Conrad Mbewe: “Africa’s rural areas are in desperate need of the true gospel.”

An excerpt from Conrad Mbewe’s article, Africa’s rural areas are in desperate need of the true gospel.

“What struck me the most, however, was that while in Lusaka we are falling over each other to plant more and more Reformed Baptist churches, our trip in rural Zambia showed an almost complete absence of any evangelical witness, let alone any Reformed Baptist witness. Apart from one Pentecostal Assemblies of God church, the only “churches” we found in the whole area were Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, and New Apostolic churches. Inevitably, therefore, in all our conversations with the people in the villages the universal answer to the question of salvation was law and works. This was a very sad state of affairs. How could we be so negligent of the souls of our brothers and sisters in rural areas like this? Whole regions believe in a salvation by works. . . . I have said before that the price tag we place on a cause can best be seen by the price we are willing to pay for it. Missionaries sailed bloody seas in order to bring the gospel to Africa at a time when there were no modern conveniences at all on the continent. Many of them died soon after arriving due to the malaria parasite. That is how convinced they were of the value of our souls and the value of the gospel. Even today, missionaries such as the Reeces, are still willing to leave the comforts of the West to spend and be spent for the cause of the gospel in the villages of Western Province. What about us? Is the gospel not precious enough for us to relinquish the comforts of our towns and cities to take the gospel into rural Zambia and rural Africa?”

6 thoughts on “Conrad Mbewe: “Africa’s rural areas are in desperate need of the true gospel.”

  1. Our church works with Conrad Mbewe – we have learned from each other – and we send a team there about once a year. He has spoken at one of conferences (I posted the audio tracks here: http://defendingcontending.com/2011/05/14/christ-our-example-submission-to-authority/

    He is a godly man who desires to obey the Lord and bring honor and glory to His name. And his is right about the danger in Africa. Benny Hinn and the Pope make merchandise of the people. May God have mercy.

  2. Questions:

    1. Are churches really willing to pay to support someone to go off and struggle along for years in a rural area to plant a small church? Or would they rather have someone come back with exciting reports of how the Lord has used them to plant a big church in the city? Perhaps this isn’t entirely about what missionaries are willing to endure, but lies at the feet of mission boards, churches, and pastors that want reports of “results.” Few people have any idea of the pressures missionaries often feel to produce results for the home churches. Some pressures are internally generated, no doubt, but some are external.

    2. The cities are full of people from the rural areas. It costs a lot of money to send missionaries overseas. Wouldn’t it be excellent stewardship if the city churches trained and sent converts to do what the man from Decapolis was told to do in Mark 5 — go home and tell the people there? But the city churches must instead train all their most qualified men to be pastors of the city churches, so the missionary can go start another.

    The problem described here is obviously real. But the cause is not necessarily that missionaries love their comforts too much.

  3. Jon, thank you for stopping by. Not seeking to detract from your comment, but a couple of questions for you. 1) Have you ever been to Africa? 2) Have you ever been outside of a city during an African travel?

    The reason I am asking is because Africa is NOT anything like living in America where transportation is so fluid. People do not move around a great deal unless pressured to do so, normally by war and strife. Missionaries are often finding that when an African brother is taken from the jungle and trained in the city that very rarely will he ever go back to the jungle. Jungle life is not easy for missionary or for the local people and anytime they can be moved into the city they and their families love the new comforts they find. This is not to say that the Lord cannot burden the heart of a man to the point where he will return to the jungle, but it does not happen often. You also have the tribal and cultural and language divisions that continue to exist far greater than those in the West can imagine. This is often to the point where a family from one village may not move just a couple of miles up the road because of costs involved, because it could easily be a different language, and/or because it could be a different tribe.

    Yes, mission boards and supporting churches can and do often put pressure on the missionary for results, but it is normally because they have never bothered to truly understand the God-given talents and abilities of the missionary, nor have they normally bothered to try and truly comprehend the issues that the missionary faces on his chosen field.

  4. May God bless you and your family as you go, Mark.

    No, I don’t have the experiences you describe. I’m not sure it matters. One doesn’t have to be there to know the reality of the barriers you describe. Those barriers, while still daunting, would be less for a local believer returning home from the city. If nothing else, he knows the language.

    I was under the impression that Mbewe was speaking to local believers in Lusaka, and encouraging them to consider the Reeces as an example of commitment that they should follow.

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear, but my intent was only to expand on that to suggest that this should be a major goal/focus of missionaries going to the cities. Their city churches may not grow as big if their best and brightest go back to rural areas to start churches — but in the Lord’s eyes, which is the greatest success? They may not get to wear the “missionary’s badge” of “I started a church and trained a national pastor for it” quite as quickly, but so what if they’ve trained and sent three pastors out to start rural churches?

    And supporting boards and churches need to understand and rejoice if the Lord blesses in those ways.

  5. Pilgrim,

    Thank you for this article. Many in America probably don’t have the slightest clue what it’s really like being in the field, among those who aren’t anything like Americans in thinking, living, values or culture. Especially places like Africa, where the spiritual darkness can be felt if one has any discernment. And the stubborn resistance of that darkness to the truth of God’s Word can’t be overcome by the clever word games of man’s wisdom that seems to be the mode of operation so prevalent in American “christendom” today. Then compounded by their innoculation against the truth by false “Christian” religion. Millions upon millions of souls at stake! The very thought should drive every serious Christian away from his daily amusements and comforts into heavy prayer, both for those precious few who are risking their lives bringing God’s truth, as well as for those trapped in the chains of such spiritual darkness.

  6. May I add the spiritual darkness that engulfs the United States of America? I have the utmost respect for missionaries in places like Africa, China, Indonesia, and all the remote areas of the world. I cannot imagine getting accustomed to living conditions that are so primitive because I am so used to the comforts of life here in America, i.e., running water, including hot water! Heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, grocery stores, etc.
    To live in trying conditions and to live with the threat of death looming daily is hard for me to grasp; however, I believe we may soon found out.
    America is undergoing a famine of truth, so many claiming to be ‘Christian’ and yet they live like devils. When you do present truth you are labeled as divisive or judgmental. God has abandoned this nation, as John MacArthur preached ‘http://defendingcontending.com/2009/11/30/macarthur-america-abandoned-by-god/ That’s not to say that we ever were ‘Christian’, but we were blessed. That is no longer the case.

    It appears there is a delusion that engulfs this nation and has a stranglehold on it. Speaking truth is like talking to a brick wall; we are not threatened with death yet, but it’s coming.

    I pray for all missionaries who risk so much, yet know it’s worth it. Leaving all that you know and those that you love is difficult to grasp; only God can prepare one for such a task. Let us not fail to pray for God’s missionaries, and their families.

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