In the “City of a thousand temples”, (Bhubaneswar, India), 25 Indian pastors and young men met for the first MTM three-week Odisha Bible School (OBS). The Bible teaching and studies focused on practical Kingdom of God teaching. This Bible school challenged the Protestant theology of these men by defining grace as God’s enabling power for Christlike living, the cross as the daily surrender of self to the Way of Christ in every decision, nonresistance as a willingness to confront evil by dying but never by killing, and the headship veiling worn by women as a covering of man’s glory at all times. There was also practical teaching on Godly music and the evil influence of the heavy beat, sensual, contemporary music that has influenced the churches of today.
The students were challenged to come out and form “societies of the redeemed” in which all the teachings of the Gospel are practiced with counter cultural courage and unity of conviction. One young 30-year-old brother, named Sisir said, “I have waited for years to hear this kind of teaching”. Then he asked, “Does any group exist that actually practices these things?” What should we have told Sisir? Suppose he visited our Anabaptist communities? Would he see people living out the Kingdom ideals that attracted him? Would he see Kingdom communities consistently redeemed from the American culture of individualism, materialism, and rationalized luxury? Or would he see proof for the Protestant belief that the Kingdom of God is an impossible ideal only to be realized in a future age?
Odisha Bible School Students & Teachers
In this Bible school, Raymond Burkholder taught a series on “The Godly Home”, Melvin Kauffman elaborated on “What it Means to be a Real Christian”, and John D. Martin taught “The Kingdom of God” with an exposition of the “Sermon on the Mount”. Some of the students were seminary graduates who said their training had not included many of the things they learned at this Bible school. They especially appreciated the teachings on Godly marriage, the headship veiling, non-jewelry, and nonresistance.
All MTM Bible schools and conferences are scheduled only by invitation of local native pastors. This is a rare opportunity for us as conservative Anabaptists to teach the “all things” of the Gospel to those requesting our instruction & teaching. Brother Raymond says, “MTM aims to be diligent in preserving our Anabaptist heritage and propagating it to others”. A few students mentioned the idea of making a new start, with a fresh church plant, living and teaching what they have received. Who then is willing to dedicate his life to India for such a follow-up to an MTM Bible school?
Editor’s Note; The above article was written by John D. Martin. He is appointed as a Bible teacher at large by Shippensburg Christian Fellowship and lives with his wife Patricia at Chambersburg, PA USA. Thank you so much my dear brother for giving of yourself to travel to the other side of the world in the senior season of your life to serve the Lord through MTM. Your contribution was greatly valued. You truly became like a Senior Uncle to all the dear OBS students. Brother John D Martin’s contact information; email@example.com, 717-532-3812