Mixed emotions

Paul Gupta

Paul Gupta

I got inspired and I got angry when I read this story about Korasa Paul, a Koya from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The story begins with Paul's miracle conversion from what is described as “a debauched life” that nearly ruined his liver.

Everywhere his pastor went, he went, learning what he could and pestering him about becoming a church planter. Paul wanted to spend the rest of his shortened life serving Christ. One problem, he's uneducated. Even worse, he can't read or write. So how many colleges do you think are going to train a poor, illiterate, dying man?

Paul Gupta of the Hindustan Bible Institute seized the opportunity. He discovered Korasa Paul's wife could read so he invited them both to their “non-formal” training program. His wife read for him and he learned to teach and preach.

After some basic training they went church planting and gathered thirty new people in a shed for church. Many of them became followers of Christ through this ministry led by a poor, illiterate, dying man.

When he died his nephew Rajarathnam took over the church. Today he pastors several churches and Paul’s wife serves as a Bible woman.

Paul Gupta says, “If we had refused to admit Paul to our non-formal training because he could not read, or had not gone to school, the many churches emerging from their ministry to the Koyas would not be there today.”

Now you know why I'm inspired. Why am I angry? Because so few of our academic institutions are open or ordinary men and women like Korasa Paul and his wife. The paradigm has to change—in the West and globally. Nothing wrong with higher education. Everything wrong with making it a universal requirement for church leaders, church planters and mission pioneers.

That's why I'm mad and inspired.