Creed to discuss creation, evolution
A group called Christians Ready to Evangelise, Engage culture and Defend the gospel of Jesus Christ (Creed) has organised training for young Christian leaders, pastors and church leaders to take place in Lilongwe sometime this year. JAMES CHIMPWEYA talked to one of training’s organising committee members and facilitator PASTOR NICKY CHAKWERA for more information.
What is Creed and its background?
This year, 2015, will mark the beginning of annual Creed conferences. The aim of these conferences is to train Christians and their leaders. This is in line with the scriptural command found in 1 Peter 3: 15, which states: “But in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (ESV).
Why have you decided to organise this conference?
It is because this generation of Christians is facing the toughest and the harshest critics of the Christian faith. Secularism and the new atheism have come with a vengeance to stump out religion in general and Christianity in particular. The influence of Christianity in the public square is resented and resisted. Other religious viewpoints and ideologies are also vying for people’s allegiance in the market place of ideas. Shallow ungrounded Christianity also contributes to the rise in heretical and cultic movements within the church. A conference such as this seeks to address the various intellectual, cultural and theological challenges against the historic Christian faith.
What are your goals during this conference?
Among them, is to train and make Christian pastors, leaders and youth in Christian apologetics in Africa. We also want to raise awareness of issues that require attention, response and action from a biblical perspective, develop networks and action groups that can mobilise Christians and resources needed to advance Christian values. We also want to spark research and publish findings to help clarify and/or substantiate the Christian perspective on policies or issues. We also aim at sharing resources and materials needed for effective ministry.
What are some of the topics to be tackled?
The theme of this year’s conference is “Silent no more!” The command in 1 Peter 3:15 is that we should “be ready always to give an answer” (King James Version). The Church has not always been ready and has not always provided answers. We cannot remain silent when our faith and values are questioned in this secularised multicultural world. The time to prepare and to speak up for our faith is now. This generation and the next will need clear answers why we insist that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. C.S. Lewis said: “To be ignorant and simple now—not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground—would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defence but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” Topics for discussion will include The role of reason; Understanding anti-Christian ideologies; Why creation matters; Penetrating the spheres of Influence— strategies; Church and society; Effective leadership; Rising intolerance to Christianity: Our response and The case for Christian education.
Who will be facilitating this conference?
We have Rev. Nicky Chakwera who is a Youth and Music pastor at International Christian Assembly. His interest in Christian Apologetics started and grew in secondary school when he almost lost his faith because of the theory of evolution. He began devouring apologetics books, starting with the famous Evolution: Fact or Theory by Cora Leno. Chakwera has a Masters of Arts in Theological Studies degree from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Springfield, Missouri, USA. He has also sat under world-renowned Christian apologist, Norman Geisler at Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Other speakers will include; Rev. Edward Mikwamba a churchman, John Maxwell Leadership Trainer in Malawi, former youth pastor for Nazarene Youth International Central Africa. He will talk about Effective Leadership.
Rev Brian Kamwendo, a graduate of African Bible College (Malawi). He is an ordained minister in the CCAP Nkhoma Synod and was recently elected deputy secretary general of the synod; Ezra Maxwell Chapola, who has spent eight years studying and serving the Lord in Harare, Zimbabwe. After moving to the USA in 2003, Rev. Chapola decided to pursue further studies at Bangor Theological Seminary where he received Master of Divinity and Master of Arts degrees. Upon completion of his seminary work, he was called to serve a congregation in Portland, Maine, USA. He will talk about The Case for Christian Education while Rev. Sylvester Chabuka is a teacher by profession and director of gospel outreach. He is a certified trainer in leadership, conflict and project management. He will take the participants through the topic of Rising Intolerance to Christianity: Our Response.