This week we are teaching two courses to two different
cohorts: 1) Hermeneutics; 2) Gospel of John.
Today while talking to our national partner, unbidden he
mentioned how glad he was that we were teaching the Gospel of John. In recent years Islam has been growing at a
rapid rate thanks to Muslim missionary efforts.
Towns that used to have one or two mosques now have at least one mosque
within walking distance of every family.
Muslim missionaries attack Christian beliefs, arguing to the local
population that Christians worship three gods.
Recently our partner talked with a Christian woman he knew who had married
a Muslim man. When he asked her why she,
a Christian, married him, she replied that it didn’t matter because they
worshipped the same God.
How do you contend with a surging Muslim presence combined
with a population confused between the differences between Islam and
Christianity? Unconsciously following in
the footsteps of great African theologians like Athanasius and Augustine, our
national partner sees the solution in the classic doctrine of the Trinity. He sees the high Christology of John providing
for the perfect vehicle with which to challenge the students on the
foundational difference between Christianity and Islam.
The other class is Hermeneutics. I feel like I don’t have to work hard to
justify the importance of hermeneutics, especially in a country rife where it
is so easy to find examples of bad hermeneutics on the tv, radio, or in local
churches. However, a short observation: Sunday I preached at a very remote
church. The entire time I was there, except
for the church leadership, I did not see anyone with a copy of the Bible. If it is important to faithfully preach the
Bible, how much more is it important to faithfully preach the Bible when no one
(or very few) in your congregation have any knowledge of the biblical text
apart from your sermons.