November 23, 2009

An important update from ACFAR coordinator Rodgers Atwebembeire

What a timely and timeless blessing ACFAR is to the malnourished church in East Africa! There could be no better moment than this for such assistance.

As floods of western relativistic tendencies and postmodern idealism sweep the region, the church finds itself ill-equipped to sustain its relevance in an unpredictable, constantly changing society.

The most subtle and venomous enemy of the church is the invasion of cults—pseudo-Christian and aberrant groups, both foreign and traditional—now arising to challenge orthodox beliefs. Syncretism, unsound theological trends, widespread ignorance of God’s Word, a lack of discernment, social benefits promised by the cults, the unpreparedness of pastors, and other factors heighten the predicament in which the church finds itself.

The African church needs to stand in defense of the Gospel. It must emphasize both formative education and corrective discipline. It must seek to win cultists to the truth rather than simply brand them as its enemies. And it must teach the absolute truth of God’s Word, defending it from misinterpretations and corrupting influences. This will require biblically informed leaders, theologically knowledgeable men and those passionate for the defense and preservation of the Christian faith.

In partnership with Kampala School of Evangelical Theology (KEST), ACFAR is organizing training conferences for the week of March 14–20, 2010. The timing coincides with the tenth anniversary of the doomsday cult tragedy in Kanungu which left nearly a thousand people dead. We hope to gather about 400 pastors and church leaders from all over Uganda. Themes will include the authority and reliability of the Bible, practical apologetics and evangelism, resisting the “prosperity gospel,” and the challenge of cults and child sacrifice in Uganda.

Will you commit to praying with us from now until the conferences? We realize that in planning these training events we are about to enter a season of spiritual warfare, and every prayer, every petition, from the saints of God matters greatly!

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November 16, 2009

An Important Article on the New Apostolic Church

Dr. Victor Kuligin has graciously granted us permission to post his article on the New Apostolic Church to the ACFAR web site. The article, which first appeared in the Africa Journal of Evangelical Theology (Vol. 24, No. 1—2005), offers a rare critique of a cultic movement that’s growing rapidly across Africa with little resistance.

He writes:
“With over ten and a half million members worldwide in over 72,000 congregations, the NAC is a church to be reckoned with. Nearly three-fourths of its membership is in Africa, making it one of the largest single denominations in the entire continent....with nearly sixteen times more members in Africa than in Europe. From the surface, the NAC appears to be just another Protestant denomination, but a deeper investigation yields some disturbing theology and practices in this church.”

In conclusion, Dr. Kuligin states that “we can conclude that the NAC is not simply another church or denomination but is in fact a cult.” He adds: “Whereas often we find ourselves concentrating on the ‘classic’ cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons, neither of these compare to the NAC in terms of membership numbers and influence on the continent. In the next decade, the membership of the NAC will approach ten million Africans. Teaching concerning this cult should play a more prominent role in the education of evangelical church leaders and pastors, and subsequently of evangelical believers continent-wide.”

November 9, 2009

The Prosperity Gospel in Africa: “Did Jesus Wear Designer Robes?”

The November issue of Christianity Today (pp. 38–41) offers an important new article about the damage wrought by the Prosperity Gospel on Africa. You can read the article here, watch the related video here, and go “behind the scenes” with the filmmakers here.

Excerpt: “The gospel of Jesus Christ—with its promise of liberation, deliverance, forgiveness, grace, and restoration—can never be a gospel of poverty. But just as the Bible does not glorify poverty, neither does it glorify greed. Scripture consistently warns that the pursuit of worldly interests can lead us to neglect the deeper values of the kingdom of God. Yet this is exactly what happens in the biblical interpretations favored by prosperity teachers.”