Monday, February 25, 2013

Barriers to the Gospel in a Hindu Context

This is the second in a three-part series about engaging Hindus for Christ, the first part can be found here. These are modified from a recent paper I wrote on bridges and barriers to the gospel within a Hindu worldview.

Before I get into the bridges to the gospel in a Hindu worldview, I want to mention a couple of the most common barriers that I have encountered in my ministering to Hindus. Many barriers are in the way of Hindus having faith and following Jesus as Lord, the only Lord. Some of these obstacles are locality of the Hindus, many live in places that nobody with the gospel wants to venture to. This is one of the many reasons so many of the unreached people groups of today are Hindu found within India, because nobody wants to take the gospel to them so they simply have never heard the gospel.

Although, in recent days there seems to be a move of God within the nation of India amongst some of the least reached areas and people are responding to Jesus. I know this because I have been there and experienced it. But in spite of that, there are a couple of common barriers that I have encountered in my interaction of sharing the gospel with Hindus both in the village and city.

Common Barriers:

1. All Americans are Christians.

This is a huge barrier if you take a minute to stop and think about what that loaded statement would mean. If everything that was displayed in the movies, on tv, and from our news outlets alone defined Christianity then I would want nothing to do with it myself. As Timothy C. Tennent said, "People who stand outside of the boundaries of historic Christianity are representing Christianity."

To be fair, in part this idea comes from the same idea behind many Hindus that to be Indian is to be Hindu, which is also far from the truth. In the parts of India where I have ministered one can easily find Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, and Hindus along with many variations of each of those religions.

Helping re-define what a Hindu believes a Christian is goes a long way in engaging them with the gospel. Once they learn that what they saw on MTV or in some Hollywood movies does not actually represent disciples of Jesus, it gives you an opportunity to explain to them and display for them what being a follower of Jesus is all about.

2. "All gods are the same, man is what is different."

This is the exact statement that my Hindu neighbor gave me when having a gospel conversation recently. Although he just presented this barrier to me last week, this is a recurring barrier. As has already been stated, most Hindus have no problem with Jesus, many believe the Bible is a holy book, and therefore see Jesus as a God amongst many.

So what this statement really means is that to the average Hindu all gods are expressions of the gods are the same, but as man we express this differently based on our culture, upbringing, etc. The reality could not be any further from the truth.

In engaging Hindus with the gospel this is an important point to flip on its head. The truth is that as man we are all the same, sinners in need of a Savior; but the one true God is what is different. He is set apart from all 330 million gods in Hinduism because he is creator God, and the only one who sent Jesus, the Godman to die in our place so that we could have a restored relationship with the God of the universe. Along with this, Hindus generally do the religious rituals as a way to please the gods in hopes of having their favor. This is another great point to show Hindus that as man we can never on our own effort please God, but that through Jesus are sins can be forgiven and we can be looked at as righteous in the sight of God.

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