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Trips

Romania Nov 2017

Sighet, Romania November 3-13, 2017

Teaching: Hermeneutics

Follow along as teachers in the field offer their experiences as they share theological training with local church leaders.

Nov  10th,  2017Freedom

“The freedom to worship did not bring holiness to the church. –Andrew

 From the end of World War II until 1989, Romania was under the rule of the Communist Party. Here in the northern city of Sighet, the town’s prison housed political prisoners, many of whom were executed in the courtyard of the prison and buried a few kilometers outside of town. Today, the prison has been transformed into the Memorial of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance, a remarkable and eye-opening experience for those who may be unfamiliar with the devastating toll the decades of communism took on this country. One out of every eight Romanians was imprisoned. –Andrew

While the Romanian Orthodox enjoyed a careful and measured amount of freedom, the Catholic and Protestant churches were heavily persecuted. Evangelical believers met in secret while pastors and church leaders were often imprisoned for their faith.

After the bloody revolution of 1989 resulted in the death of Nicolae Ceausescu, things began to change in Romania. But as one of our trainees, who also doubles as an interpreter, said, "The freedome to worship did not bring holiness to the church." Romanian evangelical churches are somewhat notorious for legalistic proof-texting. Many of the countries TLI teaches in have very limited biblical knowledge. That's not the case here. The trainees know their Bible and are often quicker than the instructors to look up a reference. But so often the Biible is used as a support for a preconceived notion rather than a litght for the gospel of Jesus.

After reviewing the hermeneutical process this evening, I had a trainee approach me during our break. He pastors a small village church and has rarely spoke in our classes, listening quietly with his arms folded and what appears to be a scowl on his face. For four days he had listened to us argue for an interpretive process that prioritizes things like authorial intent and contextual controls before jumping to conclusory applications. “My people just want the conclusions. How do I help them see the text as its meant to be read and understood?”

The only “easy” answer to this question with a long tradition behind is it that his church – like all churches – needed a steady diet of faithful, expository preaching. Show them from the pulpit the process of seeing the text in its original context before bringing it into our world for application. Show them the centrality of the gospel of Christ throughout Scripture.

Most of these pastors speak of a slow and rather painful transition occurring in Romanian churches. The moralistic legalism is giving way to a rediscovery of the gospel. As these men faithfully proclaim God’s Word, be praying that the light of the gospel continues to rise in Romanian churches.

 

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