Multilingual Churches



There are various ways in which linguistic issues are being tackled by churches. For instance, there are those who wish to reach out to their own linguistic community and so traverse land and sea to reach their own community. Examples of such would be Hindi or Sindhi or Malayalee congregations making efforts to establish linguistic church communities in other nations. There are others who wish to only have their linguistic denomination in the foreign country they are living in. Sadly, not many of these may be willing to reach and draw in disciples from other linguistic communities.

However, there are examples of churches that hold services in a particular vernacular or more common language, but are not known as a Hindi church or a Chinese church or an English church. These are more open to reach out everyone around and when they feel the need to have services in more languages, they do so while keeping intact the vision of the one flock.

In Acts 2, we have a very vivid example of God's way. When the disciples were filled with the Spirit, they spoke in tongues, but the Scripture testifies that people from various language groups heard in their own respective languages the words that the disciples were uttering by the Spirit.
And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs-- we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God." (Act 2:6-11)

Paul says to the Corinthians: "unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air." (1Co 14:9)

Truly the Church is redeemed by Christ's "blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation" (Rev 5:9) and Christ wants all to hear the words of His Gospel of liberation in words that can be understood. It is very important for people to hear the words distinctly and understand their meaning.
So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading. (Neh 8:8)

Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? ...So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.... Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel. (1Co 14:7-12)

Paul here talks about speaking in tongues and the importance of the gift of interpretation. The principle, however, is that people should be able to understand the meaning of the words in worship service. Of course, this also means that preachers shouldn't use jargon and words (no matter how elite it may make themselves feel) that make no sense to the congregation. On the other hand, it also means that where the best possible solution is procuring the help of an interpreter to translate the message (as in bi-lingual or multi-lingual single services), the preacher must try to facilitate ease of translation rather than make it trying to the interpreter.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Origin of the Poem "When God Wants To Drill A Man"

सुखी परिवार के सात लक्षण

नववर्ष में निर्भय प्रवेश – New Year Message