“Instead of allowing our beliefs to influence scripture, we need to allow scripture to influence our beliefs,” emphasises Langham Scholar George Mombi, from Papua New Guinea (PNG).
George has been working on his PhD since 2015 at Otago University, New Zealand. He’s recently returned to PNG to continue teaching at the Christian Leaders’ Training College.
Prior to studying, George worked for CLTC and spent some of his time visiting Bible schools and colleges in the region. He helped them progress and develop better curriculums. He also organised training workshops for Bible college Principals and Deans at CLTC.
Sorcery and spirit powers
It concerned him deeply that Christians in his home region of Melanesia are easily and readily swayed. Influences include sectarianism, the ‘prosperity’ gospel, and dualistic devotion to sorcery, magic and spirit powers.
“When it comes to the idea of having a ‘good life’ – or gutpela sindaun – as we call it, the Melanesian people have allowed a Melanesian view to influence their Christian beliefs,” George says.
“The letter to the Colossians addresses this and explains what ‘fullness’ in life is actually about. It’s not only about material prosperity, but about relationship with God. My PhD research looks at this section of Colossians, and contextualises it into the challenges the Melanesian church faces.”
Multiple deceptive influences in the region’s church mean there is a lot of division. This is another of George’s great concerns. He is encouraged by the potential for the reconciliatory role that CLTC and his future ministry will have:
“In the Melanesian region, CLTC is strategically placed because it is interdenominational.
“My PhD is also strategic: through CLTC I am passing on the knowledge I have gained to men and women who will go back to their churches equipped with contextually relevant yet accurate biblical insights and skills, to teach and disciple followers of Christ.”
Pray for George Mombi
George hopes that elevating the influence of accurate interpretation of scripture to many different, smaller Bible schools – which feed student leaders to study at CLTC – will significantly strengthen the church. He hopes it will also reduce the sectarianism amongst the region’s Christians.
“We’re moving away from a mind-set that is strongly denominationalised, to one that is rooted in scripture”, he says.
In his role at CLTC, George is continuing to work with the region’s smaller Bible colleges. Formal relationships are already secured with colleges in the Solomon Islands.
Changing beliefs across the region
He says, “I am excited about what God is doing and going to do in the region: investing in my training is strategic and important for helping to change beliefs across the region, and see many more come to know the true God.”
CLTC has trained more than 2000 leaders from the region. Please pray for:
- the College as they continue with this good work.
- the spread of the Gospel across the Pacific, so that people living under spirit powers, sorcery and magic, can trust God and have a relationship with Him.
- George in his role at the college.
You can listen to George Mombi in an interview with a Christian radio station in New Zealand.