South Sudan: New Lutherans cling to God’s Word

Categories: Africa, Catechism, Dinka, South Sudan

In Bor, South Sudan, where ethnic fighting has claimed the lives of hundreds, even thousands of Dinka civilians, God is bringing healing through His Word.

After surviving clashes with rival tribes where families and friends were attacked, raped and murdered, Dinka Christians cling to the one thing that is steady and true: the promises of God.

Their firm commitment to Scripture has led a group of former Episcopalians, under the leadership of Rev. Bol Nyok, to embrace sound Lutheran doctrine.

“We chose to become Lutherans because [they] teach the pure Word of God,” said Rev. Bol. “The South Sudan Evangelical Lutheran Church (SSELC) is fully committed to learning and teaching God’s Word without addition or subtraction.”

Now for the first time, their pastors and parishioners have a statement of this faith in their own language: Luther’s Small Catechism, translated into Dinka by LHF.

The SSELC recently began fellowship talks with the LCMS, and Rev. Bol is eager for their 19 pastors to begin formal catechism teaching to their parishioners.

“The catechism will be used by the head of families in teaching their family members, especially the children,” Rev. Bol said. “It will also be used in teaching our new members who will be joining SSELC from time to time and will be taught in our school and will be used for other evangelistic activities.”

Now that the Dinka have the Small Catechism in their language, church leaders are eager to translate additional works that will help strengthen the Lutheran foundation that has been laid.

“The translation of Lutheran liturgy into Dinka is underway,” Rev. Bol shared, “and I am now planning to translate Augsburg Confession and A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories and other materials, such as the Large Catechism.

As a new church body, the SSELC faces many challenges, especially in the area of finance, Rev. Bol said.

“Our pastors have no salaries. [When we left the Episcopal Church], we sacrificed our salaries there for the sake of the pure teaching of the Word of God,” he explained. “This has caused some of our pastors to have to look for jobs with the government in order to feed their families, which has greatly hampered the growth of our church as far as evangelism is concerned. We would have covered the whole South Sudan if we had financial support for our pastors.”

This spirit of evangelism is one of the SSELC’s greatest strengths, Rev. Bol reflected. “SSELC members are very eager to pass these pure teachings to others in order to bring them to Jesus Christ’s kingdom.”

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