Text and Context in Dialogue

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You have in your hands the first issue of a new magazine. The issues that will be dealt with in this magazine are of great importance to the cause of Christ in and outside of Nepal. The movement to Christ in Nepal and among Nepalis living outside Nepal's borders gives us much cause for encouragement. Fellowships of Nepali believers can be found in many towns and villages across the country and indeed across much of south and south-east Asia. For this we give thanks to the Lord.

But we have to recognise that there are also some worrying problems. These problems have resulted in a growing distrust of Christians by the wider community. Large social groups are increasingly closed to the gospel. How has this situation come about? What factors have led to the current situation and how can we address these in our ministries today? This magazine aims to create a forum for the discussion of Biblical issues in the context of the Nepali Hindu community. As such we hope to publish careful studies of Biblical and cultural issues. It is vitally important that the movement to Christ in Nepal develop a thoughtful understanding of both the Bible and the cultures within which it lives. It is only in such a dialogue that a truly Nepali theology can emerge. This is the process that we call contextualisation. We look at the text (the Word of God) and the context (the social and cultural surroundings in which we live) and see how they relate to one another. Out of this interaction we deepen in our understanding of the message we have and of how the disciple of Christ must live.

The first issue of 'Voice of Bhakti' will focus on the theme of our identity: Who is the disciple of Christ? What does it mean to follow Christ in relation to the particular social and religious community in which we were born and have grown up? How can we best describe ourselves to our unbelieving relatives and friends? What are we asking them to become? To initiate the discussion we are reprinting two articles that were originally published for the Indian context. Their relevance to the Nepali context will be immediately obvious to sensitive observers.

In the near future we hope to launch a sister publication in Nepali - 'Bhaktivani'. Our prayer is that this journal would help followers of Christ in Nepal to think through these issues and work out a better way - a way that is more honouring to our Lord and his message.

Editor: Mark Johnson

Permission to copy any of the articles in this journal may be sought from the editor.

Letters to the editor: Voice of Bhakti welcomes interaction with its readers.

Please write to The Editor.

bhakti. bhakti, nom. devotion, love, loyalty