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Stories & Blog

The Race Against False Theology

MALI, AFRICA — In many West African countries, the difference between the north and south is more than geographical — it’s a difference of lifestyle, a clash of worldviews, a gulf of religious beliefs. And the division of the Muslim north and the Christian south is not always a peaceful co-existence. Islam is growing and, in spite of opposition, so is the Church.

But the pastors of these growing churches don’t have the resources or training they need. Most have a study Bible or a book in English left by a missionary, but few have anything else.

“There were four sermons I heard in the [African] countries I was in,” said Harry Walker, a Crossworld worker in France who has been to Africa numerous times. “‘Don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t sleep around, and love Jesus.’ Week after week, a Christian can’t grow on that kind of message.”

Not only were the sermons shallow, but they may be theologically incorrect, with many African pastors embracing prosperity theology.

After witnessing the pastors’ need for quality books and resources, Walker joined a project to supply a 34-book library each to thousands of evangelical pastors across French-speaking Africa.

“Pastors need resources,” Walker said. “They need to be able to climb on the shoulders of Luther and Calvin and other biblical scholars and see further than they would normally see.”

The set of Bible dictionaries, commentaries, concordances and theologies were translated into French and shipped to a warehouse in southern France, where volunteers spent several weeks sorting and packing. Now more than 18,000 sets have been printed and about two-thirds have been delivered.

The books are given to pastors free, but to receive them, each pastor must attend a three-day conference where he will hear biblical teaching and learn to use the resources.

More than 300 pastors attended the first conference in Mali in October 2011. “I can’t believe this is happening,” many said as they threw their hands up in excitement upon receiving the books.

After three days of worshipping, learning and chatting with old and new friends, the pastors returned home to lead their churches — now with quality resources at their disposal.

“I’m very thankful for a lot of anonymous donors who gave even small amounts, who don’t have the joy of doing what we did and seeing the joy on these guys’ faces,” said Walker. “It takes a lot of people and a lot of gifts.”

Walker will host nine more conferences in 2012, supplying books to nearly 3,600 pastors in Chad, Cameroon and the Central African Republic.

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