In Galatians 1, Paul pronounces a curse on anyone who would preach a different gospel than the one revealed to Paul by Jesus himself: “If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:9).
There is so much preaching in the world. But how much is of the one, true gospel of Jesus Christ? And how much is a different gospel, which is no good news at all?
And if Paul’s prophetic proclamation of a curse is correct (and I think it is!), then this is no small matter. The matter of what gospel we preach is a matter of eternal life or eternal condemnation, and this is not merely about the eternal condemnation of the preacher who preaches a false gospel. He is under a curse because by offering people a false gospel he is actually offering them no gospel at all.
So often when we speak to people about faith and salvation in Malawi, they will tell us about when they started “going to prayers.” But they will almost never talk about hearing the gospel, being convicted of their sins, or crying out in faith to Christ. They will simply talk about deciding to start attending prayers (a.k.a. worship) at their church.
The statistics say 85% of Malawians are Christians. Church attendance rates in Malawi are higher than rates in the Bible Belt of the U.S. But what gospel has been preached here? Mostly it has been no gospel at all.
I don’t know if what we are doing at Shepherds Academy will ever change the continent or the country. But I know that if we train men to preach the gospel, it will change lives. It will change churches. It will change eternities.
Shepherds Academy students back home.
In October, our Shepherds Academy students returned home at the end of the six-week semester. Over the next several months, they will be at home farming and providing for their families before returning to campus in February and March for the second semester of the year.
We are thankful for everyone who has given, and we are blessed to have all students sponsored for the year.
College students working hard.
Our five college students will continue in class until the end of November. This semester has stretched them as they learn to read more than they ever had before and are writing their first papers on some of the doctrines we have studied this semester.
But the most important thing is how the students have begun to see God and understand that he is so much greater than they ever imagined. By studying the attributes of God, we’ve seen our minds stretch to know the stunning greatness of our Creator and Savior.
Preaching at Theology Bootcamp.
I was privileged this month to join the pastors of Antioch Baptist Church in Blantyre and Unity Bible Church in Zomba for their college theology bootcamp. College students from across Malawi gathered on the Zomba Plateau to study the doctrine of the Holy Spirit for three days. I was blessed to teach on the fruit of the Spirit and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
I was also able to share how students will be able to join our expanding college and seminary intensives in 2024. I spoke to about a dozen college students who are eager to join us next year when I teach a class on Baptist history and ecclesiology in April and when Dr. Kory Cunningham joins us in June to teach Old Testament I.
Getting our library organized.
This month we began the task of cataloguing and labeling the growing Shepherds Academy Library. Thanks to the generous donations of B&H Academic, Zondervan Bibles, Midwestern Seminary, Practical Shepherding, and many more individuals we have a growing collection that will not only help students, but eventually be open to any local pastor who wants to study for their Sunday sermons.
If you want to continue to contribute to our library, you can do so either by buying books off of our Amazon Wishlist, which will be shipped directly to Gospel Life in the U.S. or by helping fund the shipment of books to Malawi, which costs about $200 per tote of books.