Leadership Seminar

Sunday, April 09, 2023
Kinshasa, Kinshasa, Congo - The Dem. Repub.
Justin met me at the hotel this morning a little before 9:00. Since it was Easter Sunday, there was little traffic in the streets.  On arrival there were five men waiting, others were on the way. We decided to start right away to get as much done as we could before the heat became hard to bear. We picked up where we left off last time in the study of our fundamental beliefs. About an hour into our session, a sixth man arrived, he had had trouble getting transportation. He lives near the airport, which is 20 (12 miles) km outside of town. That may not seem like much, but with traffic it can be a very long way.
About 11:00 a preacher in the next compound over began blasting his shouted sermon over an amped up speaker system. It was difficult for us to hear each other. I asked Justin if this happened every Sunday and he said it did. We closed the windows and door which cut the sound a little but the room became noticeably warmer immediately.  After 10 minutes the preacher stopped. “Has he finished so quickly?” I asked Justin. He replied that the power went out. I think this is the first time I’ve been thankful for the loss of electricity, but I certainly was today!
Here are the subjects we covered and the questions the men asked:
The doctrine of Repentance:
·         “What is the baptism of fire?” I explained that in Matthew 3:11-12 John said “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” So the baptism of water and spirit leads to life, the baptism of fire is in Gehenna fire.
·         “Can you be baptized in a swimming pool or a bathtub or only in a river?” Answer: The key thing is to fully immersed in the water. Beyond that it doesn’t matter, although I try to pick beautiful places when I can. I’ve baptized people in bathtubs, swimming pools, ponds, rivers, lakes, and oceans.
·         “What is the relation of speaking in tongues to baptism?” Answer: In the earliest days of the Church, God sometimes confirmed that people received the gift of the Holy Spirit by having them speak in tongues. This was especially the case when something new happened like on the day of Pentecost or when God began calling gentiles to the Church. But He doesn’t do for the moment, thought there are prophecies that in the very end time, some Christians will speak in languages they have never learned.
·         “Can God give the Holy Spirit without the laying on of hands?: Answer: God can do anything He wants. But He has told us how we should act in the expectation of receiving that gift. The instructions are clear.
The doctrine of the seventh day Sabbath:
·         “How can we answer people who say they 'pray' (meaning in this part of Africa to go to church) on Sunday in honor of the resurrection?" Answer: Jesus was not resurrected on Sunday as the doctrine of the three days and three nights shows. In any event, humans don’t have the authority to modify or countermand a commandment of God.
·         “How do we know that days begin in the evening?” Answer: They begin as sunset. In the creation week in Genesis, each time it says “the evening and the morning were the __ day.” Also, Leviticus 23:32 says “from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.”
The doctrine of the Passover:
·         “What are bitter herbs, the Israelites had to eat at the Passover? Are they vegetables?” Answer: Herbs are grasses or leafy plants with a particular taste, used to flavor food. They were to eat bitter herbs as a symbol of their bitter years of slavery in Egypt.
·         “Why will there be sacrifices in the Millennium as it says in Zachariah?” Answer: We don’t know why with absolute certainty because the Bible doesn’t say. But Galatians 3:24 does say “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.” The ceremonial law, including the sacrifices, were to help the Israelites understand basic truths, such as that sin requires a blood sacrifice to atone for it – as Jesus finally did. The animal sacrifices were illustrations of what He would do. At the start of the Millennium, there will be people with no knowledge of the Bible or such principles. Perhaps the sacrifices will be instituted until people gain that basic understanding.
The doctrine of the Festivals of God:
·         “Please go over the chronology of the resurrections and where the New Heavens and New Earth arrive.” Answer (using Revelation 20 as the guiding thread): At the return of Christ, the first resurrection occurs, the resurrection to eternal life for those saved before His return. After the Millennium, a second resurrection will bring back to human life, those who lived and died without being called or responding to God’s call. Based on Isaiah 65:20 it seems they will have 100 years to do what we are doing now, being converted and submitting to God’s guidance so He can build His character in us. At the end of that period, the third resurrection will raise, in the flesh, those who refused to submit to God but chose Satan’s way of rebellion. They will go into Gehenna fire and cease to exist. 2 Peter 3:10 states: “the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” The fire of Gehenna, it seems, will spread over at least the surface of the earth, it may even be completely burned up. There will be, at least, be some major transformation of the heavens as well. It is after this that the “new heavens” and a “new earth” will appear with the “new Jerusalem” our future home.
Biblical Food Laws:
·         “Please explain 1 Timothy 4:4-5 ‘For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.’” Answer: Just above those verses it says that evil people will command others “to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving.” Which foods did God create to be received with thanksgiving? Those He said we could eat. They are sanctified (set apart) by the word of God, so the Bible tells us which ones we should eat.
·         “Please explain Matthew 15:10-11 ‘“Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.’” Answer: The context in verse one is eating without washing one’s hands as the custom was. So, Jesus was talking about a bit of dirt on a hand that might be swallowed with food. It is not a question of clean or unclean meat.
·         “How can we know if meat sold in the market was strangled?” Answer: That is not a normal practice any more. Modern methods of slaughter drain the blood from the animal which was the reason behind this instruction: not to eat the blood. You can buy meat the grocery store with an easy conscience.
·         “Some churches teach that when you finally get a job your first fill salary should be given to your pastor. Is this true?” Answer: There is no such instruction in the Bible. We give a tithe to God through His Church, not to through any one pastor. Tithes go into a central account and are carefully used under the guidance of the ministry for the accomplishment of the work of the Church.
·         “What categories of offerings are there today? Is there still a thank offering?” Answer: We no longer use the categories and names of the specific offerings under the Old Covenant. If we are blessed we may certainly give an offering to thank God, but we don’t label offerings with those names any longer.
By 1:00 it was 90 degrees, so we ended the discussion. I wished everyone well until next time and we sat and talked until the taxi arrived. Back to the hotel, Justin and I discussed local needs for an hour or so.  Then we said goodbye until the International Leadership Conference in three weeks.
Marjolaine and I had a late lunch, and worked in the room the rest of the afternoon. We had a snack in the room, in the evening. We’re going to try to get to sleep early tonight (though we probably won’t) because we’ll have an early start tomorrow.
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Good questions and thoughtful answers. Thank you for the times when you appropriately, clearly say, “We don’t know why because the Bible doesn’t say…”


Great to hear that you experienced a good power outage that silenced the competition. Thanks for including the questions and answers. It's always interesting to hear what the men are asking and have the benefit reviewing the answers.

Tess Washington

Such a thoughtful bible questions and answers! Thank you for writing about it!