CHURCH UNDER FIRE
A few of us recently had the opportunity to sit with Ben Kwashi, a Nigerian archbishop from the plateau state in central Nigeria and the city of Jos. It was a gathering of a few dozen people during his recent time in Melbourne. Here are a few of my observations that stood out:
- he gave thanks for those missionaries from past generations who had come to west Africa to bring the gospel of Christ, and who had frequently given their lives in the process. Today there are many places which are not safe places to go, but the gospel still needs to be taken and planted. It is compassion that leads to action (Matthew 9:36). Do we do mission only when it is safe?
- there needs to be a clear commitment of people to Jesus, a clear conversion, if people are to withstand the pressures against them, whether in Africa or in Australia. He made reference to the parable of the weeds (Matthew 13:24-30) – there is an enemy who is sowing weeds among the wheat.
- it is increasingly difficult for people to go to church in Jos owing to the security situation and the threats and bombings targeting churches. There are no easy choices – if you fight back you cannot preach the gospel, if you die you cannot preach the gospel. There has been huge growth in the church, but there is also great struggle. Pray that God may hold back the hand of evil at this time.
- your children are your first mission field, to bring them to Christ. Never give up. He attributes his own conversion and calling to his grandmother who never stopped praying for him and who always believed that God would take him and use him.
- anyone who goes to hell volunteers to go there, because no one has to – Jesus died for everyone – that’s good news!
- there is a huge compassionate work going on – he and his wife give shelter to over 50 orphans, and are involved in the feeding and education for many more. These children also come to Christ in the process.
- there are many people coming to faith in Christ, yet there remains the need for good Bible teaching so new disciples aren’t led astray but are deeply formed.
In short, the church is both on fire and under fire. May the fire of God enliven His church here in the relative stability of the west – and Frankston, and may we be burdened to pray for our brothers and sisters under fire around the world. May God vindicate those suffering for Him. As the psalmist prays, “Let my vindication come from you” (Psalm 17:2).
Church Under FireJuly 17th, 2012 | Posted by in Phil's Focus
CHURCH UNDER FIRE