It is around 9 am Sunday morning here. Most of us are awake. It is somewhat difficult to sleep in since the first call to prayer happens around 5:45 each morning. Who needs an alarm when there's a mosque about a block from us? Chris and I went for a run this morning. It was very refreshing. We are preparing for our sessions this evening and waiting to go out to see some of the city. Please pray for us.
Chris did an incredible job yesterday. He spoke for several hours over the doctrine of inerrancy. It was encouraging to see how receptive and engaged the people were. Chris balanced well using technical terms, but explaining them in a way to drive home his main point. The Bible that we have today is trustworthy. God has revealed Himself to us through Scripture, and we can be confident that His truth has been faithfully transmitted. The people were grateful for the material and excited to attend the sessions over the next 3 evenings.
I had a brief, but interesting conversation with a Filipino lady who came to the lecture. She had asked Travis if he was Joe Meyer. He directed her to me. She asked me a question that many have also in previous places I have visited. She asked if I was related to Joyce Meyer, a popular Bible speaker and TV preacher in America. I smiled, said no, and might have included the word "fortunately" in my response, too. Having been asked this question before numerous times, it was not a surprise.
I share this encounter for one main reason. TLI trips require that we read "Reaching and Teaching" by David Sills. The book is VERY good. I have tried to get it into the hands of my supporters and friends who are "missions-minded". I believe that if its content is taken seriously, the way in which missions is viewed and practiced will change dramatically for the better. It is no wonder that globally the Church is as theologically weak as it is when our methods are as shallow as they are. In one portion of the book, Sills discusses the role of theological education in the missionary task. One reason it is essential is the constant presence and advancement of heretical teaching. Not only are there false gospels, but the religions of many areas also often influence how believers practice their faith (syncretism). It is only by consistent, Biblical teaching that these pitfalls can be avoided.
Case in point, the conversation I had with the Filipino lady yesterday. Reflecting on that, it is clear that theological education is greatly needed at home and abroad. The devil is not passively sitting by hoping that people are not equipped in the truth of Scripture. No, instead he is actively seeking to devour people and whole Churches through heretical teaching. If believers around the world are going to be so easily exposed to false teaching (whether it be via TV, radio, internet, or literature), then our efforts ought to be tenfold to see the truth of the Gospel preserved. I join Sills in affirming that no longer can we neglect theological education and teaching believers to obey ALL that Christ commanded us but still think we are seeking to fulfill the Great Commission as Jesus has commanded.