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South Africa and the Circulation of the Saints

“The circulation of the saints” is a serious problem facing the church today. A lack of clear biblical teaching has resulted in Christians shopping around for churches as they please, with little to no regard for their own ministry in and to the body of Christ.

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Pr. Newton & family

This is a problem that one of our graduates from Christ Seminary in South Africa is hoping to remedy in the lives of those whom God has put under his pastoral care. After finishing his training at TMAI’s Christ Seminary in South Africa, Newton returned to Malawi to pastor a church, while also holding responsibilities teaching in TMAI’s training center in Malawi.

Newton is happy to report that his church has enthusiastically embraced his teaching and implementation of formal membership. “It took us a while to get there,” he explains, “but already 16 people have committed to it. While this number may seem insignificant to some,” he adds, “we are truly thankful and encouraged.”

He explains how his theological understanding of the church has blessed his congregation’s practical experience of it. “One of the joys at our church is a growing family dynamic. It is exciting to see real friendships forming. On Sunday after the service hardly anyone is in a rush to get home. Church is family, and we are beginning to experience that in practice.”

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The training Newton received at Christ Seminary has also enriched his ability to unfold the simple yet profound truths of the gospel to his congregation. “Last Sunday,” he reports, “we had the privilege to witness seven people being baptized. Most of them said that they had known that Jesus came to die for their sins but had not been taught what that really meant for them. It was so refreshing to hear about how they had come to understand these truths and the difference that it had brought to their lives.”

Newton is busy doing the work he was prepared to do. He’s preaching God’s Word, teaching a series on prayer, leading a Bible study through the attributes of God, and seeking to exemplify what he teaches in his own life. From issues central to the faith like gospel clarity to secondary but nonetheless important concerns like church membership, updates from graduates like Newton serve as blessed reminders that theological education matters—and that good doctrine is called “sound” for a reason.