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C. Peter Wagner and Joseph Thompson: Out of Africa


C. Peter Wagner and Joseph Thompson, eds., Out of Africa: How the Spiritual Explosion Among Nigerians is Impacting the World (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2004), 219 pages, ISBN 9780830732920.

Every once in a while, I get to review a “must read” book and this is one that every sensitive person in Christendom must read. I was challenged from the moment I began to read the introduction, and I did not halt my reading until I had reached the end of the book.

Peter Wagner has partnered with Joseph Thompson, a Nigerian born minister who is part of Ted Haggard’s New Life Church in Colorado Springs, to produce this short book that describes a move of God that most of us in America know little about.

Wagner starts this inspiring book with the introduction that sets forth some numerical statistics that are necessary preparation for what follows. I have been to West Africa, Northern Africa and my engineering firm had a good-sized project in Cape Town, South Africa. I had acquaintances in both construction and missionary efforts in Nigeria including Sam Odunike, who at one time was a local leader in my denomination’s efforts in his country. I have read about the “success” of Christianity in Nigeria and news accounts about the rivalry between the Muslim and Christian populations there. Even with all of that background, I was astonished by what I read.

I did not know that half of Africa’s people live in Nigeria or that one of every five black persons in our world lives there. I learned of the comparison that Nigeria is two and one half times the size of Texas. I knew that Africa is producing Christians every day and that it was a large number. Wagner’s introduction cites David Barrett who believes that each day in Africa 24,500 souls are added to the Kingdom of God. We add 5,000 a day in the United States.

The church in Africa grows at 2.62 percent per year. In Nigeria, half of the population professes Christianity. That means right now that there are 75 million people who claim to follow Jesus and next year there will be 86 million that say so. In ten years, Nigeria will be as Christian as any nation can become. No other nation has achieved the depth of belief that Nigeria possesses today. Peter describes his astonishment at his own experiences during his travels to this country, starting with a pastoral training session ten years ago to which 13,000 pastors came.

Joseph Thompson writes the first chapter which he titled “Rising from the Mediocre to the Miraculous.” Pastor Thompson chronicles the period in his country following the Second World War and the utter despair his people faced not many years ago—despair which can still be found. Corruption and every type of evil were pervasive as Nigerians found themselves without income and without hope. Out of this despair, Christians began gathering for annual and then more frequent prayer gatherings. These gatherings were led by a number of professionals, Nigeria’s lawyers, engineers, doctors, and architects. These leaders quickly became a force for a difference in their country—a prayer force—and our God responded.  

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2005

About the Author: H. Murray Hohns went home to be with Jesus on November 28, 2012. He was on staff at the largest church in Hawaii and served on his denomination's investment committee from 1999 until his death. Hohns held two degrees in Civil Engineering, an MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary, and served as an instructor at Foursquare's New Hope Christian College (formerly Pacific Rim Christian College) in Honolulu. He wrote six engineering books and hundreds of articles in every type of newspaper, magazine and journal.

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