This was a theme echoed by several speakers at the 7th Assembly of the All Africa Baptist Fellowship (AABF) in Lagos, Nigeria, which runs November 16-20.
AABF President Paul Msiza of South Africa, in giving the presidential address on the morning of November 17, acknowledged that Africa faces political instability in a number of countries, suffers from corrupt leadership and the oppression of minority and marginal groups. He emphasized that the days of blaming colonizers for Africa's problems are long past, "because we are independent for too long to be blaming colonial powers."
He admitted that many problems are external to African nations, including the recent global economic and financial crises and the effects of the problems in the euro zone on Africa. He bemoaned widening commercialization, "including the commercialization of our humanity," and that "the world has lost what it is to come together as a community."
But despite all these problems, Africa and Africans have a bright future. "Even when the world seems to be falling apart, God is still in control, God is on the throne, God is still Lord of Lords," stated Msiza, who is also a vice president of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA).
Reuben Chuga, president of the Baptist Theological Seminary in Kaduna, Nigeria, the keynote speaker at the opening service on the night of November 16, said that Africa is, at this time, "in a frightening place because of all the problems," yet Africans should not be afraid "because God is powerful, yet personal." He indicated that many are afraid because of their troubling situation and because of an uncertain future, but persons can overcome fear if they recall that God knows our situation, God knows and controls tomorrow, and that God gives second chances.
Bible study presenter Jerry Akinsola of the Nigerian Baptist Convention said that the continent is suffering from corruption, wars, famine, diseases, and illiteracy, among other concerns, and that if Africa is to fulfill its potential, "the church of Jesus Christ must be in the forefront. We must hear the Spirit and respond to the cry of the captives calling us to come to their 'Macedonia.'" He insisted that "the church that is not moved by the needs of men or the plight of the oppressed is either not hearing the Spirit or it is resisting the Spirit."
Olorunnimbe Mamora, a senator in Nigeria's parliament and a member of Christ Baptist Church in Lagos, declared that though parts of Africa are under siege and are suffering from strife and poverty, Christians, as light of the world, can and ought to make a difference in the lives of persons.
Msiza said that the AABF, which is one of six regional fellowships of the BWA, "is on the rise." He noted the great work being done by the women's and youth departments of the regional body, and encouraged the men's department to become more active and involved.
He said that more work needs to be done by the regional body to help strengthen weaker sub regions within Africa and that the organization should establish a department devoted to children's ministry.
Among leaders attending the AABF assembly is BWA General Secretary Neville Callam who is slated to make several presentations during the five days of meetings, including being keynote speaker at the closing service where a new AABF leadership team is to be installed into office.