I am privileged to teach this week in Andhra Pradesh. For the last twelve years, we have called North India our home yet rarely have I traveled or taught in the South Indian village. Many pastors have I met over the years along with many smiling children. No greater joy have I than to see pastors pouring over the Scriptures, studying the pages of sacred writ, seeking to understand the deep things of God. For many of these men, this week is their first exposure to this thing we call Biblical Theology.
Twenty pastors—our “students”—walked passage by passage with us from Genesis through Israel’s wilderness wanderings. We traced over and over again how the Scriptures develop God’s plan for glorifying himself in the world. He repeatedly reveals himself to his people, who repeatedly fail to listen, love and obey him. Simultaneously, God incrementally extends and expands his promises, and by the end of the day, the men were anticipating the hope of a coming redeemer. Adam failed. Noah and his offspring failed. Moses failed. Israel failed! Oh, for one who shall not fail!
Tomorrow we’ll see how the OT themes converge and unite in the death and resurrection of the man, Christ Jesus. What a joy! What worship! This kind of teaching is nothing short of worship to the Living Lord. Pray for these pastors, that they would see the flow of Scripture with their own eyes. Pray that they would grasp how the covenants and prophets inexorably lead us to a crucified and risen King. Pray that we can explain well the framework for these things and experience the joy of Christ.
As the sun sank into the horizon, we were invited to play a little cricket (although I think the central motive was more likely entertaining the locals by our inability to hit a decent sixer). We walked back through a Dalit village on the edge of the town and were greeted with the beautiful smiles of twenty children. We sang a song and laughed a bit, and I was reminded of my own daughters singing similarly silly songs back home. The villagers asked for prayer as we passed through—a lingering infection, a man recovering from an accident—and we prayed to the God who raises the dead. You may have heard how Dalits some of the world’s most impoverished and marginalized people. There is no exaggeration.
At it’s core, theological education enables pastors to proclaim the entire sweep of Scripture to those in every Indian village.