Friday, August 12, 2016

Jonathan leaving for Rwanda

This has been a busy five weeks that I have been back in the States since returning from Tanzania. Tomorrow I leave for Rwanda.

Writing project: the church
Since I finished revisions to ECLEA's Biblical Theology and Christianity & Islam: Theological Essentials, I believe that the subject of next importance is a work on the church, particularly the church's important missional role of engagement with the community and culture. Many people, both in the West and in East Africa, think that the entity primarily responsible for caring for human needs is the government or, at least, "others." In fact, God has given to us--the body of Christ--that privilege and responsibility as we live out the gospel. Particularly in East Africa, the church can have tremendous influence in society if it will reorient its priorities along more holistic gospel lines. I have been researching this for the past few weeks.

Burundi visa
My plan for this trip was to spend two weeks in Rwanda and then conclude with a week in Burundi. The rules for obtaining a Burundi visa changed: instead of getting the visa at the airport or border, now one must send one's passport to the Burundi embassy in Washington, DC, and approval for the visa must come from Bujumbura (Burundi's capital). I sent my passport to the embassy as soon as I returned home to Appleton, but on Monday spoke with the embassy who advised me that approval for my visa has not yet been received. Since I am leaving Saturday morning, I had to request that they send my passport back to me. I may be able to apply for a visa at the Burundi embassy in Kigali, Rwanda. If I am unable to get the visa, I will try to do an extra training session in Rwanda and then return to Burundi probably in October.

Thank you for your prayer and financial support. God bless you, Jonathan

Monday, June 13, 2016

Jonathan leaving for TZ

I will be leaving for TZ on Saturday, where I will be doing Biblical Theology, Biblical Interpretation, and Christianity and Islam: Theological Essentials. In connection with preparing for the latter, I went through the book and found one more bad link in the bibliography as well as a number of other errors, which I have corrected. Today I have also posted the up-to-date, corrected today on the ECLEA website ( Please use this version instead of any previous ones you may have downloaded.

Monday, June 6, 2016

ECLEA: Biblical Theology--newly revised!

While I have been home I have made some significant additions and revisions to my ECLEA teaching book Biblical Theology. I have added and clarified certain matters, deleted some things, reorganized some other things, and added 2 new appendices (diagrams of the tabernacle and temple). In all, there are about 18 pages of new text. Although the previous version of this book was very good, I think you will find this revised version excellent!

During the course of this I also discovered that some of the sources listed in the bibliographies in Christianity & Islam: Theological Essentials and Biblical Eschatology had invalid links to the online sources; other sources did not have online locations or online previews included in the bibliographies. I have fixed those problems (and where both BE and C&I refer to my Biblical Theology book, I have changed the page numbers referred to to correctly reflect the new, revised edition of BT).

All three books have been posted on the "ECLEA Courses & Resources" page of the ECLEA website ( Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Good internet Christian and Bible-relted websites

For a list of good internet Christian and Bible-related websites--including Bible-study sites and websites featuring commentaries, sermons, and articles, apologetics, historical writings, scholarly theology journals, articles and sermons in non-English languages, and websites dedicated to informing about and answering Islam--go to the "ECLEA Courses & Resources" page of the ECLEA website (

Friday, March 25, 2016

Christianity and Islam: Theological Essentials

Last Fall I completed my ECLEA teaching book, Christianity and Islam: Theological Essentials. Since that time I have read a wealth of material that led me to make some additions and changes and, most importantly, add a concluding chapter on bridging the divide between Islam and the gospel, particularly by using the Qur'an and various aspects of Islamic culture, thought patterns, and practices as bridges to the true Jesus and the gospel. In a sense, this final chapter ties the rest of the book together and makes it very practical. I have used multiple Muslim sources, and the bibliography lists which sources are by Muslims, ex-Muslims, and non-Muslims. Also, for all the sources that are online, I have included the internet address so that you can easily find and read the source materials on your own. I have posted the book on the "ECLEA Courses" page of the ECLEA website ( You may download and use it for free. Here is a synopsis:

Christianity and Islam: Theological Essentials covers all of the most important aspects of both Christianity and Islam, as follows:

1. Basic overview of Islam (size and growth, Islamic sects, sources of authority, the "five pillars," the six articles of belief, festivals and holy places, and a history of Muhammad and Islam)

2. Jesus and Muhammad (the Islamic view of Jesus, evidence for the crucifixion, evidence for the resurrection, biblical evidence that Jesus is the "Son of God" and implications of that fact, the Qur'an's view of Jesus, and the character of Muhammad)

3. Sin and salvation (according to Christianity, according to Islam, and implications)

4. Yahweh and Allah (their similarities and their differences, and a detailed discussion of the Trinity)

5. The Bible and the Qur'an (the development of the Bible, the Islamic view of the Bible, reasons why the Bible is reliable and has not been corrupted [including the Qur'an's and Muhammad's affirmations of the reliability of the Bible], Muslim claims that Muhammad was prophesied in the Bible and a consideration of the major biblical passages Muslims believe prophesy of Muhammad, the development of the Qur'an, contradictions and errors in the Qur'an, and the Islamic "doctrine of abrogation" and its implications)

6. Bridging the divide between Islam and the gospel (factors that lead Muslims to turn to Christ, factors that facilitate the witness of the gospel to Muslims, using the Qur'an and Islamic culture as a bridge to Christ and the gospel, and dealing with questions and objections)

I also include three appendices: the chronological order of the Qur'an's surahs, a sample of what Muhammad and Islam require and forbid Muslims to do and believe, and the "99 names of Allah."
If you have any particular feedback, comments, suggestions, or critique, I would love to hear from you. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

ECLEA impact in Ghana

I just received an email from Stan Armes, a missionary with another organization who recently taught a MINTS (Miami International Theological Seminary) class in Ghana. Here is what he said:

"I know it is very encouraging for teachers to hear of the results of their work.  As you know I taught Expository Preaching in Ghana these past two weeks. As you may well know this method of preaching is completely new to many students. A student came to me at the end of the course and said, 'We have been preaching wrongly. This has changed my life.  I can't preach the way I have.'  God is using you in your writing." Stan

Thanks, Stan.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Isa 6:8-13--"Isaiah's Commission and Ours"

I have posted the sermon I preached last Sunday on Isa 6:8-13, entitled "Isaiah's Commission and Ours," on the "Sermons" page of the ECLEA website. Isaiah was a regular person like us. God commissioned him to be His witness to the people he knew just as he commissions us. In fact, in Christ we are the visible and audible presence of God in the world. We faithfully represent Him by how we live as well as by what we say. The results are up to God. The sermon is available and may be downloaded for free (both audio and written) at:

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Please pray for Uganda

The following is from Emmanuel Akatukunda, the Registrar of KEST (Kampala Evangelical School of Theology):

Ugandans will be electing the next president and members of parliament next week, Thursday 18th to be precise. This is a very important election. The current regime (and president) has been in power for the last 30 years (since 1986). There are mixed reactions among the population. The tensions are very high. Rumors of post-violence are pretty much everywhere. 

The stability of Uganda is crucial, not only for its citizens but for the region as a whole. In the recent past Uganda has played a crucial role in the peace and stability of neighboring countries like Rwanda, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, Burundi, Congo (DRC), Southern Sudan, just to mention a few (Uganda is surrounded by most of these countries I have mentioned.

Uganda serves as a sort of buffer between the Muslim North and Christian South.It is also very strategic in terms of missionary work. It is easy to set up a base in Uganda if one wants to reach out the neighboring but unstable countries.

We are praying and hoping that it will be peaceful regardless of what the results will be. 
Please join the church in Uganda to pray that:
  • The elections will be free and fair
  • That Uganda will remain peaceful before and after elections
  • That the people in Uganda will repent and forsake the things that dishonor and displease God (like corruption, witchcraft, idolatry, etc) 
  • That the church in Uganda will remain spiritually alert and be God's prophetic voice
  • That the church in Uganda will wake up to its calling as a "light to the nations"

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Psalm 1-Life Worth Living

I just posted on the "Sermons" page of the ECLEA website the sermon I preached on Sunday on Psalm 1. This psalm introduces the entire Psalter and in many ways is the most important of the psalms. Everyone wants to have a life worth living, and Psalm 1 gives us God's perspective on what a life worth living is all about. The sermon is available in both audio and PDF here:

Monday, January 18, 2016

ECLEA: Jonathan leaving for Uganda on Friday

Dear Friends and Supporters,

After the longest home stay I have had in 8 1/2 years, I am leaving on Friday for three weeks in Uganda. The first week I will be at the Masindi-Kitara Diocese of the Church of Uganda (Bishop George Kasangaki), the second week at Mukono, hosted by Bishop Stephen Sempala, and the third week in Kampala teaching at the Kampala Evangelical School of Theology.

From a personal standpoint, this has been a very important home stay: most importantly, two of my sons were married to wonderful young women whom we love very much. I was able to preach several times and get a number of ECLEA-related matters done.

Please pray for this trip and for my pastor, Wade Hetrick, and his wife, Annette. They were planning on coming to Uganda with me, but Wade underwent an emergency appendectomy recently and his ability to come to Uganda is up in the air at this point. I will be able to change the program from Biblical Marriage & Parenting, which Wade and Annette were going to lead in both Masindi and Mukono, to Biblical Interpretation (which I also will be teaching in Kampala), but I know that if they end up not being able to come it would be a disappointment.

In any event, please hold them and this trip up in prayer, and I will endeavor to send you a report from the field while I am in Uganda (as well as a report upon my return). God bless you, Jonathan

PS: There will have to be a temperature adjustment. As I write this it is -4F (-20C), which I like, but it will be considerably warmer in Uganda!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Rev 15:2-14-"Victory"

I just posted on the "Sermons" page of the ECLEA website ( the sermon I preached yesterday at Community Church. The passage is Rev 15:2-4 and the title of the sermon is "Victory."  

In symbolic form, the Bible tells us the "end of the story," i.e., that God is working all things out for good for those who are Christ's. This passage reassures those who are faithful to Christ that defeats now are only apparent, are only at the surface level, and are only temporary. Ultimately, the real victors are those who remain faithful to Christ.

The sermon is is both audio and PDF formats and may be downloaded for free. Enjoy.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Rev 6:1-17-God and Evil

I just posted on the "Sermons" page of the ECLEA website the sermon I preached yesterday on Rev 6:1-17 entitled "God and Evil." It deals with the important issue the world faces and we face as individuals, namely, the existence of radical evil in the world and God's relationship with it.

Many people cite the presence of such evil as a reason why they don't believe in the God of the Bible, but such an objection is not valid. Indeed, paradoxically, the recognition that there is universal and objective evil itself is evidence that God does exist and that he is good.

The sermon (both audio and PDF) is available at:

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Why ECLEA is so valuable

Happy New Year everyone!

I just received an email from Frederic Harerimana, ECLEA's national coordinator in Burundi. In his email, Frederic attached a report of Pastor Nkengurutse Emmanuel of the Burundi Anglican Church. Pastor Nkengurutse has attended three ECLEA training sessions taught by ECLEA's Burundi partner, Rema Ministries. He outlines the eye-opening nature of what he has learned.

You can read pastor Nkengurutse's report on the "News" page of the ECLEA website (