Home Reformation Today Missions in Africa
Missions in Africa PDF Print E-mail

Behold, I say to you, lift your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! John 4:35

An epic conflict is raging throughout Africa. It is the battle for the soul of a continent. Animism, communism, Islam and Christianity are locked in a World War of Worldviews.

A Continent in Conflict

In some countries this conflict is visible and physical. Tens of thousands of Christians have been killed and hundreds of churches burned down by Muslim mobs in Northern Nigeria. The Christians in Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains endured decades of Jihad by the National Islamic Front government of Sudan. Churches, schools and hospitals were bombed by the Sudan Air Force. Pastors were crucified. Children kidnapped from Christian homes to be enslaved and raised as Muslims. In Zimbabwe hundreds of churches have been burned and bulldozed by the Marxist regime of dictator Robert Mugabe.

In the course of my missionary work I have seen literally hundreds of churches burned down, by Marxist regimes such as in Mozambique and Angola, by the Muslim government of Sudan, or by Muslim mobs in Northern Nigeria. Ive also waded knee deep in corpses in churches in Rwanda, and come under aerial and artillery bombardment while preaching in services in Sudan.

To those involved in the Spiritual warfare of seeking to win souls to Christ in Africa, it is apparent that much of the violence is in retaliation for the success of Christian missions. Some of the worst atrocities and most intense violence has taken place in countries where the church has made great strides in winning people to Christ from Animism, Humanism or Islam.

Sudan

There has been a revival amidst persecution in Sudan. Tremendous sacrifices have been made. One church in the Nuba Mountains which I have frequently visited, in Kauda, endured 18 aerial bombardments from the Sudan Air Force within a twelve month period. In one bombing 19 children and 2 adults at their school were killed. Yet, the people continue to gather, and overflow, their church for Sunday worship.

The cathedral in Lui, the birthplace of Christianity in Moruland, was bombed ten times. Three times the cathedral was destroyed, yet each time rebuilt, restored and filled with joyful Christians bringing a sacrifice of praise.

I have seen Sudanese evangelists, who despite having an arm amputated, or feet axed off at the ankles, have continued to take the Gospel to their neighbours. One pastor I know had the joy of adding over 14,000 people to his congregations in less than five years. Numerous pastors have multiple congregations to care for.

The resilient Christians of Sudan have steadfastly stood up against the onslaught of Islamic Jihad. Not only have they withstood the assaults of Islamic Jihad, but they have succeeded in winning many of their enemies to Christ.

Some reports claim as many as 5 million Muslims in Sudan have turned to Christ in the last 20 years. One Sudanese Evangelical leader observed: People have seen the real Islam, and they want Jesus instead!

Nigeria

In Nigeria, despite the 12 Northern states enforcing Sharia Law, and frequently attacking Christians and burning churches, many tens of thousands of Muslims have come to Christ.

Algeria

In Algeria, the Muslim government recently closed down 13 Protestant churches, including a 1,200 member Full Gospel congregation. Algerian Christians have been imprisoned for insulting Islam. Missionaries have been expelled for trying to convert Muslims to Christianity. The Evangelical Protestant Alliance in Algeria claims 50,000 members.

Morocco

In Morocco Muslim newspaper articles openly complain that up to 40,000 Muslims have turned to Christianity in recent years.

Muslims Come to Christ

A leading Saudi Arabian Muslim leader Sheikh Ahmad-al-Qatanni reported on al-Jazeera TV that everyday 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity! He claimed that Islam was losing 6 million Christians a year to becoming Christians. This he described as a tragedy! Even allowing for the fact that the Sheikh could be inflating these numbers to incite Islamic reaction against Christianity, and that he could be confusing those who are merely leaving Islam with becoming Christians, something momentous is happening in the Muslim world. Much of this in Africa.

I have seen Muslims coming to Christ in Sudan and Nigeria. What used to be a rare event is now becoming a mass movement to Christ. Millions of Christians worldwide come from Christian backgrounds. The Scripture are being fulfilled: The desert tribes will bow down before Him and His enemies will lick the dustall kings will bow down to Him and all nations will serve Him. Psalm 72:9-11

From Communism to Christ

Even in Central Africa, in what was the heartland of animism, and oppressed under dictatorial communist regimes, we are seeing mass movements to Christ.

The Congo must be one of the most difficult mission fields in Africa. The logistical complications, vast distances, endemic lawlessness and corruption, frustrate any travelers. Approximately 55 million people in an estimated 450 ethno-linguistic groups live in the Congo. Its vast mineral resources and agricultural potential were squandered by post-independence chaos, corruption and mismanagement. Now, most of the once efficient road and railway system are impassable. A succession of dictators have plundered the nations resources. Civil wars, assassinations and incredible brutality and cruelty have devastated this long-suffering nation. Literally millions were slaughtered in the violence. Yet, our mission has had the joy of conducting extensive evangelistic outreaches even along the massive Congo River, and had literally thousands attending our leadership training courses there.

Mozambique and Angola

As the civil wars have ended in Portuguese speaking Mozambique and Angola, tremendous opportunities for missions have developed. Once Protestants made up less than 4% of the total population of Mozambique. Now Protestants are over 34% of what, under the Portuguese, was an officially Catholic country, and then for 20 years was officially atheistic under the Marxist Frelimo regime. The church has also grown spectacularly in communist Angola.

Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe we are likely to soon face a critical turning point in history, similar to that in Eastern Europe in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down. The Marxist dictatorship of Robert Mugabe is in its last days as nationwide resistance to his tyranny increases. Our mission teams are preparing now for conducting Biblical Worldview Seminars, God and Government Seminars and Reformation and Revival Seminars in order to assist Zimbabweans in the reconstruction of the country. We have already reprinted 10,000 copies of the new Biblical Principles for Africa book in preparation for this nation transformation.

Unprecedented Opportunities

Africa is a continent in conflict. The opportunities for fulfilling the Great Commission of Africa are tremendous. The openness to the Gospel and hunger for Bible teaching throughout Africa is intense. Bad times are good for Spiritual work.

As missionary C.T. Studd declared: Some like to live within sound of church or chapel bell; I would like to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.

The greatest Spiritual needs in Africa at this time are good Bible based discipleship books, CDs and manuals and Leadership training particularly Bible teaching.

Ligonier Ministries can play a key role by making books and CDs of Dr. R.C. Sproul available for Bible College libraries throughout Africa. Through its William Carey Bible Institute, Frontline Fellowship is ensuring that solid Reformed books are strategically donated to Bible Colleges and Seminary Libraries throughout Africa.

Most pastors in Africa have no formal Bible training. Most pastors have no access to a library, and personally own only a few books. Many do not even own a full Bible. Operation World reports that 100 million Christians in Africa do not even possess a copy of the Bible!

Numerous leaders have gone on record as saying that Africas greatest need is discipleship. The church has done a good job of evangelizing, but a poor job of discipling. Christianity here is a mile wide and an inch deep! is how one pastor put it.

The challenge for missionaries to Africa is to learn from the Puritans and to give high priority to literature and leadership training. We need to ensure that pastors, teachers, evangelists and chaplains are strongly grounded in Reformed doctrine and Puritan Devotion. We need to ensure that our preaching deals with head, heart and hands. We need to be involved in the renewing of minds, the transforming of hearts and the practical application of the Lordship of Christ to all areas of life.

Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him, and His enemies will lick the dustyes, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him. Psalm 72:9-11

 
Copyright © 2017 Reformation Society. All Rights Reserved.