India is a beautifully diverse nation in which people constitutionally have the freedom to choose their faith and spread it. The general attitude towards other faiths or ways of life is very accommodating.
However, a Hindu nationalist movement of social and political groups exists in India with the core ideology to create a Hindu nation-state. These nationalists often accuse Christ-followers of trying to gain control of India by exploiting the poor and vulnerable through financial help, education, promises of well-being, and healings. Some of this mistrust comes from hurt passed down from the time of the British colonization of India.
Adding to the offense, many Christ-followers label Indian traditions as demonic and even discard traditions that are biblically permissible. Other ministers model a Western form of Christianity that new Christ-followers innocently adopt. For this reason, Hindu nationalists accuse foreigners of destroying the local culture to assert a Western lifestyle.
Those who strictly adhere to this ideology emphasize that “Hindu” refers to those who call India both “their homeland and their holy land”, implying that people of faiths founded outside of India do not belong. When this ideology is taken to extremes it results in hate, imprisonments, beatings, riots and even killings.
Recently, in North India, pastors from a thriving fellowship were arrested after false accusations of coercing people to convert. News crews visited the villages nearby to interview church attendees. Interview after interview revealed stories of sick, tormented, paralyzed people who had spent everything going to different temples, witchdoctors and hospitals. As a last resort, they came to the church and found healing, love and true peace.
Let us remember the example of Saul, who persecuted the new followers of Christ, throwing them in jail, having them beaten and condemning them to death. But suddenly, Jesus Himself encountered him on the road to Damascus. Let us remember the example of God calling Ananias to go pray for Paul to receive his sight and how later he became one of the greatest apostles of Christ. (Acts 9:1–31)
WAYS TO PRAY:
PRAY THAT Christ-followers who live among Hindu peoples will be strong in faith and walk in radical love in the face of persecution. (Acts 4:29–30)
PRAY FOR God to open the hearts of Hindu nationalists to see Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6)
PRAY THAT genuine indigenous expressions of devotion to Jesus will blossom.