In the month of March 2013, I had three encounters over s very short period of time with victims and teachers of heretical doctrines here in Kapiri Mposhi. The people that I encountered included members of the Lumpa Church (who follow the teachings of a woman called Alice Lenshina), Jehovah’s Witness (whose false teachings are familiar to us all), and the End-Time Message Church or Branhamites (who teach three phases of God instead of three persons of God). These encounters reminded me of the importance of sending out true preachers of the gospel and planting sound churches across our country.
|Manasseh Kaonga making a point during our missionaries prayer retreat|
It was Wednesday, 6 March, 2013 when I was doing my routine evangelistic work, giving out literature, inviting people to our church services, and making appointments to share the gospel. I met three men to whom I introduced myself and the church I was coming from. I engaged them with the word of God concerning their future hopes of eternal salvation. Their response was that they too possessed those hopes. However, upon further inquiry on how they obtained their hopes, I was taken aback by what they believed. Their background was from the Lumpa Church, and they talked about a certain prophetess named Alice Lenshina, whom they claimed had possessed divine gifts of great wonders. The men sincerely and strongly believed that Alice Lenshina died four times and rose from the dead each time. During those times they said that she saw God. One of them described how their prophetess conducted cures of large epidemics in the villages in Chinsali of the Northern Province of Zambia in the 1950s and 1960s. They said that it was because the colonial government and the subsequent UNIP government were jealous of her fame that they pursued her. During these times she performed disappearing acts. These three men talked about faith in Christ and at the same time expressed categorical loyalty to their ancestral roots, to their church, and to its prophetess.
The discussion was cut short by a phone call. I got all their contacts and, God willing, we will meet again. I believe these men were just expressing what their parents have passed on to them rather than what the Spirit of God had revealed to them. I have no doubt that they were lost and still needed to know Christ as their Saviour.
|Mr Salimu making a point in Manasseh's home in the encounter below|
Another encounter I had was with the members of the End-Time Message Church. It was on another day when I was at an Internet Café in town. I thought I would chance an opportunity to witness to one man who, later in the discussion, I discovered to be a Jehovah’s Witness. I had just begun challenging this man to consider the new birth. He argued with me that only heavenly creatures get born again, whereas the rest of humanity need only be taught the word of God for them to attain salvation in the future earthly kingdom of God. Another man in the background was quietly following our discussion. He was from the End-Time Message Church. He joined the discussion and supported my arguments. For some reason the arguments moved into discussing the personality of Christ. The Jehovah’s Witness, alleged that Jesus was a created being. To my surprise the man on my side, responded that in fact Jesus is the only God there is and that other terminologies like Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were simply titles. Surprised, I quickly distanced myself from him. Immediately tables changed, and the argument was now between this man from the End-Time Message Church and myself. As this argument raged on, the Jehovah’s Witness man quietly sneaked out of the café. This claim that God was in three phases rather than three persons irritated someone else who was listening in to this discussion, a Mr Salimu. So, he took over the discussion, citing different Scriptures against this heretical position. In the end, the debate was postponed to Friday 15 March, and it was to take place at my home.
On the meeting day, the End-Time Message Church member showed up at my house with three other members of his church, including their pastor. Mr Salimu also came and joined the meeting. After introductions, the Branhamites pastor began asserting their position, talking about how God created the world not in six days but in six thousand years. Then he went further to talk about the three dispensations. These were the Dispensation of Conscience (Adam to Abraham), of the Law (Abraham to Jesus) and of Grace (Jesus up to date). Then he talked of how Jesus acted as the Father in the old Testament, quoting Isaiah 6:6-9, Jeremiah 23:5,6. He further explained how Jesus displayed his divine powers on the earth and that the baptisms carried out by the disciples in the name of Jesus were proof of Christ being the only God, instead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
I disputed with them, greatly accusing them of making out Jesus to be a liar in all of his speeches where he talked of the Father being in heaven and his sending the Holy Spirit after his ascension. How can you receive yourself from yourself and then send yourself? Besides, Revelation chapter 4 and 5 gives a picture of Jesus the Lamb in heaven receiving the scroll from the Father who apparently sat on the throne. How can you receive something from yourself? Mr Salimu and I rejected their teaching as false. But the men went to the extent of putting our salvation in doubt by insinuating that we proclaimed three Gods. The whole discussion lasted from 14:00 to 18:30 hours without any conclusion.
What good can come out of all this?
Since that discussion, Mr Salimu, who is a teacher by profession and only recently moved with his family to Kapiri Mposhi from Lusaka, is trying to persuade his wife to join our church. I have maintained contact with him. Please pray for him and his wife to make a right decision. He has shown great interest in joining our church. He seems to be a mature Christian. His roots are in the Pentecostal Assemblies Of God church.
This is merely a representative sample of the kind of arguments I often have with people in this town, simply because the cults got here before we did. Nothing short of the grace of God opening blind eyes can enable these people to see the errors of their way. With your prayers, God can do this. So, pray for the people of Kapiri Mposhi who are victims and teachers of these destructive heresies that the Lord will open their eyes to see the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ so that they can be saved.