May 2017

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TruthTalk: Young people arise!

TruthTalks Young arise


In last week’s post “Young People Arise” Dr Christopher Peppler noted the role of the role of young people in past revivals.

He also commented that Jesus’ disciples were all quite youthful, and I (Chris’s daughter) had questions like:

  • How young is young?
  • How today’s youth are supposed to “arise” in a practical way, and
  • What about us folk who fall into the “not so young” category, what is our role?

Listen to the TruthTalk podcast and please let me know ( if you have any comments or other questions you would like me to address on your behalf in future TruthTalks.

We are working with new hardware so I must apologise that the Q&A section’s audio quality is not as good as I would like, but we will be addressing this.

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Many Blessings,

Karen – Admin








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Young people arise!

Young Arise!

In the past, young people have played a decisive role in social and political reform in many nations. However, did you know that young people have also had a profound influence on several of the great moves of the Holy Spirit?

John Calvin was 26 years old when he completed his first draft of ‘Institutes of the Christian Religion’. Philipp Melanchthon was 21 when he joined Martin Luther as they lectured together at universities all over Europe in the early days of the Reformation. George Whitefield began to preach at age 21 and was one of the greatest orators of the 1700s, preaching with John Wesley to crowds of up to 30,000 people at a time.

Evan Roberts was the key figure in what became the Welsh Revival. In 1904, when Evan was 26, he said to his college principal, “I keep hearing a voice that tells me I must go home to speak to our young people in my home church.” So began a time of revival during which over 100,000 people all over Wales were converted in just five months. A key feature of the Welsh Revival was the involvement of young people and children.

The Jesus People emerged from the young hippy culture in the late 1960’s and many of today’s senior church leaders came to faith in this counter-cultural movement. The Charismatic movement of the 1960’s started when a small group of Catholic college students were baptised in the Holy Spirit at the ‘Duquesne Weekend’. This movement soon swept through the mainline protestant denominations and its influence is still strongly felt in the church today.

Of course, the greatest move of the Holy Spirit this world has ever seen was when the Lord Jesus sent out eleven men to change the world in His name. Jesus was in His early thirties, but how old do you suppose His disciples were? Art and movies usually depict them as mature men, but the evidence of scripture paints a different picture. Consider the following:

  • Eighteen was the common marrying age for a Jewish man in those times yet only Peter appears to have been married (Matthew 8:14-15).
  • According to Exodus 30:14-15 all men over 20 years of age were obligated to pay the temple tax yet Jesus instructed Peter to pay this tax only for the two of them (Matthew 17:24-27).
  • Formal schooling for Jewish boys ended at age 13 and after that, they usually became apprentices in the family trade or linked up with a rabbi for further religious instruction. James and John were working for their father when Jesus called them (Matthew 4:21-22). Two disciples, possibly Andrew and Phillip were John the Baptist’s trainees when Jesus called them to follow Him (John 1:37-39).
  • James and John’s mother tried to persuade Jesus to grant her sons special favours and this would have been very out of place and embarrassing had they been mature men.
So it seems that the first disciples, the great apostles of our faith, were in their late teens or early twenties when they established the church and spread the Gospel throughout the known world.
Now consider the South African demographics. According to the 2014 census, the total population was then 54 million, and of that 30% were under the age of 15. A further 10% were between 15 and 19 and another 10% between 20 and 24. That means that 50% of the population, 27 million people in all, were under 25 years old! Economically, we see this as a huge challenge because of the inadequate schooling provision and the scarcity of jobs. Politicians see this as fertile ground for capitalising on dissatisfaction with past and present governing groups. But, are these young people not also potential revivalists and reformers, evangelists and pastors?

If the example of Jesus is to guide us, and if past revivals are to inform us, then should we not be encouraging our young people to rise up, not in revolution but in revival! Who better to engage the hearts and minds of the youthful millions than on-fire-for-Jesus young people? Who are more filled with energy and enthusiasm than young people? Who more open to the influence of the Holy Spirit than the young?

Come young people – arise! But know this, that in order to arise in the power of the Spirit you must first bend the knee before Jesus and commit to the ways of the Father. And we, the older generation in the faith can help you do just this. Together, young and old, we could reach this nation the way the first disciples reached the world of their day.



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Forty days of Kingdom teaching – The Sermon

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What did Jesus teach during the last 40 days before His ascension? Surely He reiterated what He believed to be most important for His disciples to know as they went out into the world to establish His church and extend His kingdom.

Last week’s post consisted of a written version of the sermon I preached in the Lonehill Village Church the Sunday before, and here is the audio of the sermon itself.


The seven main teachings covered in this material are:

One – The Kingdom of God is not political or material. It is not of this world, and our job is to witness to this as ambassadors of Jesus, the king of the unseen but eternally real Kingdom of God.
Two – We will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses.
Three – We are sent into the world as Jesus was sent into the world to proclaim the Kingdom of God, its truth, and its reality… to represent Jesus in the world.
Four – Rebirth of the spirit is required to enter the Kingdom of God and to be Jesus witnesses… not just commitment, but new spiritual life.
Five – We can proclaim forgiveness to all who truly repent and believe in Jesus.
Six – Miraculous empowerment and signs accompany the proclamation of the Good news.
Seven – The primary duty of church leaders is to care for Jesus’ people.





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Forty days of Kingdom teaching

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If you knew that you only had 40 days left on this planet, what would you do with them? Well, Jesus used His 40 days to prepare His disciples for the task of building His church and extending the Kingdom of God.

Have you noticed the significance of the number 40 in scripture? For instance, Moses was on Mt Sinai for 40 days when he went up to receive the 10 commandments from the hand of God; The 12 spies were in the Promised Land to prepare for its occupation by the Israelites, and so on.

Periods of 40 days were also significant in Jesus’ life: He was presented in the Temple 40 days after His birth, He was in the wilderness for 40 days before the start of His public ministry, and there were 40 days between His resurrection and ascension.

We commonly think of 40 as representing ‘testing’ but more accurately it represents Preparation. In the period between resurrection and ascension, Jesus was preparing His disciples for their key ministry. Acts 1:3 ‘After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave them many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the Kingdom of God.’

The question is of course, what did He teach them? Surely that which was most important for the establishment of the church and the extension of the Kingdom of God.

Imagine the following – you feeling strange and go to your doctor who then refers you a specialist who eventually says to you, “You have just 40 days left before you die?” What would you do with those 40 days? The glib answer would be that you would try to do all the things on your Bucket List. But how silly this would be for a Christian. Would we really think that anything we could experience now would even come close to the glory we will experience in heaven? Perhaps you would prepare for eternity by ensuring that you mended any broken relationships and put right any wrongs you had committed. Perhaps you would prepare your loved ones financially and spend quality time with them. Hopefully, you would also want to leave a legacy of what you felt was the most important truth you could pass on. And this is what I believe Jesus did in His last days with His disciples.
There have been many attempts to ‘reveal’ what Jesus taught over the 40 days in question. Some have claimed that certain Apocryphal books contain true accounts of Jesus’ teachings concerning the underworld and the realms of heaven. Other say that He passed on secret teachings orally to special initiates, who in turn passed them down through the ages. The Roman Catholic church contends that Jesus taught on church hierarchy and the 7 sacraments. But, how could we test the validity of any of these claims if not against the revelation of scripture? Surely it is better to piece together from the Bible itself what Jesus taught during this period.

Now this is not just of intellectual interest; it is important to us for WE are today’s disciples and we need to know what Jesus regarded as most important for His church and Kingdom so that WE can live by them.

The Lord Jesus’ teaching during those critical 40 days can be presented in four sections. The first group is found in Acts 1:4-8 ‘So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The ‘kingdom’ to which the disciples were referring was a socio-political concept. The Jews of that time hoped that they would be restored to their former glory, but Jesus swept this notion away with a few words. Earlier He had told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). In His prayer for His disciples, recorded in John 17, Jesus said, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.”. In addition, Peter in his letters, calls Christians ‘Aliens and strangers in the world’. Over the years the church has distilled these teachings into the saying, ‘we are in the world but not of the world’

Of course, we Christians influence the kingdoms of the world with the Gospel, with truth, and with Kingdom of God values, but we don’t set ourselves up as Christian governments, companies, or armies. Christians can, of course, serve in government, business, and the armed forces as individuals responding to the call of God on their lives, but no more than this.
Dominionism is raising its head again in our age in the form of the New Apostolic Reformation and, as usual, distracts us from our true mission in this world. Our mission is not to replace the institutions of the world but rather to come to know Jesus, become like Him, and help others to do likewise. After Jesus had swept aside the disciples’ question he told them rather that they would receive power from on high to be His witnesses – witnesses to the person of Jesus, His truth, and His kingdom. Nothing has changed in this regard and we too are called to be Spirit-empowered witnesses in the world.

A second group of teachings can be derived from John 20:21-23 and Luke 24:45-49.  ‘Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:21-23).

As the Father has sent me – we are the extension of Jesus ministry to the world His presence wherever we are.

Receive the Spirit –  points to the fundamental importance of a metaphysical rebirth of the spirit rather than just knowledge, or actions, or commitment.

Forgiveness of sin – not the Roman Catholic confessional system, but authority to pronounce those who repent and believe as forgiven by God for their rebellion and wrongdoing. This assurance of forgiveness frees from guilt and recrimination and sets new believers free to experience the wonder of new life in Christ.

The conditions of forgiveness are repentance and belief. Luke 24:45-49; ‘Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.  He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.  I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.Mark 1:15 has ‘The Kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news. Acts 2:3, ‘Repent and be baptised every one of you, for the forgiveness of your sins.’ And in Acts 26:20 Paul is recorded as saying, ‘I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds’. The evidence of true repentance starts with a willingness to be baptised in water.

Repentance is a change of heart, mind and behaviour, and certainly not simply a formula statement as part of a recited ‘sinner’s prayer’.
When I was a new believer I was asked to teach the meaning of repentance to a group of young children.  In order to simplify and illustrate I composed a little song – “You’ve got to stop, turn around, and walk towards Lord Jesus; got to stop, turn around, and walk towards the light. You’ve got to stop, turn around, and walk towards Lord Jesus; got to turn around and walk towards the light’’. I then explained to them that when we walk according to our own ‘light’ we get further and further away from the true light. With every step in the wrong direction, the shadows before us get longer and longer until we are completely lost in darkness. To change this, we need to stop walking in that direction. Then we need to turn around so that we face back towards Jesus. Then we have to walk towards Him. As we do this the shadows are behind us and grow shorter and shorter with every step. This wasn’t designed to be a description of how salvation occurs but simply to explain the nature of ‘repentance’. We know that The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus and draws us to Him, and we know that salvation is by the grace of God and not the product of our own ‘steps’. However, in this context, if we repent and believe then we will be forgiven and receive a new spiritual life.

The third group of teachings is found in Mark 16:15-20 and Matthew 28:18-20 and is so well-known that I will simply state it with just one brief comment. The Great Commission as per Mark’s gospel reads ‘He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well“.’ The signs of the Kingdom of God are not meant to be a source of entertainment for the gathered church, but to authenticate the proclamation of the Gospel. If we want to witness genuine miracles, best we get out into the world with the Good News on our lips.

The better-known version in Matthew’s gospel reads, ‘Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

The last teaching was by way of Jesus’ interaction with Peter as the first leader of the church and is recorded for us in John 21:15-19. We know it so well  – Three times Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him and then tells him that if he truly does love Him he will demonstrate this by taking care of the Christians comprising the church. This is the primary task of church leadership – not to hatch, match, and dispatch; not to manage, or organise, but to take care of the people. To care for them is to know them, heal them, encourage them, instruct them in the good ways of God, to protect them, and to equip them to be fellow disciples. In short, it to LOVE them… as Jesus loves them.

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So, what then were the things that Jesus thought were of such importance to His disciples, the church, and us?

One – The Kingdom of God is not political or material. It is not of this world, and our job is to witness to this as ambassadors of Jesus, the king of the unseen but eternally real Kingdom of God.

Two – We will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses.

Three – We are sent into the world as Jesus was sent into the world to proclaim the Kingdom of God, its truth, and  its reality… to represent Jesus in the world.

Four – Rebirth of the spirit is required to enter the Kingdom of God and to be Jesus witnesses… not just commitment, but new spiritual life.

Five – We can proclaim forgiveness to all who truly repent and believe in Jesus.

Six – Miraculous empowerment and signs accompany the proclamation of the Good news.

Seven – The primary duty of church leaders is to care for Jesus’ people.

If Jesus regarded these things as so important that He needed to take His few remaining hours on Earth to emphasis them, then should we not take them seriously?











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TruthTalks: A Nation reborn in a day?

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On the 22nd April 2017, over one million people converged on a farm just outside Bloemfontein to interceded for the nation of South Africa. This TruthTalk is an account and evaluation of this momentous event.

Things in South Africa have already started changing!
The Q&A session that follows the audio presentation deals with some issues which arise when we consider a gathering of this nature. We explore to what extent churches and individual Christians should be involved in politics, our role in national affairs, and our responsibility to speak truth to power.










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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.