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Challenges of Pastoring in a Context of Cultural Christianity


Well, there are quite a few challenges of pastoring in a city where there's a lot of cultural Christianity. I live in the city of Cochin and one challenge is nominal or traditional churches. In some of these churches, there are a lot of people who think that they are saved because they are just part of that traditional church. For example, a lot of people are part of the Jacobite Church or say an Orthodox Church or even the Roman Catholic Church, which is about 40 percent of the city. And they think that they're going to heaven and they're good. They have confidence in their salvation because they are part of that church.
That's on one end l. And on the other end there's a lot of sinful living that happens among these people who call themselves Christians. There is drunkenness. This is a huge issue in the city of Cochin and drugs and other kinds of immorality. But that's okay apparently when people are a part of these nominal churches. On the other hand, another challenge of being in a city where there's a lot of cultural Christianity is, what someone has called nominal evangelicalism. This is a type of church where they affirm all the correct biblical doctrines, but there's no inward change, there's no inward conversion. And so we have a lot of unconverted people who think they are saved, but they are not. Because they grow up doing the right lingo they know what to say, but they're not truly born again. If you try to preach the true gospel in such a culture, there's a lot of hostility that is generated from both groups. Both see you as a threat to the established church or the other types of churches. And so this is another challenge when you work in a city when there's a lot of cultural Christianity.
A final challenge is the people who are outside of these groups say Hindus or Muslims or other religions, they see the dominant form of Christianity which is either these nominals or traditional churches or the nominal Evangelical churches. And they equate both of these groups with authentic Christianity. And so it just makes it harder when you try to reach out to these people and they say, "Well look at those people they call themselves Christian."
And so that just makes it harder to work in such a situation and so these are some of the challenges of pastoring in a city with a lot of cultural Christianity

Benjamin George

serves as one of the elders at Grace Church, Kochi, Kerala. He is married to Miriam and they have three children.

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