Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Zambian Reformed Conferences—Second Day

For the purpose of this blog post, I decided to spend my day at the Reformed School of Theology yesterday (Tuesday, 27 August). This event is meant for pastors, church leaders, Bible college students, and their wives. Due to other demands on my time, I was not able to stay and listen to all the messages but kept going in and out. So, I asked our son, Mwansa, to give me a summary of the two messages. (This is also a disclaimer!) He attended the Reformed Family Conference, but the messages were essentially the same.

Thabiti Anyabwile preaching at the Reformed School of Theology
Thabiti Anyabwile preached from 1 John and used various passages from there to deal with the subject of assurance of salvation. He said that our assurance of salvation should be based on Jesus Christ rather than on us. Once we drift from this principle we fail to understand the concept and will never really be able to answer the question of whether or not we truly are Christians. Assurance is not about how we felt at the time of our conversion but about the faith in the death of Christ on the cross on our behalf.

The key and major factor is not necessarily our actions but the well from which our actions spring, or to put it another way, faith does not make us born again but it is because we are born again that we have faith. Our assurance should always come from what Christ did and our belief in that rather than from any of our actions both past and present. This is because we fall quite often but Christ’s work was and is perfect.

Don Carson preaching at the Reformed School of Theology
Don Carson spoke on the temptation of Eve in Genesis 3. He said that the serpent did not arrive with a contradiction to God’s command (not to eat the fruit) but with a question. That question was the root of the evil. However, it was aided by Eve. Eve added to the command by saying that God said the fruit should not even be touched. This was a ploy by Eve’s mind. It made God seem unjust and over-controlling. The root of all temptation is the thought that God is petty and jealous in his commands. Once these thoughts begin to spring we start creating lines for ourselves and then we cross not only those lines but also the lines that God has said we must not cross.

Attendance in the Reformed School of Theology
The afternoon had seminars done by local pastors. I was not able to attend any of them (for reasons mentioned above). The seminars were:
1. The spirit of Adoption--Isaac Makashinyi
2. Biblical Antidotes to Sexual Temptation--Grave Singogo
3. The means of grace (private and public) as they relate to temptation and assurance--Kennedy Sunkutu

In the evening meeting, "yours truly" spoke about Reformation Zambia. I am yet to be corrected, but as far as my knowledge goes, it is the only Christian magazine in Zambia. Hence, I appealed to those in attendance to support it by buying and reading it. Michael Hudson from the UK sang a solo. He is excellent and puts his voice to good use. He did the same last year at this conference.

Evaristo Mambwe presenting on the work of Bible Society of Zambia
Evaristo Mambwe, the General Secretary of the Bible Society of Zambia, made a presentation on the work of the Bible Society. Perhaps the most exciting moment was when he announced that a fifteenth language in Zambia (Mambwe) now had a whole Bible translation, and it was to be launched in Northern Province on the coming Friday. He also announced the latest ESV Global Study Bible that “yours truly” participated in.

Michael Hudson singing a solo in the evening plenary meeting
Finally, it was time for the preaching of the word, and Don Carson spoke on the temptation of Joseph from Genesis 39. Beginning with the central part of the text, Don made his way outwards to show how this story fitted into the whole narrative of Genesis and to the whole Bible. In speaking of the way Joseph was tempted by Potiphar's wife, he showed us some elements of the power of Joseph's temptation, some reasons why Joseph resisted the temptation and some ways of God hidden behind temptation.

Don Carson preaching on the temptation of Joseph
In showing us some reasons why Joseph resisted temptation he said (1) Because Joseph was conscious that he had been given a position of trust and needed to prove trustworthy. (2) Because he called a spade a spade—i.e. sin and not some moment of indiscretion. (3) Because he saw the whole of life in the light of God himself. (4) Because he not to play with fire. (5) Because he was more concerned for his purity than for his prospects.

Congregational singing during the evening plenary meeting
If there is only one sermon you have time to listen to, it must be Don Carson’s evening sermon. I suppose it must be because it was the only sermon that I listened to yesterday. It was powerful beyond description. My wife’s comment at the end of the evening sermon was simply, “Man, this is preaching!” And I thought she had been listening to "preaching" for the last 25 years!

1 comment:

  1. Busa it must have been powerful all that family confession, both you and amai Busa
    praise the Lord for his goodness and his servants
    Good msg' are needed from God whether rebuke, exaltation, collection and instruction unto righteousness. It is profitable. Amen miss you and your msg' Busa