Right from the beginning, ever since Adam received his marching orders to subdue the earth (Gen. 1:28), man in every generation has laboured long to achieve the ideal in every sphere of human endeavour (i.e. social, political and economic), find significance and maintain his dignity, albeit against the drift of sin. In this quest, man has been beholden to various cultural authorities and influences. Among the ancients for example, the Greeks where subject to a mythologised and philosophised culture; the Romans lived at the behest of the emperor; and the medieval era took its cue from the Roman Catholic Church. The Reformation era on the other hand came largely under the watchdog of the Bible. Each of these cultural authorities contributed in various degrees to the advancement of humanity.

By far the most potent of these authorities has been the truth of the Bible. Its power has had the ability to stem the tide of sin; it has been the most available, familiar, and dependable source and arbiter of intellectual, moral and spiritual ideals in the modern world; and it has also been the single most transforming and humanising agent in the whole of history.

Therefore, there seems to have been a cause and effect relationship between the truth of the Bible and the intellectual process and development of man particularly in the modern West on the one hand. On the other hand, there has been a corresponding dearth of human progress at literally all levels of human endeavour among peoples who have had insufficient or no exposure to the Bible and its message. As far as Africa is concerned, this relationship has become all the more urgent given the fact that progress is least visible here. Nonetheless, the fact that Africa is open to the gospel does inspire the hope that one of these days we will see a spiritual, political, social and economic transformation on the same level that Western Europe has experienced since the 16th century.

In this edition of Reformation Zambia, we explore the relationship between Truth and Transformation. Before we do that however, let me take some time to define these two concepts – truth and transformation – spell out some specific ways in which Africa must transform, and then end with something of a “Macedonian call” to the church in Africa to unleash the truth of the Bible upon every sphere of our society.

Truth Defined

The postmodern ethos, along with religious pluralism – its bed fellow – that are fast spreading from the West to the rest of world would have us believe that there is no such thing as objective truth. Contrary to this viewpoint, the contributors to this edition of Reformation Zambia will proceed on the assumption that there is indeed such a thing as objective truth.

To start with, the Bible makes it clear that God is true. This was the gist of Jeremiah’s teaching in Jeremiah 10:10. To say that God is true is to say that he is real. He occurs in actuality, and has verifiable existence. It also means that he knows the essence of the truth. Psalm 51:6 says, “He desires truth in the inner parts.” That implies that he knows the whole truth about everything and that there is no disparity between what he knows and the essence of the things he knows. In other words, God cannot be mistaken about the nature of any form of reality.

This being the case, something is true only if it corresponds to God’s perspective. And what corresponds to God’s perspective is true for all people, in all places at all times because he is the God of all men regardless of their ethnic identity.

Another point to note is that God has revealed the truth about both created and uncreated reality. First of all, he has revealed the truth about himself. And then he has revealed the truth about all that he created. This revelation is found in what he created. This includes heaven, earth, angels, sea, land animals and man (Genesis 1 and 2). To the extent that they remain untarnished by sin and to the extent that they express the original purpose of God for them (Roman 1:19–20), they are an expression of the truth about created reality.

This revelation is also found, and supremely so, in Christ and in the Bible. In Christ are hidden all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom (Colossians 3:2). Apart from him, no truth is revealed concerning God (Hebrews 1:3) and salvation (John 14:6); and no real understanding of history can exist (Revelation 5). In the Scriptures (the Bible) we find a reflection of the mind of God concerning doctrine and the whole of life. 1 Timothy 3:16 says that the Scriptures are God-breathed and are therefore infallible and authoritative. Whatever is true must correspond to God’s mind as expressed in Christ and in the Bible.

Transformation Defined

We are defining transformation from two perspectives:

From An Anthropological Perspective

The word transformation is translated from a Greek word (metamorphose), which means literally to change into another form. Biblically speaking, this change is first and foremost an inward experience that takes place in the heart and mind of a regenerate man (Romans 12:2). This change takes place through the instrumentality of the truth of the Bible (1 Peter 1:22-23). This being the case the mind is the principle means by which men are transformed. God ordinarily brings about transformation in our lives through the truth that is normally perceived through the understanding (John 17:17; 2 Corinthians 4:6).

From A Social Perspective

The Bible, contrary to current opinion, has been the single most transforming force in the world. It literally “…created the modern world, including its universities, science, economy and freedoms” (Mangalwadi, 2011). The emergence of great literature and art, great science and liberating technology; genuine heroism and nation building; great virtues and social institutions …the Bible created the modern world of science and learning because it gave us the Creator’s vision of what reality is all about[1].

J Stanley Mattson wrote in the foreword to the book, The Book That Changed Your World, “The Bible provided the basis for an admittedly imperfect but nonetheless remarkably humane society. It was, above all, a civilisation in which truth was understood to be real, where the collective pursuit of virtue shaped behaviour, and the redemptive work of God in the person of Jesus Christ provided a radical historically verifiable transforming response to the abyss of human selfishness, corruption and sin.”[2]

The Transformation Africa Needs

Africa has generally realised that she needs to experience a transformation if she must make progress at all levels of human endeavour. In some of the leading African minds this means going through a renaissance similar to what Europe experienced in the 15th century. For Europe, a renaissance meant rediscovering and applying the ancient knowledge of the Greco-Roman era — a knowledge that set the stage for some of the humanising developments that came upon Europe. The Reformation, of course, gave impetus to this movement by rooting it in the Bible. An African renaissance on the other hand, may mean a return to the practice of Ubuntu (being humane), to egalitarian type economic practices, and to African traditional religions that are by and large rooted in animism. Our view is that Africa needs a transformation that is rooted in biblical Christianity. Under the tutelage and guidance of this worldview, she must erect three firm foundations: The first one is:


Africa needs to believe that God is holy; that he has given us moral laws such as the Ten Commandments; that obedience to God’s laws is the pre-condition of shalom (peace) and the source of good life; that disobedience to God’s moral law is sin that does not go unpunished; that sinners can repent and receive forgiveness and new life in Christ. This good news will become the intellectual foundation of Africa, and the force that will produce moral integrity, economic prosperity and political freedom[3].

Isaac Makashinyi will open up the biblical doctrine of morality, answer the question why it is essential for any society, and demonstrate how our society falls short of this and what the consequences of that have been. He will also show how we can lay this foundation as a country.


The human mind is different from the animal brain. It was made in God’s image and therefore can know God, goodness and beauty as well as communicate truth through God’s gift of language. Zambia, and indeed Africa, needs to create a uniquely rational religious man, through the establishment of Christian schools and universities, through which he can become capable of developing complex theories that can create effective economies and institutions that produce civil societies where power is subject to agreed-on principles. Through a theological commitment to the dignity of every human being – male or female, high or low, white or black – we have an obligation to cultivate the human mind so we can develop the kind of science and technology that will humanise our people.[4]

Choolwe Mweetwa will expound the biblical doctrine of rationality and then demonstrate how under God it can be the answer to the creation of the kind of technology that will meet the needs of Zambia and Africa.

The Family

Africa must also nurture and defend the biblical idea of family. Biblically speaking, marriage is a permanent and exclusive union of one man and one woman. On this foundation, tough though it is to maintain, strong families and nations can be raised. Of course it cannot be sustained without a spirituality that mandates love above lust, submission as the secret of greatness, meekness as the source of glory, and service as the path to power. If Zambia does not embrace these ideas, she will continue to pay a massive socio-economic price for sexual permissiveness of one or both partners in terms of slavery of women, weak children and men, orphans, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, and the loss of their working generation[5].

Grave Singogo will, therefore, expound the biblical doctrine of the family and show why it should be at the heart of our society, how it may be failing in our society, and what we can do to revive or strengthen its place in our country.

The Challenge To Christian Youths

In the light of the above, Christian young people, who are the future of the nation must strive to imbibe the truth of the Bible so they can become a force of transformation in our country. Young people must resist the temptation to mimic the declining aspects of Western culture, that is, the move from morality to moral pluralism, reason to non-reason, etc., and emulate the elements that reflect Christian culture and that led western Europe to prosperity. All Christians in general, and young people in particular, must march on to give Africa a better future by giving to her the one instrument that will bring about a real and lasting humanising change, namely, the truth of the Bible.

Raphael Banda will write on the biblical doctrine of youthfulness, challenge the false notions of youths in our day, expound how the youth can rise to the challenge of creating a society that reflects the above mentioned values.


May the Lord give Zambia and Africa a better day, a day brought about by the transforming effect of the truth of God and the working of the Holy Spirit upon it. May the church rise to seize the opportunity presented by Zambia’s openness to the gospel, and not to take her back to a religion that is rooted in mysticism, spiritism and witchcraft through which have come spiritual ignorance, poverty and bondage. But rather may the church defend, preach and propagate the truth of the gospel of Christ, which alone can bring about the transformation of the heart of man and the establishment of a society that can answer to the description — “The city of God”.

[1] Vishal Mangalwadi, The book that made your world, how the Bible created the soul of western civilization, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson 2010 (Kindle edition).

[2] J Stanley Mattson forward to The book that made your world, how the Bible created the soul of western civilization, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson 2010 (Kindle edition).

[3] Vishal Mangalwadi, Truth and Transformation (Seattle: YWAM Publishing, 2009), 28.

[4] Vishal Mangalwadi, Truth and Transformation (Seattle: YWAM Publishing, 2009), 42.

[5] Mangalwadi, 52.