Tony Okoroh, pastor of Sovereign Grace Bible Church, Lagos, writes:
We give glory to God, who made this third annual Lagos Conference possibleon 3-5 November. Nigeria is desperately needy. Many evangelical pastors are strongly influenced by the word-faith movement and ignorant of the counsel of God.
This year’s theme was 1 Timothy 4:16, ‘Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine’. Joe Jacowitz (Christ’s Bible Church, Oakland, California) spoke on the pastor’s ministry to himself, preserving the pastor’s first love and the pastor’s devotional life.
Abiodun Longe (Upper Room Baptist Church, Lagos) spoke on basic Christian doctrines, the need for a sound doctrinal foundation, and ‘walking and talking’ the faith. Ani Ekpo (Christ Reformed Baptist Church, Port Harcourt) spoke on the three types of preaching, and coping with personal conflict.
Tony Okoroh brought messages on the pastor’s prayer life, and how to preserve sound doctrine in an apostate church. Femi Sonuga-Oye (Sovereign Grace Bible Church, Lagos) spoke on the major cults. We must take care not to borrow their deviant practices.
There was a session for questions and answers; and 60 packs of literature donated by Mount Zion Bible Church, Pensacola, and Christ’s Bible Church, Oakland, were distributed.
On Saturday evening, Joe Jacowitz hosted a one-hour, phone-in local radio programme. Over 26 calls were received and one listener judged the answers so good that he came to Sovereign Grace Church the next day. This was the church’s third anniversary service; Pastor Joe preached on the prodigal son.
Alan Levy pastor of Penyrheol Free Church, Swansea, writes of the sister conference in Port Harcourt:
Over the next three days, 200-250 church leaders and other Christians gathered at Christ’s Reformed Baptist Church, -Rumuodara, Port Harcourt, for the annual Reformed Bible Conference.
On the Sunday the conference speakers had preached in various churches in Port Harcourt. Roger Fay (Zion Evangelical Baptist Church, Ripon) preached in the morning at the church’s seventh anniversary service. We visited the large and flourishing Sunday school in the afternoon. Alan Levy preached in the evening service.
In the evening Pastor Ani Ekpo led a moving baptism service, in which eight new converts were baptised and received into church membership. One of the young ladies baptised gave birth the very next day to a beautiful baby girl!
One of the men baptised — previously from a drugs and occult background —had been converted shortly after bursting into last year’s conference and begging those present to pray for him.
As in Lagos, there had been a local radio broadcast just before the conference. One of the radio staff attended the conference as a result.
The conference theme was, again, ‘Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine’. The speakers were Ani Ekpo, Tony Okoroh, Paul Cookey (a Bible college principal), N. S. Umoh (Port Harcourt), Joe Jacowitz, Alan Levy, Paul Crossley (Leeds) and Roger Fay. A whole range of doctrinal and practical issues were covered. A good selection of excellent books were available, including numbers from the Qua Iboe College book room.
Paul Crossley of Leeds and Joe Jacowitz spoke about the exciting plans afoot for the development of a cyber-seminary based on the Port Harcourt church. Mrs Margaret Briggs, Director of Educational Services for Rivers State, spoke on the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and caring for its victims and their relatives.
There are plans for conferences in Lagos and Port Harcourt in November 2006. How needful these are, to aid and encourage the very few pastors that hold to the doctrines of grace in Nigeria, and to challenge the many church leaders there influenced by ‘health and wealth’ teaching. Many such have been helped by these conferences.