On 4th September 2008, brethren from countries in Southern Africa and beyond (Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Romania, and the United States of America) started gathering at Goodwood Baptist Church in Cape Town, South Africa, for 4th Annual Sola Five conference. The conference started on the evening of Thursday 4th September and lasted up to the afternoon of Sunday 7th September 2008.

The theme for the conference was “The Five Solas of the Reformation”. Brian Stone of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Roodepoort, kick-started the conference by presenting his paper on “The Five Solas—A Historical and Practical Perspective”. His task was to lay a foundation for the next five speakers. He handled the subject comprehensively. He passionately took us through the views of various authorities on Reformation. The non-Christians had diverse views, using their background to either ridicule or down-play the very essence of the Reformation. Of the four views he showed us, only the Protestants had the right view of the Reformation. He then went on to parallel the factors that brought about Reformation in the 16th Century to the situation obtaining in the 21st Century as way of reminding and warning us to guard against compromise and embracing heresy. Positive factors that affected Reformation were also highlighted. There was the theological factor, when there is an emphasis to return to basic biblical principles. There was also the human factor, when people are willing to sacrifice whatever they have for the sake of Reformation. This was certainly the case with the fore-runners (leaders) of the 16th century Reformation.

Having laid down the foundation of the conference theme, it was the turn of the other speakers to talk about the Five Solas. Errol Wagner took up SOLA SCRIPTURA, reminding us that all matters of a spiritual nature must be guided by Scripture alone. Conrad Mbewe ably handled SOLUS CHRISTUS, exalting the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Saviour. Roland Eskinazi preached on SOLA GRATIA, while Otto Makalima preached on SOLA FIDE. Finally, Ronald Kalifungwa closed the conference with a befitting SOLI DEO GLORIA, giving God all the glory!

Besides these sermons, bethren from Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Romania presented reports during the conference on how the work of Reformation was progressing in their countries.

Mufulo Ngandwe

Fairview Reformed Baptist Church, Mufulira

 

SOLA 5

(An example of an inter-church association in Southern Africa)

From their constitution 

2 NAME

2.1 The name of this Association is Sola 5, with the subtitle An Association of God-centred Evangelicals in Southern Africa. Our name reflects our commitment to the biblical doctrines of the Reformation, encapsulated in the “five solas”: Scripture alone (sola Scriptura); by grace alone (sola gratia); Christ alone (solus Christus); by faith alone (sola fide); glory to God alone (soli Deo gloria).

3 PURPOSE

3.1 The purpose of the Association is to glorify God by:

  1. a) establishing a God-centred, Christ-focussed and Scripture-based witness;
  2. b) uniting and promoting fellowship among local churches and individual Christians in who have a passion for such a witness;
  3. c) supporting and encouraging local churches and individual believers as they live out this witness in their own immediate spheres of influence;
  4. d) facilitating co-operation in projects which will promote the above aims in and elsewhere;
  5. e) nurturing the formation of local churches with these values where no such local church exists.

AFRICAN PASTORS’ CONFERENCE

From 19th to 21st November 2008, an African Pastors’ Conference (APC) was held in the Orapa Conservation Centre, in the beautiful Orapa Game Park, in Botswana.  This was the first APC in Botswana.  Pastor Bonang Lekoba (Central Baptist Church, Gaborone) was instrumental in spreading the word and bringing together, under God, 17 men, many of whom said that they would be able to bring more pastors to subsequent conferences.

Irving Steggles, pastor of Birchleigh Baptist Church, Johannesburg, South Africa, delivered his first two messages titled “What is a Christian?” followed by two on “What is Revival?”  Ronald Kalifungwa, pastor of Lusaka Baptist Church, Zambia, delivered three messages on “What is a Church?”

During each session, the delegates were assiduous note-takers.  They exhibited a humble, God-glorifying teachableness throughout the whole conference.  A number of useful questions were asked during question and answer sessions, including, “Are there still apostles?”, “How does the church raise money?”, and “What about generational curses?”During times of informal fellowship between sessions, and during meal times, there was a beautiful servant-spirit among these brothers.

The gracious sponsors and supporters of the APCs were instrumental in providing a selection of greatly discounted books—500 in total.  Of those, about 330 were sold to only 17 men!  Pastor Enias Chaitezvi of an Apostolic Faith Mission church expressed his desire to get similar good biblical literature into the hands of his 500-strong congregation.  Lucky Chishiki, another delegate, emailed us shortly after the conference to let us know that he is “reading some of the fantastic books our Lord blessed me with through you.”

After the final session, free CDs of the conference messages were made for the delegates. Pray that God’s promise concerning his Word might be fulfilled: “…it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11) 

David Peyton, South Africa