Meet Some of the Pastors We Train

Sometimes, when we know a little bit more about people, we can better pray for them. Below is information about some of our students in Iasi. They share a bit of their testimonies and what they hope to get out of TLI training program. Read and join us in praying that God will grant them the desires of their heart. 

Name: Romica
Family situation: Married, 3 children
Church: Emmanuel Baptist Church, Ruginoasa

A short testimony of your relationship with Christ – Christ is my personal Savior since 1986. He is the my Leader, my family’s leader and the church’s I pastor. I talk daily with Him through Word and prayer and try to see His hand at work in everything around me.

What do you seek to gain through this theological training? To know Him deeper through the Scriptures and to serve Him better in the ministry He has given to me. To communicate better the biblical truths as they were intended by the original authors without me adding anything to them.

Name: Ciprian
Family situation: Married,  1 child
Church: Bethany Baptist Church, Iasi
A short testimony of your relationship with Christ – He is my Lord, my Master, my Savior and I am His Slave and His Servant
What do you seek to gain through this theological training? – a better preparation in preaching the Word and shepherding the people of Christ Jesus.

Name: Anton
Family situation: Not married
Church: Bethany Baptist Church, Iasi
A short testimony of your relationship with Christ – even though I grew up in a Christian family, I didn’t become a believer until later in my life. After hearing a presentation of a missionary in Africa, God’s Spirit convicted me of my sinfulness and I committed my life to Christ.
What do you seek to gain through this theological training? To understand better the Word so that I might be more effective in sharing the Gospel with others.

When Helping Hurts

On a recent trip to Romania (I am intentionally keeping things vague), I met a man who had been a pastor for over 15 years before his church sent him away.

As I got to know this man through several interactions, it became painfully obvious to me that he has given a sanitized picture of himself to the people outside of his area. He is well known among key pastors in the US, and his reputation here is positive, but the testimony about him in his own area is very poor.  Over the years, he has received lots of help from the US (thousands of dollars) for a ministry that is really not there (it exists only in name). He has used his connections with the US as a way of lording it over the people of his church and pastors in the area where he works. In fact, he was not happy that our work in the city was not directed through him. He is feared among local pastors.

Though he has received so much moneyfrom America, this man has not been helpful to the church in his own city. Instead, he is a problem among the pastors in his demand for their submission to him. He is lazy (so the local pastors say), but wants to be in control none the less. The question pastors in this place are asking is, “Why do people in America keep sending him money?”

Is it not the case that by supporting this man, we, in America, are hurting the church in this particular city? And not only the church but also the individual. He sees no need to labor for the growth of the church in his city. Why should he? He is able to set up fake ministries to get money. The kind of help he needs is not one that money can provide.

Thought: It is not a good idea to send money to people we have not met or whose ministries we have not witnessed first-hand.

Why We Should Not Be Surprised by False Teaching

We should not be surprised at all that there are false teachings and false teachers in the church. The element of surprise should instead be when there are no false teachers in the church. Why should we not be surprised? In his farewell address in Acts 20:29-32, Paul warned the Ephesian elders what to expect. This is what he told them:

29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Paul expected that fierce wolves would come into the Church (20:29) and some would arise from within the Church itself. These fierce wolves are false teachers. Their job is to speak twisted things, seeking to draw believers after them (20:30). Paul expected that there will be false teachers. Note what he also said, that they would come after his departure (v. 30). Paul saw that as long as he was present, they were not going to find it easy to infiltrate. Knowing that false teachers would come into the church, Paul warns of their coming and also gave instructions on how the Church should prepare. They were to be alert, and remember his teachings of three years (v. 31). He commended them to God and to the word of God’s grace which is able to build them up (v. 32). This is the best way Paul saw to fight against false teachers.

We should not be surprised, because we know that it is the devil’s strategy to deceive God’s people with false teachings. We can see this going back to the garden of Eden where the devil twisted God’s words. We can see this in the prophets in the case of false prophets.  We can see this in the NT church, where the false teachers came secretly into the church seeking to deceive. We continue to be the Church of Christ and Satan continues to want to destroy and deceive. His old strategy of deception by means of false doctrine continues. Thus, we see this as spiritual warfare and take it seriously. Included in the teachings of Ephesians 6 is the admonition to be conscious of attacks on the truth of God’s word.

So, we should not be surprised. Rather, we should prepare the Church to stand firm in the face of false teachings.