Tuesday, 7 November 2017
By Penny Carpentier
I want you to think for a moment about how much we benefit from professional bible scholars. They work hard to train preachers to be faithful to scripture; they write books that encourage and challenge us; and this all leads to Christians knowing the truth of the Gospel. But what happens when you don’t have trained Bible academics? The answer is obvious when you think about it: false teaching is everywhere.
This is what has happened in Namibia, in Africa’s south west. Although Namibia is 90% Christian, there are very few Namibian Christian academics teaching church leaders. This means that false teachers start false churches to put money in their own pockets and take advantage of women, or mix worship of Jesus with worship of fire; and it means that many of the people in churches who call themselves Christians have never heard the Gospel, and so can’t tell the difference between truth and error.
Every few weeks the Namibian newspaper publishes another article about a false teacher who has told a widow he can only drive the demon out of her house if she signs the deeds over to him, or who tells the women in his church that Jesus wants them to be his ‘special brides’.
What’s the solution to this problem? To train Namibian Christians in Bible scholarship! And that’s where we come in. Let me introduce myself. I’m Penny. I’m married to Ben. I have a masters in theology and another in history. I love translating the Bible from its original languages, and then using that understanding to help people better understand God’s Word through preaching and Bible study.
I’ve been offered a position as a lecturer at the Namibia Evangelical Theological Seminary (NETS). My role will be teaching but I’ll also be involved with mentoring the female students of the college (40% of the students are female but there are currently no female lecturers).
NETS has been training Christian leaders since 1991 and the results for the church in Namibia have been huge. Most of the graduates return to their churches to lead them in the truth of the Gospel, and to strengthen the believers in their faith and their Christian life. Others continue their studies and become theological educators. This is creating a sustainable situation where the Namibian church will be able to train its own church leaders with its own Bible scholars!
Ben and Penny Carpentier are heading over to Namibia soon for their first term of service with SIM.
Are you interested in serving with SIM in Theological Education? Leave an enquiry here to start a conversation with a Mission Mobiliser.