May 20, 2003

I Cor. 16:9 “…a wide door for effective work has opened…and there are many adversaries.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” II Tim. 2:15
Individually as pastors we should be studying God’s Word.  Since we are in fellowship we should also take advantage of the gifts of other men whose studies we can learn from as we also share insights with them.  The CLCI has pastoral conferences.  The five districts of the BELC have monthly studies.  Together these two sister churches have a yearly English pastoral conference alternating between the two churches hosting it.  In the NCLC (Nigeria) we have monthly seminars in which all pastors and Institute students attend.  In addition to this we have a yearly pastoral conference.  I am sure that we would be interested to know how our new sister churches carry on a joint study.  By all means write us to let us know.  I can’t overestimate the value of a conference during which studies are presented and discussion follows.  We all have different gifts and abilities and insights.  One translation of “fellowship/koinonia” in the RSV is “sharing” which certainly fits.  Secondly, this is a time for brothers to encourage one another in singing “psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs”  Col. 3:16, in prayer James 5:16, in personal words applied to personal lives  II Tim. 3:16-17.  And it is thirdly a time for discussion of the work of the Lord and how best to carry it out, what new ventures to undertake, how better to improve our present efforts.  May God continue to bless us as we gather with Him in conferences and seminars.

For some years now, Pastor Jyothi Benjamin has had a correspondence course sent to inquiriers.  They have placed advertisements in newspapers.  There have been in the past 20-30 individuals taking the course.  When I am in India this summer, I will be updated by Pastor Jyothi and report on this venture to extend His kingdom.  In India the Hindus dominate.  If one member of a Hindu family were to go to a Christian church there could be a serious break in the family due to the Hindus viewing the member’s leaving as a serious offence.  One way to assist in having the Word take root is a correspondence course, in which there is no visible breaking.  Of course over time the break may occur, but in the meantime the Word is building up the individual to hold to the truth.  The Spirit of God is not just in a building called a church building.  He is the author of the Word and works through the Word wherever it is read or heard.  I Cor. 2:6-10.  Just as we have the Spirit in our hearts so we pray that these inquirers might also.  II Cor. 1:22

TEE – THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION BY EXTENSION is what the three letters stand for.  There are times and places when men cannot go to our training schools in India or Africa.  One way that we can assist men to learn is to have classes with them when present in a visit and to send correspondence courses.  So far among the brethren we have done this to a degree with: Gideon in Denu, Ghana; Kossi in Lome, Togo; Samson in Etago, Kenya and Denis in Kinshasa, Congo.  Pastor Gideon had completed several years in a theological school.  We have been giving him courses that assist in understanding the Lutheran doctrinal position as opposed to the Reformed.  Probably the most ambitious attempt lately was to send a book and cassette tape on Greek to Denis.  Slowly the material is found to use to try to put together a curriculum.  To equal the three to four years of regular study in seminary or institute would take a very long time, it is true.  But to have a man absent from his wife and children for a lengthy period of time is not wise.  And to have the wife and children come with the student to the school is too costly for us.  We hope to be pursuing a middle way before too long with Samson and Enosh in Etago.  Samson is pastor and Enosh is the elder who is the substitute pastor there. We plan to continue the TEE with correspondence courses and visits coupled with them going alternatively for six week segments or so to St. Peter’s Seminary at Himo, Tanzania.  Let us all pray for TEE and for the men who use it that they grow in faith and knowledge of our dear Lord.  To them we say,  Study to show yourselves approved, as workmen who need not be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.  II Tim. 2:15

Pastor D. Koenig