Over the years, I’ve banged on about how the gospel is spreading rapidly around the world, mainly through the witness of local people who will never write books, get magazine columns and whose names will never be known in the West. I’ve also suggested that we in the West need to take seriously our need to learn from Christians in other parts of the world; rather than assuming that we should be the teachers and trainers.
These convictions were thrown into sharp relief this week through the story of the Nigerian pastor Lawan Andimi who was kidnapped by Boko Haram. As is the way of things, he was ordered to make a hostage video; and this is what he came up with. If you haven’t seen it, give it a watch now, it only takes 2 minutes.
“I have never been discouraged because all conditions that one finds himself is in the hand of God.”
“By the grace of God, I will be with my wife, my children, and my colleagues. But if the opportunity is not granted, maybe it is the will of God.”
His opportunity to return to his wife and daughter did not arrive and a few days after this video was shot, Lawan was beheaded. While we should weep for his loved ones who have lost a husband and father in such a brutal fashion, it is also appropriate to give glory to God for such a faithful witness.
“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”Revelation 12:11
But there is more, we in the West need to learn from the Lawan Andimis of this world. We need to appreciate and imitate the faith and trust that allows a man to face Boko Haram with calmness and assurance. On some levels, our Christianity is desperately impoverished compared to the growing faith in Africa, Asia and Latin America. But even if our attitudes allowed us to profit from the faith of men and women like these, the structures don’t exist to allow us to learn from their experience of the Lord.
This turned up on my Twitter feed this morning: