eNews October 2015
eNews October 2015
In this issue:
- Rediscovering the Gospel in Romania
- Join us in prayer
- LPA CEO Gillean Smiley writes…
Rediscovering the Gospel in Romania
“I look at their faces and I see quite a positive expression; it’s quite a good surprise.”
That’s how Langham Scholar Corneliu Constantineanu describes the reaction he often gets when he has the opportunity to share the Gospel with members of the Romanian Parliament during an Ecumenical Prayer Group, a weekly meeting he has a standing invitation to. And while Romania is thought of as a primarily Christian country, Corneliu notes that it’s primarily a nominal faith.
“People are born into the Orthodox church, baptized when they were children, but for many, faith has no meaning, bearing on everyday life,” he says. “When they hear this expression of the Gospel as public truth, they are quite excited . . . It’s like they rediscover the Gospel again.”
It’s not by chance that a former engineering student becomes a theological leader in his country. It was during the fall of communism, while he was wrapping up his engineering studies at university, that Corneliu felt his first call into discovering the Gospel. His studies led him from Romania to Croatia in pursuit of a Master’s degree. It was while he was teaching and studying in Croatia that another Langham Scholar encouraged him to apply for a Langham scholarship to pursue his Ph.D. While studying at the Oxford Center for Mission at the University of Leeds, he began to explore how God’s Word intersects with culture, with politics, with all of life.
And today, he is encouraging members at the highest levels of government to explore this same thing.
“We approach every week a different subject of interest for the nation of Romania, but from a Christian perspective,” he shares. “How do we see the welfare of the city? How do we respond to violence? How can the church and state work in common mission for peace or reconciliation?”
It’s this same holistic approach to the Gospel that Corneliu encourages as a New Testament professor at the Pentecostal Theological Institute in Bucharest—where he is training future pastors and leaders for the church in Romania.
And in Romania, like much of Eastern Europe where the church was pushed to the margins during communism, raising up a new generation of biblical leaders is critical.
“I notice that not only in Romania, but in this part of the world, one of the greatest challenges has to do with the public witness of the church,” he says. “. . . After the collapse of communism, the church was not ready. In my opinion, we still have a long way to go in being an authentic voice for in the public square.”
One of his students, Laurence, says he’s learning from Corneliu how the church is called to be involved in every sphere of society. To Corneliu—it’s a challenge and yet a great opportunity to help people, pastors and leaders included, rediscover the Gospel.
“You give them a solid biblical theological foundation as to why we need to seek the welfare of the city, why we need to engage responsibly and critically with the world, which is God’s world,” he says. “. . . The Gospel contains the power in itself for a new life, a changed life . . . Teaching students Scripture is to teach them about the new life possible in Christ. That’s why I’m so excited about this and it’s why I am in the service of the Gospel.”
Corneliu says his ministry has been greatly influenced by John Stott’s own heart for double listening—listening to the Word and the world.
“I’ve been so much helped and influenced by Langham’s vision and of course by John Stott, who I’ve had the privilege of knowing . . . The emphasis Langham puts on the importance of Scripture, on the importance of authentic witness, that has personally influenced me. It’s why I see myself as, in a sense, a product of Langham. And I’m proud of that and blessed by that.”
God’s Word influencing the heart of the church, so the church can influence the world. It’s why Langham exists, and it’s why for nearly 45 years, we have been supporting the theological training of more than 300 scholars, like Corneliu, who will multiply themselves into the lives of future leaders.
Join us in prayer…
- Preaching Clubs resource– Early this month, a forum was held in Istanbul in order to lift the profile and effectiveness of preaching clubs globally. A commitment was made to filming the event. Please pray that the editing, the translating and the distributing of this resource ensures that it reaches everywhere.
- Please pray for Francophone Africa, much troubled in recent days and with much Langham Preaching work postponed or in jeopardy. Many pastors and their families are suffering greatly. Pray for the safety of pastors and leaders and for wisdom as we continue to support many leaders and their families in this region of the world. Praise God for several good strong leaders within the Preaching movement in such places as Congo DRC, Congo-Brazzaville, Rwanda, Burundi, Benin and other places.
- The South Asia Bible Commentary is now available to purchase. It is an amazing result of many years of hard work by a large team of writers and editors. Praise God! Please pray for the ongoing sales and impact of the commentary as people begin to use it and talk about it with their colleagues and friends.
- Please pray for the Literature team as they attend the ICETE (International Council for Evangelical Theological Education) Consultation in Turkey next month where they will meet with various leaders across the world involved in theological education. During this time the team will be promoting the various grant programs and literature assistance available to theological institutions as well as introducing the new book series Langham is publishing in partnership with ICETE. The team will also attend other events in the USA to promote publications that are for and by those in the Majority World. Please pray for safe travel and fruitful meetings and discussions.
- Please pray for Qaiser Julius and his wife Rahila and children Homilia and Hanan in Melbourne as they prepare to return to Pakistan at the end of the year.
- Please pray for our new scholar in Australia, Anwar Mehammed Berhe from Ethiopia. Pray that he and his family will quickly settle in to life in Melbourne and that Anwar will have clarity of thought and direction as he commences his PhD studies at Melbourne School of Theology.
Langham Australia CEO Gillean Smiley writes…
What a privilege it was to participate in the celebration of 10 years of the Langham Preaching Movement in Pakistan, at the end of September.
With over 800 pastors and teachers now trained, from all over Pakistan, we are close to having all Level 2 training provided by local trainers, and foresee a time when no international facilitation is required at all. The celebrations were marked by a great sense of thankfulness and joy, even as it was acknowledged that Christians are under great and increasing pressure.
The reality of this was brought home to me powerfully as I saw young, unarmed Christian men act as bodyguards, flanking Dr Chris Wright as he preached in Islamabad.
Thank God for the safety and success of the celebrations, and especially for the faithfulness, courage and perseverance of our Pakistani brothers and sisters. We have much to learn from them!!