Theological education is urgently needed in Nepal. In a country, where there’s a massive need for basic education, theological education is a distant cry. Watching church history unfold in front of our eyes, it is clear, that God is active in making himself real; thousands of people are turning to him every year. While churches grow far and wide, leaders for the churches have not been proportionately raised. While God is invisible, and anyone standing up to preach the gospel explaining the Bible, and start a church can claim to be a pastor. Question is, how does one qualify to become a pastor? What should be different in standards and criteria for one to become a Christian leader?
Amid of crisis, due to the global pandemic of COVID-19- many pastors and leaders are making extraordinary and prophetic claims about what God is doing and why the plague has come upon us. Churches are struggling to make sense of the new realities of not meeting together to worship and fellowship. In such a time, one needs to know how to interpret the Bible, as well as global and local situations. The heart of the Bible is the covenant of God, who has a mission in the world, and the church is his primary agency- like an embassy speaking on his behalf to the world.
NT Wright in his book, God and the Pandemic claims that our duty as Christians in times such as this is to lament with the sick, dying, and grieving. And from lament, prepare for fresh actions. He says, “the call to Jesus’ followers is to be sign-producers for God’s kingdom…actions, symbols, not just words, which speak of new creation: of healing for the sick, of food for the hungry” (Wright 2020, 64). This is the duty of genuine Body of Christ, here and now, until Jesus comes back to set everything straight.
This issue of Restorers addresses such particular needs of the Nepali Church- why theological education is urgently needed for pastors and Christian leaders to engage society in the crisis and the context of change. They have a calling as a prophet to understand God and his desire for the world rightly, and then engage the world without self-serving intentions. They must declare “God is sovereign” and “Christ is Lord,” over every circumstance, and help people make sense of the world God created; how it is fallen, and how Christ is redeeming it, and bring the hope of the resurrection into their present context. It is not to simply look for opportunities for self-advertisement and personal gain.
The vision of Restorers magazine is to inform and equip pastoral leaders of Nepali Churches with the theological framework that understands God as he has revealed himself through Scripture and understand the world and its cultures to speak into the hearts and minds of those who believe in Jesus Christ by the means of a local church. My prayer is that pastors of Nepali churches as leaders of invest in a life of learning theology, and genuinely engage the church as the Body of Christ.