A friend of mine, Leif, was able to attend the Conference for Reaching Shamanist Peoples of Asia. As a follow up to my last post, I thought I would quote him, and what he said about the conference.
“It really was a great conference. There were a few highlights for me. One
was hearing a guy from the Altai region throat singing in worship to God.
Another was that my (Russian) pastor was at the conference and he seems to have totally
caught the vision for contextualizing worship and evangelism. It will be
exciting to see where things move forward with this. It was just a great time
to stop and re-think what it is that I/we are doing here in Buryatia. Pray
that we really are able to move forward with things like language, learning
worship styles better, and just knowing who the Buryats are better.”
This is great to hear. What I most appreciate about this group of people, is their concern that native people find their own identity in Christ, both as individuals, and as a people group. Far too often, we as a church, have made the mistake of presenting the gospel with a lot of fine print. That fine print is expectations we have of new Christians, that Christ does not. These expectations are usually tied to what we consider “normal” Christianity. This “normal” Christianity is based more on our cultural norms or preferences, rather than on the Bible. In Acts 15, a dispute breaks out on whether new believers should be circumcised. Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to consult with the apostles and elders on this question. The results of that council were that new believers did not need to be circumcised.
Today, when we start new churches in far off lands, those churches should not look like our home church in the US. Yes, preach Christ, his crucifixion, resurrection and new life and encourage new believers to sing, and dance to the Lord in their own language, in their cultural forms. There is a redeemer, Jesus God’s own Son, redeeming people, redeeming people groups, redeeming cultures, redeeming nations, until the whole world is full of His glory.