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Inspiring Christlikeness

TRANSFORM Autumn 2019

Langham Partnership News

Seeking Reconciliation in Israel

Drunken Gambler Turned Pastor

A Light in Lebanon


Contents

Equipping a new generation of Bible teachers

Chair of Trustees Mary Evans

National Director John Libby

International Ministries Director Chris Wright

Langham Preaching Programme Director: Paul Windsor

Langham Literature

Langham Scholars: A Peace Award

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Resourcing the Global Church

10 Word on the World

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

Peacemakers, not peacekeepers

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A study by Chris Wright

Langham Scholars Programme Director

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Riad Kassis

If you would like multiple copies of this magazine for friends, church members, etc., please ask Liz Wright, address below.

Langham trains drunken gambler turned pastor

Please send donations to: Mrs Liz Wright 19 Whitfield Place, London, W1T 5JX Tel: 020 7209 0915 Email: liz.wright@langham.org

Langham Partnership’s Vision and Mission

Registered Charity No. 1092233 Company limited by guarantee. No. 4235957 Tim Charnick Design: 07712613926

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 John Libby: john.libby@langham.org If you would like to discontinue receiving Transform please email us on uk@ langham.org

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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.

follow us

www.langham.org

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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.

Give online You can donate to Langham easily online, once or regularly. Go to this page and click on the links:

http://uk.langham.org/donate-now/


Greetings from the

National Director: Introducing the Langham Team

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f you have the enormous privilege of owning a full set of ‘Transforms’ (?!)* and were to flick through the pages, the thing that should strike you is the “ immense variety of people engaged in Langham’s Christian mission and ministry around the world. This is true in so many different ways – shapes, sizes and colours, cultural backgrounds, geographical locations, ages, gifts, skills, talents, experience… you can probably add a few more variations as a result of such flicking? (Dress code will surely spring to mind!). How does such a diverse and dispersed group function effectively as a Team with a common godly purpose? There it is, the ‘Team’ word! So much is written about this concept without establishing any common definition that it’s starting to be termed a ‘four letter word’ amongst the management sciences. What is the image or idea that springs to your mind when you hear ‘Team’ mentioned? Consider the contrast between a rowing ‘eight’ and a rugby sevens team. (Yes, I know, historically these are fairly male and rather elitist, but both are now Olympic sports and both the UK men and UK women teams have just qualified for the Olympic rugby sevens next year in Tokyo.) We can all probably appreciate the contrast? One ‘team’ is eight people in perfect unison (if functioning well…) with little scope for individual initiative; indeed, they are being harangued and kept in order by the one person facing the direction of travel. (One wag has noticed the similarity between this and many church leadership ‘teams’!) The other team contains the gifts and skills of members of varying shapes and sizes, at their most successful when they combine in less predictable, intuitive and spontaneous ways to support each other in open play. The control and communication lines are less obvious but still very critical. Individual gifts and skills are recognised and played towards

and when compared to the opposition, positions of relative strength are rigorously exploited. Please pray for the Langham Team, however you picture us! As with any godly organisation, we need discipline, obedience and stamina, but we also need the flexibility and fluidity to allocate and reallocate resources most effectively. As we explore these areas we become much more understanding and appreciative of the ‘body language’ Paul uses of the Church – how the extraordinary variety of ‘parts’ work for the benefit of the whole and together achieve the intended purpose, no part being superior to any other. This Transform celebrates many of these aspects of being Team. Examples include responding to the complexity of Christian mission and ministry in the Middle East, working for Peace, the constant theological battle for Truth, and the level of trust required to channel energy and resources from where they are stored or created to where they are most critically needed. Thank you for the part you play! Please pray for the rest of your team that together we might play the most effective roles we can. Please keep up your most encouraging flows of prayers and resources, which go such a long way towards answering the question posed at the end of the first paragraph. With thanks and Christian greetings, as ever

John Libby National Director, Langham Partnership (UKI) *We can still source some back editions if you want to complete your own or your library’s set, hardcopy or digital!

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Rula received her PhD through the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies in 2018, and featured in the Spring 2018 issue of Transform (where you can read the earlier story of her life). On her return to her homeland, she has been appointed to the faculty of Nazareth Evangelical College, as Director of Peace Studies and lecturer on the Theology of Reconciliation. She joins fellow Arab Langham Scholars there, Yohanna Katanacho (Academic Dean), and Munther Isaac (visiting lecturer from Bethlehem). ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Well, read about the good things at NEC at www.nazcol.org The Association of Baptist Churches (the largest Protestant group of churches in Israel) hosted Rula at an important workshop in May, in Cana of Galilee, in which she shared with pastors and lay leaders about her research. ‘It was probably the first time we heard about the root causes of conflict in our churches, looking at the social, theological, cultural, structural, economic and identity-related factors,’ said their report. ‘It was an eye-opening session indeed.’ Transform asked Rula to tell us more about her convictions and her new teaching post. Here is what she writes: “I believe that the Church’s mission to the world is not limited to evangelisation and discipleship (Matthew 28:19), but it also includes the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 18:5).

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Although the Palestinian church in Israel has held onto its faith throughout the last centuries, it did not take any significant steps to be part of a social or political solution, as it needs to, if it is to become a prophetic voice.

A prophetic role Although the Church is not a political organisation, it is part of a society influenced by political, socio-cultural, and economic factors. Therefore, the role of the Church should not be limited to observation, but it should seek to apply the principles of shalom in its society. The prophetic ministry of the church (which the Reformers taught) is to link the Gospel to important events and daily issues. When the Church is silent while the country suffers from political and economic turmoil and widespread human rights violations, it loses its legitimacy and prophetic voice. The Church must serve as the conscience of society. It is not a matter of choosing to be political; rather the choice is to be true and obedient to God’s word. But the question is: why do most churches in the Middle East (and worldwide?) find themselves unable to act on the Gospel call to the ministry of reconciliation? One reason is the fact that Christians in the Middle East are a marginalized and vulnerable minority, divided in their loyalty and questioning the continuity of their presence in the Middle East, with many seeing the solution as emigration. But another


A Peace Award Not quite the Nobel Peace Prize, but a significant moment for Langham Scholar, Rula Khouri Mansour. On 22nd June, The Association of Baptist Churches of Israel presented her with an award for her years of studying the root causes of conflict in their churches and wider society, and seeking to build processes of reconciliation and peace building. important reason is that the church’s theologians have focused on vertical reconciliation between humanity and God, with very little having been done on the horizontal reconciliation between people. The danger is that the social meaning of reconciliation is left to politicians while its vertical implications are left to theologians, whereas the Bible shows that both matter to God. I strongly believe that the Palestinian evangelical church in Israel, through its unique identity as multicultural minority followers of the Peace-Maker, has a growing potential to influence Israeli society by dialoguing effectively with non-Protestant Christians, with Muslims and Jews, and even becoming a bridge between Palestinians and Israelis. However, the continuing nature of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict affects our churches negatively too. It is my desire to see churches grow to become agents of peace. This led me to my PhD project, which was to study the causes of innerchurch conflict and to seek a culturally-

compatible theological model of reconciliation for Palestinian evangelical churches.

Agents of peace In order for the Palestinian Church to live its vision as agent of peace three tasks are vital: first, to conceptualise peace in a Palestinian Christian context; second to research peace and understand the conditions whereby positive peace, is lived, created, sustained, and struggled for; third to engage in actual peacemaking in three dimensions: theological, socio-cultural and political. I am thankful and excited about this opportunity to lead the peace studies at Nazareth Evangelical College (NEC), where we can contribute to developing those three important tasks. At NEC, the biggest impact we can make is through our transformative teaching, which seeks to engage participants in their communities to become agents of change and peace through both research and activism (embedded in

love, peace and justice) that will develop the horizontal aspect of reconciliation. I teach the Theology of Reconciliation for our MA program in Ministry at NEC, focusing on the social meaning of reconciliation, the role of the church and our own role in peacemaking, elaborating on remembrance, forgiveness and repentance, justice and truth, and embrace. As a result of the workshop in Cana of Galilee in May, the ABC approached me to lead strategic planning process for their churches. This project will include building a special curriculum for churches. The goal is to strengthen them to live up to their highest potential through the power of the resurrection, mediated by the Spirit, and to take the role of peacemaker.�

A wider ministry In addition to her teaching in Nazareth, Rula has taught on issues of peace and justice at other conferences and colleges in the Middle East, the USA, UK and Asia. She had the unique opportunity of teaching a course on the Theology of Reconciliation in the Peace Studies PhD program at the International Graduate School of Leadership (IGSL) in Manila, Philippines, with PhD students coming from four continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Rula’s PhD dissertation will be published by Langham Monographs in 2020. By supporting the Langham Scholars programme, you are equipping leaders like Rula who in turn shape future generations of Bible teachers across the Majority World.

The danger is that the social meaning of reconciliation is left to politicians while its vertical implications are left to theologians, whereas the Bible shows that both matter to God.

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Resourcing the Global Church

Norman Fraser, a member of the LPUKI Board, shared these biblical reflections at the beginning of a recent Board meeting.

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s they neared the Promised Land, Moses assembled the Children of Israel to prepare them. He reminded them that against all odds they had survived for forty years in a desert that lacked the basic requirements of life. Nevertheless, they had witnessed the Lord’s miraculous provision: water from a rock, quail when they cried out for meat, and the daily miracle of manna on the ground at the entrance to their tents. All this will stop when you enter the Promised Land, said Moses. “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills” (Deuteronomy 8:7-9).

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From now on the Lord isn’t going to provide miraculous ready meals. Instead, he will give you the resources you need to live and prosper. He will give you wheat, but the bread won’t make itself. He will give you olive trees but you will have to tend, harvest and press the olives. He has filled the hills with metal ore, but it’s your job to dig it out, smelt it and make artefacts from it.

Many Christians are uncomfortable with the production of wealth, seeing it as squalid, greedy or materialistic. But the scriptures are clear: it is a gift from God, no less a miracle than the gift of manna. It’s the Lord’s way of supplying the needs of his people. And not just the physical needs; the Lord’s mechanism for financing ministry in Israel would be the tithe, a 10% share in the wealth generated in the Israelite economy each year.

Many Christians are uncomfortable with the production of wealth, seeing it as squalid, greedy or materialistic. But the scriptures are clear: it is a gift from God, no less a miracle than the gift of manna. In the absence of a daily miracle at the entrance to your tent, there’s a danger you’ll forget that this is the Lord’s plan and provision. “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18).

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Are you eager to see more resources flowing into the ministry of the global church? Then pray for those whose Christian vocation is wealth production, whether in the Majority World or here in the UK, that they may have good success and an understanding that theirs is a noble calling, ordained by the Lord to provide for the physical and spiritual needs of his beloved people.


Langham trains drunken gambler turned Pastor in remote East Malaysia “He killed a man.” This was the first thing I was told about Pastor Michael who attended the initial Langham Preaching training held in Sarawak, East Malaysia earlier this year. Pastor Michael, who met Jesus five years ago after a life of drunkenness, violence and gambling.

The training was taught in the Malay language by a team from Indonesia and was focused on preachers working amongst the indigenous peoples in Sarawak. 35 people attended the training, including both indigenous and ‘Big Country’ pastors and leaders. Michael is from the Murut people in the hills of north Sarawak. He completed primary school and then his life was characterised by drunkenness, gambling and violence. He had five children from three different wives.

Heart and life transformed The indigenous people in Sarawak were headhunters 100 years ago, but today many are Christians. In the same way Michael met Jesus five years ago and his heart and life were transformed. He soon decided to go to a local Bible school for two years and started working as a pastor. Two years ago he was sent to work in Stalun, an Iban longhouse village on the coast near Sibu.

three longhouses have been reached with the gospel. And another religion has sent a teacher and built a place of worship to also try to convert the village.

Children from Stalun, an Iban longhouse village on the coast.

Michael and the Christian longhouse leaders know they need to be able to strengthen the believers to stand firm and to be an effective witness.

The “longhouses” are the traditional homes of many of the indigenous peoples in Borneo. There are long enclosed halls with doors opening off it into private areas for each family.

Reaching out with love

Accessible by small boat Stalun is accessible only by small boat. So Michael had become a missionary; working in a different environment, a different culture and learning a new language. Within Stalun there are over 1000 people in ten longhouses. But only

So three of them joined the Langham training to learn how to preach in a way that is faithful to God’s word and relevant to the people they serve.

The training was not easy for them because of their limited education. But Michael carefully recorded every session, took lots of notes, and plans to use these to revise and practice what he learned. The Borneo Evangelical Mission Immanuel church in Sibu also supports this small church with regular visits and help with preaching. Nanny, an elderly lady who speaks Iban and often visits was asked, how do you reach the Iban. Her answer was simply, “With love.” Praise God for people like Michael and Nanny who are serving the gospel in their different ways, with limited resources and facing external pressures. And praise God that Langham Preaching is able to support this work by encouraging and equipping people like Michael. By supporting Langham Preaching you support pastors like Michael who in turn help to bring transformation to their communities.

Attendees of Langham Preaching training in East Malaysia during a time of worship.

n Phil Nicholson, East Asia Regional Coordinator, Langham Preaching.

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Peacemakers,

not peacekeepers The Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut, Lebanon, is a beacon of light in the whole region of the Middle East and North Africa.

s Common sense dictates that we flee from a troubled region, while God’s calling for the Church is to endure 8 TRANSFORM

Several Langham Scholars are either full-time faculty members there, or are adjunct teachers. These include the Principal, Elie Haddad, along with Martin Accad, Hikmat Kashouh (who also pastors the growing Resurrection Church of Beirut and its phenomenal outreach to Syrian refugees), and Riad Kassis (Programme Director for Langham Scholars). ABTS receives and trains students from most of the

‘closed’ countries of North Africa, as well as from Sudan to the south. In October this year, ABTS will be hosting the annual meeting of the Langham Partnership International Council (LPIC). At their Graduation Ceremony on 23rd June, they graduated 24 students who will serve in various Christian ministries throughout the region. One of them, from Sudan, spoke as follows:

Elie Haddad, Principal of ABTS, on Graduation Day

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At first, we came here to fill our minds with grand intellect and theology so we can take pride before our churches and communities. Instead, we discovered that theology boasts in its weakness and humble service, to both young and old, to the educated and the uneducated. We learned that true theology is to give others preference, to love them and to deny ourselves in the process – following Christ’s example. Those words capture the ethos of all that Langham Partnership seeks to do in strengthening theological education, and would certainly have brought joy to the heart of John Stott! The Principal, Elie Haddad (pictured on Graduation Day), wrote as follows in the ABTS newsletter. “The conflict in Syria is far from over, and more than half of the country’ s population is displaced. No one knows when or how the conflict will end. The devastating war in Yemen has turned the country into a humanitarian catastrophe. The political and security situation in Lebanon and the region continues to be unstable, especially with the recent escalation with Iran. Sudan is in turmoil. The economy is collapsing in many countries of the region. Churches are being closed in Algeria, not to mention the Arab- Israeli conflict that continues to destabilize the region. What about chronic and deep- rooted corruption? Restrictions on religious freedom and criminalization of conversion? Authoritarian and unjust regimes? The security situation, political situation, economic situation, social and religious situation, all unstable. What hope is there? Do we blame those who want to emigrate, leaving a volatile region to look for a better life elsewhere? What about the church community? It is not immune to the ailments of our societies. On the contrary, many within church communities feel they are a persecuted minority. Are members of these communities not allowed or expected to seek that better life outside? What about church leaders? They frequently feel specifically targeted. Many of them have connections and easy access to the outside world. Why would they stay?

Easy to curse the darkness It is easy for us, as a Church, to curse the darkness. We forget that we are called to be light, and that our light,

It is easy for us, as a Church, to curse the darkness. We forget that we are called to be light, and that our light, no matter how dim or insignificant we think it is, shines best in the dark. no matter how dim or insignificant we think it is, shines best in the dark. We get frustrated with corruption and injustice. We forget that we are called to be salt, and that the salt needs to be scattered around to have an effect. We are afraid of hardship and persecution. We forget that our calling and fate are often connected with that of our Master. God did not stay aloof in heaven keeping peace far removed from our messed- up world. Instead, He came among us, into our mess, into our sinful and violent world, and lived among the very people that rebelled against Him, in order to redeem and restore. Peacekeepers avoid conflict, stay away from trouble, and flee from violence. Peacemakers, on the other hand, step into trouble, go where there is no peace, into the conflict, to bring healing and restoration. It is the peacemakers who are called the children of God in Matthews 5:9.

Called to stay and endure Common sense dictates that we flee from a troubled region, while God’ s calling for the Church is to endure, to discover its prophetic role, to proclaim the love of Christ, to live out Kingdom values, and to exhibit to the world the marks of the reign of God. This is the kind of Church that is needed in the Arab world at a time like this. Thankfully, God is growing, maturing, and transforming churches

all over the Arab world. We are witnessing many examples of church communities that are bold but filled with love, passionate about God and His mission, and passionate about the people of the region. We, at ABTS, are humbled and thrilled to be called by God to serve such a Church. We come alongside the Church in many capacities. First, we invest in developing missional leaders for the Church, leaders who are critical thinkers, with a strong spiritual character and competence in ministry skills, in addition to a pronounced missional impulse. Our region is starving for leaders. Our churches are facing a crisis of leadership. Equipping enough leaders to meet the needs of the Church in the Middle East and North Africa today seems like a daunting task. Nevertheless, God is raising faithful witnesses for Him every day. We have the privilege of working alongside a few of them in their journey of ministry preparation. ABTS has become a breeding ground for innovative ideas in education and missional encounters, and God has been providing the creative and passionate people that can make it happen.

Is there hope? Absolutely! God is raising His Church to be His witness in the most unlikely place at the most unlikely time. To Him be all glory, honor, and praise!”

Read Hikmat Kashouh’s inspiring story of the growth and ministry of Resurrection Church, Beirut - Following Jesus in Turbulent Times: Disciple-Making in the Arab World (Langham Global Library, 2019). By supporting Langham Literature you are supporting books being published like Hikmat’s.

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Chris Wright seeks a biblical response to current challenging events ‘What is truth?’ asked Pontius Pilate. Jesus had just said, ‘Everyone who is on the side of truth listens to me’ (Jn. 19:37-38). So in his cavalier rejection of The Truth who was standing in front of him, Pilate joins others in high political office ever since, who, by undermining the truth in their words and actions, likewise take sides against Christ.

The first theological discussion in human history began with an attack on the truth. ‘Theology’ means talking about God, which is what the serpent and Eve were doing in Genesis 3. But the serpent’s Godtalk, after a deceptively innocent question, switched to a downright lie, a straight-up contradiction of God’s life and death truth, (‘You shall not certainly die!’ he boasts), which Jesus said was tantamount to murder. ‘He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies’ (Jn. 8:44). Today we seem to be living in the midst of a relentless war on truth, especially in western culture and politics. The ease with which lies are told by those in power (or seeking it), and then simply shrugged off when they are exposed, with almost no accountability or consequences for those who peddle them, is seriously disturbing. In the white light of the Bible, this growing trend is sinister and destructive, and by Jesus’ standards, satanic in origin and murderous in effects. It is increasing in scale, but it is not by any means new, of course. David lamented the loss of integrity in public life in his own day. 10 TRANSFORM

Help, Lord, for no one is faithful any more; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race. Everyone lies to their neighbour; they flatter with their lips but harbour deception in their hearts (Ps. 12:1-2). Significantly, David links the upsurge in public lying and boastful speech with increased suffering of the poor and needy – another very modern combination. Amos exposes how public injustice is strengthened by the force of public hatred against those who tell the truth. There are those who turn justice into bitterness and cast righteousness to the ground. There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court and detest the one who tells the truth (Amos 5:7, 10; my italics). His words applied originally to the courts, but in our day what would Amos say about some press and media that spout hate-filled propaganda and deride the truth, or about leaders who ruthlessly attack journalists as they search for the truth and try to distinguish facts from falsehood? That last line of Amos

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5:10 is alive and well in high places today. The book of Isaiah has a trenchant comment on the kind of nation Judah had become. So justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. We look for justice, but find none; for deliverance, but it is far away. So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey (Isa. 59:9, 11, 14-15; my italics).

Judgment at work. Now when the kingdom of Judah had reached that advanced stage of religious, social and political depravity, when truth itself seemed like yet another stabbing victim in the street or to have disappeared altogether, they were standing at the cliff edge of God’s judgment. Indeed, God’s judgment was already at work, bringing a society that had for generations wallowed in idolatry and immorality, to a point of dissolution from within. A society bent on trampling on righteousness, justice, honesty and truth cannot survive indefinitely. The darkness gathers. And one mark of their imminent collapse was the increasing folly and depravity of their political leaders. By their lying and self-interest, those leaders simply accelerated the inevitable judgment on their whole society. God is not mocked. We reap what we sow.


John Calvin, noting this fact about Old Testament Israel, saw the hand of God’s judgment on the nation in the wicked folly of their leaders. ‘They who rule unjustly and incompetently have been raised up by God to punish the wickedness of the people,’ he wrote. Or as a popular summary of Calvin’s words goes, ‘When God puts a nation under judgment, he gives them wicked rulers.’

were used for decades by tobacco companies to deny any medical link between smoking and lung cancer. Meanwhile, social media amplify the deliberate dissemination of falsehoods and ‘fake news’ (in the proper meaning of that phrase) – accelerating globally what even Charles Spurgeon saw in his day, ‘A lie can travel half way round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.’

What does it say about the degraded state of our culture and politics, and about the signs of God’s judgment already at work, that two of the most advanced and powerful countries in the western world are now ruled by men who have no apparent regard for truth, one of whom has twice been sacked for lying while the other has allegedly accumulated more than ten thousand instances of untruth or false and exaggerated claims? And who cares? Some may protest that much of this is relatively trivial or amusing – just politicians spouting words that nobody takes seriously. But, as Albert Einstein said (whether or not he knew how close he was to quoting Jesus), ‘Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.’ Yet we are asked to trust men whose own wives could not trust them, with the future of our nations.

There is, as I said, something deeply satanic in this vicious attack on any concept of truth. It certainly undermines our ability as Christians to say that the gospel is true, or the Bible is true. ‘What is truth?’ people are as likely to say today as Pontius Pilate did. And yet we cannot abandon those fundamental foundations of our faith. They are all the more important in a “post-truth” culture. Truth really does matter, if we believe in the One who said ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’

Undermining truth. Brexit has divided our nation, and I’m sure that Transform readers will inevitably hold similarly divided views on the matter, however it may turn out. But without taking sides, the most disturbing element in the whole saga to me has been the loss of trust in any kind truth. Facts, or research, or hard realities, are dismissed as mere opinions or ‘pessimism.’ Lies have been repeated long after they have been exposed as falsehood. The same undermining of truth is rampant in the quite deliberate and viciously political attack on science, for example, as regards environmental issues and climate change, relying on the same tactics that, out of commercial greed,

Light in the darkness Is there an answer? Well, those gloomy words of Isaiah 59 are followed by the glorious chapter 60! Into the darkness comes the light of God’s arrival – as we celebrate in Advent. Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you (Isa. 60:1-2). Only God can confront human and satanic lies, with the truth of the biblical gospel. Only God could do what chapter 59 goes on to describe. The Lord … put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due. From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins, declares the Lord. (Isa. 59:17-20). These prophetic words have two horizons of fulfilment. The first is the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and his announcing of the kingdom of God. Where God reigns, in the lives of his people and through their words and work in society, there can be salt and light that stem corruption, speak truth, and dispel darkness. We bear witness to the God of truth through lives of integrity and truthtelling - and we are willing to suffer for it when called to. The second horizon, of course, still lies ahead of us, when God will act in final judgment, destroy evil, put right all wrongs, expose the lies and let his truth shine to the worshiping ends of the earth – all this when Christ returns and inaugurates the new creation that Isaiah speaks of a few chapters later (Isaiah 65:17-25).

Langham: truth with a mission And meanwhile? Langham Preaching goes on training preachers to nourish the hearts and minds of God’s people with the truth of God’s Word. Langham Literature goes on generating books and resources that proclaim and defend biblical truth in multiple contexts. And Langham Scholars live as men and women committed to God’s truth in the world of academic theology, teaching and training. Satan may have had the first word in human theological discussion. But he will not have the last. God’s truth will prevail.

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The John Stott London Lecture 2019

Thursday 7th November, All Souls Church, Langham Place 6.30pm light refreshments: 7.15pm welcome and lecture

An Arab Christian Perspective on the Middle East and North Africa

Decades of conflict and war, punctuated by moments of popular uprising and hope – the whole region of the Middle East and North Africa has been in constant political and religious turmoil for as long as most of us can remember. Many Christians in the west know very little about the existence of Arab and other ancient Christian churches in the region, some tracing their roots back to biblical times, certainly before Christianity reached British shores. Yet they are our sisters and brothers in Christ, so should we not care that their communities could be facing extinction?

Lecturer: Dr Riad Kassis

Tickets £6 from jsll.eventbrite.co.uk, or on the door.

Dr Riad Kassis will give us a snap-shot of Arab Christianity’s long history and how things have reached the present crisis. What does the Bible have to say? Do our theological beliefs help, or merely add to the conflicts? What are the good and the bad results of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’? And are there any ways in which British Christians can play a positive role in the Middle East and North Africa region? Rev. Dr. Riad Kassis was born in Tripoli, Lebanon, raised in a devout Presbyterian home and is now an ordained Presbyterian pastor. He still lives in his native Lebanon, in the Beqaa Valley. He is the international Programme Director for Langham Scholars, one of the three ministries of the Langham Partnership, and teaches Old Testament studies at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, in Beirut. Riad has written several books in both English and Arabic, including commentaries on some O.T. books. He is a contributor to, and one of the editors of, the outstanding Arabic Contemporary Bible Commentary, a one-volume commentary on the whole Bible written entirely by Arab Christian scholars. He contributes internationally on issues related to theological education, leadership, organizational development, and contextualized understanding of the Old Testament.

The John Stott London Lecture is organised in partnership with

johnstottlondonlecture.org.uk


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Profile for Langham Partnership UK and Ireland

Transform - Autumn 2019  

Read about a Langham Scholar who received a peace award for her work on reconciliation in the Middle East - find out about how Langham Preac...

Transform - Autumn 2019  

Read about a Langham Scholar who received a peace award for her work on reconciliation in the Middle East - find out about how Langham Preac...

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