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The Foolishness of the Gospel

"For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

Dear Friends and Family

Our wedding (16 December 2015) was truly blessed and was a very joyous celebration with friends and family. We are so grateful to everyone, especially our parents, who gave so much in money, time and effort, to making it the wedding of our dreams! We are enjoying married life although there are some huge adjustments and many lessons about accommodating one another to be learnt! We have now been married for just over four months! We enjoyed a wonderful honeymoon in Hermanus, which included a horse ride on the beach, the sighting of a whale 8 metres from us during a kayak on the bay, fishing at the harbour, swims in the lagoon and tidal pools, a hike in Koggelberg Nature Reserve and plenty of good food.

“Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures…
let them praise the Name of the Lord for His Name alone is exalted. His Glory is above earth and Heaven.”
Psalm 148:7-13

Reaching the Nations for Christ – Great Commission Camp and Course
After our honeymoon, we hit the ground running with the Great Commission Camp and Course. Our Great Commission Course began with 76 people from all over the world (including from America, Germany, Botswana, Malawi and Zimbabwe) participating in an intensive 6-day Great Commission Camp held out at Back to Basics, near Grabouw. The camp stretched minds and muscles as participants learnt how to reach the nations for Christ. We also put feet to our Faith by sharing the Gospel one-on-one in the streets of Grabouw. We continued the three-week Great Commission Course, with 12 participants. Outreaches included a demonstration, prayer vigil outside and side-walk conversations with women and men going into Marie Stopes abortuary, open-air preaching and sharing the Gospel one-on-one at the Waterfront, ministering at a feeding programme for destitute children in Ocean View, ministry to the elderly and disabled in Kraaifontein, a Hospice outreach in Capri and sharing the Gospel with Muslims in Bo-Kaap.

March for Life
On Monday, 1 February 2016, marchers mourned the over 1.3 million babies killed by abortion since it was legalised in South Africa exactly 19 years ago. A funeral procession to the gates of Parliament, led by a hearse, with marchers carrying little coffins, crosses, flowers, flags, banners and posters, was hosted by the Christian Action Network in memory of the thousands of babies, killed by abortion, who have never had a funeral. A six metre billboard trailer, with the words, “Abortion is Murder”, and “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” (Proverbs 31:8) followed the marchers. Over 80 Christians, including pastors from different denominations, took part in the procession and gathered afterwards to pray outside the main gates of Parliament in Cape Town. Participants at the Prayer Rally prayed a Scriptural Imprecatory Prayer, calling onthe nation and government leaders to repent of the national sin of abortion and warning of God's Judgement if they do not Repent.

School and Youth Group Ministry
We have now had opportunities to give the Fight the New Drug presentation at five high schools and at one youth group in Cape Town so far this year. In each presentation I explain how pornography addiction is similar to a drug addiction in its damaging effects on the addict’s brain. At all the schools, Abrie shared the Gospel as part of his testimony. At the second school this year, a group of boys stayed behind after the presentation to ask him questions. One boy said that during the presentation he deleted all the porn off his phone! This was another good opportunity for us to remind them that although deleting porn off your phone is a good start, we must repent of our sin and surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ, to experience lasting freedom.

At one boys’ high school, we were given two hour-long sessions with first the grade tens and elevens, and then the matrics. The Question and Answer times were intense and created a stir of lively conversation (almost disruptively) amongst the boys. We had several good opportunities to reiterate the Gospel and give an apologetic (defense) for the Christian Faith. At another boys’ high school, we had been invited to speak to the Christian Group, but when we got there we found out that the whole school was required to attend! We had the freedom to openly preach on the holiness of God and the importance of fleeing from sexual sin as part of the main presentation. There are several dedicated teachers at the school, to whom we could donate good book and audio-visual resources, and will also be donating resources for their school library.

At another high school, Abrie was not permitted to share his testimony. A female learner debated with us after the presentation, saying that she believes viewing pornography is healthy!  I reminded her how about the degenerative nature of porn addiction (the addict begins to watch more violent and explicit forms in order to get the same high, which can lead him to abuse or rape women and children) and shared the Gospel with her. Afterwards, we went to different groups of teens having their break time, distributed Gospel tracts and shared the Gospel with them.

At each school we distribute our Fight the New Drug leaflets to each learner as they leave the hall.

UCT Outreaches
During Orientation Weeks, the two weeks before the riots at the University of Cape Town erupted (Tuesday, 16 February), we conducted seven different outreaches on campus. We have been preaching the Gospel, engaging in on-on-one evangelism and distributing Gospel tracts and New Testaments. We also distributed New Testaments, the latest edition of Christian Action magazines (with the main article A Biblical Response to Protests) and Evangelism Training Boxsets to eight different Christian student societies on campus. Two days after the mayhem erupted, Abrie went to the Rondebosch Police Station to try and get an opportunity to preach the Gospel to the students arrested for the destruction of property during the riots. He was refused access to them, but he did seize the opportunity to preach the Gospel to the large group of students who had come to visit their friends in the holding cells! Suddenly, several news reporters, also gathered at the Police Station, were filming his Gospel sermon!

Our weekly outreaches at UCT have continued, with many good, seed-sowing conversations, especially with atheists and relativists. One male atheist student, studying science, changed his mind within the first two minutes of the conversation, admitting that God is necessary for life to come from non-life and for there to be universal morals. In a conversation with two fourth year law students, we reminded them that trying to establish law and order apart from the Biblical worldview is absurd, because if there is no absolute standard then evil leaders can impose whatever evil laws are convenient for them to control and oppress others! Whenever someone claims that a moral law is universal, then they are borrowing from a Christian worldview, because universal morals are only possible in a world that God created – the only Triune God who is Himself the unchanging, objective standard of morality. We have also strategically placed copies of our Christian Action magazine, dealing with a Biblical Response to Protests, and another past edition dealing with the Rhodes Must Fall riots, in an empty magazine stand at the entrance to the library and in the prayer chapel on campus.

The Sinner
Abrie recently finished reading The Power and Message of the Gospel by Paul Washer which he found very helpful and inspiring as an Evangelist. We have included two long quotes below that we hope you will also find inspiring.

“The sinner is a mutinous traitor against God. He stands in opposition to the Kingdom of Heaven and calls for the advancement of his own kingdom. He is doing the work of his father, the devil, who would storm the throne of God and slaughter Him in His own temple. The sinner is a stubborn and insolent beast who not only refuses the will of his Maker but also seeks to impose his own will upon Him.
‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?’ Jer 17:9. Sin is only a symptom of a much darker inward malady – a depraved heart that loves evil and is hostile toward the Sovereign dictates of a righteous God.” The Power and Message of the Gospel, Paul Washer

The Foolishness of the Gospel
“The Gospel is an absolutely unbelievable message, a seemingly ludicrous Word to the wise of the world. As Christians we sometimes fail to realize how utterly astounding it is when anyone truly believes our message. In a sense, the Gospel is so far-fetched that its spread throughout the Roman Empire is proof of its Supernatural nature. What could ever bring a Gentile, completely unaware of Old Testament Scriptures and rooted in either Greek philosophy or pagan superstitions, to believe such a message about a Man named Jesus?
- He was born under questionable circumstances to a poor family in one of the most despised regions of the Roman Empire, and yet the Gospel claims that He was the eternal Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a Jewish virgin.
- He was a carpenter by trade and an itinerant religious teacher with no official training, and yet the Gospel claims that He surpassed the combined wisdom of every Greek philosopher and Roman sage of antiquity.
- He was poor and had no place to lay His head, and yet the Gospel claims that for three years He fed thousands by a word, healed every manner of illness among men, and even raised the dead.
- He was crucified outside of Jerusalem as a blasphemer and an enemy of the state, and yet the Gospel claims that His death was the pivotal event in all of human history and the only means of salvation from sin and reconciliation with God.
- He was placed in a borrowed tomb, and yet the Gospel claims that on the third day He rose from the dead and presented Himself to many of His followers. Forty days later, He ascended into Heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.
- Thus, the Gospel claims that a poor Jewish carpenter, who was rejected as a lunatic and a blasphemer by His own people and crucified by the state, is now the Saviour of the world, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. At His Name every knee, including Caesar’s, will bow.
Who could have ever believed such a message except by the power of God? There is no other explanation. The Gospel would have never made its way out of Jerusalem, let alone beyond the Roman Empire and into every nation of the world, except that God had ordained to work through it. The message would have died at its birth had it depended upon the organizational abilities, eloquence, or apologetic powers of its preachers. All the missionary strategies in the world and all the clever marketing schemes borrowed from Wall Street could never have advanced this foolish stumbling block of a message.” The Power and Message of the Gospel, Paul Washer

God Will Save!
When we consider the hatred of the sinner for God and the offensiveness of the Gospel to some, we may be tempted to be discouraged in our evangelistic efforts. God promises in His Word, however, that he has chosen to save many! In Revelation 7:9, we see a countless (from a human perspective) number of the saved before the Throne of God.

Those who misunderstand the doctrine of election (or the Sovereignty of God in salvation), believe that those who believe in these doctrines, are not involved in evangelism. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We all deserve God’s just punishment in hell for breaking His Law. God would have been just if He had only chosen to save one person or even none at all! Understanding the Sovereignty of God in salvation rather gives us confidence in God and a boldness to not compromise the Gospel. If we are faithful to preach the Biblical Gospel, without compromise, then God will save many of whom hear our message (although we do not often see immediate results).

“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” Romans 10:14

The Apologetic Task
“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” Proverbs 26:4-5

The Bible describes a fool as someone who is morally foolish – they know better. An atheist, according to the Bible (Psalm 14:1), is a fool because he has wilfully rejected God because God has made His existence “plain to [him]” and he is “without excuse”. Unbelievers are “suppressing the truth in their unrighteousness.” Romans 1:19. The word ‘apologetics’ means to give a reasoned defense. Our apologetic task as Christians is to “answer the fool according to his folly lest he be wise in his own eyes.” We must demonstrate to the unbeliever the absurdity of his worldview and how he is standing on God’s authority (the foundation of a Biblical Worldview) in order to try and prove his own worldview. “The Apostle Paul sets forth the attitude to which the defender of the Faith must be committed: ‘Let God be found true, but every man a liar’ [Romans 3:4]” (Greg L. Bahnsen). The Bible is true because without it you cannot prove anything at all. One cannot know what is irrational and illogical without an eternal, objective standard of what is rational and logical - the mind of God.

Only the God of the Bible has a mind and is rational and logical. In Islam, Allah is capricious – he changes his mind and does not embody the Ten Commandments in his character. In Hinduism, God is everything and therefore does not have a Mind, or a Law by which it/he judges. This is not about winning a debate, however. We must call them to submit their minds to the Bible and lovingly show them their sin and their need for the Saviour. We must plead with them to repent and believe the Gospel.

Excellent resources to learn how to use this method of apologetics is the film How to Answer the Fool, produced by American Vision and the book Pushing the Antithesis by Greg Bahnsen.

Holiday in Oudsthoorn, and Camping Near Robertson
The week before Easter, we were blessed to spend a weekend with the Meyer family at their new farm near Oudsthoorn, which included a visit to the Cango Caves. The Caves are a spectacular display of God’s Creation and phenomena formed after the Great Flood, four thousand years ago (for our reasons for rejecting the “millions of years” mantra, go to www.answersingenesis.com). We went on the Adventure Tour, which included crawling through small tunnels, sliding on our stomachs through the Letter Box and climbing up through a cramped, tricky three metre tunnel called the Devil’s Chimney. Whilst camping at Night Sky campsite near Robertson, Abrie caught two big carp. This was after being told that there were no carp in the dam! The first weighed 9kg and the second 16kg! The third leg of our holiday was to attend the AEB Paaskonferensie (Easter Conference) at Amana Campsite in Hermanus. We were blessed by the preaching of Oom Pieter Scholtz, who is still going strong at ninety years old!

Much More
The above are just some of the many outreaches and ministry opportunities that we have been involved in so far this year. Others included: the March for Life to Parliament, preaching at open-air outreach services in Athlone and Retreat, helping offload and sort through several container shipments of Bibles and books, conducted a Way of the Master Workshop at a local church, our weekly Salt and Light Radio programme and helping to edit our Christian Action magazine.

Upcoming Events
We have more opportunities to conduct Way of the Master Evangelism Workshops at local churches. In late August, we are planning to drive up to Gauteng and then on to KwaZulu Natal, to promote Christian Liberty Books’ Homeschooling resources at the Homeschooling Expos in those provinces. God willing, we hope to arrange as many school meetings as possible around those meetings. If you have any school or churches who you know would be interested in us speaking there, please send us contact details and invitations.

For Praise:

  • Presentations at schools.
  • Many good conversations with atheists at UCT.
  • God’s abundant provision and protection.
For Prayer:

  • Pray for school meetings in Gauteng and KZN during August/September.
  • Pray that we would proclaim the Gospel with love, clarity and boldness.
  • Pray that we could start a Bible Study for new believers at UCT.
  • Pray that God would send us 10 young men to mentor as Evangelists.
Thank you for all your prayers and generous support.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Abrie and Taryn Lourens
Africa Christian Action & Frontline Fellowship
PO Box 74
Newlands 7725
Cape Town
South Africa
Tel: 021-689 4481
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Web: www.christianaction.org.za/
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