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Home > Volume 1 > Number 3: August 2002
To the Editor ...
From Bhojraj Bhatta, Asha Christian Church, Kathmandu, Nepal
Your question in the front page of VOB Vol. 1, No. 2 "How can we gauge the health of the church in Nepal?" captured my imagination for a long time and forced me to ask a couple of questions. "Is there a 'Doctor' for the church in Nepal?" and, if there is, "What can he or she do?"
It was a good thing that the gospel came to Nepal without any denominational or sectarian strings attached to it. But was it good after all? By the grace of God, and unlike in many other nations, there was no foreign missionary who was willing to face the then existing persecution, be arrested, and probably be killed in Nepal for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Since God did not call any missionary with the denominational responsibility to lay down his or her life, yet the need to preach the gospel to Nepali people forced them to find some ways to reach this lost kingdom. The best thing they could find was to recruit Nepali Christians living in India and send them in while they stayed beyond the borders and prayed. The severity of persecution and the gravity of the need made these missionaries to forget about their own interests and simply concentrated on preaching the gospel to the Nepalese. Power of the gospel is so, that when it is preached people will believe and be saved. Suddenly the church in Nepal began to take root in a vacuum. No proper Biblical knowledge, nor the covering of any denomination. Often the first believer of the group became the leader. The missionaries from beyond the borders tried to raise such leaders and provided whatever assistance they could give. With due respect to many great servants of the Lord who laboured in such conditions faithfully, some leaders lost sight of the eternal and focused on the temporal. With this tension in hand, missionaries beyond the borders, and no one to be accountable to; evangelisation of Nepal began. The more people they brought to Christ, the more missionaries beyond the borders appreciated them. Assistance for such leaders came in the form of old clothes, shoes, household utensils, and at times monetary and scholarship for the children's education. Church leaders began to live a better life than the average church members and the message was clear; 'ministry is not a call of God, but a viable option for a better employment'. Churches began to split; any one and every one could become pastor over night. No one to exercise discipline, no denomination to control. All that mattered was 'how can I receive more support than my opponents, how can I convince few more missionaries? The so-called church leaders had no time to worry about the state of the church. Never even thought about the consequences of what they were doing. Especially after the advent of democracy the health of the church deteriorated so fast that starting a new church was the fastest way to the financial prosperity. Pastors began to live in bungalows and drive multimillion rupee cars where as the average membership of their churches have not gone beyond a hundred. Countless times they have changed their position from one denomination to another and in fact some will even find hard to describe as what they believe. In a situation like this it is understandable that the health of the church is far behind from what it should have been by now. But where is the Doctor to examine the health of the church? Those pastors whom the Lord has truly called have decided to leave the matter in God's hand. They do not want to speak anything against any one no matter what they are doing, no matter how much disgrace they bring to the church, these godly pastors have decided to keep silent and serve the Lord faithfully. After all the ungodly ones also are called pastor, they have their own churches and associations. The missionaries have no voice to correct any one because they themselves have not been engaged in any direct Christian activities. Who is going to gauge the health of the church in Nepal? And even if one dares to do, what can he or she achieve out of it? Will the godly in Nepal rise up to take up the challenge? But thank God for the Voice of Bhakti! I pray that the Lord will make you an instrument of warning, caution, and correction!
Asha Christian Church,
Voice of Bhakti welcomes interaction with its readers. If you have a comment please email the editor at the address below. Mark Johnson, editor