Christians in Nepal

baby elephant

baby elephant

Writing from Kathmandu after a week of ministry in Nepal. This is an amazing place. That there is a Christian witness here at all is a sign of God’s grace and power.

I remember the words of an old Larry Norman song that said:

There are Christians in Russia, they meet underground
In China they’re killed when they’re found.
And in Cuba the Christians live up in the hills
Because its not safe in the town.

This reflected the Cold War reality of anti-Christian Communist governments. There was a political agenda to eradicate any trace of the church, which was seen as a threat to the dream of establishing a classless society and a connection to decadent, fascist Western society and its values. At the core, one of the problems was the Christian teaching that each man or woman was a precious child of God and had inherent value. This is the basis of Western democratic ideals, the one person one vote system. In totalitarian Communism, no one person could be greater than the state and the inevitable progress to a classless society.

Nepal lived through several versions of this, often seen as a piece on the global chessboard by the great nations. The strong Maoist (Communist) party and the ancient Hindu culture leave little room for Christianity and its message of hope and love.

Yesterday we attended a large Nepali church and were blessed that it had in-ear translation devices available so we could understand what was being said. Before the sermon, the platform person asked all who “did not know Jesus” to exit, and, if they chose, to speak with persons outside who would tell them about Jesus. I thought it was a curious move. Maybe twenty people out of the 600 there left. Why did they do this. It is a little unclear, but it had something to do with Nepali laws against proselytizing. You cannot do active evangelism here, only passive. You must create situations where others want to come and talk to you about your Christian faith. We, as foreigners, certainly could not do street evangelism or conduct a Billy Graham style crusade. We would either be arrested or asked to leave the country immediately.

Yet the church survives, even thrives in this hostile situation. The church has never required a benevolent monarchy or the open society of a democracy to flourish. Governments come and go, the church marches on. Christ will be victorious, utterly victorious in the end, and all opposition to him will prove to be futile.

Mark Krause
Nebraska Christian College

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