Taking Seriously the Deadly Virus—and the Deadliest Virus


New York is struggling to find 30,000 ventilators to save as many as possible from succumbing to COVID-19. The United States is scrambling to find ways to test millions more of our citizens and have already tested two million. We praise God for the means of common grace to fight this virus that has engulfed the world.

It’s quite sobering to be in regular contact with the director of the Bethlehem College & Seminary Extension Site in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Dr. Dieudonné Tamfu (TBI, 2010) said that the virus is spreading in Yaoundé, but no one knows to what extent, because to his knowledge there is no mechanism for testing. I spoke with a doctor who serves frequently in one of the best hospitals in all of Cameroon. It has only two ventilators.

I was scheduled to co-teach a seminar with Pastor Chuck Steddom and one of our seminary students in the middle of March. We had to cancel. I actually was at the Delta desk checking my luggage and getting my boarding pass when a text came about additional travel restrictions. I decided not to go and exchanged my ticket for a voucher. Dieudonné stepped in to teach the conference. One hundred pastors and Christian leaders learned about worship. One pastor told Dieudonne he never heard the word “sovereign” before and said how helped he was. The last day of the seminar, the borders of Cameroon closed.

There’s a virus far more dangerous than COVID-19 in Cameroon and around the world. It is the virus of false gospels that are being spread by many untrained pastors. The virus of the prosperity gospel has been exported from America(!) and has spread to many impoverished nations. We rejoice that God has opened a door for us to train Cameroonian leaders to love Christ infinitely more than health and wealth and to spread the unadulterated message of the Bible.

I’m about to begin my fifth decade of service at Bethlehem, with over twenty of those years at The Bethlehem Institute and Bethlehem College & Seminary. The Bethlehem College & Seminary leadership, Bethlehem’s pastoral staff, and Bethlehem’s Global Outreach have affirmed my adding Training Leaders International to the list to serve as their Director of Theological Education in Cameroon, hopefully beginning in August. I will continue to have the joy of teaching our students at the Minneapolis campus (this is one of my favorite years of teaching so far!). But I will devote the lion’s share of my “retirement” years to doing whatever I can to encourage a multi-faceted approach to the training of Cameroonian leaders for the spread of the gospel in Central Africa and beyond.

Your prayers and financial partnership with Bethlehem College & Seminary are impacting nooks and crannies of God’s world in ways that can’t be measured. The most significant data gathering and modeling of the spread of COVID-19 can’t compare to the mysterious unfolding of God’s “working all things according to the counsel of his will.”

Grateful for your partnership,

Pastor Tom

Tom Steller
Associate Professor of New Testament, Dean of Global and Alumni Outreach, & Senior Advisor to the President


  1. God will keep the Bethlehem College & Seminary community safe, including our Cameroonian students, faculty, and families, not only from the virus but also from false gospels.
  2. God will give Bethlehem College & Seminary’s leadership wisdom—here, in Memphis, and in Cameroon—to lead us through these tumultuous waters as we wait for Jesus to say, “Peace. Be still.”
  3. God will sustain the necessary giving to allow Bethlehem College & Seminary and its two extension sites to fulfill the mission he has given us.