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Keralabrethren.net: General Forum: Racism?

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# 08322 :  Racism?

Greetings to everyone,

I am a not a keralite but I am a brethren Christian. I somehow end up coming in contact with Kerala brethren whichever church I  attend. I am constantly forced to take out my ornaments by Kerala brethren. When I tried to convince the elders who also happened to be Kerala brethren, they admitted it's got nothing to do with the Bible but it's the culture. What part of I'm not a malayalee brethren do they not understand? Is it correct to be intolerant to other Christians and take pride in it? I was even threatened to be excommunicated which was the biggest shock I've come across. Don't I have the freedom to follow my culture and take pride in it?  Talking about what is given in the Bible, are we becoming legalistic believers who forget the sole purpose of what we are called for ? I always hear the " it's in the Bible" and it's frustrating because people are using the Bible to hurt each other rather than what it was meant for.. Opinions, suggestions etc are welcome. 

Post by : confusedchristian  View Profile    since : 15 Aug 2017


Reply by : paizanjoe   View Profile   Since : 15 Aug 2017 5:44:02 AM Close

Dear confused Christian,

I came back to the forum after several weeks. Surprisingly, things have not changed here.

Your concern is apt. I understand the frustration that is in you. KB tends to think that they are God’s gift to mankind. The irony is that, the state even uses it as a tagline.

To wear or not to wear, is a topic which keeps coming up regularly. I know a lot of self-proclaimed stalwarts from the community who parade as bible teachers and teach against it. There are some misguided ones. And a few who use the social media regularly for such meaningless propaganda. 

The best way to counter this to use the same tactic you would to speak to a Roman Catholic priest.

Ask relevant questions.

  1. Ask them where it is mentioned in the NT
  2. Do not accept baseless interpretations. For e.g. Being humble is not a logical explanation. And giving up ornaments as a perquisite is as logical as us, keeping Easter.
  3. Engage with other believers not of the same language.  Social media used rightly could be a tool to ‘admonish’. The church of God is not a hidden entity, if it was, the Lord would not have called us lights of this world. When question marks are raised. Answers come.

Last of all, don’t go to such assemblies where false doctrines/teachings are propagated. There are always options. The Lord knows His people. But at the end, pray for everything.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

Joe

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Reply by : confusedchristian   View Profile   Since : 15 Aug 2017 10:20:46 PM Close

Thanks for the reply brother. Glad to hear from you. In context to your reply I would like to tell you some of the things here in our assembly 

1) First of all we don't get to say anything or even point out things. The elders here say that God hates the believers questioning their elders. 

2) Changing the assembly is not even an option. The elders come home even if we don't attend a few meetings and start driving us crazy because according to them, attendance = spirituality. Those who don't make it to every meeting are driven by Satan ( that's what they say here). The elders will humiliate us in the form of bible messages on Sunday.

3) Assemblies are becoming cultic as the focus is on impressing others, persecuting your own kind, taking pride in knowing the Bible thoroughly but not being a Christian. 

It has affected me a lot. It has made me judge others and look down on people who are not like me and I hate it. I'm trying to become normal where I accept everyone just like Christ did.

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Reply by : paizanjoe   View Profile   Since : 16 Aug 2017 3:39:12 AM Close

Dear Confused Christian,

I can offer you guidance on this but on a more personal level. If you are interested, do write to me on joepaizan@gmail.com.

The reason I say this is because, there are some unruly elements on this forum who may confuse you. So, I want to spare you that.

Regards,

Joe

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Reply by : studybible   View Profile   Since : 17 Aug 2017 1:19:33 PM Close

I attended a meeting by Zac Poonen of Christian Fellowship Center, Bangalore some 17 years ago. Around 80% of the people who came to meeting were non-brethren Christians, and they were all wearing gold. Zac Poonen started his message with 1 Peter 3:3. He went on to speak about how we should be Christ like to glorify God.

I have met many Indian families who promoted Zac Poonen’s books and they were all not wearing Gold. The person they try to project as an example is Annie Poonen who does not wear Gold. I’ve read some of her books and have seen mentioning of an incident of a girl who wants to save for her future in Gold, and she talks about her intention as a sin.

Some 7 years ago I came to know that some whom I met before who were ardent followers of Zac Poonen left that group. Some of them wear Jewelry now.

At present, look at all the four daughters-in-laws of Zac and Annie Poonen. They wear very fashionable Jewelry. I don’t know whether those Jewelry is Gold or Diamonds, but can be.

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Reply by : paizanjoe   View Profile   Since : 20 Aug 2017 9:15:21 AM Close

Hello StudyBible,

I wanted to know one thing. Do you wish to wear ornaments? If so, do you have a basis through the scripture to justify why you could/should wear it? If you have the answer to this question. Then there is no one. Not even Zac Poonen (Whose name I heard for the first time now) can stop you. 

Dont get into futile arguments with people who are adamant about something. Proverbs 26:4: Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

Regards,

Joe

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Reply by : studybible   View Profile   Since : 21 Aug 2017 1:43:37 AM Close

The topic of the thread is 'racism', so I just want to stick with that and not raise my personal conviction about wearing ornaments or gold.

Zac Poonen is from Brothren Assembly and the Brothern Assembly of Kerala promote his teachings in video and books. He runs his own media promotion though his four sons who live in the US, so may not be an active participant in the Brothren Assembly.

I can't deny that racism has played a role in Zac Poonen's testimony where he and his wife dont allow the Indians to wear the ornaments or Gold, but their own daughter-in-laws who are not Indian race wear them in the US.

 

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Reply by : appachan   View Profile   Since : 21 Aug 2017 1:14:40 PM Close

Let us not discuss Zac Poonen as he left brethren assemblies in the early 70's , he has his own independent ministry now, churches planted by him are known as CFC(christian fellowship church).

His doctrinal beliefs are also different from brethren.

for ex he believes

1. one can lose salvation.

2.believers will go thru tribulation.

3.speaking in tongues at home.

4. churches should not pass offering bag/basket during meetings etc

I would therefore humbly request you to look into racism amongst us as kerela/tamil/karnatak/north indian etc rather than focus on individuals which is wrong, 

please follow the Lord Jesus and not Zac Poonen or anybody else, If you listen to Zac he will say the same too.

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Reply by : kristianjude   View Profile   Since : 21 Aug 2017 3:42:17 PM Close

Dear 'appachan'

This has reference to your last sentence. My question is, are not the spiritually right people to be followed?

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Reply by : confusedchristian   View Profile   Since : 21 Aug 2017 7:40:24 PM Close

Hey, 

I was just reading this thread. I was simply asking why people mix religion and culture and force others to follow a culture that they are not a part of. Why do you people always start fighting and arguing about just everything in this forum? For all I see everyone wants to be right. It is different to know the true meaning of being a Christian as intended by God and it's different to be a Christian with respect to one's ideology and perceptions which one thinks is the truth. I myself am not trying to say that everything I write is the only way. I really want people to stop focusing on useless things ( just like the people I encounter in my assembly) and do things that please God. I feel Kerala brethren are most obsessed with ornaments because they constantly keep noting who are wearing and who aren't and judge those people based on things like this. On the other hand people who wear or don't focus on this as an issue have more normal lives. I know people will start pouncing on me now. Maybe I need to accept that this is just how people are.

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Reply by : appachan   View Profile   Since : 22 Aug 2017 12:45:19 AM Close

Dear Kristianjude,

yes , spritually right people who follow Christ are role models who should be followed.

apostle Paul himself says in 1 Cor 11:1 "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ."

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Reply by : appachan   View Profile   Since : 22 Aug 2017 12:50:39 AM Close

Dear confusedchristian,

if you want to wear ornaments wear it and attend a church where they will accept you, on the other hand if you want to continue in  kerala brethren and elders want to observe ornament free assembly then submit to the elders, God will bless you for it.

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Reply by : kristianjude   View Profile   Since : 22 Aug 2017 8:08:09 AM Close

I look at ‘appachan’s statement as a response to ‘confusedchristian’ as bizarre. I don’t understand what the blessing is for a sister, if she removes ornaments particularly when she is in Kerala. Are the sisters outside Kerala wearing ornaments the lesser one in God’s view? One basic thing we have to understand about 1 Peter 3:3 is, we have to take Peter’s words as counsel for the edification of sisters and not as an ordinance to be followed strictly. If the verse has to be taken as an ordinance, then everything said in it has to be observed without omission, not only abstaining from wearing ornaments, but from arranging hair in various fashions, putting on fine (means ‘costly’ ?) apparel. I doubt whether KB sisters not wearing ornaments do follow the other ‘ordinances’ also.  Are the elders in Kerala giving equal importance to all the aspects of this verse?

If a sister has a passion for gold in heart, but does not wear on compulsion, what is the spiritual benefit? Another important thing is, if that sister lacks gentle and quiet spirit (verse 4), her outward ‘spiritual’ appearance has no value at all.

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Reply by : kristianjude   View Profile   Since : 22 Aug 2017 9:00:09 AM Close

A word to ‘confusedchristian’, ‘adapting to the culture’ should not be an excuse for a Christian to following everything the society practices. Our concern must be more to live for Christ as Christians. Wearing gold ornament is not a sin, but that should not be an exhibiting of one’s wealth, it should not cause uneasiness to a poor sister in the church.

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Reply by : kristianjude   View Profile   Since : 22 Aug 2017 9:39:55 AM Close

And the title ‘Racism’ is inappropriate for this thread. KB brethren do not claim that they are superior to the brethren outside Kerala. Their insisting and inducting the practice of non wearing gold is the subject you have taken for discussion. Perhaps there may be a thought among them that they are more closely following the scripture than the others do. If it is so, then it is not 'racism', but spiritual pride. 

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Reply by : confusedchristian   View Profile   Since : 26 Aug 2017 12:58:13 AM Close

Again, I am not at all talking about ornaments or if one should wear it or not. In my opinion it's up to the individual to wear it or not. Instead I am asking why some Kerala brethren think it's their job to decide whether one should wear or not. It is racism because it exhibits intolerance to other cultures and people. When BJP government took "PRIDE" in banning beef because it had to do with Hinduism, I'm sure there was an uproar. We are not happy to be called minorities in India or have anyone meddle with the way we spread the gospel or do the work of God.  Then why are we meddling with other Christians? Why are we behaving like the BJP government? Things like this become a stumbling block for a Christian to grow. In my experience I was constantly nagged. It was frustrating. I started hating to go to church because of the nagging. You might tell me to go to a different assembly but what if there are no assemblies in my vicinity? Should I stop worshipping the Lord? In conclusion I'm not advocating on ornaments. If people take pride in not wearing them good for them. Instead I'm simply hoping that believers don't get persecuted based on their cultural background. It's one thing to do something willfully it's another to have unnecessary insignificant things being forced down your throat. 

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Reply by : confusedchristian   View Profile   Since : 26 Aug 2017 1:02:32 AM Close

Thanks Brother Joe for showing kindness to me on this issue. It really means a lot to me.

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