Think about what it is like to attend a normal Sunday at church in your context. You hear great teaching based on solid theological training and years of study. If you want to engage in your own deep study of the Bible, you have a wealth of resources at hand. You have friends with whom you can discuss difficult Biblical topics.
Now imagine if all of that was stripped away. Now you are responsible for teaching a group of people who know absolutely nothing about the Bible. You don’t have access to any additional resources or study materials. And difficult questions lead to confused looks on the faces of your friends, with all of you uncertain about where to find answers.
North Africa was a major theological center of the early church. Perpetua, martyred in the third century A.D., died in modern-day Tunisia. Augustine was bishop of Hippo, in modern-day Algeria. The Council of Carthage met in North Africa to settle the canon of the New Testament in 397 A.D.
Despite this rich history, the Christian testimony in the area was largely lost after Islam swept through in the 600s A.D.
But today, the Holy Spirit is moving across the nations of North Africa, bringing individuals to Himself. We are seeing the rebirth of the church in North Africa and trained leaders are a critical part of that effort. The growing church needs trained leaders who are able to teach others, especially in a context where Scriptural knowledge and resources are so limited.
Today, our team of three travels to a site in North Africa to teach seminary students who are leading house churches in a number of North African countries. We will be teaching systematic theology in cooperation with our partners there, covering several major Christian doctrines. We want to equip these students with the tools they need to effectively teach the Word in their context.
Our ultimate goal is that right doctrine will move all of us to worship. When the Apostle Paul completed his long theological argument in Romans 11, it moved him to break into spontaneous praise in verses 33-36:
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
We look forward to seeing what the Lord will continue to do through His leaders in North Africa, as the church returns in a dark place.