Christopher Jonah, his wife Betty and baby Ciel have set off on a lonely path. They have, with the help of friends in the UK, set up their own mission – Truth Mission. Saddened by the way in which the Bible is mishandled throughout the country, and by the prevalence of ‘prosperity’ teaching, Truth Mission sets out to model faithful exposition of the Scriptures.
The gospel in Sierra Leone is being submerged in a sea of false teaching that – as Christopher put it – ‘promises so much but delivers so little’. He had to do something about it. Prosperity teaching had infected many Evangelical churches and para-church groups, and nobody, it seemed, was ready to stand against it.
As a young Christian, Christopher attended a church where discipleship was a serious business and the Bible treated with respect. Correct interpretation was emphasised. ‘Read the passage several times’, they were taught. ‘Look at the context. Is your understanding of the passage in accord with Scripture teaching elsewhere?’ Such were the questions they had to ask themselves.
During his time at university, Christopher was a volunteer worker with a para-church group and began to see increasing carelessness in its handling of God’s Word. People imposed their own ideas on a Bible text and often ignored the main point of the passage. This worried him. At that time, too, he read a couple of books that introduced him to the doctrines of grace.
In 2001/2 he was given a scholarship to attend the Cornhill Training Course in London. He was greatly encouraged by what he heard there. Systematic expository preaching was both modelled and taught; such preaching was never heard in Sierra Leone. He realised what his own people were missing.
One Cornhill student from Africa exclaimed in amazement, ‘Why, it is all Bible from 9.00am ’til we finish. We have nothing like this back home!’ Christopher heartily agreed.
So a year after he got home, Christopher opened his Truth Mission. There are three ways he seeks to accomplish this task.
Firstly, he teaches a small local group of potential church leaders, giving plenty of opportunities for practice. Secondly, he produces a radio broadcast, exemplifying good Bible teaching and preaching.
Thirdly, he is seeking to reach out to small towns and villages in the provinces with good Bible-based courses. This will also provide opportunities of fellowship for pastors who live in isolated areas.
For the last eighteen months Truth Mission has worked very closely with missionaries from UFM Worldwide, who share the same burden as he does. Christopher Jonah says, ‘I find the partnership encouraging and stimulating. I hope more people with the same burden for the true gospel and Sierra Leone will join us’.