Preachers could be tempted to glorify men instead of God — Rev. Watson
Celebrating 150 years of Christianity in Naga Hills
Mokokchung, Nov. 2 (EMN): The mission of the church is the mission itself and the greatness of a church is not based on setting capacity but on its sending capacity, said Rev. Watson Rajaratnam, Region Director, Serving in Mission, East Asia, on Wednesday.
He was speaking on the second day of the Ao Baptist Arogo Mungdang’s (ABAM)’s sesquicentennial celebration (150 years of Christianity in Naga Hills) at Impur, during the day’s morning worship session.
‘When we go forward with the mission, we are united, and with unity ABAM can send more missionaries, impacting Nagaland and the world,’ said the Reverend who spoke on the theme of the event “To God Be the Glory”.
He also urged the ABAM leaders to go out as missionaries, saying that ‘leadership will come and go but the call to be a disciple and one who proclaims the gospel will ever remind with the Lord’.
Stressing on the challenges of glorifying God, he said preachers could be tempted to glorify and applaud men instead of God. ‘Preach what God tells us to preach,’ he told the congregation.
Another challenge, he said, is turning to another Gospel (prosperity Gospel) and advised the gathering to remember that ‘the real gospel is about Jesus who died for us and through him salvation will come’.
He also called upon the congregation not to grab the glory of God for oneself and run the church as one’s own property. Citing Nebuchadnezzar from the Bible, he warned of the consequences of robbing God’s glory and added that ‘the only purpose for man to live in this world is to glorify God because glory belongs to him alone’.
The Reverend further called upon the congregation to follow the model of Jesus who took the inglorious form and died on the cross to save human beings.
We forgot God — SC Jamir
Speaking at the event, former Chief Minister of Nagaland Dr. SC Jamir, said Christian pioneers had accepted the message of Christ wholeheartedly and in true spirit based on two points — if you believe in Jesus Christ you will receive salvation and if you don’t believe in Christ you are damned for hell.
He said they conquered the darkness and spread the Gospel of light to others with these points. He added that Nagaland would have been a paradise on earth ‘if all the churches and believers prayed to God with true heart like our forefathers’.
Jamir also opined that Nagaland replicates the tower of Babel and the broken wall of Jerusalem, saying that ‘we forgot God and gave rise to many groups while fighting for Naga solution’.
He asked the congregation to ‘ponder seriously on removing replication in our Naga society as we celebrate our sesquicentennial’.
He also warned that the Act East Policy might lead to influx of people from South East Asia countries and it could ‘totally exploit our society, adversely affecting our Naga identity and Christian identity’ if the people are prepared for the economic boom.
Rev. Prof. Dr. Limatula Longkümer Registrar, Senate of Serampore College (University) delivered the sermon, while many others shared greetings.
The second day of celebration, which saw registration of 2961 participants from more than 100 churches, also witnessed the release of ABAM SQC 150 Album.
Rio conveys greetings
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Wednesday conveyed Sesquicentennial greetings, expressing joy over ABAM celebrating 150 years of Christianity. His greetings was read out by Imnatiba, Advisor of Industry and Commerce.
“The Sesquicentennial celebration is a significant milestone and a time for us to reflect on the commitments that were made and upheld for so many years. The Ao Baptist Arogo Mungdang (ABAM) was formed with Impur as its headquarters and the sole aim was to bring together the Baptist Churches of the Ao tribe. It is known to all that the Aos were the first Naga tribe to embrace Christianity and since then you have been playing a prominent role in spreading the Good News to every nook and corner of Nagaland and beyond,” read the message.
“As Christians, we all must care for one another and promote justice and peace and we all must be witnesses to the truth and the light of God. Therefore, on the occasion of the 150 anniversary of the founding of the ABAM, the sincere effort being made as witnesses of the Glory of God for our society is commendable.
“Today, the world is experiencing numerous violent incidences and difficulties and the world at large is experiencing turmoil. Therefore, there is an urgent need to promote hope, truth and unity in Christ that can protect us all from vulnerabilities as human beings and as children of God.
“May the Almighty God grant you the grace and wisdom to continue the pioneering mission of expanding and strengthening the kingdom of God. May God bless you,” it added.