In June, we participated in the Bible School Consultation, hosted by Mukhanyo Theological Seminary. 70 Participants represented 20 Bible colleges from all over South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Malawi, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe. We were brought together in a lovely Christian lodge with blue crane, springboks, swans and ducks in the tranquil environment. When we saw a bushbaby in one of the trees, it made me miss my bushbaby from Angola who used to sleep in my pocket as I hitchhiked around the country and would come out and play all night!
Tombstones of Seminars
There were tremendous and important presentations at the Bible School Consultation. Professor Flip Buys from Potchefstroom University presented a horrific exposé of the abuse of very young children accused of being witches by so-called church leaders in the Congo. The need for a thoroughly Biblical and practical training for our ministers and missionaries is essential. He laid out the Seven Tombstones of Theological Seminaries:
1. Academic intellectual knowledge is given a higher priority than character transformation skills.
2. The highest priority of lecturers is to impress academic colleagues and not to form, mould and shape students to be men of God and effective pastors.
3. Excellence assessed merely on academic terms and learning through field experience not integrated.
4. Lecturers have no vision of the Church as God's primary instrument for transformation of society.
5. Curriculum is determined by secular accreditation agencies.
6. Forming of character and skills are marginalised in training.
7. Theological education is being priced out of the market and made unaffordable.
The Downward Spiral of Bad Leadership
Dr Flip Buys also expounded 1 Timothy 6:3-11 on the downward spiral of bad leadership where false doctrines produce envy, strife, suspicion, arrogance, pride, ignorance, an unhealthy interest in controversies, and a greed for gain. The consumer minded generation and mad rush for secular accreditation has led to an obsession with accreditation criteria and slavery to government policies.
Professor Buys quoted from a Dean of Theology who proclaimed that "Theology has nothing to do with God. It has everything to do with man!" It is this humanism that most threatens Theological Colleges today. Professor Buys pointed out that while we have phenomenal numerical church growth, there has been a superficial impact of Christianity on our context in Africa. 90% of Theological students are not mature believers and most will never be effective pastors. We should not call the trained. We should train the called. Too many enter college not because of any call, or commitment to ministry, but to climb the academic ladder with cheap subsidized education for a Diploma and better career prospects. We must ensure that our students are called before accepting them.
The Geneva Academy Model
Dr. Jack Whytock from Canada presented the Geneva Academy and Scottish models of Theological Education, which were effective partnerships between local sending congregations and the Theological Seminaries. The lecturers were full-time pastors who lectured part-time at the Academy. The local churches supported the students who were assigned congregational responsibilities and fully integrated into the practical and spiritual work needing to be done in local congregations and outreaches. This well-rounded in-service training and practical hands-on Theological education produced experienced and dynamic pastors and missionaries, obviously far more effective than our present emphasis on academics alone. Dr Whytock emphasized that the Geneva Academy mentored students, sent them out and assigned them congregational responsibilities. Local church support and apprenticeships went together with covenantal accountability. Ministry context was the heartbeat of Theological Training with many reading, writing and preaching assignments.
Spiritual Insights from Examples of Excellence
I was invited to present Spiritual Insights from Missionary Pioneers. I delivered presentations on William Carey - The Father of Modern Missions, Dr. David Livingstone - The Best Friend Africa Ever Had, and Charles Spurgeon - The Puritan Prince of Preachers. At the end of the Consultation I was part of a Panel Discussion, which fielded a wide range of questions for almost two hours.
Library Donations to Colleges
We had driven up a large amount of literature and audio visual materials to entrust to the various colleges. We distributed 20 boxes (each with 40 items) of books to donate to the library of each Bible College, as well as boxes of Chapel Library classic booklets, World Missionary Gospel booklets in Portuguese, Bemba, Chichewa and English, and boxes of Bibles and New Testaments. In addition a wide variety of DVDs, MP3s, CDs and Digital Libraries, were distributed to lecturers and libraries.
"Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints." Ephesians 6:18
Mobilise to Evangelise
In order to expand the Missions' capabilities and impact, we are convinced that acquiring and developing a Mission farm will enable us to develop a more effective, hands-on, practical in-service training programme with facilities for the many Missionaries needed to reclaim Africa for Christ. The needs are urgent, the opportunities unprecedented, yet the labourers are far too few. The only way that we will be able to respond to the overwhelming demands and requests to serve suffering Christians throughout Africa, is to recruit and train dedicated and effective Mission workers. We are envisioning Livingstone Farm to be a Missionary Training Centre that will prepare and mobilise the kind of Missionaries that Andrew Murray mobilised through the Africa Institute, following the 1860 Revival.
Livingstone Mission School
For several years Frontline Fellowship has been praying over acquiring a farm to establish Livingstone Missionary School. We have thoroughly investigated a remarkable farm which appears to meet most of our needs. With the increasing demands for our camps and courses, this farm would be an ideal site for Wilderness Bush Camps, Leadership Training Courses, Youth Camps, School and Church Camps, Biblical Worldview Seminars and Summits, Great Commission Courses, Survival Courses and the Livingstone Missionary School. This farm is in a remote and mountainous region with a wide variety of wildlife, including some leopards. 17 of our Missionaries and staff have explored the well-watered area and are in agreement that this is the most suitable place that we have yet found to establish Livingstone Farm. Our Board has thoroughly discussed and adopted the project and we are now trusting the Lord for the funds needed in order to purchase the farm and develop it.
We are most grateful for your prayers, encouragement, and support, without which none of our ministries would be possible. Thank you for the financial sacrifices you have made to enable this Mission to advance in Africa. Please continue to pray for our many ongoing Book Projects, outreaches and cross-border Missions.
May God continue to be your joy and strength.
Yours for the fulfilment of the Great Commission
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa