India continues to become very secular and materialistic, and increased Western influencehas brought additional challenges to a culture that was already in bondage. However, the greatest challenge to these young pastors right now comes from within the body of Christ. The consumer theology of American preaching is now being preached in India. Some so-called “pastors” and “teachers” have decided that it is unreasonable to think that challenges and struggles can be a regular part of God’s plan for people’s lives. In India the airwaves are filled American and western “evangelists” and “preachers” who lay out the formula for success in ministry, which in fact is perverted.
Doesn’t Romans 8:29 say we are to be conformed to Christ’s image and not the image of the world, which measures how large particular congregations are, their building, programs, etc.? The Book of Acts tells how the first Christians were persecuted and scattered all over the world. I do not find any references to “name it and claim it”, “have more faith”, or “rebuke the devil”! The foolishness is obvious, but there is an insatiable desire within all of us to be successful, and that wrapped around the Word of God (taken out of context) can quickly turn momentum into a monument.
My prayer for you and these men in India is that we never fall prey to this distorted teaching, or become Christian consumers who are never rooted and grounded because, when we “feel” that we are not being entertained, we find a new place that will entertain. It is important to note that the devil does attack, but the mature response to tough times is to affirm by faith that God has a purpose in everything He does or allows, even though that purpose might not be clear to us (Romans 8:28,35-37). Romans 5 clearly outlines expectations so that we do not just have our theology straight, but also our walk with Him. These men in India have been taught to embrace, not avoid, difficulty. Jesus told the Church in Smyrna, “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich)” (Revelation 2:9). Our men have been taught to embrace a much different kind of abundance. They view courage, faithfulness, and integrity as their true riches.