The push in the Muslim world is that pastors of house churches would also (or I should say especially) be professionals or tradesmen. The thinking is that since it is illegal to have a church, a pastor if his income came from the church would have a hard time explaining where his money comes from to friends and the government.
Isn’t that backwards logic, though? If we started with the Bible, what would we say the goal is? That all peoples would hear and that a growing local church would be established.
Seeing that to be the goal how has that been accomplished?
In the Bible: by preachers (prophets). Peter, James, and John left their professions to be full-time, poor, despised preachers. They preached without shame! Paul built some but mostly was a preacher. He was not primarily known as a businessman by anyone. He was a preacher/prophet. In the Old Testament God used God-called men like Samuel, Nathan, Isaiah, and the others. They were prophets!
In history: God used John Bunyan and C.H. Spurgeon in England. They were prophets. God used Jonathan Edwards, Francis Asbury, George Whitfield, and others in a mighty way in America. They were prophets.
Yes, you can write a list of businessmen that God has used and I am happy for that. I would not say that God cannot use anyone, even or especially a businessman. But since God told us he has chosen preaching it seems obvious in history that he has chosen the preacher.
So here is my prayer and vision: “God give us young men who are preachers and pastors in the Muslim world. Young men willing to be fools and poor. Young men willing to accept the shame and be despised. Young men who love the lost and disciple the new believer. Young men willing to go to jail for their faith. Young men willing to tell their families and friends that they are training to be preachers of the Word of God!”
That would be radical in a Muslim country. Well, maybe, but isn’t that what we need? Some radical Christianity?
So next time you travel to a Muslim country why don’t you try telling the man who asks you on the train that you’re a preacher and that you studied theology in college and you are called by God to tell him about Jesus and salvation?