The Four Noble Truths: Contexualising the Gospel in Cambodia
Sarah Ardu uses the four noble truths of Buddhism to introduce Cambodians to Christ and the Gospel.
Som Chantha, from the Kandal province in Cambodia, experienced a life-changing understanding of grace through Sarah’s ministry. He was struggling with work on his farm, miserable and troubled by life. He met Sarah, who started to explain the grace of God using the four noble truths, which are foundational Buddhist teachings.
Sarah and Chantha discussed the first truth, that life is suffering. Chantha believes that both rich and poor experience suffering. He shares: “Why do we all experience suffering? Because we all have sin. The rich have sin and the poor have sin. We are the same.”
As Sarah explained how Jesus forgives sin, a condition common to all, Chantha expressed how he felt like heavy chains had dropped from his life.
“I was so happy...months from this moment, I realised how happy I was [understanding this about] God”.
Sarah also taught this man about the 12 disciples, and how they did great things. With this vision of God using ordinary men, Chantha began to dream bigger for his life.
“I thought, perhaps the disciples really understood the principle of going out and making disciples. They must have really grasped that and been living by it. And perhaps they understood one more point - that Jesus said ‘Know that I am with you everyday’. Perhaps the twelve disciples really grasped that too. I thought, I want to serve God like that. And so I did. I started serving God just like the disciples.”
Central to Sarah’s outreach strategy is that new believers immediately begin discipling others, creating a rapidly expanding church. Chantha heard the gospel within the context of his culture and worldview. The result was he was able to rapidly understand, and rapidly share these new truths with others. His clear understanding of sin and new understanding of grace and forgiveness meant that the heaviness and troubled life he previously experienced changed. Such contextualised presentations of the gospel are key to starting church multiplication movements.