NAIROBI (BP)—Although more than 85 percent of Kenyans identify as Christian, missionary Daniel Lowry says the majority have a distorted view of Jesus and the Bible.
In a post-colonized era, western practices have infiltrated and woven themselves into the fabric of Kenyan traditions and culture. One popularized idea that has seeped into the Kenyan religious culture is the prosperity gospel movement, said Lowry, a missionary with the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board.
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, he explained. This “big man” speaks to the people on God’s behalf or protects them against the evil spirits.
The prosperity gospel has coupled itself with this mindset through the “big man in charge” mentality, Lowry said. The moderator promises health and wealth through faith, if the people do what he says.
Lowry is dedicated to teaching truth and training faithful preachers of the gospel. He and his wife Kristen have served in Kenya together since 2018. As a professor at the Kenya Baptist Theological College and Seminary, Lowry has opportunities to teach truth and correct misunderstandings of the gospel among Kenyan ministry students.
Because one to four years of school is neither financially possible nor feasible for Kenyan students, each term at the seminary is four to five weeks long—four weeks for a diploma student, five weeks for a bachelor student. Currently, 40 students attend the seminary, both male and female, from all walks of life and professions.
Many students who attend the seminary already are involved in ministry but want more training. The Kenyan Baptist Convention also requires training to serve in a pastoral role. Other students have been called out of a profession into the ministry.
As students attend the seminary, their eyes are opened to the truth of Scripture. After one of the professors taught on the four Gospels, a student responded: “I have never heard this taught before in my church. How can I go back with this new information?”
Lowry wants to see students trained not only in theories but also in practical application. He wants to partner students with faithful pastors so the students can see firsthand how to live out what they are learning in the classroom.
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For Lowry and the other professors at the seminary, the goal is to see Kenyans leading churches that are faithful to the Bible.
“A well-trained Kenyan could do more work in Kenya than I could ever do,” Lowry said. “We recognize the ripple effect we can have here. We hope to impact a nation through the faithful teaching of God’s word.”