Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Call For Biblical Discernment

This was the theme at the just-ended 10th annual Leadership Conference of the Central Africa Baptist College (CABC) in Kitwe, Zambia. This conference took place from 2nd to 6th December 2013. (Pardon my late posting, I went from one conference to another!). In case you are wondering about CABC, I've written about it in another blog post (click here). CABC offers courses in sign language, pastoral ministry, and chaplaincy.  CABC also runs a radio station, which can be heard across the Copperbelt province.

Overall attendance at the just-ended Leadership Conference
The man behind this vision is Dr Phil Hunt. He was initially a missionary pastor involved in the planting of Faith Baptist Church in Riverside, Kitwe. As he was preparing to hand over this church to an indigenous pastor, Saidi Chishimba (see last photo below), he began to develop this college. Phil has endeared himself to many Zambians because of his love for the gospel and for the people of God. To put it simply, his passion for the gospel is contagious!

Phil Hunt (on the right) with some of the conference speakers
It was good to be at this year's Leadership Conference and see the growing numbers. Although the conference began at Faith Baptist Church, it soon moved to the college's beautiful premises soon after the college buildings were opened. This year, to contain the growing numbers coming for the conference with every succeeding year, a huge shelter that can easily sit 400 people was put up and it was filled to capacity in plenary sessions. This conference is playing an important role in upholding conservative evangelicalism on the Copperbelt, in Zambia, and further afield.

A section of the evening attendance singing inside the new shelter 
This year, I was asked to be one of the two main speakers together with Dr Sam Horn. Sam is the president of the Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Minneapolis, USA. He took the pastors through 1 Corinthians. Other speakers included Pastors Grave Singogo, Kabwe Kabwe, Isaac Makashinyi, Ken Banda, Saidi Chishimba, Phil Hunt, and Ben Straub. Except for Phil and Ben, all the others were well-known Zambian Baptist pastors.

Dr Sam Horn in mid-flight preaching the Word of God
The conference has always been divided into two parallel streams. The pastors meet under one tent and all the others meet in another tent. This year, the latter met under the new shelter that I've already mentioned. The theme of the conference was "A Call To Biblical Discernment." Some of the topics covered included how to understand discernment, the role of the Holy Spirit in biblical discernment, identifying false teachers, etc. Issues of visions, dreams, prophecies, healings, etc., were also addressed. Of course, this was the best conference to also address aberrations of the faith, such as, "Touch not the Lord's anointed," "Name it and claim it," and "Sowing the seed."

There were three bookshops spread out in the same room, selling books to those who attended the conference. Our own Evegreen Christian Bookstore was one of them. A few books were also given out to conference participants, one of them being Strange Fire the latest book by Dr John MacArthur Jr.

Sandala Mwanje, the conference "chief" advertising books
Anyone living in Africa will know that the topics covered in this conference were pertinent topics today. Each of these messages was communicated to the deaf through a sign language interpreter by a brother who loves ministering to the deaf in this way. The messages were also given to all the conference participants in workbooks that they carried home for further revision. Most of these messages were also aired live on CAB Radio so that the number of people listening to the messages was immediately multiplied. Most of the sessions were led by former students. It was encouraging to see something of the fruit of the college. I have come to know and love these young men.

Pastor Saidi Chishimba preaching at the conference
He is a graduate of the college and now chairs its Advisory Board
Many of the men and women who were in attendance went back to church situations where "the good, the bad, and the ugly" live side by side. Pray for them!

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