An effort to teach the correct understanding of the Gospel of missionaries and seminary faculty of The International Mission Board(IMB) has led a hopeful impact on the spiritual state of Kenya.
While 85.5% of Kenyans identify as Christians according to the 2019 U.S. State Department's World Factbook, most of them lack correct understanding about Jesus and the Bible, said Daniel Lowry, an IMB missionary who serves in Nairobi.
One popular idea is the prosperity gospel movement which was influenced by western practices infiltrating and weaving the Kenyan culture and tradition in post-colonized era, Lowry shared on IMB.
"Traditional Kenyan religious culture promotes the concept of a 'big man' or a moderator who is the mediator between God or evil spirits and the common people. This 'big man' speaks to the people on God's behalf or protects them against the evil spirits," said the missionary. "The prosperity gospel has coupled itself with the mindset through the 'big man in charge' mentality. The moderator promises health and wealth through faith, if the people do what he says," he added.
Lowry and his wife, Kristen, have dedicated themselves to teach and raise faithful preachers of the Gospel in Kenya together since 2018. As a professor at Kenya Baptist Theological College and seminary, Lowry has taught the correct understanding of the Gospel to Kenya ministry students.
Lowry and the other professors at the seminary believe that a well-trained Kenyan could do more work in Kenya than they could ever do. Their goal is to see Kenyans leading churches who are faithful to God's Word.
"We recognize the ripple effect we can have here. We hope to impact a nation through the faithful teaching of God's Word," said the professor.
Currently 40 students attend the seminary, both male and female, from all walks of life and professions. Although each term is relatively short as four to five week considering financial situation of the students, students shared that their eyes are opened to the truth of the Gospel. After studying the four Gospels through the class, a student responded, "I have never heard this taught before in my church. How can I go back with this new information?"
Lowry shared that he wants to see students trained not only in academical ways but also practical application. He wants to partner students with faithful pastors, which will help students to see how to live out what they are learning in the class.
The work of Lowry and other seminary faculty is vital to the spiritual state of the country, IMB noted. Although it is equally-if not more- challenging to teach Christians not knowing the true Gospel, the dedication of the students and faculty of the seminary for the truth of God's world has changed the whole spiritual atmosphere in Kenya greatly.