Monday, January 18, 2010

"They should just learn to speak English..."

I have been thinking about the issues of cross–cultural ministries and a way forward for our Korean children’s and youth ministries. I have been wondering out loud what theological resources we might bring to the discussion.

I was reading Nehemiah 8 –this morning when I read this:
They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
Carson makes the point that the “book”, the Law, was written in Hebrew but most people spoke Aramaic so it needed to be translated and exegeted. Their response:
12And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.
The principle, the gospel should not be hidden by language.

The 39 Articles make a similar point:
Article XXIV
Of speaking in the Congregation in such a tongue as the people understandeth. It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have publick Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments in a tongue not understanded of the people.
In our muti-language communities, for those who do not speak English, we need gatherings that speak the mother tongue, after all English is not the heavenly language- my Korean friends tell me Korean is, anyoung haseyo: )

I disagree with those who insist that all gatherings should be in English "They should just learn to speak English and come to our church." To do so is to turn language into an idol. Australians could not be accused of that could they? ..;)

Just wondering what you think?

1 comment:

Aramaic Scholar said...

If everyone took the time to learn the original Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek of the Bible, then we could all read the inspired words directly, and wouldn't need a translation at all. Bible believers should try to understand at least some of the original languages of Scripture.