Some of our deepest theological conversations occur in our hot tub.
This past weekend was no exception. Some close missionary friends of ours who work in Asia came to stay. We always have fun debates with them, Here’s the gist of one of our conversations that took place late at night in our jacuzzi:
Missionary: In Asia, our culture is very hierarchical. This hierarchy spills over into the church and it’s an asset to discipleship because the new believer is looking to learn from someone more experienced.
Me: God loves us enough that in his mercy he uses whatever culture we give him. But Jesus spoke against hierarchy. He said, “You know how the rulers of this world function (hierarchy). But it must not be so amongst you.”
Missionary: In the West, we are so individualistic and egalitarian. But that is not Scriptural either. In Asia, we are more communally and society minded. Because in English, it’s impossible to tell the difference between you singular and you plural, we miss the fact that much of the New Testament is addressed to groups.
Me: Neither hierarchy nor egalitarianism are Scriptural. Jesus spoke about and modeled something different–closer to an upside down hierarchy, Servanthood. We lay down our lives for others that they might grow.
What is your opinion on this? How do we best disciple others–using a teacher/pupil (hierarchical) model, as peers (egalitarian), or as servants? Does it depend on the culture we live in?