I meet weekly with a pastor in a country that is predominately Muslim. He is the pastor of several underground churches. We have been meeting together for about four years. We meet on line using the third video conferencing vehicle in four years. The government there has blocked the three others we have used.
I have been there five times. Three of those trips were to help him equip the people in the churches in the word and for leadership. We finished our study of Acts a few weeks ago and we started a study on 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus last week. Last week we did an overview of the three books as a whole and this week we were in Titus 1.
His observations in Acts were much different than the observations of the men with whom I was studying the book here. Why? He is living through many of the same issues. He is facing some of the same issues in his churches that I am working on in a church I have been asked to help. Namely, developing and equipping leaders.
I thought I had a pretty good handle on the qualifications for the role of elder in Titus 1. Then he started asking about some of the specifics of the requirements that Paul outlined as they applied to a Muslim convert. I found myself hesitating with my answers. I know the people about whom he was asking. I know the struggles they have being converts in a Muslim family. My response after we talked for a while was that I needed to spend more time in that passage and the others that deal with elders and I needed to pray about his questions.
So do the issues in the culture mean that we set aside certain of the requirements as they pertain to the family? Or do we follow what Paul outlined trusting in what the Word says is right and that the sovereignty of God is over that ministry condition?
I am struggling with this.