A Church School

What does RPS have to do with Christ’s church?

Rev. AP

Our Vision: “We see NEPALI COMMUNITIES flourishing in the FRUITS OF THE GOSPEL through the labor of DISCIPLES YOKED TO CHRIST.”

One graduate of RPS went out to plant a church in an unreached village in Gorkha. He lived with the people, sharing their kitchen, farming their lands, celebrating in their joys and crying together in their losses. Living along side them, he shared the gospel with the villagers. A year later, he helped them physically to build a church out of tree-trunks, bamboos, and mud. The church began to grow spiritually as well as in numbers. After four years over 50 members from the village come to church regularly. He continues to nurture them through preaching and the sacraments, teaching in their homes and sharing life with them. This in essence is the vision of RPS realized.

 

RPS is a “church school.” As a church-school our purpose and goal are that of the church. The mission of the Church is the mission of Jesus Christ.  The mission of the church, according to Jesus, is to be the people belonging to God: the same vision God the YHWH had for human beings in creation. When God created the world, he invested himself into it, not only in the process of creating everything but more so in making man and woman in his own image.  According to Genesis 1 and 2, bearing God’s image meant three things. First, being in intimate fellowship with the creator, enjoying his fullness. Second, employing authority as stewards to care for creation, like the ambassadors working on behalf of their sovereign superior back in home country. Finally, the creation of people made for Sabbath purposes, to rest and rejoice in God’s provision and promises.

However, according to the biblical worldview, in the Fall of human beings they committed treason by defying God’s command, and brought about pervasive depravity. The Fall’s curse was spread as wide as creation, as far out as humans can reach. It brought pain in our toils, pollution in the world, corruption in all human transactions, suffering in life, and physical death as the final loss in the world. Human beings became the carriers of this disease called sin and infected the whole creation when they sought the crown and glory that solely belong to God their creator.

God had a vision for the creation that reached beyond the Fall: a creation restored back into God’s original purposes. The Old Testament prophets called this vision “Shalom”. Shalom means the world put back together into God’s original plans. [1] Professor, Cornelius Plantinga gives a comprehensive definition of Shalom as,

“The webbing together of God, humans and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call Shalom. … In the Bible Shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight—a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words is the way things ought to be.”[2]

Jesus was God’s way of restoring his Creation, the way to restore human beings to the state of shalom, and through them to restore the whole creation for his glory. This is why the motto of RPS is “Restorers of God’s Creation.”

The church is the body of Christ. Literally, Jesus’ life, death and resurrection are the DNA of the Church that exists to give the love and hope of resurrection-life to everyone who comes to Christ and confesses “Jesus is Lord.” When one takes Baptism, she is united with Christ in his life, death and resurrection, from then on lives with Christ. Just as Paul claims, “if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”[3] NT Wright says “Resurrection means what it says. …It speaks of a this-worldly restoration in which justice and peace will be established for ever.”[4] It is not only a historical truth; it is a present reality in which we live. “If we are in Christ, we are a new creation,” says Paul. Just as we are, we become ambassadors of this hope, reconciling the world to their creator God, thus accepting the task of priesthood.

Jesus’ mission is the mission of the Church. The mission of the church is to make disciples. The call to live in Christ is the call to discipleship. Jesus said, “if anyone wants to come after me he must deny himself, pick up his cross and follow me daily.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, ‘When Christ calls a man [to be a disciple], he bids him come and die.”[5]

This high calling goes out to the church in Nepal. As a young church, Nepal is in serious need for discipleship. Therefore, the mission of the Church is the mission of RPS. Discipleship is learning to follow Jesus Christ, embodying his vision, mission and values. This requires more than simply teaching, it needs coaching and mentoring. In this responsibility RPS is committed to forming and equipping students. “The mission of RPS is to provide Christ-centered training to equip godly leaders for Christ’s church among Nepali people, who are authentic in Christian character, competent in theological knowledge, and equipped for ministry.

Through the programs of studying, working, playing, mentoring, worship, and other disciplines of Christian lives, RPS seeks to make disciples of Christ who in the course learn to be yoked with Christ, and by doing so eventually graduate from here to go out to serve the Nepali Church, bearing fruit that pleases our master, the Lord Jesus Christ. To him be the glory. Amen.

[1] Authors of Scriptures speak clearly about this in passages such as, Isaiah 61, Luke 4:18-19, Revelation 21.

[2] Cornelius Plantinga, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1996), 10.

[3] Romans 6:8

[4]NT Wright, Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship (London: SPCK, 1994). pg91.

[5] Deitrich Bonhoeffer’s popular quote from The Cost of Discipleship