Holy father, holy garments, holy pulpit, holy cross, holy kiss etc.

[ 0 ] October 26, 2018 |

The church in Nepal for the first 50 years was nascent, uncorrupted and apostolic in pattern, teaching and faith. Wonders and miracles followed the preaching every Christian who had an anointing of the Holy Spirit a minister of the Word and It was catholic as well because there was sacramental unity with one kind of baptism and communion services. There were no variety in our faith and practices except in place of worship, the way we sat and the way we conducted services.

In the apostolic age there were no hierarchy in leadership, no special places for services and no special people for the ministry except the churches elected and prayer for people who were filled with the Spirit and of credible reputation among the saints and endowed with specific gifting. Even the apostles, did not have any special garments, insignia or position though they were infallible as and when they collectively made decisions for the Church and wrote letters personally establishing the teaching of the apostles which later became the New Testament Word of God for us. They were the appointed carriers of what Jesus revealed regarding the Kingdom of God and the life and ministry of the Church till Jesus comes. Once the Bible was complete and accepted as the authority for life and faith by the Universal Church, nobody, can claim that kind of apostolic revelation authority after the time of the first century apostles.

Through the centuries, political and social power and dynamics have played into the church all kinds of extremes. From the Holy Father Pope controlling the universal Church from the Holy See to the liberty of every individual Christian doing everything including baptism and communion even without a congregation of Christians. Ritualizing of many activities and ministries as well as adorning with special garments and ornaments in the fashion of the human religions has become an established norm as the Israelites in the Canaan did in the OT times. They lost their difference as a God’s people regenerated and with a life style honoring God and revealing His character. They invented all kinds of ceremonies and rituals as if to please God and replace the Old Testament practices which are no more relevant. Baptism has been made just a religious symbol and practiced in all kinds of ways to appease the masses and their convenience. The value and commitment attached to it is no more a consideration for such. The communion also has become more of a mystical religious activity or pooja and more like the hindu prasad or an auspicious element for purification, healing and blessing for many.

There was a trend among the pastors to have a Brahmin or poojari mentality in the Nepali churches as that was the familiar pattern in their ancestral religions. The pastors became the real Christians with access to God and endowed with Holy Spirit while the ordinary Christians became second class as far as access to God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit are concerned. So for prayer, worship and other spiritual activities the presence of a pastor/elder became a necessity and the believers were deprived of the privilege in getting involved in spiritual ministries. Slowly pastors and church leaders have become special class of spiritual people different from the normal believers. This is against the apostolic teachings in Eph 4, Col 1 and the practice of the apostolic Church. As such things are not warranted in the New Testament the people who practices these have defended themselves by traditions in the church after the Constantine era.

Recently there have been a lot of false and cult teachings entering the churches which are not much organized or like to be called independent. Usually such churches are founded, owned and controlled by a person, family or a group of people whom God has graciously used to initiate His mission. Some have become fathers asking believers to give everything (honor and substance) to them, obey without questioning and be parasitic in divine knowledge and access only through them. Others have taken the titles as Apostles, Bishops, Prophets, Reverends, Senior Pastors and such. Some others have taken special kinds of rings, chains, collars, garments and even carrying holy towels and holy oil. The practice of venerating the Cross, pulpit, sacraments and even the ring and the holy kiss of the Bishops have started. Candle and incense burning is sure to start soon. It seems there is no end to such things. These are all usually practiced by evangelical Christians who preach the true gospel but practice something else!

Now, if the Bible is not the authority and basis for all these, then from where do they get the basis and authority? In one word, it is money and similar other material and beneficial motives. Usually an outsider who has born and brought up in such traditional churches come to Nepal as a missionary tourist and realize that the church here is very naïve, illiterate, undeveloped and uneducated. They start graciously to use their money knowledge and time to develop, educate and fashion the church to be modern. Their usual way of doing it is by enticing a family or person with facilities and money and using them to influence the church. Going out of Nepal for any reason or no reason has become one of the important hope of Nepali Christians with the added fervor of making money and getting degrees. If they could click with an organization and become its agent, then they consider themselves blessed and start a new ministry to lift the poor church in Nepal. Some do this by remote control from living outside, some visiting and controlling the poor parasitic worker by visit from time to time and some others doing everything themselves with some puppets around and often going outside to present reports and collect more money.

All of these missionary tourists and their agents do not understand that the Church in Nepal is a ministry and work of the sovereign God through His Holy Spirit anointing and using illiterate, under developed,  uneducated and naïve Christians to establish His Church. The Church in Nepal is His work which is not substandard in any way and do not need any new way of prayer, worship, or preaching. Teaching the Word of God to substantiate what the Holy Spirit has already done and bring them closer the fuller knowledge of the person of Christ is the only ministry they need. So whatever has come in as new in the last few years are of no value to Church and Christianity and is all human bubbles which will burst sooner or later.  Anything which do not accept what the Lord has done in Nepal in the past is irrelevant in the present. Thus we can confidently dismiss all these new teachings and practices as totally unbiblical and unnecessary. We are not saying that they are heretical or anathema to Bible but they are corrupt practices through the Church history which we do not need take on. Remember that God is able to work through some of these corrupted ways and practices in His Church as He is still gracious to use His incomplete people for accomplishing his mission on earth.

If you can study through Hebrews chapters 6-9, you will soon recognize that this was a struggle for the writer to write against the syncretic faith and practices in the first century church. But it is loud and clear, old is gone and no systems are accepted in the New. No priesthood, no sacraments, no veneration of material things. Jesus is the only High Priest and His sacrifice on the cross is the only Holy sacrament we are His royal priesthood- every believer who has been born again and has the Holy Spirit living in them. No one is second class and no one above anyone else- all equals before the cross. It is sad that we have to go on reminding ourselves of our calling and inheritance as Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:3-9, and 2 Peter 1:3,4.

PA Thomas

 

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Category: Bible Study & Teaching, False Techings