Someone once asked me what I thought was the biggest difference with the church in America and the church in Africa. It took me a moment but then it hit me, the church in America knows Gods word, and the church in Africa experiences/lives Gods word. It’s a year later and that statement rings truer than when I first made it. I can remember sitting in class enviously listening to my classmates spew facts about God. I remember feeling so dumb for not knowing what Calvinist or Arminianist is. My amazement however very quickly waned. You see, my reality involves receiving emails about loved ones being strangled to death, friends being convicted of four counts of murder and cousins orphaned by HIV and AIDS.
So forgive me for not wanting to sit for long hours debating about Calvinism when, in just 5 months in 2012, over two-hundred kids under the age of twenty in Chicago died not knowing Jesus. When just across the street from us, kids live without fathers, love and hope. The brokenness and hopelessness of this world is so real to me, I guess it’s because this was my reality and story six-years ago. Even though I’m from a different continent, a different city, I can relate.
I’m blown away by how God, in His sovereignty, used a person who had no idea about different theological terms (that we spend hours deliberating over) to invite me to church. He used a song that, some argue the theological correctness of to lead me to a place of absolute repentance; in a church that many of my fellow students would frown upon. Yes the African church does not know Gods word intellectually. We cannot recite facts about Him, but we know what it means to worship Him when we have absolutely no food in the house. We have tangibly experienced Gods love, provision, peace, joy, restoration and healing and literally take Him at His word.
Joel Houston from ‘Hillsong United’ once tweeted, “Don’t ever trade your pursuit of Christ for the pursuit of knowledge about Christ…too many people seem to know everything about Him at the expense of really getting to KNOW Him…”As I reflect back on conversations I’ve had with my fellow students, I can’t help but wonder if we are not becoming more and more like the Pharisees? I am not saying that we should not be passionate about theology. In fact, I believe that having good theology is vital. However, like Clive Craigen, Moody Bible Institute Assistant Professor of World Missions and Evangelism said, “Thinking good theology is not good enough, we need to live good theology.”
Lebo Pooe is a student at Moody Bible Institute and currently serves as an intern for Midday Connection. Lebo was raised in a single parent home in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has been a Producer/Presenter for TWR-Africa (Trans World Radio) in Johannesburg. As a result of Moody Radio’s partnership with TWR, she was selected to receive a four-year scholarship to study Communications at Moody Bible Institute. For her, it’s an answer to prayer and a dream fulfilled. @lebop