How Shall We Do It?"

It will doubtless be of interest to readers of The Ministry to know of some of the problems which confront us in our work in India.

By T. J. MICHAEL, Former Superintendent, Northwest India Union Mission

It will doubtless be of interest to readers of The Ministry to know of some of the problems which confront us in our work in India. Statistics often weary, but let me men­tion some, nevertheless. In the Northwest India Union, one of the five union missions of Southern Asia, we have a population ap­proximately the same as that of the United States of America, but there is only one worker in this union for every hundred workers in the United States. Evangelization in this pop­ulation of over a hundred million is the spe­cific task which confronts our meager handful of mission workers. Of these millions, less than one per cent have any Christian back­ground whatever. As another has said:

"Without faith in God the mission worker might well be appalled as he considers the vast numbers of non-Christians, their deeply rooted superstitions, the obstinacy of ancient customs, the prejudices of a self-centered people against an alien religion opposed to all the traditions of their individual and national life. How almost hopelessly formidable appears caste in India! How apparently invincible, Mo­hammedanism! It is hard enough to change the character of a sinful man in America, but it is far harder to change a man in a heathen land. And the social ostracism of a convert tends to make even the bravest hesitate."

Illiteracy is another of the problems which must be wrestled with. Only 8 per cent of the people of India generally are literate, and less than 5 percent of the Christians of India are literate. This means that the influence of our truth-filled literature cannot be felt to the same extent in India as in Western lands.

As has not been the case in the past, there is now organized opposition on the part of the Hindu community to the work of Christian missions. There is an organization known as the Arya Sarnaj, the functions of which are, by every possible means to establish Hindus in their own faith, and by fair means or foul to hinder the work of Christian missionaries. Their representatives will attend a public meet­ing, and in one way or another succeed in causing disturbance to such an extent that the meeting, if not actually stopped, fails to a large extent in accomplishing its purpose. In Lahore and Delhi our workers recently had experienCes of this nature. We fear that this form of organized opposition will increase.

In spite of these and many other difficulties, however, we have reason to be of good cour­age. God's arm is not shortened that it can­not save, even in India. He can, and will, finish the work in this stronghold of the pow­ers of darkness, and we firmly believe He will also "cut it short in righteousness." What a wonderful comfort these promises are to our workers in India. As we view the progress the work has made during the last forty years in this land, by all human computation the work could not be 'finished for the four hun­dred million people of India within the next few hundred years. But God's promises are sure, and they will certainly be fulfilled. There is "a firmament of chosen ones" in India, Burma, and Ceylon who will yet ,"shine forth," as members of God's remnant church. With faithful, surrendered workers, our Lord can accomplish the seemingly impossible, and soon, we believe, the work will be brought to a tri­umphant completion in that great division.

Compromise not with Paganism.—Go forth, then, ye missionaries, in your Master's name; go forth into all the world, and after studying all its false religions and philosophies, go forth and fear­lessly proclaim to suffering humanity the plain, the unchangeable, the eternal facts of the gospel—nay, I might almost say the stubborn, the unyielding, the inexorable facts of the gospel. Dare to be down­right with all the uncompromising courage of your own Bible, while with it your watchwords are love, joy, peace, reconciliation. Be fair, be charitable, be Christlike, but let there be no mistake. Let it be made absolutely clear that Christianity cannot, must not, be watered down to suit the palate of either Hindu, Parsi, Confucianist, Buddhist, or Moham­medan, and that whosoever wishes to pass from the false religion to the true can never hope to do so by the rickety planks of compromise, or by the help of faltering hands held out by halfhearted Christians. He must leap the gulf of faith, and the living Christ will spread His everlasting arms beneath, and land him safely on the Eternal Rock.

I have said enough to put you on your guard when you hear people speak too highly of the sacred books of the East, other than our own Bible. Let us not shut our eyes to what is excellent and true and of good report in these books ; but let us teach Hindus, Zoroastrians, Confucianists, Buddhists, and Moham­medans that there is only one Sacred Book that can be their mainstay, their support, in that awful hour when they pass alone into the unseen world. There is only one Book to be clasped to the heart—only one gospel that can give peace to the fainting soul then. It is the Sacred Volume which contains that faithful saying worthy to be accepted of all men, women, and children, in the East and in the West, in the North and in the South, "that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."—M. Monier-Williams.

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By T. J. MICHAEL, Former Superintendent, Northwest India Union Mission

February 1939

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