Saturday, February 6, 2010

Vinoth Ramachandra on Church Growth in Asia

The article was posted in The Christian Post and deserves some thought.

Much Christian Growth in Asia is Superficial: Theologian

Edmond Chua

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010 Posted: 10:12:49PM HKT

The perceived growth of Christianity in Singapore and other nations in Asia is not an unqualified blessing in the view of an Indian theologian.

"Much of the numerical Christian growth in our nations is superficial," said Dr Vinoth Ramachandra in a series of lectures he gave at Trinity Theological College which the college compiled and published as a book in 2009.

This was the same year a South Asian Christianity researcher who was invited to give the lectures that year had concluded that the quality of the large number of conversions in recent years in Singapore is questionable.

“Large churches (including those that send out many cross-cultural missionaries to other parts of Asia) seem to have little transformative impact on their neighbourhoods and culture,” said Dr Ramachandra, stressing that the primary task of the Church is not ‘missions’ and discipleship – what he described as activism.

Rather the Church’s task is “simply being the Church; a radically new community in which social, cultural and economic barriers between peoples are broken down and men and women learn to love their traditional and personal enemies,” the Secretary for Dialogue and Social Engagement for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) said in ‘Church and Mission in the New Asia: New Gods, New Identities’.

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  1. The same can be said of South Korea. Whilst many are impressed by the numerical growth of the churches there and the no. of missionaries that were sent out by the Korean churches, it remains quite corrupted compared to other developed nations in Asia. It paid the price when the Asian financial crisis hit in 97/98. All the of the last 5 presidents were tainted with corruption.

    I'm afraid there has not been significant transformation in the economic, business and political spheres despite all the piety displayed by the Korean Christians. I say this not to judge my brothers and sisters in Korea. We are no better than them. But I think the piece by Vinoth Ramachandra certainly should cause us to be more reflective of what it means to God's community in our nation. Then from reflection to action.

  2. Hi sp lim,

    I agree with you. Numeral growth does not equated with spiritual maturation. This is so unfortunate.

    We really need to look at the way we 'do church' and ask ourselves, why are we not seeing more 'Christians' maturing into Christ's likeness? Is there something defective in the way we 'do church?' That is a question I am always asking myself.