Mostly, my blogs are about what God is doing in India. However, these blogs are about what God is doing in me)
The first few years in India I evaluated everything against our American standards. Government, sanitation, transportation, diet, family – everything was compared and usually found lacking, from my perspective. It’s natural to grow up in American culture and church life and assume there is a “right and only way”. I felt if India could be more American they would be better off.
Unfortunately, many missionaries and ministries go to other countries and try to duplicate the western church. That fails because of the focus on externals and form. My approach is to separate what is Biblical from what is cultural. That means separating Bible truths and principles (absolutes) from common practices (non-absolutes). This helps me be more flexible in my evaluation of Indian ways. I still feel we have much to offer them in sanitation, transportation, freedom and in caring for each other. Their ways are appropriate for the resources and information they currently have access to. All government authorities need a commitment to the people’s needs rather than their own selfish desires. This seems universally true.
I focus on teaching the pastors the basics of God’s Word – what He expects of pastors, churches, marriages and in spiritual growth. I teach the WHAT- the content. It is up to them to apply the HOW in the local Indian culture. This allows them to apply the truths of the Bible to how they do worship, partake of the Lord’s Supper, baptize, handle church membership, settle differences, evangelize, plant churches and much more.
The gospel is strong enough to apply to any culture anywhere at any time. It changes lives, gives hope, removes fear, reunites, heals, cleanses and empowers. As a result, I am now more flexible in how I evaluate ‘different’ practices in the India and the USA as long as they don’t contradict the Bible. God is bigger than 21st Century Western culture and church – much bigger.
Matthew 16:18 I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
Revelation 7:9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;
Are you critical or judgmental of others who do church differently than you? Are you critical of your own church or pastor because they do things otherwise than what you think is right? Unless you have Scriptural proof that they are out of line, confess your sin of judging and pray for God’s blessing on them and you.