Pastors from a dangerous Muslim-majority nation have begun receiving non-formal training from TLI in the heart of the Middle East. After an initial week of teaching on the attributes of God, one of the pastors named Masih* returned to his church to share what he had learned. Among those truths was a strange, newly encountered concept—the doctrine of the jealousy of God.
As Masih taught about God's character in his local villages, an invitation came to speak to another congregation in a state 13 hours away. He had only one day to preach, so he took the opportunity to summarize TLI's teaching on God's attributes. However, while he was speaking, he noticed that the congregation turned to one another in hushed tones. The look on their faces revealed horror. They too had latched onto the concept of God's jealousy, but to them Masih seemed to be sullying God's nature.
The church was visibly upset, his host family terribly ashamed. How could they invite someone to speak who would bring such a strange doctrine? After Masih finished preaching, they informed him that he would not be allowed to return home. Some nearby pastors were going to gather the next day to correct his teaching.
That night Masih stayed up late reviewing his TLI coursebook, looking up Bible passages about God being jealous for his glory. The following morning, he met with the local leaders. They entered the room frustrated and angered. But as he patiently defended his teaching from scripture, their countenances slowly changed. The room fell silent.
One of the local pastors eventually stood up. He apologized to Masih, admitting that they spoke poorly of him when they were actually in the wrong. No longer were they upset at him; they were now upset at themselves for their lack of biblical knowledge. Then he thanked Masih personally and added, "Again today you will not be allowed to leave us, but you will have dinner at my home tonight. Not only will we eat together, but we will gather others to come and hear this wonderful teaching."
Since then, every time Masih attends a TLI training, the pastors in that distant state have given him an open invitation to come back and teach them and their people. Before Masih came to the most recent training, they called him with an urgent appeal. 'We are waiting for you,' they said, 'to return to share with us more beautiful things from God's Word.'
“Since then, every time Masih attends a TLI training, the pastors in that distant state have given him an open invitation to come back and teach them and their people”
Masih wept as he spoke of their eagerness for the teaching. He communicated through tears the joy he now has in passing on all that he is learning of the Bible with the help of TLI. In addition to that, Masih is gaining another valuable lesson about Christian ministry. As he happily told us, "Now I've come to understand how God changes people through his Word."
*Name changed for security purposes