The day was 24th June, 2006. The event was the second graduation ceremony of the Kitwe Bible College. A total of nineteen students graduated: five graduated with a Certificate in Christian Education; one with a Certificate in Pastoral Studies; five with a Diploma in Theology & Christian Education; and eight with a Diploma in Theology & Pastoral Studies.

In his opening address to the gathering, the Principal of the College, Rev. Happy Ngoma began by giving an account of the genesis of the college and went on to talk about its future plans. The college started with humble beginnings in March, 2002, as a joint ministry of the Kitwe Christian Brethren Churches. This college was born out of the realisation that the spiritual harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. It aims at equipping serving church officers and all Christians actively involved in the teaching ministry of our local churches, including those teaching children. It has been running since 2002, offering four programmes on a part-time basis. Each student takes only two courses per academic year for two years, attending lectures once a month in addition to extra reading and writing assignments. The courses on offer are: Biblical Hermeneutics (either with Christian Education or Pastoral Studies) for the certificate programme; Systematic Theology, and Church History for the diploma programme. The certificate programme is a pre-requisite to the diploma.

The course structure is designed in such a way that it is possible for anyone to study while still fulfilling their other obligations, such as family and church. The vision of the College is to offer full-time residential courses at degree level.

At the graduation ceremony, the guest of honour was Rev. Joe Simfukwe, the Principal of The Theological College of Central Africa. In his speech, Rev. Simfukwe, quoting 2 Timothy 2:2, underscored the need and importance of local church-based theological training, which he said must be viewed as part of the equipping of God’s people for the work of ministry. He made reference to his personal effort during his years as pastor of Lusaka Baptist Church when “Timothy Classes” were introduced for that purpose. He reiterated the need for such training at local church level while admitting that para-church organisations are not the most suited for the task. The vote of thanks was given by the best overall student, Dr. Henry Mugala. He testified to the fact that these studies were extremely demanding and challenging. Nevertheless it was worth the effort and sacrifice made. He acknowledged that he found the studies of tremendous help both in his personal life and in his ministry as a church elder.

The first graduation took place in April, 2004 as a culmination of the Annual Church Conference for the Kitwe Christian Brethren Churches. Twenty-one (21) men and women graduated with Certificates in Christian Education and others in Pastoral Studies. This first colourful ceremony had Mr. Errol Hulse, from the United Kingdom, as the guest of honour. Both these graduation ceremonies have indeed been great occasions for which the Lord our God must be praised. We will not despise our humble beginnings!

Pastor Happy Ngoma


Lance Quinn preaching at one of the evening meetings

This year’s Zambian Reformed Family Conference and School of Theology were held in Lusaka from the 21st to the 25th of August. The keynote address was given by Choolwe Mwetwa, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Chingola, Zambia. He showed from Romans 8 how true spiritual assurance can be attained only as we reflect upon the eternal dimension of our salvation. Then the guest preachers were Lance Quinn, Todd Murray and James Henrich—all pastors from the Bible Church of Little Rock in Arkansas, USA. The theme was “The Doctrines of Grace”.

Lance Quinn handled this theme doctrinally, while Todd Murray showed the impact of the doctrines of grace on worship and James Henrich showed the impact of the doctrines of grace on missions. The combination of these three topics helped us to see that these glorious truths were not merely cerebral but that a proper understanding of them produced God-glorifying worship and God-centred missions. Todd Murray added a unique dimension to this year’s conference by giving us a biographical sketch on the life of John Newton on three evenings. He ended each presentation by singing to us some of Newton’s less known hymns using music that he had himself composed.

One of the two guest preachers last year, Paul Washer, returned simply to attend the conference with three other American pastors and one American seminary student. We did not allow four seasoned pastors to just sit around and enjoy the fellowship, and so they handled electives on marriage and the God-centred home, understanding the book of Proverbs, the worship that God blesses, and suffering all things for the sake of the elect. We were truly spoilt, therefore, as seven American pastors ministered to us through the week!

Thankfully, these men were not ministering to empty pews. The conference venue was packed with 300 to 400 people during the day and 500 to 600 people in the evenings. The conference hall could not contain the people that came for the evening meetings to listen to Lance Quinn as he expounded on Romans 9. Some of them had to brave the cool weather outside as they listened to the messages while jamming the doorways or peeping through the windows. Those attending the conference came from all but one of the nine provinces of Zambia. Then we also had visitors from Australia, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and the USA.

Some Zambians living and studying abroad also made sure they joined us for this annual feast. They came from Australia, Kenya, Norway and Switzerland. We missed the brethren from Zimbabwe, whose economic woes made it impossible for them to come, and those from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who were in the midst of their first national elections in over twenty years. Be that as it may, this was truly an international conference. And it showed how the doctrines of grace were a uniting force for the people of God in Africa.

Since the last conference, four new Reformed Baptist churches had commenced in Lusaka, Windhoek (Namibia), Francistown (Botswana), and Zomba (Malawi). Brethren from these new churches shared with us how the Lord had led them to start these new churches and how these new fledgling churches were doing. Those who had started the churches in these neighbouring countries testified to the inspiration that they had received from the Zambian Reformed movement. We thank God that it has pleased him to use us in this way. Amen!

Conrad Mbewe


The second Sola 5 Conference took place in Windhoek, Namibia from 31 August to 2 September 2006 at Eastside Baptist Church. More than 200 people from all over southern Africa registered to attend the Conference. Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and Zambia were represented.

The theme of the conference was “The glory of Christ in his bride in Ephesians.” Six speakers expounded the letter, each addressing a chapter. Bruce Button (Antipas Reformed Baptist Church, Pretoria), Christo Beetge (Brackenhurst Baptist Church, Alberton), Laban Mwashekele (Evangelical Baptist Mission, Windhoek), Roland Eskinazi (Goodwood Baptist Church, Cape Town), Doug van Meter (Brackenhurst Baptist Church), and Ronald Kalifungwa (Lusaka Baptist Church) were finally followed by Nico van der Walt (Antipas Reformed Baptist Church, Pretoria), closing the conference in the seventh and final session.

The applications of five churches for full membership of Sola 5 were approved: Eastside Baptist Church (Windhoek Namibia), Goodwood Baptist Church (Cape Town South Africa), Kraaifontein Baptist Church (Cape Town SA), Mount Zion Baptist Church (Alice SA), and Roberston Reformed Community Church (Robertson SA). In addition the applications of 43 associate members (individuals / husband and wife teams) were approved.

Some of the newly elected steering committee members (L–R): Front row: Ronald Kalifungwa, Doug van Meter, Joachim Rieck and Conrad Mbewe. Back row: Errol Wagner, Bruce Button (chairman) and Christo Beetge.

It was a great blessing to spend time discussing a concrete opportunity for theological training in Africa. This opportunity is a partnership between the churches of Sola 5 and a new university, called the University of Africa. The University of Africa is a private and independent university. Its founders are Christian men who have a vision to contribute to the upliftment of Africa through accessible and relevant tertiary education. After preliminary discussions going back to 2005, the founders of the university approached Sola 5 in May this year with a proposal that the churches of Sola 5 set up a theological seminary which would become the theological faculty of the University of Africa. It is most important that the spiritual oversight of the theological seminary will be the responsibility of the churches of Sola 5. In the past, many theological faculties have wandered into error because they have been answerable more to secular authorities than to the church. It goes without saying that it is essential to maintain biblical standards in this ministry. This means that the programme of the seminary must lead students to a greater love for God and a greater competence in practical ministry. Academic standards are also important since we are to honour God with our minds. The second core value of Sola 5 is relevant in this regard: “God has created human beings as rational creatures in his own image. Therefore we affirm the necessity of logic and reason as tools for the correct understanding of truth, which is not contradictory. We deny that faith is illogical or irrational; we further deny that logic apart from revelation or reason apart from the Holy Spirit’s illumination is sufficient for knowing truth.”

The University of Africa seeks to take education to where the people are, rather than moving people from their places of residence and employment for the duration of their studies. This is accomplished by using a so-called “blended mode” of delivery. The “blended mode” is a combination of distance learning (correspondence, internet, etc.) and one or two weeks per semester of contact teaching. Apart from saving students huge relocation costs, it facilitates a productive and biblical cooperation between a theological seminary and the local church.

The university already has offices in eight African countries including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia.

Feedback regarding the following projects was given: India, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Sola 5 youth. In addition, Francois Koch and Tim van Aarde were given the opportunity to enlighten the Conference on the work done in Ethiopia and the intended work in Burundi respectively.

The newly-elected steering committee that will lead the Association up to the next conference will be Bruce Button (chairman, Antipas Reformed Baptist Church Pretoria), Christo Beetge (Brackenhurst Baptist Church Alberton), Ronald Kalifungwa (Lusaka Baptist Church), Conrad Mbewe (Kabwata Baptist Church Lusaka), Laban Mwasheleke (Evangelical Baptist Mission Windhoek), Joachim Rieck (Eastside Baptist Church Windhoek), Hein Strauss (coordinator, Antipas Church Vereeniging), Doug van Meter (Brackenhurst Baptist Church Alberton), and Errol Wagner (George Baptist Church).

An offer by the Zambian delegation to host the 2007 Sola 5 Conference was gratefully and happily accepted. The Conference is scheduled for 30 August – 1 September 2007 in Lusaka, Zambia, back to back with the Annual Zambian Reformed Family Conference.

Hein Strauss