Mbala is married with three children. He has a Master of Divinity from the Nairobi International School of Theology, and a Master of Public Affairs and a Master of International Studies from the University of Washington. He is currently a Ph.D. student in New Testament at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, UK.
In an exclusive interview he had with IGIHE, he discussed the state of the church in Africa and in Rwanda, the gospel in relation to politics, and also share more on the three-day seminar he has been invited to conduct on a theme ‘Anchored in Christ’. This seminar will take place at Solace Ministries Conference Center from this afternoon August 8, 2019, to August 11, 2019.
IGIHE: There so many vocations in church, why did you choose to become a pastor?
Pastor Baron: I think it is something personal in a sense that God calls individuals for a specific purpose; we see in the Bible God telling Jeremiah ‘before you were born I knew you and I had called you to be a prophet of the nation.’
I believe God knew me before I was in the womb of my mother and he has predestined me to be who I am today, that means a Christian first then a pastor… So all I did was say yes to the Lord and became a pastor.
IGIHE: Many people are not familiar with Gospel Influence Ministry; Can you tell us more about this ministry you are pastoring?
Pastor Baron: The Lord laid on my heart to start this ministry called ‘Gospel Influence Ministry’, it came from a concern regarding the status of the church in Africa.
Someone said ‘the church in Africa is a mile long but an inch deep’.
This is a problem, we hear today’s teaching focused on the prosperity gospel, deliverance gospel, extreme grace gospel; which is a distortion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, there is a need for reformation, like in the times of Martin Luther [who drove the creation of the Protestant church], to call the church to the true gospel about the person and the work of Jesus Christ.
IGIHE: Is it is your first time in Rwanda? What do you think of our country Pastor Baron Mbala?
Pastor Baron: This is not my first time in Rwanda. The first time I came here it was in 2002. I was invited by the Evangelical Restoration Church with Apostle Masasu. Since then I have been coming here a lot.
I have to say that Rwanda has been completely transformed, the people of Rwanda, and the gospel as well…I am very proud of the leaders of Rwanda and their achievements and their vision. This proves that this county is heading it the right direction.
IGIHE: What is your opinion on gospel and politics?
Pastor Baron: As far as the relationship between Christ and politics, I believe Jesus himself said you are the light of the world and the salt of the world. Christians are called to influence their community; for the purpose of displaying Christ in the community.
So I think it is important for Christians to be involved in the politics, to participate in all level of government programs, but it has to be done in a way that glorifies Christ; bringing to the table values that transform the community for the better, the transformation that is needed.
If there is a person that can be called the best politician it should be a Christian because we believe that Christian values are the best values. Unfortunately, you will find many of those in influential places that are involved in corruption and other misdeeds are Christians. It should not be so.
IGIHE: Why do you think a lot of young Christians choose to become atheists these days?
Pastor Baron: This is an issue of concern; we see many young Christians leaving their faith and becoming atheist. Saying ‘we don’t believe in that God’.
There could be many reasons to that but for now I can think of two. The first being their disappointment on the controversy between what the church says and what they do, particularly what they see their leaders do.
The second thing is what we call the postmodernism mindset; with the coming of internet access and social media, we hear people saying there is not such a thing as absolute truth.
That truth is relative to a person and God is all of us put together, you are a piece of God and I am a piece of God, and all of us hold a piece of truth.
Having the church departing from the true gospel, treating it as means to an end, trying to see how the gospel can serve their purpose means Christians have no response to this challenge. We have Christians that are not deeply rooted in the true gospel and so they leave the church to find other options, other truths outside.
IGIHE: Pastor Baron Mbala you are having a 3-day conference with the theme “Anchored in Christ”, would you tell us what it is all about?
Pastor Baron: The purpose of this conference is to bring the church to realize that the gospel of Christ has to be the center of Christian life and the ministry. Salvation has two dimensions ‘Rescuing and participation’.
In the rescuing, we see how we were all sinners and therefore enemies of God, but in His mercy, he sent his son to deliver us from sin and give us His righteousness.
It is important to pay attention to the second dimensions of salvation that is participation; the Bible says in John 1:12, ‘To those who have received him, he has given the ability to become children of God’ the second dimension, therefore, is the incorporation of those that were rescued into the family of God in order for them to share the fellowship with the Trinity… So when we talk about anchored in Christ we want to say ‘we are not just rescued from the evil, but our ultimate goal is to be rooted, deepen and anchored in him and to share with him and through him the life of God.
The church nowadays is focused on rescuing, that is where we will find deliverance program, from curses, demons … the other thing we see in prosperity gospel where Christ has become a means to an end.
So in this seminar, we are saying that prosperity gospel is a half-truth, therefore it is not the gospel, deliverance gospel is a half-truth, it is not the Gospel; half-truth has never been the truth. We will share the gospel of Christ.
IGIHE: If you had any other message to give to Rwandans what would it be?
Pastor Baron: The one message I would give the Rwandan people is that God loves you, the history of where this country came from, leaving the genocide behind to rebuild into what we see today is simply a demonstration of the love of God for you.
Therefore, if you have tasted the love of God, he is calling you to be anchored to him through the love of Christ… the best days of Rwanda are still coming and the light of this country will shine around the world, starting with your neighbors.
And the church has a role to play in it; the church in Rwanda is in its adolescence still discovering its identity, and in that process there are struggles but we should not despise the church.
The church must remember that your identity comes from the cross so get back to the cross and all will be well.
Thank you Pastor Baron Mbala