly newsletter on discernment for evangelical pastors
  • Electronic resources—including the multilingual apologetics resource collection

  • Training
  • Conferences for pastors and university campus workers in 2010

  • Research
  • Monitoring cultic movements via group-specific research and mass media sources
  • In-depth interviews with denominational and parachurch leaders, as well as Christian educators, on how to address the challenge of the cults and false teaching
Therefore, I’m stepping down as ACFAR’s director, though I’ll continue in an advisory role as my time allows. Dr. Sam Waldron, one of the pastors of Heritage Baptist Church in Owensboro, Kentucky and Academic Dean at Midwest Center for Theological Studies, has asked me to assist him in some of his ministry responsibilities. After much prayer, fasting, and counsel, Jennifer and I are preparing to move our family to Owensboro.

I’m grateful for all that God has done over the last several years. And while this may be a time of uncertainty for me, I continue to trust in the One in whom I live and serve. Now we have a local African willing to continue our vision. I can’t wait to see what will happen in the upcoming years through Rodgers’ faithful service to Christ.

ACFAR is moving forward—and it needs your support now more than ever! I ask you to continue praying for our ministry and for Rodgers. And I humbly request that you join Jennifer and me in supporting ACFAR in every way possible in the months and years ahead.

Because of His grace,

John Divito, Director
Africa Center for Apologetics Research (ACFAR)

P.S. Let us renew our commitment to helping our African brothers and sisters follow the instruction of the Apostle John: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

August 28, 2009

I'm Back With Exciting News!

Now that I have returned from Uganda, I wanted to post the updates which were sent out to our prayer partners and supporters. Below is a message I sent on Friday, August 7th. Do you feel left out? You don't need to be! Simply sign up for future e-mail updates here.

Dear Friend,

Last week I wrote to thank you for your prayers, and about the tremendous response to our ministry at the Calvary Chapel pastors’ conference in Kampala, Uganda.

Many pastors came to us with questionsHere’s the rest of the story.

Our final three days in Uganda focused on strategy meetings with Christian leaders. And here’s what stands out.

They didn’t just ask us to help them; they offered their facilities, their manpower, and other resources to get the job done. A large-scale training event in early 2010, focusing on cults and false teaching, now appears very likely. Two highly placed leaders made a startling offer to use radio and other mass media to give us a national platform for exposing error. We also interviewed two gifted nationals who could serve as ACFAR’s “feet on the ground” in the months ahead.

Even though my family isn’t moving to East Africa, God’s hand on ACFAR is plain to see. We now have a strong basis for developing a new ministry strategy in these last days of our transitional period.

I’ve never seen so much hunger from African church leaders who want to grow in biblical discernment.

We must help them.

God has used your prayers and support to bring us this far! Please continue standing with us as we lay the groundwork for the future of ACFAR.

Because of His grace,

John Divito, Director
Africa Center for Apologetics Research (ACFAR)

August 19, 2009

I Have Great News from Uganda

Now that I have returned from Uganda, I wanted to post the updates which were sent out to our prayer partners and supporters. Below is a message I sent on Wednesday, July 29th. Do you feel left out? You don't need to be! Simply sign up for future e-mail updates here.

Dear Friend,

Teaching pastors how to discern truth from error using the BibleI’m sending you this quick note to let you know that the Lord is hearing your prayers! Our ministry has had a wonderful response at the Calvary Chapel pastors’ conference here in Kampala. Yesterday I taught two workshops. The first session was on how to practice biblical discernment using the five “Solas” of the Reformation: Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone, God’s Glory Alone. The second session applied these five principles to the widely popular “health-and-wealth gospel.”

Believers quickly exhausted the last of our materialsHow were our workshops received? Well over half of the pastors and Christian workers at the conference chose our sessions from among the various topics offered. We ran out of ALL of our tracts and booklets by the end of the first session, and we could have easily distributed double or even triple the amount we brought. The reason? A deep hunger for resources on the cults.

So far, the most frustrating—yet exciting—moment was when a pastor came up to me after the second session and asked, “What is this grace thing you’re talking about?” I was amazed—a pastor was asking me this question! So I shared the Gospel with him. He seemed to be “getting it” for the first time. Praise God!

Another conference speaker told me about a pastor who expressed his gratitude for my message on the “prosperity gospel.” Apparently, some of his family members are involved in churches that proclaim this false gospel, and he hasn’t been able to respond to them well from the Scriptures. Now he feels that he can. It’s humbling to know that God has used our ministry here to help hundreds of church leaders in such ways.

Today is the last day of the conference. After it ends, we’ll remain busy by meeting with Christian leaders and defining a future strategy for ACFAR. Please pray that Christ continues to bless our efforts here. We have so much to accomplish in the brief time remaining. Nevertheless, we’ll continue to trust in our sufficient and gracious Savior here in East Africa.

Thank you again for your prayers—keep them coming!

Because of His grace,

John Divito, Director
Africa Center for Apologetics Research (ACFAR)