Talking with a local “M” this week, he told me of his newest church plant in a local village. The local mo phi (หมอผี) or shaman has started to attend Bible study simply because one of the Christian Thai gals sat down at the woman’s fortune telling booth asking about the power she has to tell the future. In the course of the conversation, the Christian gal told her (think Paul on Mars Hill talking about an alter to the unknown god) about the ultimate power of the universe who created all things and holds all things together by His might.
The shaman was hooked. She wanted to know this power in hopes of harnessing it (she apparently makes a very good living telling the future and has, so far, never been wrong). As she began attending Bible study and worship, she has become more and more excited about this Jesus so continues to attend. But here’s the catch. The more she studies the Word, the less power she has to foretell the future. She is losing her ‘power’. The cool thing is that even though she now has no reliable source of income because she can no longer “see the future”, she doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, she continues to attend Bible study.
The dilemma for the “M” is that she obviously continues to attend in hopes of harnessing ultimate power. Yet, at the same time, her loss of power may indicate the Holy Spirit’s obvious work in wooing her to Christ. What should he do? What would you do? How would you handle a situation like this if you were the church planter?
I’m thinking a 19th century theologian and preacher may have something to say about this. Check out a couple quotes below.
According to the highly influential Scottish theologian and preacher, Thomas Chalmers, “a moralist will be unsuccessful in trying to displace his (or her) love of the world by reviewing the ills of the world. Misplaced affections need to be replaced by the far greater power of the affection of the Gospel.”
“A new affection is more successful in replacing an old affection than simply trying to end it without supplanting it with something better.”
For the entire sermon, follow the link here.