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TRANSFORM Spring 2015
Langham Partnership News
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www.langham.org A Call to go Home
A Prophetic Voice in Ukraine
Action for the Middle East
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Equipping a new generation of Bible teachers
Chair of Trustees Mary Evans
Executive Director Andy Jong
This is not just a blasé, ‘happy-golucky’ attitude. Rather it is a settled trust in God’s Fatherly care, and a steady refusal to give in to anxieties. God can be trusted. Be at peace. We’re getting closer still to the fruit of the Spirit.
do what leads to peace and builds up our common life’.
But there is a third kind of peace, and that is the peace that God calls for. God calls us to live at peace with others, and to work for peace among Christians -- and indeed in the wider world. This is by far the commonest use of the word ‘peace’ by Paul and it’s almost certainly the kind of peace he has in mind in his list of the fruit of the Spirit.
Well, at the very least it should mean:
Since God has made peace between himself and us (at his own great cost through the death of Jesus on the cross), God now calls us to live in peace with one another, as a way of ‘living out’ the transforming power of the cross in our own practical lives.
International Ministries Director Chris Wright
International Executive Director Mark Hunt
Langham Preaching Programme Director: Paul Windsor
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A Prophetic Voice
Ukraine: Publishing ‘the things we desperately need’
Theology on the frontline, searching for a model of reconciliation
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A Call to go Home A strategic setting for the Arab world
Blessed are the Peacemakers
Bibleshaped Chris Wright: Study on Peace
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Langham Partnership’s Vision and Mission
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Langham Partnership’s Vision is to see churches equipped for mission and growing to maturity in Christ through the ministry of pastors and leaders who believe, teach and live by the Word of God.
Our mission is to strengthen the ministry of the Word of God through: nurturing national movements for biblical preaching (Langham Preaching); fostering the creation and distribution of evangelical literature (Langham Literature); and enhancing evangelical theological education (Langham Scholars), especially in countries where churches are under resourced.
A key text to study would be Romans 14:1 – 15:13. Paul was writing to the Christians in the great cosmopolitan city of Rome. Many of them had come to faith from a completely pagan, Gentile background. They had no qualms about any kind of food or particular holy days. But some of the Christians in Rome were Jews who had now come to faith in Jesus as Messiah. There were enormous differences between them. They came from different cultures and religious backgrounds. Some thought they could eat any meat from the butcher’s shop; others were horrified because they thought it was unclean and idolatrous. Some wanted to observe the Sabbath day; others didn’t care what day it was. Now these were not minor things. They were causing a lot of disagreement and dispute. But Paul spends a chapter and a half urging both sides to ‘accept one another’ and to avoid quarrelling over ‘disputable matters’. And he starts by telling them categorically that they must avoid contempt (Gentiles mocking Jews for their out-of-date rules) and condemnation (Jews denouncing Gentiles for their free and easy ways). Why? Because God had accepted both sides through Christ, so they should accept one another for Christ’s sake. Read Romans 14:1-3. It’s a lesson many in the church today still need to learn, with our endless condemnation of other Christians who see things differently from ourselves. Look what Paul says about peace in Romans 14:19 - ‘Make every effort to
What does it mean to practise peace like that – to cultivate that fruit of the Spirit in our lives?
n that we seek to address and resolve conflicts among ourselves, rather than adding to them (or causing them in the first place); n that we should be careful to avoid the kind of words and attitudes that easily create misunderstanding and division; n that we should be quick to apologise and say sorry, (even if we were not strictly speaking the ones in the wrong!). ‘Sorry’ may be the hardest word, but it is often the first one that leads back to peace; n that we don’t jump to defend ourselves when things are said or done against us, but allow God to vindicate the truth in his own time. Paul said it is better to suffer wrong than to take other Christians to court; n that we need to follow carefully the instructions of Jesus on how brothers and sisters should deal with grievances against one another (Matt. 18:15-17) – rather than just going public in the press or on blogs etc. about other people; n Above all, that we avoid all kinds of gossip about others, and learn the strict discipline of keeping confidences. We could go on adding to that list, I’m sure. For Paul it was a very important part of living together as Christians. Look how often he mentions it. Rom. 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone 1 Cor. 7:15 (in the context of marriage), God has called us to live in peace. 1 Cor. 14:33 (in the context of our services of worship), God is not a God of disorder, but of peace. 2 Cor. 13:11 (in context of church divisions), Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
Col. 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.
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Col. 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell among you richly.
We will produce this fruit of the Spirit, like all the others, as we cultivate the deep soil of God’s word in our worship and learning together. But here we are, after all, back in the so-called real world – the world of daily work and busy-ness. Can we have ‘peace’ there? Not only would Paul answer, ‘Yes we can’, I think he would add that that is exactly where it matters most. For a life that is filled with this kind of peace is a powerful witness to the gospel. It is in the non-Christian home or work-place that the person who lives with the peace of God in their heart and works to create or restore peace among others stands out and gets noticed. Joy and peace go together. A Christian will be noticed (and often asked questions) if they are not afflicted by the moods of cynical despair and negativity that can easily dominate groups of people thrown together by their work. But equally their joy is not just getting swept up in occasional crazy bouts of jollity, party-frenzy or bingeing. Rather they have a quality of inner joy that can be sensed even in times of pain, or loss, or suffering.
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Cultivating the fruit of the Spirit, you see, is not about polishing our own halo, or keeping up a good image - that’s all false and everybody (including God) can see through it. It’s about making Christ visible and making the gospel attractive.
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Eph. 4:3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
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Similarly, a Christian who is not racked by anxiety or driven by ruthless ambition, who is not devastated by a failure of promotion or even the loss of employment, but has a kind of inner peace that flows from trusting God such a person is bearing silent witness to the Lord Jesus Christ, by being like Christ in trusting their heavenly Father in the midst of whatever life brings.
n Chris Wright is International Ministries Director, Langham Partnership
Greetings from the
The extent of Langham’s network always amazes me and we have various examples drawn from it in this edition of Transform. Our problem is what to include from all that is happening around the world. We have had to leave out news about the impact of the Ebola outbreak and the work done by Langham preaching volunteers to help mitigate the dreadful impact of the disease. There are preaching programmes in Vanuatu and all the Pastors and leaders involved will be seriously affected by the recent cyclone, so do pray for them. A disturbing email written by Rev Tony William, a Pakistani pastor and one of the early leaders of that country’s preaching movement arrived in my inbox today. He writes “Today is very a happy and sad day of my life. I travelled to Gujranwala for the Baccalaureate service of graduating class at Gujranwala Theological Seminary. It was amazing to see students who have finished their three year course. Just after my wife called me that there was a blast in the church where my wife Lubna and daughters Urooj and Bubble was attending the Sunday service. My wife and daughters were almost 10 meters far from area where suicide bomber done blast. Although there were hundreds of people injured and died but by the
grace of God my wife and daughters are saved. So it was a day full of thrill with happiness of Baccalaureate, grief of twin blasts in the churches”. Through some of these awful tragedies, and those for our Arab believers at the hands of ISIS, we have been hearing that God has been turning such situations around for His Glory. As you reflect on Tony Williams situation and others mentioned in this edition of Transform, do pray not for the Lord to remove His people from the dangers, but to protect and use them to be a light for Him in such darkness. Serving Him together
The encouragement of prayer Like many young Christians I had read John Stott’s books and appreciated the clarity with which he expounded the word of God. I appreciated his concern that the majority world should have access to literature and training to equip God’s people to preach and teach. Wonderfully, this vision became a reality in his lifetime. I was thrilled that a Langham prayer group had started up in Ireland. It has been good for us to meet together to learn about the ongoing impact of the three ministries, and to pray, and I would encourage all Langham supporters to explore the possibilities for meeting for prayer in your own locality. Nessa O’Callaghan (Prayer Co-ordinator Northern Ireland) If you live in Ireland and would like information about where and when the Langham Prayer Meeting is held, contact Nessa at, email@example.com.
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A Prophetic Ukraine: publishing ‘the things we desperately need …’ Earlier this year, Langham Literature helped fund the publication of a Russian translation of Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf.
i by Colin Macpherson, Langham Literature
It was published in Ukraine by Colloquium, an indigenous Christian publisher. ‘They [Colloquium] have a prophetic voice and a strong calling to shine biblical truth on their particular setting’, says Colin Macpherson, Director of Publisher Development at Langham Literature. Over the last 5 years Langham Literature has partnered with Colloquium to help them establish a sustainable publishing ministry in
Ukraine. They focus on biblical studies and sell to seminaries, churches, pastors and individuals. Their current list of more than 80 titles in Russian and Ukrainian include translations as well as locally authored books. And believers across the region have come to trust Colloquium publications as books that stimulate helpful discussion, debate and writing on important topics for today. Colloquium Publishing and Langham Literature has ‘an excellent
We don’t have the same scale of bloody civil war on our hands, but these days we get dangerously close.
c Voice partnership’, says Colin Macpherson. ‘We benefit from their wisdom and their understanding of the local context, while they are strengthened through the support and advice Langham can provide.’ In selecting Exclusion and Embrace for translation, Colloquium has done what John Stott called ‘double listening’. Believers in Ukraine today face painful challenges. Many are confused. Volf’s now classic Christian reflection on how Christians can put into practice Jesus’ command to love our enemies explores the dynamic power of the cross of Christ as the locus of forgiveness: ‘Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one can be in the
The editorial team (main pic) for the Slavic Bible Commentary, Russians and Ukrainians, united around their passion for God’s Word in true biblical reconciliation and gospel unity. And (insert) the Colloquium Publishing Team from left to right: Alexander, Vitali (sales) and Sasha (editorial)
A Russian translation of Miroslav Volf’s Exclusion and Embrace (below)
presence of the God of the crucified Messiah for long without overcoming this double exclusion.’Volf is a Croatian theologian who taught in the former Yugoslavia during the wars of the 1990s. Colloquium’s founder, Alexander Bukovietski, says ‘Ukraine is not precisely the former Yugoslavia. We don’t have the same number of ethnic groups fighting each other; we only have two: the Russians and the Ukrainians. Or the pro-West and the pro-Russia … We don’t have
the same scale of bloody civil war on our hands, but these days we get dangerously close. ‘Miroslav Volf’s book is a powerful message on forgiveness and reconciliation, the things we desperately need, the things without which our country is doomed no matter how the current conflict ends. This book won’t save a country, for the way of forgiveness is always thorny. But without books like this we will have a lot more thorns to go through. This book is needed now … it will also be needed for a long time to come.’
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A Call to Your support of Langham Partnership means that leaders like Elie Haddad are equipped to do their work, strengthening the Church around the world.
One of the things that got us excited about serving at Arab Baptist Theological Seminary is the strategic place that Lebanon and the seminary has for the whole Arab world.
hen Langham Scholar Elie Haddad left Lebanon toward the end of that country’s civil war, he didn’t think he’d get the call to go back. But, God had other plans. Elie and his wife studied in Canada, then he received an invitation to serve at the Arab Baptist Theological
of the few, if not the only, countries in the Arab world where we are allowed to enroll seminary students from a nonChristian background, which is 95% of the Arab world. So, God is calling us to equip leaders for the church in the entire Arab speaking world,” he says. Elie shares a story about two of his
we want to reach our community.’” Fortunately, the prison sentence was suspended and today the couple are back in Algeria, where they run a grocery store next to a university. “Their ministry is a prime example for missional ministry,” Elie says. “Their ministry is evangelisation and
go Home Seminary (ABTS) in Beirut, Lebanon—a call he couldn’t ignore. “As we went back,” he shares, “God gave us new passion, new vision for the ministry, for the country, for the people, for Muslims.” “One of the things that got us excited about serving at ABTS is the strategic place that Lebanon and the seminary has for the whole Arab world. It’s one
ABTS students from Algeria—a married couple with a small child. As they were preparing to return to their home country to minister over the summer, they learned the husband’s name was on a list of Christian leaders facing imprisonment in Algeria. “Do you know what they said?” Elie shares. “They said ‘No, we’re going back. If we go to prison, that’s fine. But
discipleship of university students. The store is their means to pay the bills, and is their platform of ministry, as well.” Today, ABTS is providing students from around the region with the tools they need to effectively minister with the Gospel of peace and reconciliation in their context, and Elie’s heart is to equip students to take the presence of God into communities that need it most. “I believe the biggest need for the ministry in our region, not just the Middle East but North Africa, is leadership…leaders that have a vision for church planting, have a vision for the poor, have a vision for taking care of refugees and strangers… leaders convinced they need to take God into society.” Langham exists to raise up Christ-like leaders like Elie Haddad who can train and disciple other leaders, multiplying the fruit of their ministry. “We cannot reach the Arab world without the help of organizations like Langham,” Elie says. “Langham cannot reach the Arab world without trained local people like our graduates. That’s how the body of Christ works. We all come together and support one another so that we accomplish that goal.”
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Blessed are the Peacemakers By Chris Wright, International Ministries Director, Langham Partnership
Not the peace-lovers; they avoid conflict. Peace-makers know the deep reality of conflict but work to bring reconciliation. I have recently witnessed some peace-makers in action. For a few years I have been privileged to work with a small group of men and women who have come together under the auspices of the Lausanne Movement to form the “Lausanne Initiative for Reconciliation in Israel-Palestine” (LIRIP). Is there a more deep-rooted and seemingly intractable conflict in the world than between the state of Israel and the Palestinian populations living in the occupied West Bank and
Gaza? But is it simply Jews versus Muslim Arabs? No, the reality is that there are Christian believers in both communities. And so, in our small LIRIP group, there are Messianic Jews (mainly from Israel itself), who have accepted Jesus as Messiah, Lord and Saviour while affirming their Jewish identity and scriptural faith. And there are Palestinian evangelical Christians, some of whom can trace their family roots in the land back to the 14th century. As you’d expect, they have deeply divergent views – both theological and political – in how they view the land
Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9
they both inhabit, how they interpret the Bible, how they see the state of Israel, and how they think of each other! It is not at all easy - personally or politically - for them to meet. Yet this group is committed to proving that if the gospel of reconciliation in Christ is true, then it is not only possible, but imperative, that they should obey Romans 14-15 and ‘accept one another’ as God, in Christ, has accepted all of us. Our last meeting was in January in Cyprus, and across the massive differences of perceived and experienced reality, there was love, laughter, and unity of heart, if not of mind. We studied the Bible, prayed, worked on a range of issues, and on the final day, shared communion together. Costly commitments to carry
the process forward were voiced. Why was I involved? Because of my love and respect for personal friends on both sides and because of their trust in myself and Rev Trevor Morrow (a fellow Ulsterman who has spent years in Dublin, involved in reconciliation efforts between Protestants and Catholics), as co-moderators of the process. And why is Langham involved? Because two of the participants were Langham Scholars, and one of them is co-chair of the whole ongoing initiative. They were putting their theology on the frontline, searching for a model of reconciliation between Christians that could be a prophetic voice in the midst of the conflict. Pray that God will honour their commitment to that struggle.
Your Help is Needed! The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a region that is on people’s hearts and constantly in our conversations. In March of this year Paul Windsor (Director, Langham Preaching) and Riad Kassis (Director, Langham Scholars) brought together a strategic group of church, seminary and mission leaders from around MENA who have a commitment to biblical preaching. The meeting was held in Amman, Jordan. The purpose of the meeting was: 1.
Listening to the stories of those attending in preaching and training
2. Assessing the current state of preaching and the training of preachers in the MENA region 3. Introducing the ministry of Langham Preaching 4. Developing a strategy by which preaching training would be able to happen under God’s gracious hand. It may be that you or someone you know would like to contribute specifically to this very strategic initiative. If you would like to give then please tick the box on the Response Form at the back of this magazine.
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But when Paul gives peace third place in the fruit of the Spirit, what does he have in mind?
Chris Wright continues our series on the fruit of the Spirit
‘Go away and give me peace!’ ‘Let’s have some peace around here!’ Familiar cries of frustration in the hurly-burly of life. Not much peace for many of us, it seems, with demanding families to manage or stressful workplaces to endure. Or coping with strained relationships, or even abusive ones. Or anxieties of all sorts about the present and the future. Peace? If only. Yet ‘peace’ is one of those huge words in the Bible. In the Old Testament it is that beautiful and complex word shalom – all-round well-being, freedom from fear and want, contentment in relationship with God, others, and creation. Peace in the storm is God’s gift to his people (Ps. 29:11). Peace is God’s promise -- when love, justice, truth and peace have a group hug and heaven and earth are in harmony (Ps. 85:8-10).
Sometimes Paul talks about the peace that God made. That is, the peace that is the result of the great work of atonement that God accomplished through Jesus Christ in his cross and resurrection. Paul explains in Ephesians 2 about how Christ is our peace, and how he made peace – reconciling the world to God and reconciling former enemies to one another. But that’s the ‘once-for-all’ peace achieved by God’s work at the cross. It’s not the peace that is the fruit of the Spirit in our lives -- which has to do with our character now, not God’s action back then. So probably this is not what Paul means by peace as the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians. So perhaps Paul had in mind the peace that God gives. Because Jesus died for our sins, when we trust in him we are put right with God by faith, and so we can have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). Peace with God means peace of heart and conscience, the absence of guilt and fear. That is a wonderful thing and is perhaps a bit closer to peace as the fruit of the Spirit. But the peace that God gives is not only peace with God, but also the peace of God. That means peace of mind, freedom from anxiety and panic. Jesus told us not to be worried but to trust our Heavenly Father (Matt. 6:2534). And so did Paul Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7).