"Is it a sin to chew pinang?"
"We tell people it is important to read scripture but there are people in our areas that can't read?
"Do we need to send money to Israel?"
"What about when you have explained scripture and people still don't understand?"
These are some of the kinds of questions that were lobbed at Isaac at a recent training of church leaders of one of the tribal groups near us. To get there we drove for an hour out to transmigration camp #8, where a church building was filled with men and women. They were there for a weekend training conference and Isaac was one of the speakers. Here we are with the leadership team, other professors and staff at our college.
Isaac spoke about teaching and interpreting scripture, and he was asked to come because Isaac's area of emphasis is teaching the Old Testament. This tribe (and others) have recently had a strange teaching that has become influential. It involves political support for Israel, returning to Old Testament law, and other exotic externals like shofar horns and Hebrew phrases in worship. At its core it is a misunderstanding of scripture, particularly related to Israel and the Old Testament law. Crucial to helping the churches respond is teaching them to read and interpret the Old Testament. Isaac loves to preach from the Old Testament and show the fulfillment of Old Testament stories and prophecies in Jesus.
It's amazing, really, that a nice road leads all the way out to this area now, and we can just reach it in our own car! And it's amazing to see the leaders with their Bibles and notes open, studying and thinking. And finally, it's amazing to gather with the leaders afterwards and eat spicy vegetables in a broth on rice with grilled fish, and have it feel 100% normal to us.