I Would Choose to Lose my Church Membership Instead of Losing Eternal Life – Thomas Munyaneza, Brussels
Oct 2, 2014 1857
I was born in Rwanda, 2nd October 1982, and lost my parents when I was still very young. I was always asking myself how will my life end up. Surrounded by many happy families, I was asking myself why I ended up by myself, and felt like I was alone in this world. I continued to feel a great loss, not only a loss of my parents, my brothers and sisters, but also the lack of divine power in my life. It is a terrible thing to be all alone in this world. I began looking around and moving in different churches and denominations in search for peace that I needed in my heart.
You see, I was not only a victim of war and too much loss, but also a victim of Sin; something in me that followed me and tortured me so much so that I was about to perish, and lose my life forever. If I give my testimony of that time, I could write many books, and I think I will. But now is the time to talk of this grace God has given to me and to you who read this.
It was during the last year of my studies doing a bachelor of business administration in Rwanda, when I heard that God loves me for real. This came to me when I was really very tired of hearing that God will love me if I do this or that, if I avoid this or that and so on. I was not able to change my character and this caused me much troubles for many years because nobody will like to lose his life. And there I was trying to save my life and yet could not! But when I heard this good news that God can love me unconditionally, it was a wonder of all wonders; what a wonderful fortune I discovered.
I began composing gospel filled songs, I sang, and worshipped and enjoyed this unconditional love of God, sharing it with others through songs, testimonies and in Gospel sharing groups in Rwanda and here in Belgium.
In May 2010, I came to Belgium where I met brother David Kayumba, I was always having troubles in the church I attended because, every time during Bible discussion, I could not stand it when people would try to teach the foolishness of legalistic salvation while intentionally silencing the Gospel of grace. I was committed to the Gospel of grace so much so that in every Bible discussion, righteousness by faith locked horns with righteousness by a cocktail of works and faith. I started having problems with the leaders of the church. Because David was my friend, this made it worse, because they already treated him like a heretic and Anti-Christ, for the sake of the Gospel.
I received a call from the church pastor, inviting me to meet with the leaders of the church. I met with them, and their great accusation was that I preach that “salvation on the cross was once and for all time obtained for us be the atonement done by Jesus.” I affirmed that accusation. I said to them, “If this is not so, then tell me how many times was salvation obtained for us, by whom, and for whom. This was a difficult question for them to answer.
David and I, with more other friends who had enjoyed hearing the Gospel formed a group called “The Great Invitation”. When the church I attended heard of this group, they were very angry and decided to call me to meet with them again. This was the time when we were inviting Dr Gonzalez to come and share with us the gospel in our gospel seminar; moreover, I had already started translating a book about the gospel called Jesus only, written by Desmond Ford. For the leaders of the church, this all made the problem bigger.
They were very angry at what I was doing. They threatened to excommunicate me from the church.
One day the Church Pastor called me and told me, “Thomas, we have decided to put you out of the church, for many reasons, including for supporting Good News Unlimited, and for inviting Dr Eliezer to share the gospel with us, for translating the book Jesus Only, and for lying to the people by telling them that Jesus is enough for their salvation.” But they could not answer any of my questions about the gospel. Then some two weeks after, I was publicly excommunicated before the congregation. They told the congregation that I was a very bad person and dangerous to their salvation, and even their safety. They excommunicated me by secret ballot, which I had never seen done before.
However, I would always choose to lose my church membership instead of losing the eternal life. The book Jesus only by Dr. Desmond Ford was a blessing to me; it fortified me, and when I was translating it, it was never a burden to me. It was more of a wonderful learning experience than any other thing. I am sure the message is very clear to all Rwandese and Burundians who want to know the truth. Jesus only, and him alone is the foundation and a way to heaven. Thank you Good News Unlimited and its founder Dr Ford, and mostly I thank you, Jesus, for your endless love.
Note by Pr David Kayumba
Brother Thomas is one of the few who have been mistreated for their conviction and for lifting Christ higher than any tradition. I rejoice to have met him and I am blessed by his commitment to the Gospel of Jesus. I am even more committed to Christ because He is triumphant and I have faith that no human being or organization can silence the voice of Calvary. Thomas is one of those who prove this to be so.
Brother Thomas Munyaneza is a wonderful young adult who has an amazing commitment to the Gospel of Jesus. This commitment is clearly manifested not only in his zeal for sharing the gospel through Bible studies but in the songs he composes. He is always careful to make sure every stanza represents the objective and historical Gospel of Jesus. Thomas has always offered his music on the CD for free to those people we have been taking the Gospel to. This has been reflecting positively on the message we take to the people. When Jesus Only came along, and was given to many people, they are now amazed by the true nature of the Gospel of grace.
By the way, immediately after translating Jesus Only; he was so excited about this message that he immediately plunged into translating Right with God by Dr. Desmond Ford. I was surprised by his speed as he overwhelmed me as I tried to edit each chapter. He finished nine chapters in a very short time. I can only thank God for this brother. In the coming days, he may start translating the GNU magazine.
Thomas Munyaneza is married and together with Nadine they have a handsome son.