My last newsletter spoke of the forced closing of Immanuel Baptist Church by a village chief exerting his authority over the church and other implications that may follow because of the closing. IBC was started as a Bible preaching, soul-winning New Testament Baptist Church adhering to sound doctrines according to the Scripture. The church has grown steadily over the last 10 years and has a membership of over a hundred. The enemy didn’t like the fact that the church was growing and that many young people found the Lord with some called to the ministry.
Motbung, where IBC, Shalom Academy, and Northeast Bible College ministries are located, is a village where the tribal chief administratively governs the town. Several months ago the chief’s son cast his eyes on taking over the church, mainly because he didn’t like the doctrinal stands taken—namely strict adherence to membership, church discipline, believers baptism, ecclesiastical separation, etc. Above all, his desire to control the church was too strong and there was nothing to stop him except God’s intervention. He locked the church doors, declared the church leadership fired, and installed a new team of leadership. The spiritual qualifications of this new leadership are not good and we’re not even sure they are saved, with some being outright dangerous. I am reminded of 2 King 26 with King Uzziah, whose heart was lifted up because he was strong. He transgressed against God by performing priestly duties and was stricken with leprosy until the day of his death. In another instance, Numbers 12, Miriam was stricken with leprosy for undermining God’s appointed authority. In both of these instances, pride triggered the chain reactions that undermined God’s authority and they paid a heavy price needlessly.
Thus far the old IBC leadership, rather than confronting the chief and causing more harm than good, surrendered—the building and finances and all other assets if forced. They recognize that the church is the Lord’s. He will avenge; He will rule. Currently there are about 23 families that will not compromise the fundamentals of faith and have nowhere to go. I fear these families will one day be asked to leave their homes and the village. God willing, we are praying and trusting for place outside of the influence of the village chief.
When I was home in October, a cousin told the story of how my father as a young boy (one of the first Christians in the area) and family were kicked out of a village about 90 years ago because they followed Christ. My brother, Lun, and I knew that the cost of following Christ was not cheap, but we never experienced anything to the extent our father experienced. We ask you to pray. God is at work—sifting and cleaning His church. Pray for wisdom for the members that have left IBC. Pray for the Lord to reveal Himself strong to those who have stayed and strayed from the truth in order that they may return to truth.