So yesterday (4/19/13) I presented a paper at the Evangelical Theological Society’s Far Western Annual Conference. I talked about how Pneumatology can integrate Atonement and Epistemology. As I tell people that I am pretty active in reading/writing theology some people wonder what the point of all of that is. Some wonder why I devote so much time to studying theology. Well the reason why I do that is that there is a great need in the Global church that many people are not aware of.
Many Christians today know that our brothers and sisters in the global south (that is not a geographical term excluding Asia, its a term used to refer to the “3rd world”) lack physical/financial resources. Poverty, starvation, lack of clean water are huge problems in the global south. However, many of the pastors in these areas tell us that there is an even greater need. These pastors have told us in the West that there is a need for solid biblical training so that they can have a sound biblical and theological foundation upon which to build the ministry the Lord has given them. In other words
What they really need is to be Biblically and theologically equipped for ministry.
The need for Biblical and theological training in the global south is tremendous. From first hand experience I know that many pastors in these areas don’t have a firm understanding of what the Bible really teaches. This is absolutely not their fault. Many times a person will hear the gospel, become a Christian and then in their zeal begin teaching and ministering to others. However many times they are teaching things that aren’t Biblically true. Many times they will end up teaching some sort of prosperity gospel or some sort of name-it-claim it theology. They don’t desire to do that but its the only “theology” they get from watching television and attending crusades.
We need to address this theological famine….
Check out what my friend Kevin Oates wrote about this:
There is an extreme need for providing theological education to church leaders in the majority world. Over 85% of pastors outside the US have had no theological training. Most of these pastors and church leaders have no access to that training even though they desire it. Most pastors in the majority world are of low income and pastor congregations which are unable to sustain a pastor financially. For this reason, the majority of pastors could not attend a traditional seminary program even if they wanted to because of work, ministry, and cost. Therefore, the great need is to provide theological education to such men that will be 1) accessible to them, 2) affordable and 3) reproducible so that they can pass on what they have learned to other who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2).
What can we do to help?
I am a part of Equipping the Church International, an organization that exists to equip pastors and church leaders with solid biblical training so that they can have a sound biblical and theological foundation upon which to build the ministry the Lord has given them. Also there are other organizations that attempt to address this need, for instance Training Leader International and Gospel Coalition Global Outreach. I hope that you would consider how you could help out with this pressing need. So I encourage you to check out some of these websites. Our site will be up soon.