How can we help?

India_mapIn a recent article published on the Gospel Coalition website several leaders of the Evangelical church in India are interviewed. In response to the question “Are there particular ways we can better facilitate gospel advance in India?”, one of these leaders responds saying:

“Westerners need to give up ideas such as rapid church-planting movements, rapid discipleship, certain extreme forms of contextualization, and insider movements. They need to realize that planting healthy churches is painstakingly slow, hard work. It requires perseverance, tears, sweat, and even blood. Don’t lambast the missionary efforts of the past; rather, trust the good Lord to give growth as and when he wants. We need to be patient, diligent, hard-working, faithful, and biblical in our efforts, strategies, planning, and implementation.” 

This is something I have personally heard echoed by church leaders in many foreign cultures, and sadly it is a reflection of the training that most of our missionaries receive from the agencies that are sending them. It is time for the Evangelical church to hold our missionaries accountable and stop funding those who refuse to work hand in hand with the national churches in the regions they are trying to reach. Too often the cries of the national churches fall on the deaf ears of the missionaries we send to “help.”

 

Psalm 2

Psalm2Why are nations in turmoil?

Why do people plot[i] in vain?

The kings of the earth have taken their stand,

And they[ii] have united together against the Lord and against his Messiah.

They say:[iii] “We will not be shackled by the Lord or his Messiah[iv].

We will free ourselves from their bonds.”

 

The one enthroned in Heaven laughs,

The Lord will mocks them.

Then he will speak to them in his anger,

And in his fury he will terrify them, saying:

“Certainly, I have installed My King in Zion, on my Holy Mountain”

 

His King says:[v] “I will recount the Lord’s decree”

He said to me, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten you

Ask me and I will certainly give you nations as your inheritance,

And the ends of the earth as your possession.

You will crush them with a rod of iron,

As clay pots, you will smash them.”

 

Now kings be wise, and judges of the earth be warned.

Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.

Give sincere allegiance[vi] lest he be angry and your[vii] path destroyed,

Because soon his anger will burn.

Happy are all who seek refuge in him.

 


 

[i] Or “mummer”

[ii] Lit. “rulers”

[iii] The voice change in this Psalm is implicit, the words “They say” are supplied in English.

[iv] Lit. “them” in reference to the Lord and his Messiah (or anointed).

[v] The voice change in this Psalm is implicit, the words “His King says” are supplied in English.

[vi] The text here is difficult, the MT reads נשקו-בר (kiss a son); however, this is difficult for several reasons. First, the verb נשק expects a preposition i.e. ל-. Second, the word בר (son) is Aramaic and unexpected here, especially when the Hebrew word for son was already used earlier in this Psalm. There have been a number of suggestions attempting to resolve the difficulties in this verse. BHS suggest that the text may be corrupt at this point and suggests an alternate reading of “נשקו לרגליו” (Kiss his feet). The NET, Alter, and others suggest that בר is functioning in an adverbial sense meaning pure/sincere, and “kiss purely” should be treated as an idiom for “sincere allegiance” or “upholding purity.”

[vii] “your” is supplied here to smooth out the translation.