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TRANSFORM Spring 2016

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A time to… changing

See the Bible the church so that the church, under God, can the world

Transformed -

change

Seminary in Pakistan responds to the needs of young people

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A ‘New’ Bible for New Times

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Bibleshaped: Study on Goodness


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Contents

Jesus’ life in action showed what was in his heart – and that is how he told us it should be with us also. Goodness is a heart thing. It comes from inside.

Equipping a new generation of Bible teachers

l ‘Let us not become weary in doing good… as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers’ (Gal. 6:9-10)

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l ‘so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work…’ (Col. 1:10)

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l ‘As for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good’ (2 Thess. 3:13).

Mary Evans

National Director

working for the government of Babylon, for a pagan king Nebuchadnezzar. But in his daily life and work at the office, he had ‘a spirit of excellence’ (literally), ‘he was trustworthy, and neither corrupt nor negligent’ (Dan. 6:3-4). And on several occasions Daniel preserved his integrity – his goodness – even when doing what was right threatened to destroy his career and even cost his life.

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International Ministries Director Chris Wright

International Executive Director Mark Hunt

Langham Preaching Programme Director: Paul Windsor

Langham Literature Programme Director: Pieter Kwant PO Box 296 Carlisle CA3 9WZ E: literature@langham.org

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A ‘New Bible for New Times

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All change in Myanmar

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Ian Shaw PO Box 19140, Strathaven, ML10 9AA E: scholars@langham.org If you would like multiple copies of this magazine for friends, church members, etc., please ask Liz Wright, address below. Please send donations to: Mrs Liz Wright 19 Whitfield Place, London, W1T 5JX Tel: 020 7209 0915 Email: liz.wright@langham.org

When a Scholar Returns… Making the most of opportunities in Pakistan

Thank You Langham Partnership! Pastor Raymond in Indonesia

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Bibleshaped Chris Wright: Study on Goodness

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Langham Partnership’s Vision and Mission

Have you considered including Langham Partnership in your will? Like many mission organisations we can benefit greatly when friends make a final gift that continues to bless the ministries they have generously supported in life. Once you have made proper and primary provision for family and friends this can be a very effective way to go on making a difference to the church on earth when you have joined the church in glory! If you would like to consider this option in your will please let us know and we wiill send you a helpful legacy leaflet. Contact Andy Jong: andy.jong@langham.org

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.

That’s another strong element of goodness - being committed to doing the right thing even when it costs or hurts. ‘Good’ people are those who resist the temptation to take the easy way out, but rather persevere in doing what they know to be right, no matter what the consequences. For that reason good people are usually also courageous, and sometimes pay a heavy price. The good (righteous) person is someone who ‘does what is right and speaks the truth from the heart’, who ‘keeps his promise, even with it hurts’ (Ps. 15:2-5).

Jesus ‘went about doing good’ (Acts 10:38) That description of Jesus by Peter doesn’t mean only that Jesus did a lot of kind and caring things for people (of course he did). It also means that he did what was right, what he knew God wanted him to do, even when he could have chosen an easy way out. Think of the number of times Jesus was offered an alternative. The devil tempted him to go an easier route. Simon Peter tried to deflect him. His beloved mother and brothers tried to get him to come home. Even Pontius Pilate dangled the possibility of release when he was staring the cross in the face. Yet through all this, Jesus demonstrated his ‘goodness’, through his integrity and determination to do what was right, to do the will of his Father – ‘obedient unto death.’

Jesus’ life in action showed what was in his heart – and that is how he told us it should be with us also. Goodness is a heart thing. It comes from inside.

Doing good, as the fruit of the Spirit within us Here’s how Jesus makes this point very clear: No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit… A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Lk. 6:43-45). So it is out of the well of goodness in the heart, flowing from the life of Spirit of God living within us and modelled by Jesus himself, that we bear the fruit of goodness: l by being good - in our thoughts, attitudes, words and actions l and doing good - not as ‘dogooders’ (interfering busybodies), but as ‘good-doers’ Paul had a great deal to say about the importance of Christians being people who do good. We sometimes don’t emphasize this as much as we should because we are very committed to ‘justification by grace through faith alone’, and we don’t want to allow any of our own good works to intrude into the basis of our salvation. That is true and important. But Paul is very clear on both points. We are not, and could never be, saved by any amount of good works. But we are saved by God’s grace in order to live transformed lives, as ‘God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’ (Eph. 2:8-10).

l ‘…Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people who are his very own, eager to do what is good’ (Tit. 2:14; in fact Paul speaks of ‘doing good’ no fewer than seven times in his short letter to Titus).

Why this very strong emphasis on doing good? Because it reflects the gospel and the dynamic of the cross and resurrection. When Paul says: ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good’, he is echoing exactly what God did at the cross, when the goodness of God overcame all the human and satanic evil in creation – by bearing it in himself in the person of Jesus. The cross is the ultimate expression of the goodness of God, and the resurrection proved its victory. So when we respond to the evil in the world by acting in kindness and goodness – as the supernatural fruit of the Spirit of God within us, we are also living in the power of the cross and resurrection, and we are anticipating the final victory of God’s goodness over all the evil in the universe. The cross and resurrection are not just the proof of God’s goodness, they are also the source of any and all goodness we can do as Christians. So let us pray for the power of the Spirit to bear this fruit of the Spirit, and cultivate it in our daily lives. Especially in the public world of our work and in all our social relationships – Do what is good! Do what is right! And let God take responsibility for the consequences. Chris Wright is International Ministries Director of Langham Partnership.

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the wives “

“We didn’t get a PhD,” said one wife; “we got a PhT - ‘Pushing husband Through’!”

H

e does a great job. He inspires me. I draw great strength from him. But he drives me crazy sometimes!” Those were the words of one of the wives of a group of Langham Scholars in the Philippines. I was sharing with them in their Scholars Retreat over a weekend, in a pleasant mountain region to the south of Manila, in February. Most of the male Scholars had brought their wives and children, so it was a great time of friendship, sharing of lives and mutual encouragement. Each couple was invited to share their greatest challenge since getting their PhD, and what most sustained them under pressure. Listening to the wives especially, I was moved again and

again to admiration and gratitude for how they have coped with all kinds of battles. Several spoke of serious children’s illnesses and hospital visits. Some had come through crippling

illnesses of their own. Most had husbands who were stretched to the limit with overwork in their leadership, teaching and pastoring roles. One Scholar spoke of endless battles with a seminary board that crossed him at every point. “People told me a PhD would mean ‘Pulling huge Dollars’, but for me it has spelt ‘Permanent head Damage,’ he observed. And without his wife? He would have given up long since. “We didn’t get a PhD,” said one wife; “we got a PhT - ‘Pushing husband Through’!” – referring to the long years of struggle they had faced coping with cold and unfamiliar cultures, family needs, education challenges, and financial stress, in their determination to get that doctorate and return home. One woman spoke of her husband’s battle with depressive illness, a battle that still goes on. And each of them spoke of the testing of their faith and their proof of God’s faithfulness. Now I know that we have many single Langham Scholars, and also some very fine married woman Scholars with wonderfully supportive husbands. But just now, I want to raise a cheer for that army of Langham Scholars’ wives whose love and labour, faith and faithfulness, play such a vital part in the fruitfulness of Langham’s investment in the ministry and mission of their families. Will you join me in praying for them too? Blessings, Chris Wright International Ministries Director.

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A ‘New’ Bible for New Times by Colin Macpherson, Director of Publisher Development, Langham Literature

Jacob Mung, publisher and founder of Christian Literature Crusade (CLC) Myanmar 4 TRANSFORM

Spring 2016


It’s all change in Myanmar

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n Myanmar (Burma) the first freely elected parliament for 50 years has held its opening session.

It is an exciting time. Hopes are high. New government. New democracy… For Christians this season of new beginnings holds the prospect of a new Study version of the Burmese Bible due in just over a year’s time! It was surely no coincidence when Jacob Mung, the publisher and founder of Christian Literature Crusade (CLC) Myanmar, felt prompted around five years ago to start commissioning it… Jacob is the publisher and project coordinator Since 2015, Langham Literature’s Publisher Development Programme has partnered with CLC in financial support for the costly final editorial and formatting stages.

The original Judson Bible was miraculously preserved. It went on to bless the church in Myanmar, and the church grew.

Imagine wanting to read the Bible, but the only version available is in unfamiliar, outdated language. You have no additional helps whatsoever. Not a single cross-reference in the text. Not a footnote. Not a sentence of introduction. Just the biblical text. In old language.

Unless you are in a Christian family, or can find someone to sit with you and explain the text, it would be hard to

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understand what you are reading. You may give up reading it altogether. That’s how it is for Burmese Christians. Their most widely-used Bible was translated by Adoniram Judson from Greek and Hebrew almost 200 years ago! It is much loved; but its language needs correcting or updating.

will fund a participant at a Preaching event

“Before Langham trained me, I had gone about preaching in the wrong way. Langham introduced me to the Bible I never knew. More than that, I’m now convinced that when you faithfully expose the Word, it will really bring change. People will respond to the faithful preaching of God’s message.”

Reading it is especially difficult for new believers. Many Burmese words have obscure meanings unless you know ancient Pali language. In the new Study Bible, spellings and vocabulary have been updated to reflect the latest knowledge. Also, study notes and explanatory ‘helps’ have been written for Burmese people today, and especially to help readers with little or no Christian background. Jacob recently had to travel to Korea for treatment of a heart condition. It seemed uncertain whether he would ever be able to return to Myanmar. His overriding concern became that God provide someone who could complete the Study Bible project. God answered: Jacob Mung and his family are well and back in Myanmar! The original Judson Bible was miraculously preserved. It went on to bless the church in Myanmar, and the church grew. What a privilege to be part of bringing this newly updated and Study version to the Burmese people at this time. Remember Myanmar: new government, new democracy … new Study Bible!

James Wainaina, Kenya

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When a scholar retu S

o, what happens when a Langham Scholar returns home after completing his or her studies?

Pakistan: ‘It is very important that our young people be trained up to demonstrate they are good citizens’

By Gillean Smiley, Langham Australia

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Naveed*recently returned to Pakistan after completing his studies as a Langham Scholar. He returned to the work he did before. But now as Director and Principal of the theological training institute that provides distancelearning theological courses for Christians. Naveed’s own recent experience as a student has fired his vision for broad theological education. He is enthusiastic about supporting believers in their faith. It means helping them grow in their knowledge of the gospel and of how to persevere through all kinds of trials. And encouraging them to bring glory to Jesus by blessing their local communities in practical ways.

treated as part of a despised minority. The seminary is now responding to that need through a new Youth Department that develops and implements programmes aimed at Christian teenagers.

Many students have taken courses through the seminary over the years. Few complete full ‘programmes’ – more often, students’ studies are interrupted (sometimes for a year or two) because not all courses can be offered every year.

Modules like ‘Me and my Identity’ or ‘Me and my Family’ aim to help young people reflect on their Christian identity. About one third of the thousands of students currently enrolled are teenagers. Some of the tutors work exclusively with them.

Christian young people, in particular, face many challenges. Some suffer low self-esteem, having grown up, perhaps, in an area where they were

‘In the past, Christians had a good reputation for honesty and reliability, but under the current circumstances this perception is no longer widely

Spring 2016

Preparing to mail study materials to students


by Pieter Kwant, Langham Literature Faithful … Clear … Relevant …

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fter eight years’ dedicated work by scholars and editors – partnered with the persevering, generous support of Langham donors – the South Asia Bible Commentary is here!

eturns… held. So it is very important that our young people be trained up to demonstrate they are good citizens and contribute to a thriving Pakistani society’, says Naveed. This is at the heart of new modules like ‘Me and my Environment’, ‘Me and my Ethics’ and ‘Me and my Society’. All students are encouraged to meet weekly in small groups with tutors. There are several hundred tutors. All are volunteers. They also assess students’ weekly homework tasks. Internet access and power supply are unreliable in many parts of Pakistan. So study materials have to be sent by mail. And, because students have little access to libraries, workbooks have to include excerpts from reference sources. Naveed explains: ‘This makes the materials very lengthy, and increases printing costs, and weight, which means higher postage costs!’ Naveed’s leadership does not stop here. It reaches further: also to Langham Preaching, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in this country in October 2015. It is apparent then: the return of a Langham Scholar powerfully boosts the interest on the investment of the talents he received!

It was launched in New Delhi, India on Sunday 4 October 2015 at the Cathedral Church of the Redemption (CNI) with over 750 invited guests in attendance. Paul Swarup is the Presbyter-in-Charge. He is a Langham Scholar and an OT editor of the Commentary. ‘God helped us in amazing ways’, he testifies, ‘with every detail of organisation … and I have a very supportive church team!’ The celebrations started with a liturgical Thanksgiving Service. Leaders from many different denominations took part – including bishops and archbishops – and an Ao Naga choir. Chris Wright preached from Psalm 33: ‘The word of the Lord is right and good …’An offertory procession by the Commentary editors symbolically expressed thanks to God and entrusted the project to him for continued blessing.The Service concluded with Holy Communion. Next, celebrations continued in the garden behind the Cathedral. The space had been transformed with a stage and festive marquee. There was tight security in anticipation of the arrival of the Vice-President of India, Hamid Ansari, who had agreed to officially release the Commentary. All stood for the national anthem. Then the Vice-President was welcomed with gifts of flowers, a shawl of friendship and a Bible. He released the ribbonbound copy of the Commentary, followed by a warmly applauded speech. ‘I am sure’, he said, ‘the Commentary will make the text more accessible to large number of people, particularly in South Asia, and enable them to imbibe the message of love and compassion that Bible has for all humankind.’

A Christian politician who read the titles of the special articles was excited: ‘These will be useful for my speeches!’ A church worker who sneaked an early preview of the Commentary exclaimed: ‘I can read this … it’s ordinary language!’ Faithful, clear, relevant … to God be the glory!

The Vice-President of India, Hamid Ansari, releases the Commentary (very left, Brian Wintle – general editor; very right, Havilah Dhamaraj – OT editor)

Commentary facts: n Written in English, by 91 evangelical scholars from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh (including most of the Langham Scholars in the region) n 1824pages, with 90 specialist articles on South Asian realities n Published by Open Door Publications (ODP) in Udaipur, with Zondervan as Western partner. Finny Philip, the CEO of ODP is a Langham Scholar and a NT editor of the Commentary. n A Hindi translation is already underway. n Work has started on an Urdu translation. n A Tamil translation is being considered.

*Not his real name.

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Children at the school we started

Papua Barat: faithful preachers and a warm welcome waiting

Thank you

Langham Partnership! Pastor Raymond Maabuat lives in Manokwari in Papua Barat, Indonesia.

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arlier this year, Langham Preaching ran a Level 3 Training Seminar in Indonesia.

Pastor Raymond attended. This is his inspiring story:

By John Chambers, facilitator for Langham Preaching Indonesia

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I first attended the Langham Level 1 Preacher Training Course held in Manokwari, Papua, together with some of my colleagues from the Ericson Trill Theological Seminary. Afterwards we formed a preachers’ club and called it ‘Pistos Preaching Club’. But it did not go well, as we were all so busy teaching at the seminary.

Spring 2016

In March 2014, thanks to God’s help, I was able to attend the Level 2 (Old Testament) course in Bogor, West Java. In May 2014, I was asked by the seminary to serve a group of congregations composed entirely of village farmers from the interior. They live about 40 miles from town in the mountainous region of Arfak and call themselves the Pedrik Hingk Church. This isolated area, recognized as a distinct political region as recently as 2013, can only be reached by 4WD vehicles.


I want to say ‘Thank You’ to Langham International for making it possible for me to attend the Langham Training and to learn the systematic exposition method, which is so relevant…

When I started to teach the Langham materials, all 18 local pastors wanted to attend. Some of them were still virtually illiterate. So I decided to teach just those who could read, and then, together with my wife and my younger brother, to open a literacy class for the others. This class has grown into a school. In August 2014 there were 71 pupils and three of us as teachers. We managed to obtain school uniforms by begging for help from the town. We were also sent other schoolbooks and some writing materials. At the same time I started a preachers’ club, again called ‘Pistos’ [faithful]. The group consisted of 46 people who didn’t want to be split up. Now, after Langham Level 3 Training (March 2015) I plan to divide them into 4 groups.

The first time I visited, I was deeply moved to see that ninety percent of the people were illiterate. There was no electricity, no phone signals, and water came from the local stream, which turned muddy brown every time it rained. The local pastors struggled with their preaching, as they had had no schooling, let alone theological training. They relied on basic reading and writing skills originally taught to some members by missionaries about sixty years ago. I decided to help them, using the materials from Langham Preaching. I photocopied all the teaching materials and the practical exercises and then translated them into the local language. Thanks to God’s help, I met the leader of the local government in Manokwari. He was most helpful and provided paper, and covered the printing and additional translation costs. So now we have all the materials available in the local ‘Hatam’ dialect.

So, on behalf of the 18 congregations of the Hink region of Arfak Mountains, I want to say ‘Thank You’ to Langham International for making it possible for me to attend the Langham Training and to learn the systematic exposition method, which is so relevant, and to receive the books provided. It is very

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Raymond with his family

hard for us to get good theological books. I pray that Langham will be able to come and minister to our Synod here in Papua. If you come, you will receive a very warm welcome! May the Lord Bless You.

will fund a participant at a Preaching event

“What I have discovered is that through the Word is life – and I am now studying the Scriptures and able to preach to others.” David Njem, Runyunjes, Kenya (on left) Pictured with David is Lambert Mobuthi (to the right), who says, “Through Langham’s training of my pastor, I learned that, yes, there is a God.”

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Bibleshaped

Chris Wright continues our series on the fruit of the Spirit

{Goodness} Paul puts goodness and kindness together, and of course they have a lot in common. One thing that the Bible often associates with both goodness and kindness is generosity. Jesus told a story about a vineyard owner who employed men to work in his vineyard. Some worked all day, and got their one-day’s wages. Some others had been employed only for the last hour or two of the day, but the owner gave them a whole day’s wage too. The earlier workers complained it wasn’t fair, but the owner said to them, ‘Are you envious because I choose to be generous’? And the word there is the same as the one Paul uses – ‘good’. Good people don’t always worry about what is strictly fair, but rather like to err on the side of generosity and kindness – that’s what Jesus says. It was not the men’s fault that they had been hired only towards the end of the day. And they needed a day’s wage to be able to buy food for their families. So the owner chooses to be good (generous) towards their needs, rather than strictly fair in relation to all the workers and pay only a fraction of what the others got.

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Spring 2016

But what lies at the heart of ‘goodness’? What quality do we see in someone when we say about them - ‘He is a really good man’, or ‘she is a really good woman’? I think one key thing would be integrity, an absence of any kind of guile or deception. A truly good man or woman is a WYSIWYG - What You See Is What You Get. They are all they appear to be, through and through, like the letters on a stick of rock. There is no sham or pretence. When they do good, it is not just some kind of play-acting to get a good name, or a good photo-op, or a good soundbite. They do what they do simply because it is the right thing to do. Goodness has a transparent quality. Most simply, you can depend on a good person to be and do what they say – and to be and do what is right.

God is good African Christians have a response they like to use together ‘God is good - all the time! All the time - God is good! That’s a fundamental and frequent affirmation in the Bible too. It’s all over the Psalms – ‘Oh give thanks to the Lord for he is good’ (Ps. 136:1). ‘You are good and all you do is good’ (Ps. 119:68). Even when bad things happen, God can overrule the evil to bring about good results – as Joseph told his brothers (Gen. 50:20). That doesn’t make evil things good in themselves. Evil is evil. It does mean that God’s goodness is sovereign and has the power to bring good out of the evil that people intend and perpetrate. If God is utterly good, then it’s not surprising that people who live close to God reflect his character and are marked by this same quality. Daniel is an example. Daniel was a civil servant,

Transform - Spring 2016  

In this Spring 2016 edition, find out how a seminary in Pakistan is responding to the needs of young people; learn about the wives of Langha...

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