One Hundred and Forty Years in Cape Town

An adventure in the world’s most beautiful city.[i]
In November 1875 three individuals met for prayer in Long Street, Cape Town. They wanted to start a church.

CH Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher
CH Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher

After getting some advice they wrote to CH Spurgeon in London, who had begun a Pastor’s training college, and asked if he could send someone to lead the church-planting initiative. Spurgeon responded warmly and selected William Hamilton.

Hamilton was clearly a leader amongst his peers and committed to evangelism. It was said of him, a ‘harmony between Calvinistic theology, evangelical activism, and Christian piety was a characteristic feature of Mr Hamilton’s ministry.’

On the basis of this faith-filled request from just three Christians, Hamilton got organised and set sail from London.

The first Baptist Union leaders in South Africa
The first Baptist Union leaders in South Africa

The first Baptists had arrived in 1820 and had begun congregations in Grahamstown and other places. William Hamilton’s arrival represented a possible breakthrough in Cape Town itself.

The man for Cape Town, William Hamilton
The man for Cape Town, William Hamilton

Three months at sea
After a three-month voyage, he arrived in Cape Town in November 1876 (a full year after Spurgeon received the letter of request). It’s difficult to imagine what a three-month journey by ship must have been like. But, considering missionary travels in the 19th century, we ought probably to be a little more gracious at the occasional forty-minute delay before our 12 hour flights to Europe.

Hamilton held a meeting on the 12th November in the Temperance Hall, Long Street which gathered 60 curious people.

Long Street, Cape town, c.1860
Long Street, Cape town, c.1860

The church was constituted on the 19th November 1876 when just nine people agreed to become members by signing this covenant statement:

‘We do hold that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be our only rule of faith and guidance. The Scriptures teach the doctrines of the Trinity, man’s fall, redemption by the substitution of the Son of God, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit; the final judgement of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; the eternal reward of the righteous and eternal punishment of the wicked. While God, in His sovereign mercy, can call whom he will, the world is invited to embrace the Gospel.
The Church of Christ, as set forth in the New Testament, is composed of those who trust alone to Christ for salvation, profess His name before the world, and obey the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
We shall endeavour to the utmost of our ability to further the cause of God among us by fervent prayer, diligent attendance on the means of grace, pecuniary assistance in support of the Ministry, and by trying to get others to attend the house of God.’

Sunday Services
Soon the church grew and Hamilton was formally appointed as Pastor.
Regular prayer meetings were held in a ‘portrait saloon’ in Caledon St, and Sunday services were started in the Oddfellows’ Hall in Plein Street.

Plein Street, Cape Town, c.1870
Plein Street, Cape Town, c.1870

Fruitfulness in evangelism
Hamilton’s evangelistic zeal bore much fruit in Cape Town. Twenty-six conversions were reported as having taken place at one evening meeting.

After a few years the church had grown to such an extent that they were able to build their first church facility. The site they chose was in Wale Street. The construction of the building took a while but was finally completed in 1882. I had discovered this building before relocating to Cape Town in my copy of Spurgeon’s The Sword and the Trowel.

Like Spurgeon's sermons, the Sword and the Trowel was bound into annual volumes
Like Spurgeon’s sermons, the Sword and the Trowel was bound into annual volumes

Here is Spurgeon’s announcement of the completion of the Wale Street building:

Wale Street Baptist Church, an engraving printed in Spurgeon's the Sword and the Trowel
Wale Street Baptist Church, an engraving printed in Spurgeon’s the Sword and the Trowel

The text, written by Spurgeon, reads: ‘Most of our readers must be familiar with the story of Mr. Hamilton’s work in Cape Town; for our pages have often contained notices of his self-denying and arduous labours. Leaving the Pastors’ College in 1876, he accepted an invitation from a small company of baptized believers, who desired to form a church upon what they considered the principles of the New Testament. For some years, in various halls and with varying success, the work was prosecuted with great vigour; and at last on March 9th, 1882, the pastor had the inexpressible delight of preaching in the new chapel, of which an engraving is given above.’

Wale Street, Cape Town, c.1880. Hamilton's building is clearly visible on the left.
Wale Street, Cape Town, c.1880. Hamilton’s building is clearly visible on the left.
The Wale Street church building by local artist Desmond Martin

Spurgeon later said of Hamilton, ‘He has accomplished marvels, and has often made our heart to sing for joy.’ [ii]
It was also said of him, ‘He was quite something new in the religious world of the Cape. He was unconventional both in dress and manner, and of boundless zeal and energy. He got quickly to work, and found quite a number of people interested in his mission.’ [iii]

Wale Street before and after...
Wale Street before and after…

Hamilton not only preached in the city centre but also in the suburbs.

As I searched in the National Archives, at the National Library and online, not only did I discover Hamilton’s amazing story, but also that it was his preaching that led to formation of Wynberg Baptist Church. That was of particular interest because in 1983 a number of idealistic young people from Wynberg Baptist Church launched out and began what was to become Jubilee Community Church.

So, in a very real sense – in a manner where you can trace a direct connection – the roots of both Jubilee Community Church and Cape Town Baptist Church go back to the pioneer evangelist William Hamilton.

More growth
The congregation outgrew the Wale Street building and, in the middle of the last century, moved to a site that stretches between Kloof and Orange Street where they enjoyed decades of fruitful ministry until falling somewhat into decline. The pastor and congregation reached out to the leadership of Jubilee to see if we could join hands and enter a new season of revitalisation and growth. Amazingly, the collaboration has worked and has become a story of unity, peace and strength which we trust will benefit the city.

Re-united
The continuity of our history, the strength of two churches coming, as it were, back together; of 140 years of faithful prayer and evangelism, should give us an awareness of the faithfulness of God, and a momentum that is from God. The strong encouragements we have received from former members of the two Baptist congregations that met on this site have been overwhelming. The present congregation feels as though we are being carried by generations of prayers, of faith, of giving, of longing.
We are not merely having a go at something in the city-centre. God is at work!

Jubilee Community Church, Cape Town
Jubilee Community Church, Kloof Street/Orange Street, Cape Town

This is a new beginning. We are trusting God to enable us to renovate the larger auditorium space and grow beyond our current 180-200 or so up to a significant size that will be a blessing to the city and a testimony to God’s grace.

Spurgeon wrote to Hamilton several times. As far as we know, no letter of has been preserved. But I found a line from one of Spurgeon’s letters which simply said, ‘My heart is thoroughly with your work.’

Buhle reads during the Good Friday service, 2017
Part of the congregation that gathered for our Good Friday service, 2017

But this is not a story about dead heroes. Paul reminds us that one plants, another waters, but it is God who gives the growth. And it’s God who has preserved this city-centre space for the preaching of the good news of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

So, on the 19th November 2016 – the 140th anniversary – we gave thanks, because we’re not only part of a current expression of the church in Cape Town, we’re also joining with one hundred and forty years of history in our city, and we’re joyfully aligning ourselves with the faithfulness of a gracious God.

©2016 Lex Loizides / Church History Review

[i] https://www.goodthingsguy.com/environment/cape-town/
http://www.southafrica.net/blog/en/posts/entry/Cape-Town-voted-the-Worlds-best-city-here-are-22-reasons-why
[
ii] Sword and Trowel vol. 1885
[iii] http://zalookup.com/library/books/TheHistoryOfTheBaptistChurchIinSouthAfrica.pdf

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Small Town Jesus in the Big City

Kloof St

I’m about to move my office out of a suburb of Cape Town into the city centre. It’s an exciting time. We’re launching a congregation of Jubilee Community Church in the heart of Cape Town and we’re ready to go!

There has been, in recent years, a much-needed focus on cities. Christians have been moving steadily away from the city centres and into the suburbs, often leaving the city without a strong witness.

Yet, we’re told, that the creative culture-making heartbeat (the heart that sends its influence to the rest of our culture) is right back in the place the believers left. If we reach the cities (so the argument goes) there will be a ‘trickle down’ effect that will effect the rest of society.

Donnie Griggs, Lead Pastor at One Harbor Church, Morehead City, NC
Donnie Griggs, Lead Pastor at One Harbor Church, Morehead City, NC

Small Town Jesus by Donnie Griggs is a robust response. Griggs, who pastors a large church in Morehead City, North Carolina (a town of about nine thousand) raises a banner for the myriad of small towns that may, therefore, seem less significant.

While not denying the importance of cities, he makes a plea for the importance of mission to smaller towns. He speaks from his own experience of being known and getting to know the folk in Morehead, while seeking to build a church that cares for its community and is engaged in a wider mission.

Now, why would I spend time reading a book devoted to mission in small towns when I am about to relocate my work space into the heart of the world’s most beautiful city (I could easily support that assertion with sources, but it’s just a fact).

And – I’ll go further – why am I recommending this book to you, whatever size town you’re in, but especially if you live in a city?

Cape Town City Hall
Cape Town City Hall

Being a Good Local
Simply for this reason: that I have realised, both as I’ve been traveling into the city regularly over the last year, and as I’ve read Donnie’s book, that, in my section of the city centre, I need to become a local.

That’s not something we tend to think of in our cities. We have the dubious luxury of being anonymous much of the time. We expect speed. We expect quality. If something’s not good we complain. And we complain properly. We’ll put a bad review online. We’re helping raise standards by complaining. Griggs has a technical term for this that’s worth remembering. It is called ‘being a jerk’. Hmm. Maybe it’s time to change.

Here are a few pointers Griggs gives for being a good local in a small town. I want to encourage you to take these on board in your locality especially if you’re in the city centre. And feel free to add your own thoughts and comments below. Let’s learn from each other.

Your reputation matters in a small town
Things are really close in a village or town. Yet, in the city, you can also develop a different kind of reputation by deliberately seeking to serve those around your work space. Be different from those who rush by. Do good in the city. Be honest. Build a good reputation by being consistently compassionate.

Learn to Enjoy Small Talk
In the city, people are often in a rush. But people are also incredibly lonely. Slow down and look around. You’ll see lots of people who are alone and who would benefit from your friendship. Cape Town is not a European city. It is an African city with a lot of Europe in it. People are very open to making connections. There’s a warmth that you sometimes don’t feel in a European city. Griggs writes, that ‘always acting like you have somewhere better to be will eventually lead to unnecessarily offending’ people. That’s good for your city too, even if the rush is tolerated.

Shop Local as much as possible
He writes, ‘I would encourage you to see shopping local as an opportunity to become a good local.’ Whether it’s caterers, lunchtime appointments in the city, printing, or just where you regularly purchase coffee or church refreshments, I want the businesses in my section of Cape Town to know we’re part of the neighbourhood. We’re buying local and eating local because we are local. Griggs talks a lot about loving local food and then there’s a whole section about soft-shell crabs. Normally you’d expect an editor’s intervention but these guys in Morehead City love their soft-shell crabs.

Donnie Griggs out on the boat
Donnie Griggs out on the boat

Don’t be a Jerk
(It’s worth mentioning again) He prefaces this section helpfully by noting, ‘I’m not saying that everyone who lives in a big city is a jerk.’ Followed by the word, ‘But…’ and then so helpfully corrects how, even we as Christians, can act in an unnecessarily discourteous way when dealing with folks in a city.

But, ‘in a small town, you should take every opportunity to be kind and courteous.’

There’s a danger in city life because we probably won’t see a person again, and can therefore treat them with less respect than they deserve, especially if they’re serving us poorly. In a small town our bad responses will get known very quickly. But that behaviour is no less acceptable in the city. And will also be known. You reap what you sow. As in the town and suburb, so in the city, a Christian’s rudeness can have a deadening effect on mission.

Be a Blessing
I am taking this on board for our city site: ‘When considering how you can engage the culture of your small town with the gospel, please don’t just settle for contextualized church programs and church facilities. Love where you live and serve where you live. Let everyone know that you really care about them, whether they come to your church or not.’

Donnie has written a highly readable book with a great and simple message: be a blessing to your town. Be deliberate and consistent.

I want to add that, if you’re in the city, see your section of the city, whether you work there each day, or whether you live there, as your own locality, your own small town within the city, and act accordingly.

Small Town Jesus is available on Amazon here

Jubilee Community Church’s City Congregation will begin meeting on Sundays from 25th September, 10.30am, 33 Kloof Street, Cape Town

For a 30-Day Prayer Guide to pray for the launch of the site click here

©2016 Lex Loizides / Church History Review

 

Oxford Professor John Lennox in South Africa

This page includes 8 AUDIO LINKS AND 5 VIDEOS 

After a hugely successful first trip to Cape Town and Gauteng last year, Professor John Lennox returned in Sept 2014.

Professor John Lennox's Cape Town schedule
Professor John Lennox’s Cape Town schedule

 

Accompanied by his brother, Gilbert, John arrived to a beautiful day in Cape Town, lunching at the famous Kirstenbosch Gardens.

John Lennox Kirstenbosch

 

Both John and his brother are keen photographers and thoroughly enjoyed the amazing beauty of Cape Town.

John also enjoyed Cape Town hospitality at the Steenburg Estate in the evening.

Dinner with Hugo, Karen, Lex and Jo
Dinner with Hugo, Karen, Lex and Jo

 

Prof John Lennox at the University of Cape Town

John gave two lunchtime lectures to a packed lecture theatre on the subject ‘Is God a Delusion?’

Here’s the first lecture: ‘Is God a Delusion, Part One (UCT)’

 

'Is God a Delusion?' with John Lennox at UCT
‘Is God a Delusion?’ with John Lennox at UCT
The students were genuinely enjoying Prof Lennox's wit
The students were genuinely enjoying Prof Lennox’s wit

 

Continuing to explain outside the lecture theatre...
Continuing to explain outside the lecture theatre…

The crowds increased for the second lecture, so that I was totally unable to get pictures from a different angle!

Even before the lecture began it was obvious that this was a main event for UCT that day.
Even before the lecture began it was obvious that this was a main event for UCT that day.

 

More students streamed in, completely filling the stairs, standing at the back an sitting over the edges!
More students streamed in, completely filling the stairs, standing at the back and even sitting over the edges!

Here’s the second lecture: ‘Is God a Delusion, part two (UCT)’

 

Combined Jubilee/Common Ground ‘OneLife’ event

[AUDIO links below]

Well over 1000 people arrived to hear Prof Lennox at an event called ‘OneLife’ which is an event that seeks to help Christian engage their Christianity with their working life, breaking down a sacred/secular divide.

In the plenary session, John was given the title, ‘Thinking Christians in a Changing World’ (although he suggested he’d like to change it to ‘Changing Christians in a Thinking World’!).

Over 1000 people crammed into the Jubilee Centre to hear Prof Lennox
Over 1000 people crammed into the Jubilee Centre to hear Prof Lennox
John Lennox on 'Thinking Christians in a Changing World'
John Lennox on ‘Thinking Christians in a Changing World’

CLICK HERE to listen (or download) ‘Thinking Christians in a Changing World’

It was difficult to see how we could get more people in!
It was difficult to see how we could get more people in!

The audio/video will be available soon -  check back later

Prof Lennox also spoke to medical professionals on the challenge of bioethics
Prof Lennox also spoke to medical professionals on the challenge of bioethics

CLICK HERE to listen to (or download) ‘Bioethics: Challenges in the 21st Century’

 

Prof. Lennox at the Diocesan College (Bishops) in Rondebosch

As to with each of the meetings in which Prof Lennox spoke, there was both laughter and serious thinking on the part of the audience. After a gracious introduction by the new Headmaster Prof Lennox challenged the boys to be intellectually rigourous and follow where the evidence leads.

John arriving at Bishops
John arriving at Bishops
Prof Lennox speaking to over 600 boys and staff at Bishops
Prof Lennox speaking to over 600 boys and staff at Bishops

 

Relaxing in Cape Town with Gilbert and John Lennox
Relaxing in Cape Town with Gilbert and John Lennox

Following an email request, radio talk show host John Maytham was very keen to have John on his afternoon show. The result was less of an interview and more a frank exchange between two opposing positions. The interview lasted for just over 22 minutes and Prof Lennox felt it was one of the best he’d ever done. In the lead up to the interview Maythem mentions that there had been ‘huge interest’.

 

John Lennox being interviewed by John Maytham at Cape Talk Radio
John Lennox being interviewed by John Maytham at Cape Talk Radio
John Maytham with Prof John Lennox
John Maytham with Prof John Lennox

Is God a Delusion? Event in Fish Hoek
This event, hosted by Murray Anderson, was a combined churches event including King of Kings Baptist, Common Ground, St Peter’s and Tokai Community Church.

For AUDIO PART 1 CLICK HERE

For AUDIO PART 2 CLICK HERE

Prof Lennox answered the most popular objections to the Christian Faith drawn from an online survey.

Prof Lennox answers common objections to the Christian Faith
Prof Lennox answers common objections to the Christian Faith
Lennox fishhoek2
Prof Lennox in Fish Hoek

 

Prof Lennox addressed business leaders in Cape Town
One of the highlights of Prof Lennox’s Cape Town visit was a sold out breakfast for some of Cape Town’s most influential business leaders.

The breakfast was organised by Accelerate Cape Town and held at Deloitte’s.
John has spoken numerous times for the Said Business School in Oxford, as well as speaking for several multi-national corporations and companies. His subject was ‘Smart Cities: Smart Ethics’, and was followed by a Q&A.

Prof Lennox speaks to a group of business people drawn together by Accelerate Cape Town
Prof Lennox speaks to a group of business people drawn together by Accelerate Cape Town
Prof Lennox addresses business leaders in Cape Town
Prof Lennox addresses business leaders in Cape Town

 

Prof Lennox at Stellenbosch University
Once again Prof Lennox addressed an eager audience at Stellenbosch University on the subject ‘Should the New South Africa Embrace the New Atheism?’

Click on the image below to  hear the AUDIO 

Lennox Stellenbosch Advert

 

Prof Lennox addresses students at Stellenbosch University
Prof Lennox addresses students at Stellenbosch University

On Saturday 13th I hosted two Q&A sessions (of one hour each) with Prof Lennox, asking questions and objections ranging from the reliability of Scripture, the challenge of Reason v. Revelation; questions regarding the Bible and the ‘Big Bang’; the age of the universe, the age of the earth, and the standard evolutionary narrative. Some of his answers were controversial, as you’ll hear. Audience members were able to interrupt via twitter (which was both fun and taxing on the interviewer). Both sessions are included on a single file (58MB), at the moment, but well worth downloading so you can listen later.

To hear AUDIO of ‘The God Question’ interview click the image below

The God Question with Prof John Lennox
The God Question with Prof John Lennox
Hundreds turned out to hear Prof John Lennox answer tough questions
Hundreds turned out to hear Prof John Lennox answer tough questions
Lennox, with characteristic good humour, relished the opportunity to answer objections
Lennox, with characteristic good humour, relished the opportunity to answer objections
Prof Lennox answered several questions sent in via facebook & twitter
Prof Lennox answered several questions sent in via facebook & twitter

 

John also spoke at the multi-racial Jubilee Community Church in Cape Town

'In the beginning God...'
‘In the beginning God…’

9.30am – ‘In the beginning God…’ a look at issues arising from Genesis 1

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO OF ‘IN THE BEGINNING GOD…’

Prof Lennox and UCT Prof Kelly Chibale in conversation after lunch
Prof Lennox and UCT Prof Kelly Chibale in conversation after lunch

6.30am – ‘Let us make Man in Our image…’ a look at issues arising from Genesis 2 & 3

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO OF ‘LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE…’

Prof John Lennox at Jubilee Community Church, Cape Town
Prof John Lennox at Jubilee Community Church, Cape Town

 

Prof Lennox at North West University, South Africa

_Foto1

Prof Lennox lecturing on God: Rendered Irrelevant? Has science buried God? to about 3500 people in the Amphitheater on the Potchefstroom campus of North West University. (15 Sept)

 

Prof Lennox at Oosterlig Church, Pretoria

Prof Lennox at Dialoog Church
Prof Lennox at Oosterlig Church

 

Prof Lennox at Moreleta Church, Pretoria

Prof Lennox at Moreleta Church, Pretoria
Prof Lennox at Moreleta Church, Pretoria

 

Debate with Eusebius McKaiser

Prof Lennox’s most widely publicised meeting in the Gauteng area was his discussion with radio talk show host Eusebius McKaiser.

PART ONE of the video is here:

PART TWO:

PART THREE:

 

RZIM SA Director Mahlatse Mashua, Prof Lennox and Eusebius McKaiser before the WITS discussion
RZIM SA Director Mahlatse Mashua, Prof Lennox and Eusebius McKaiser before the WITS discussion

 

 

© 2014 Lex Loizides / Church History Blog

 

Professor John Lennox and Michael Ramsden in Cape Town!

John Lennox and Michael Ramsden
John Lennox and Michael Ramsden
Good News for Cape Town!
It is with great joy that we were able to host the visit to Cape Town of Professor John Lennox and Michael Ramsden.
Professor Lennox is a highly respected academic from Oxford University who has debated Richard Dawkins on three occasions and who regularly receives invitations to speak on matters of faith at leading academic institutions. Michael Ramsden is the European Director of RZIM and a much sought after speaker to business leaders as well as on university campuses.
Lex Loizides
(On behalf of Jubilee and RZIM)
To hear John on Jo’burg’s Talk Radio click here. This is a brilliant example of how to answer questions intelligently, in a confident and winsome manner.
Prof John Lennox and Michael Ramsden in Cape Town
Prof John Lennox and Michael Ramsden in Cape Town
Prof Lennox and Michael Ramsden fielded tough questions at Jubilee in Cape Town.

Tuesday 12th 

University of Cape Town Vice Chancellor’s Open Lecture
Professor John Lennox
‘A Matter of Gravity – God, the Universe and Stephen Hawking’
This event was oversubscribed.
See the VIDEO here which includes VC Max Price’s excellent introduction.
Prof John Lennox delivers the Vice Chancellor's Open Lecture at The University of Cape Town
Prof John Lennox delivers the Vice Chancellor’s Open Lecture at The University of Cape Town

Wednesday 13th

1.00pm – 1.45pm
Lunchtime: UCT Mission with John Lennox and Michael Ramsden
‘Has science buried God?’
John Lennox speaks in Observatory, Cape Town
John Lennox speaks in Observatory, Cape Town
7:30pm 
Engaging Hearts and Minds 1 – John Lennox
Followed by Q&A
Venue: Jubilee Centre, 21 Nelson Road, Observatory, Cape Town

Thursday 14th 

1.00pm – 1.45pm
Lunchtime: UCT Mission with John Lennox and Michael Ramsden
‘Christianity and the tooth fairy!’
Prof John Lennox also spoke at one of South Africa's top high schools
Prof John Lennox also spoke at one of South Africa’s top high schools
7:30pm 
Engaging Hearts and Minds 2 – John Lennox
Followed by Q&A
Venue: Jubilee Centre, 21 Nelson Road, Observatory, Cape Town

Friday 15th

Prof John Lennox speaks to students at the University of Stellenbosch
Prof John Lennox speaks to students at the University of Stellenbosch
John Lennox speaking at Stellenbosch University
1.00pm – 1.45pm
UCT Mission: Michael Ramsden
Michael Ramsden addresses students at the University of Cape Town
Michael Ramsden addresses students at the University of Cape Town
‘Michael in the Lions Den’ – Q&A
 For more info: Open Secret
Michael Ramsden speaks to students after his lecture at UCT
Michael Ramsden speaks to students after his lecture at UCT
Michael also spoke brilliantly at a business leader’s dinner in Kirstenbosch Gardens, Cape Town.
John Lennox and Michael Ramsden will address business leaders in Cape Town
John Lennox and Michael Ramsden will address business leaders in Cape Town
7.30pm
Business Leader’s Dinner with John Lennox and Michael Ramsden
‘Truth and Trust in Life and Leadership’
Moyo Restaurant, Kirstenbosch Gardens
Professor John Lennox will be speaking at Jubilee Community Church, Cape Town, South Africa
Professor John Lennox will be speaking at Jubilee Community Church, Cape Town, South Africa, Sun March 17, 2013

Recordings of John Lennox speaking in Cape Town

John Lennox speaking in Cape Town
John Lennox speaking in Cape Town
9.30am
Jubilee Community Church
Venue: Jubilee Centre, 21 Nelson Road, Observatory, Cape Town
8.00am & 10.00am 
114 3rd Avenue, Kenilworth
7.00pm
City Wide Celebration  – John Lennox
Venue: Jubilee Centre, 21 Nelson Road, Observatory, Cape Town
John Lennox at the Houses of Parliament, London
John Lennox at the Houses of Parliament, London (Photo: Bible Society/Clare Kendall)
You can also listen to John Lennox addressing a Prayer Breakfast at the UK Houses of Parliament here
John Lennox
John Lennox

Prof. John Lennox

John Lennox is a highly respected Oxford University Professor with formidable academic credentials. He is Professor of Mathematics, Oxford University, Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy of Science, and Pastoral Advisor at Green Templeton College, Oxford.
Along with a razor sharp wit, John has a sincere care for those who are genuinely troubled with questions or objections concerning the truthfulness of the Christian Faith.
He has successfully debated Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens (both high profile atheists), and has spoken to large audiences at Harvard, Princeton and Yale universities. This is his first visit to Cape Town.
John will be delivering the highly acclaimed Vice-Chancellor’s Open Lecture at UCT for the first time this year as well as several non-academic talks which will be inspiring, and challenging.
Our non church-going friends will be intrigued to listen to, and ask questions of, one of the finest intellectual minds in the church today. All the meetings will be relevant to those who are not convinced of the truth of Christianity.
Apologist and Evangelist Michael Ramsden
Apologist and Evangelist Michael Ramsden

Michael Ramsden

Michael has been European Director of RZIM Zacharias Trust since its foundation in 1997. He is also Director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and Lecturer in Christian Apologetics at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.
While at Sheffield University doing research in Law and Economics, Michael taught Moral Philosophy and lectured for the International Seminar on Jurisprudence and Human Rights in Strasbourg.
He has been invited to lecture to a variety of groups including the White House staff in Washington, D.C., leaders at NATO HQ in Brussels and Members of the European Parliament.

Remember the Poor by Simon Pettit

Remember the Poor

Simon Pettit

At an international leader’s conference hosted in the UK in 1998 an unsuspecting network of churches was about to undergo a powerful and lasting shift.

It was a moment that has left a younger generation of leaders saying, as one wrote to me, ‘I wasn’t there to hear Simon’s sermon, but I sometimes feel like I was, such is the ongoing legacy of that one message.’

It was a sermon that re-focussed the outreach of the Newfrontiers family of churches, and has generated conferences, think tanks, and a myriad of local church initiatives across the world.

It effectively united so-called ‘social ministries’ to the apostolic and evangelistic priority of a church-planting movement.

Simon Pettit preaching in Blantyre, Malawi

Simon Pettit and his family left England in 1990 for Cape Town, South Africa to lead the team at Jubilee Community Church. He served in South Africa and Africa for 15 years, before his sudden death from a heart attack in 2005.

This message comes from those years of living and learning in a context of contrasting wealth and poverty. He quickly realised that the church cannot merely preach a message of hope but must directly engage with the needs of the poor.

Some, while not doubting the need to serve the poor, questioned whether Simon’s exegesis of Gal 2:10 was correct. Did the apostles in Jerusalem intend a general care for the poor or were they only referring to the poor in Jerusalem? A fine answer has been given to that question here.

Simon’s legacy is not confined to one church, of course, but to the whole family of Newfrontiers churches. However, the multi-racial Jubilee Community Church in Cape Town, the local church where he learnt and taught, and which has continued to remember the poor in so many ways, remains the jewel in his crown.

Many of us still share the pain of losing Simon, not only in Jubilee, and South Africa, but also in Africa and in many other parts of the world. We feel Simon’s sudden departure was the loss of a genuine father in the faith.

I hope the inclusion of this message will stir you to ‘remember the poor’ where you are.

 

For audio you can listen or download here

Simon joking around just before speaking at City of God Church, Accra, Ghana

© 2012 Lex Loizides / Church History Review

Serving Africa

Samuel Daniell's painting of the Khoikhoi, 1805

Early resistance in the Cape

It would be an obvious mistake to portray European involvement in Africa as entirely benevolent. But not all Europeans moving to Africa were baddies.

Likewise it would be false to give the impression that the communication of the Christian gospel was always welcomed as an ally to colonial interests. We must learn to separate European and colonial agendas in Africa from specifically Christian ones.

But even the ‘Christians’ hindered the impulse to serve local people. Sometimes settled European communities were extremely nervous about the Christianisation of Africans.

For example, Jonathan Hildebrandt, in his ‘History of the Church in Africa’, tells how the Dutch made the evangelisation of local people in the Cape practically impossible. Moravian missionaries were successfully building relationships, sharing the gospel and baptising new converts, but were very deliberately stopped.

The Moravian missionary George Schmidt baptised several Khoikhoi believers but this drew resistance from the Dutch church in the Cape.

‘They made a complaint in Cape Town that Schmidt had conducted the baptisms incorrectly and so should not be allowed to continue working in that area.

‘The Dutch made the work so difficult that Schmidt was forced to leave for Europe in 1744. He tried to return to South Africa to continue the work, but the Dutch would not permit it.

‘So the missionary work among the [Khoikhoi] came to an end. It was fifty years before another missionary came to work with these people.’[i]

Those who did return were Moravian (German) missionaries who were so successful that a church facility able to hold 1000 worshipers from amongst the Khoikhoi was built. By 1810 an established Khoikhoi Christian community was thriving.

The struggle to bring the gospel to modern Africa was tangible from the earliest era of the modern missionary movement.

This was also true of attempts to bring the gospel into central Africa, with disease and violent opposition as standard trials for those who came.

But more of that next time…

© 2011 Church History / Lex Loizides


[i] Jonathan Hildebrandt, History of the Church in Africa, Africa Christian Press, Ghana, p.71