Letters to the Editor


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Greetings to all of you from the Board, Staff and Students of the Reformed Theological College of Nigeria. It is my sincere wish that this letter finds all of you in good health.

This is the first newsletter of the College to you. The Board of Governors decided to charge the principal with the responsibility of addressing a bi-monthly newsletter to you in order that you may be kept abreast of our progress, blessings and difficulties. This will in turn enable you to praise the Lord for His blessings and to pray for our difficulties.

I think you will agree with me that an introduction of the College to you in this very first Newsletter is in order. The Reformed Theological College of Nigeria, as the name indicates, is a purely Reformed Theological institution established by the Tiv Church. Its doctrinal basis is the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Heidelberg Catechism. Being an essentially Reformed institution the College seeks to maintain a spirit of unity with Reformed Churches throughout the world and with all evangelical Churches in Nigeria. Since the College is the first and the only Reformed Theological Seminary in West Africa, it does not only open its doors to students from all parts of Nigeria but also to students from all parts of West Africa who sincerely wish to prepare for the Gospel Ministry.

The Opening Ceremony – February 13 will forever go down in the history of Reformed Churches in West Africa as one of the most important theological dates. This day witnessed the realization of our desire to establish a Theological Seminary in accordance with the dictates and principles of the Reformed faith. On February 13, 1971 delegates from all over the Tiv-land met at Mbaakpur, our temporary site, for the opening ceremony. Pastor Hua Yawe opened with a word of prayer. We then sang “A Mighty Fortress ls Our God” by Martin Luther. Rev. Varem Ayaka, one of the first ordained Tiv pastors, brought us a message from John 15. Hev. J. K. Manyam reviewed the history of the Reformed faith in Tiv-land and expressed gratitude to the Lord for the establishment of a Reformed Seminary where this faith will be kept purely reformed.

The Teaching Staff was introduced in this order; Iyortyom Achineku, Principal, graduate of Mkar Teachers’ College, Diploma, Reformed Bible Institute, Grand Rapids; B. A. Barrington College, Rhode Island; Post graduate studies in teachers education, Barrington College. Rachel Achineku, graduate of Mkar Teachers College, attended Reformed Bible Institute, holds B.A. degree in teachers education from Barrington College. Rev. Paul Pevikaa Agha, graduate of Cindiri Boys’ High School, holds Diploma of Theology from TCNN Bukuru.

We have started classes – There are seventeen students, most of whom are graduates of Veenstra Junior Seminary.

We are very grateful to the Lord for generous financial donations made to the School by our Reformed brothers in the United Stales of America. So far all donations received from America have been set aside for the building of classrooms, library, and dormitories. Work on the permanent site will soon start.


(1) The successful beginning of the School.

(2) The money so far received.

(3) The willingness of the staff to makc great financial sacrifices and

(4) A successful launching of an Evangelistic programme by the School.

PRAY FOR: (1) The Women’s School which is experiencing some agonizing problems. Rachel has not been able to get the school started properly because no provision was made in the current budget for it.

(2) Pray that the Lord may open the minds of many more to donate enough money for buildings as well as other costs.

(3) Pray that the Mission may see the need for a purely Reformed Seminary.

(4) Pray that the staff may ever remain faithful to its Reformed faith.

(5) Pray that the Lord may open the minds of some more qualified people from you to volunteer to teach in the College.

In closing I want to assure you that the Reformed Theological College of Nigeria has come to stay. No amount of maneuver, no amount of politics, and no amount of whispering campaign by the enemies of the Reformed faith will change the mind of the NKST. May the Lord help us.

Yours in His Service, IYORTYOM ACHINEKU, Principal


Dear Mr. Editor:

As a reader of THE OUTLOOK, I have been aware that it is an editorial policy to support and promote the establishment of a Tiv seminary in Nigeria. To condense the issue to one of insuring the Tiv of Reformed theological training is an inaccurate simplification of a complex problem. Time will tell whether or not the net result of the Tiv seminary will promote the cause of Christ in Nigeria.

The article “The Tiv Church of Christ and White Paternalism” by Dr. Stephen Monsma in the May, 1971 issue of THE OUTLOOK is an irresponsible evaluation of the opinions and decisions of the majority of our missionaries in Nigeria, the Board of Foreign Missions, and Synod. To conclude that a decision by the above not to cooperate with the request of the Tiv is a result of Western superiority, racism, and paternalism is an injustice to those involved. Dr. Monsma challenges the assumption that white foreign missionaries, living in an alien culture for several years, or white mission board members taking a whirlwind tour of the mission field know best. I challenge the assumption that Dr. Monsma, who was a three-day visitor to the field, has any special insight to the problem or the motives of those involved which enables him to make any credible generalizations.

Dr. Monsma closes with the statement: “I pray that the Tiv Church of Christ will show a deeper spirit of Christian understanding, patience, and love than most of the Christian Reformed missionaries and official Christian Reformed bodies have shown towards it.” This is lacking in Christian charity. I believe that our missionaries, the Board of Foreign Missions, and Synod searched and prayed for understanding, acted out of love, and were Spirit-led to a decision that they thought was in the best interests of the church of Christ.


DONALD J. PAAUW, M.D., Lafayette, California


Dr. Paauw’s last sentence indicates he missed the whole point of my article. He states that the Christian Reformed officials have acted out of the best of motives in making “a decision that they thought was in the best interests of the [Tiv] church of Christ.” I do not challenge the accuracy of this statement. But I do challenge the paternalistic assumption that underlies it: that the Christian Reformed Church has a right to make this decision and to impose it upon the Tiv Church of Christ. What right does the Christian Reformed Church have to decide how the Tiv Church of Christ is to train its pastors? The Western superiority, paternalism, and perhaps even racism I pointed to in my article lie in our assumption that we have a right to make this decision and that the Tiv church leaders should defer to our judgment.

I do not claim that the paternalism and Western superiority lie in the motives that underlie that decision, for I have no basis on which to assess the motives of the Christian Reformed missionaries, Foreign Mission Board, or Synod. To repeat, my only contention is that for us to meddle in the affairs of the fully autonomous Tiv Church of Christ and to try to impose our judgment of the best means of training its pastors is shortsighted, unwise, and just plain wrong. Whether this is “irresponsible” and “lacking in Christian charity” I will let the reader judge.

STEPHEN V. MONSMA, PH.D., Grand Rapids, Michigan