Failure is still possible for those who are above average if the average is dismally low. In the village of Bungeni where we have been evangelizing since January 2021, I met a pastor who teaches in a large, beautiful building. Early on after greeting, he told me that he watches Adrian Rogers on television, a conservative Southern Baptist pastor.
I told him that I preach Christ, and I do not love money. The pastor offers agreement, but it is hard to tell if that is mere head-nodding or an “Amen” through Christ to the glory of God. “Well, I tell myself. Perhaps this man loves the Lord. I will invite him to the Bible studies, and offer to return to his house.”
These offers being made with all the willingness of my natural effusion, I left him back 3 years ago. In January, when I began preaching on a street corner, who should show up, but this pastor whom I will call Pastor Nkuna (not his real name). For 6 weeks now, he has been at the preaching points where we have memorized numerous verses, the first books of the NT, and the 5 Solas. I have spoken almost exclusively of man’s depravity and Christ as the forgotten Savior in the false Christianity all around us.
Wednesday, 7 February, a 23-year old man named Trevor listened quietly in the corner, and this discussion followed.
Seth: “Trevor, I’m glad you have listened today. Do you know if your name is in the Book of Life, or are you unsure about that?”
Trevor: “No, my name is not in the Book.”
Seth: “OK, thank you for being honest. Can you ask me if my name is in the Book?”
Trevor, laughing: “OK, pastor is your name there?”
Seth: “Yes. Now, can you ask me how I know?”
Trevor, “Mi swi tivisa ku yini leswaku vito ra n’wina ri tsariwile?” [How do you know?]
Seth: “Because Christ died for me! Christ chose me! Christ took away my guilt. He washed my stains. He rose again for me! He is right now sitting on the right hand of the Father praying for me. He gave me His Spirit. He teaches me His Word. It is all of the Son of God! He has done everything for me.”
Turning directly to pastor Nkuna, who had heard all this, “Sir, what should Trevor do since his name is not in the Book?”
Pastor Nkuna: “Trevor, you must pray. And go to church.”
Seth: “Let us not forget the Lord Jesus. [etc.]”
About 20 minutes later after prolonged preaching to the rest of the dozen or so people listening, I asked in closing, “Are you truly saved?”
Pastor Nkuna: “Yes, I am saved.”
Seth: “You know my rule that I have used for weeks, if anyone says they are saved, then they must tell us what God has done for their souls. What has God done for your soul, Mr. Nkuna?”
Pastor Nkuna: “God has preserved me to this day.”
Seth, to the rest of the listeners, “What did he forget to say? What did he not mention?”
Several other people: “Jesus Christ.”
Turning to the pastor: “Sir, you forgot Jesus after I just preached of His actions, after we asked Trevor a few moments ago, after you have been here for 6 weeks, and after we just looked at John 3:36! You are in great danger. You are lost. Christ did not come from your mouth because He is not in your heart. If you do not confess Him before men, He will not confess you before the Father.”
A few moments later before I leave, I spoke individually to pastor Nkuna, “Sir, please do not be angry that I spoke so plainly. I love you, but you said nothing of Jesus Christ. How can you hope to be accepted by the Father if you can’t say anything about His Son? And this just after I gave you the answers?”
Pastor Nkuna: “Jesus is with me all the time! I have Jesus.”
Seth: “Only after I told you again and again. But when you were asked in public twice, what did you say? And whom did you forget?”
Here was a man who said yes when I spoke about preaching Jesus. He gave certain words at certain times that sounded Christian. But twice in one sitting, with the answers told to him moments before he spoke, he could not find anything to say about Jesus from the most basic, “Jesus died for me,” to a lively testimony of Christ’s forgiveness of his sins. On other weeks, he like everyone else, has told me that he has never read the whole Bible or even the whole New Testament.
Yes, I sometimes, but rarely meet someone who references Jesus. As a few days ago, a man told me Jesus was his Savior, but then in the very next question he told me that he loved money.
If this pastor is a Christian, then African missionaries should go home since much of the continent has this kind of Christ-less or Christ-lite salvation.