Every Training Leaders International (TLI) trip is different. The context, as well as the class composition, makes each trip unique. This trip to Douala, Cameroon is no different. TLI is here to help train French speaking pastors through the Dale Kietzman University of Douala. It has been a unique trip. Most unique about this trip is that we have been invited to provide training for pastors who are all from Pentecostal backgrounds, and we are three Baptists and a Reformed Church pastor. From the very first day of class, we established the fact that what matters is not so much our traditions, but what the word of God says. Throughout our teaching time, we came to see that if people can see what a text in the Bible actually teaches, they will generally accept it, even if it goes against their church traditions. Our students put aside their Pentacostal tradition and focused on the text of Scriptures. We saw them eager to abandon tradition and embrace the word of God for what it says and to pass it on to others at all costs. We have been moved by the hunger for the word and the humility of the pastors who attended our course on Hermeneutics. Below are comments from some of our students. They highlight why TLI is a strategic mission agency in the training of pastors around the world.
What is your name and thoughts about this course on Hermeneutics?
I am Rev Young, a student of this school (Dale Kietzman University). So far I have appreciated this course, Hermeneutics, immensely. I want to thank the teacher for making the course so simply and understandable. He has helped us to learn very fast and understand the rudiments of biblical interpretation. We appreciate you very much. It is going to help us a lot in our churches.
Would you like to see your Pastor Dave come back here?
Yes! Yes! Yes! We will love to have pastor Dave come back to teach us. He has become a friend and I love the way he interacts with the students. He made the atmospheres very comfortable for everyone and he gives room for questions and interaction in the class.
Pastor Dave is a Baptist and you are from a Pentecostal background. How has it been having a Baptist teach you?
It has not been a problem at all. One thing with our pastor Dave is that does not get into some church dogmas. He is always in the Scriptures. He pins us in the Scriptures. In fact, during class discussions, when we want to take him out into church background issues, he always brings us back to the Scriptures to answer our questions and that is good.
How do you see this course on Hermeneutics helping you in your pastoring?
It is very very important. It is very very good because without understanding biblical interpretation, you cannot rightly divide the word of truth. This has given us the tools to help us rightly divide the word of truth.
What is your job right now?
I am the senior pastor of a church. Our church has up to 400 to 500 people.
What is your name and what do you do?
My name is Mugey Michele. I am an assistant pastor in our church of 60-70 people.
Why did you decide to take this course on Hermeneutics?
I came to take this course to know better about God and the word of God. I think that this university will give me enough to help me know more about God.
Tell me how you see this course helping you in your ministry.
This course has helped me to know how to interpret the Bible, how to make the best study of a passage in the Bible. I have been very blessed since the beginning of the course. Yesterday I was preaching in our church and I see the difference. I saw the difference in my sermon. I found that I was connecting the passage with the rest of Scriptures. In this course I have learned that interpretation is not a simple task. I learned that good interpretation requires humility on my part. Sometimes we become proud thinking that we know what the Bible says. I have learned to ask key questions to know more about God and the word of God. I have found that the teacher are very good, vibrant and there is life in the class room setting.
My name is Rev Simon DJAOUE. I am the Senior Pastor of the Centre de Ressources Chrétiennes, CBC – Congregation Baptiste Cameroun based in Makepe Rhone Poulenc, Douala, Republic of Cameroon. I am also a Mission Director of The Timothy Initiative, Central Africa Region (Cameroon, Central Africa, Congo, Gabon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, etc). It is an international church planting organization which was established with the purpose to train and equip “Timothy’s” (Pastors/Church Planters). Being an interdenominational Bible School, currently, we have 20 Districts leaders who help me train Church Planters throughout Cameroon with a vision to raise 500 church planters in 2012.
I am in Dale Kietzman University to equip myself for the service of the Lord to better serve Him in my teaching ministry. I want to build a network of leaders in Africa and beyond. The international teaching staff of DKU is an avenue to create a synergy for my network of leaders to get further training.
This course on Hermeneutic has helped me to understand the principles of Bible Interpretation. I have learned how to be biblically sound in my doctrine being convinced that the Bible is the final authority. This course has helped me to remain christocentric in my messages. I have learned how to preach staying in the context as it is usually said ‘a text without a context is a pretext’. Obviously, my church and Bible student will also appreciate that Observation, Interpretation, Application are keys for a balanced inductive Bible study.
My name is Ndifon Arix. I am a jurist by profession. I have been very blessed by this course. It is my first time of hearing something about Hermeneutics and it has given me a wider knowledge on how the Bible is to be read and interpreted. I was amazed by our teacher pastor Dave because each time you asked him a question, he would look at about 4-5 different Bible passages to answer the question. It gave me the impression that to really know how to interpret the Bible, we must know all of Scriptures and the themes at various levels. Overall, I have learned so much. Have learned to dig deep into Scriptures and without it we cannot go further.
My name is pastor Milong. It has been a pleasure for me to witness and be part of what has been one here. Hermeneutics has been a blessing to us because we learned the rules and principles that govern the interpretation of Scriptures. We need to allow the text to speak for itself and we need to get to what the author had in mind. We need to avoid bringing our own impression to the word so that the word of God will have effect on the individual only when it is done according to the intention of the author who wrote the text. We also came to see our need for the attitude of humility and not make ourselves bigger than the word of God. We are thankful for our teachers who have come to teach us.
General question: Most of you come from Pentecostal background. Now that you have taken this course on Hermeneutics, what do you see to be some of the challenges you will face in your churches?
My name is Asomo Abraham. I come from Winner Chapel International. Formally, I thought, from the teachings I was receiving, that the Bible contradicts itself. From the teaching I have received from this course on Hermeneutics, I now believe that the Bible is truly the word of God. From this course, I have come to the conclusion that the Bible does not contradict itself. I believe also that the word of God should be taught by those who have been trained and who really know the word of God. From what I have received here, I want to continue in this training.
My name is pastor Milong. As one from the Pentecostal background, there is an impression that they Pentecostals have which says that they have arrived. They do not give themselves to study the word and to be disciplined and to come to the word and allow it to speak for itself. Studying Hermeneutics helps us see the need to be grounded in the world. Sometimes there is too much noise, too much hallelujahs. We tend to make a lot of noise thinking that the more noise the more anointing. People need to be fed the word of God and that is what will make a change in the lives of the people
As you can tell from what the students say, TLI’s vision to train those who will train others is embraced here in Douala. We are learning here that what matters most is helping pastors see what the Bible actually says. We have also come to see that wrong doctrine is often a result of wrong exegesis. We were moved by the desire of these pastors to abandon their wrong theologies for the truth of the word. May God continue to raise up humble pastors who will seek to learn and to teach others.