Thank you for all your support and prayers for the White Horse Inn’s second Global Theological Initiative conference in Africa! Dr. Michael Horton, Dr. Justin Holcomb and I made it safely to and from East Africa for the conference on July 13-15 (for security purposes we are not revealing the exact location of this conference). We are very grateful to the Lord for safe travels and good health the entire trip.
Your generosity offered this conference for free to 40 PhD scholars from all over East Africa. Men and women theologians from 9 different East African countries attended, many of them traveling far distances and overcoming many obstacles in order to come. We praise the Lord for the work he is doing in Africa through these steadfast brothers and sisters!
Our theme this year was “The Atonement of Christ in a Violent World.” Dr. Horton and Dr. Holcomb gave presentations alongside four East African theologians on various topics that included why the atonement was necessary, penal substitution, and reconciliation. We were particularly blessed to hear about our East African brothers and sisters’ context and their particular perspectives.
We learned that many of the problems that plague the American church have also influenced the East African church. One such shared issue is the presence of the prosperity gospel. In discussing this with the other theologians, Horton notes: “Universally endemic is the transactional perspective – that we serve God and do things in order to get favor and good things in return. But Paul [says] forget philosophical, and legalist conceptions and look at the historical reality….Christ has come! This undermines the transactionalism of the Prosperity Gospel.” It was uplifting to hear the other theologians affirm with us that Christ, his atoning and victorious work on the cross, is the essence of the gospel and the Scriptures.
We were thankful to hear from these African scholars that the theological dialogue at this conference provided rare and much needed theological discussion and support for both our African colleagues and us. Many of the African participants told us there was no forum in Africa like this conference that provided scholars from all over East Africa the opportunity to discuss and share theology.
Dr. Horton also expressed his gratitude to the African scholars for sharing their insight and perspective that enlivened his own scholarship. One of the Kenyan scholars commented about the healthy environment of the conference by saying, “for too long, theology has been a monologue from the West, but this conference has been a wonderful dialogue.”
The cooperation and collaboration present at this conference was a true picture of the body of Christ coming together to build each other up in the unity of the faith and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. After the conference, 100% of participants said they would like to come again.
During the trip we were thrilled to learn about a brand new theological magazine started by Dr. Julius Twongyeirwe in Uganda. The magazine is titled The Reformer and shares similarities with our own magazine Modern Reformation! The Ugandan church needs its own reformation and we are excited the Lord has begun this work.
We were also incredibly blessed by the partnership and cooperation of an organization called the Association for Christian Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA). For the conference, they helped us with logistics and networking and continue to be an invaluable resource to us and to the work of the church in Africa.
Please continue to pray for our efforts in partnering with the African church. Please pray specifically:
- God would continue to bless the relationships we’ve formed with these African theologians.
- God would provide us with the opportunity to hold this conference again next year and even expand this initiative to have further impact.
- The Word would continue to spread throughout the evangelical church in Africa.
- The efforts of ACTEA, local theological schools and The Reformer to provide solid theological training and education would benefit the church and bring unity of faith and knowledge to the African community.
- God would use this initiative to strengthen both the American and African church.
Thank you for praying!
President and CEO
White Horse Inn