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Reaching the Non-Christians of India

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Archives / 1941 / November

 

 

Reaching the Non-Christians of India

Samuel Thomas, Jr.

By S. THOMAS, Indian Evangelist, Tamil Mission, India

 

India is rightly called the "Gibraltar of heathenism." How to reach the great mass of Hindus with the gospel message in an effective way is the problem that mis­sions in India face. I should like to throw out some suggestions which might be of help in meeting this great problem.

We all recognize that there are two methods of work—positive and negative. Very often we come across Christian preachers using the negative method. They condemn and ridicule the Hindu religion and the superstitious beliefs of the Hindus. They deride the various ava­tars (incarnations) of the gods. They ridicule the idol worship of the Hindus and the contra­dictions found in their shastras (religious books).

This method of criticism and condemnation of religions bodes no good. In fact, it creates opposition and hatred for the Christian re­ligion. And it is no wonder that one's hearers do not embrace Christianity under such cir­cumstances. I strongly maintain that this nega­tive method ought to be discouraged in our work for Hindus. Let us not dwell upon Krishna's sins or defects, but rather let us present Christ. And we have His own promise that this method will be effective. ( John 12:48.)

Certain Teachings to Be Emphasized

Let us now consider the positive method of working for non-Christians. There are cer­tain key doctrines that must be emphasized in all our work for Hindus.

1. Holiness and Righteousness of God. . "As the God, so is the worshiper, and as the guru [religious teacher], so is the disciple." A Hindu excuses his gods and at the same time excuses himself by saying that he does what his gods do.

2. The Love of God.. The Scriptures de­clare that "God is love." The shastras present God as a terrible being, a cruel tyrant. When the love of God is presented in the light of the cross of Christ, it will convert souls. Love is the greatest power in the world to woo and win souls.

3. The Deity of Christ. Hindus, gener­ally, acknowledge Christ as a great mahatma, but they do not acknowledge His divinity. Hence we have to prove to them that Christ is not only a "great soul," but the divine Son of God.

4. The Priesthood of Christ. This is a very interesting and convincing subject for Hindus to listen to, since they are already ac­quainted with such subjects as the sanctuary, the sacrifices, the priesthood, etc.

5. Inspiration of the Scriptures. Edu­cated Hindus are not ignorant of present-day modernistic teachings in regard to the Scrip­>tures. Unless a Hindu is convinced of the veracity and authenticity of the Scriptures, he will never accept the Christ that those Scrip­tures present.

6. Second Coming of Christ. Every pious Hindu looks for a "golden age" to come. This is a subject that will interest any religionist.

7. The Prophecies. The prophecies of the Bible are a great challenge to non-Christian religions. The prophecies that relate to the last days of this earth's history will interest and convince any Hindu.

Successful Methods of Work

Open-air Preaching.  Open-air or street preaching is not a new method. It is an old, old method for reaching the masses with the gospel message. As we review the four Gos­pels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the work of the Reformers from Martin• Luther down to William Miller, we are convinced that open-air preaching was one of the methods adopted by Christ and His apostles and by all His great representatives in the past. The following texts may be cited for reference: Matthew 5:1; Proverbs I :20; Jeremiah it :6; Luke 13 :26 ; 4:21; Acts 8:4.

Work for Women. Hindu women are very reserved. They do not have full liberty to hear the gospel lectures. They are shy, and very orthodox in their religion. In fact, they are often the ones who keep their husbands, sons, daughters, or other relatives from embracing Christianity. Hence, we need consecrated women as Bible workers to work among Hindu women.

Individual Work. Souls are not brought to Christ in great multitudes. They have to be won one by one. "Ye shall be gathered one by one," is the promise of His Holy Writ. (Isa. 27:12.) The messenger of the Lord says: "In comparison with the worth of one soul, the whole world sinks into insignificance."—"Tes­timonies," Vol. V. p. 614. And we read further :

"For the conversion of one sinner, the minister should tax his resources to the utmost. The soul that God has created and Christ has redeemed is of great value, because of the possibility before it, the spiritual advantages that have been granted it, the capabilities that it may possess if vitalized by the word of God, and the immortality that it may gain through the hope presented in the gospel. And if Christ left the ninety and nine that He might seek and save one lost sheep, can we be justified in doing less? Is not a neglect to work as Christ worked, to sacrifice as He sacrificed, a betrayal of sacred trust ?"—"Gospel Workers," p. 465.

This is not only a Scripture method to save souls, but also a multiplying method. If there were only one thousand Seventh-day Advent­ists in India, and each won only one Hindu soul for Christ each year, and those whom they won (lid the same, in ten years there would be more than 1,024,000 Hindus won for Christ in India!

Distribution of Literature.—Innumerable conversions have resulted through the reading of gospel portions and our truth-filled literature. Someone has said, "Tracts can go any­where. They know no fear, never tire or die. They can be multiplied without end, can travel at little expense. They run up and down, like the angels of God, (riving to all, and asking no gift in return. They can talk to one as well as to many, and to many as well as to one. They require no public hall to tell their stories, but can use the kitchen or the parlor, the office or the closet, the highways or the footpath. They take no note of scoffing, jeers, or taunts, and cannot be angered. Though they will not always answer questions, they can tell their story many times over. And they can speak on every subject, and do it wisely and well. They can, in short, be vehicles of all truth, teachers of all classes, benefactors of all lands."

May God fill our hearts with a burden for those who have not known Christ as yet. The Lord is pouring out His Spirit in India, for we already hear "the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees," and it is high time for the church to bestir herself for the Lord in smiting the hosts of Satan. There are now three effective methods for the church to adopt. The first method is evangelism. The second method is evangelism. The third method is evangelism. May God help us in our great task.

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