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Encouraging news from Africa

October 2006 | by Conrad Mbewe

This year’s Zambian Reformed Family Conference and School of Theology were held in Lusaka from 21-25 August.
The keynote address was given by Choolwe Mwetwa, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Chingola, Zambia. He showed from Romans 8 how true spiritual assurance comes from reflecting upon the eternal dimensions of our salvation.
Guest preachers were Lance Quinn, Todd Murray and James Henrich – all pastors from the Bible Church of Little Rock in Arkansas, USA. Lance examined the doctrines of grace theologically, Todd showed their impact on worship, and James their impact on missions. These glorious doctrines lead to God-glorifying worship and God-centred mission.
Todd Murray added a unique dimension by giving a biographical sketch of the life of John Newton over three evenings. He ended each presentation by singing some of Newton’s less known hymns.
One of the two guest preachers from last year, Paul Washer, returned just to attend the conference, along with three other American pastors and an American seminary student. But we did not allow four seasoned pastors just to sit around and enjoy the fellowship!
They ended up taking electives on Marriage and the God-centred home, Understanding the book of Proverbs, The worship that God blesses, and Suffering all things for the sake of the elect!

Packed

Thankfully, they were not ministering to empty pews. The venue was packed, with 300-400 people during the day and 500-600 in the evenings. The conference hall could not contain those that came for the evening meetings as Lance Quinn expounded Romans 9.
Those attending came from all but one of the nine provinces of Zambia. Then we had other visitors, from Australia (an 80 year old lady!), Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania.
Some Zambians living and studying abroad made sure they joined us for this annual feast. They came from Australia, Kenya, Norway and Switzerland. We missed the brethren from Zimbabwe whose economic woes made it impossible for them to come, and those from the Democratic Republic of Congo where there were the first national elections for over twenty years.
It was truly an international conference that showed how the doctrines of grace were a uniting force for the people of God in Africa.
Since the last conference four new Reformed Baptist churches have started – in Lusaka, Windhoek (Namibia), Francistown (Botswana), and Zomba (Malawi). Representatives from them testified to the inspiration they had received from the Zambian reformed movement. We thank God it has pleased him to use us in this way.

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