Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bridges to the Gospel in A Hindu Context

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

God is drawing Hindus to himself all over the world and doing this in many ways, but in my experience of ministering to Hindus, I have come across some common bridges to the gospel. This is in no way meant to be an exhaustive list, but just a couple simple bridges to help one get started in ministering cross-culturally to a Hindu, wherever they be in the world.

1. They hear the story of Creation to Cross.

This has been one of the most common bridges to the entire gospel that I have experienced in ministering to Hindus. By giving them the meta-narrative of the Bible you get to go into a lot of different sub-points. For those of you unfamiliar with what I mean by meta-narrative, you basically do a snap shot of the entire underlining story in the Bible. The short of that would be: creation, fall, redemption, restoration.

By doing this you will usually have time to go deeper into each point as time allows. If it is in the context of a friendship then you can spend weeks on each point so that they really grasp an understanding of it.

The reason that this has proven to be such a successful bridge builder is because you start by establishing that God has always been with no beginning. You then move to this God being the creator God who made a perfect creation with man being his most precious creation. This allows you to move into the serpent (most craftiest creation) coming in and questioning God and tempting man to do the same. Once you mention sin it is really important to spend a lot of time on it and go deep into the problem evil. From here you have obviously set up the need for Jesus, the Savior of the world. You then spend time on Jesus: his life, death, and resurrection.

In short this bridge is giving them the gospel and you leave them with the fact that as man we all have a decision to make. We either worship Jesus as Lord or we reject him as Lord. I have found in my experience that it is helpful after sharing this to give them a Bible in their mother tongue and follow up with them within the next week.

2. They experience physical healing.

I know, some of you are questioning what this Southern Baptist raised and seminary trained guy is doing mentioning miracles. The reality is that the supernatural is much more evident amongst Hindus and in a place like India where there is such a desperate need for the gospel.

This does not mean that a miracle will always take place as I can name many situations where they have not, but a high percentage of Hindus that I know that have come to faith in Jesus did so initially through a physically healing that took place in their own life or someone in their family. In my experience I would say 95%+ have reported this to me. I have heard countless stories of entire families coming to faith at once through a miracle taking place in one persons life.

This is one reason that as a bridge to the gospel, I teach Hindu background believers to always ask when sharing the gospel if there is any need for physical healing. My Charismatic friends are tracking with me 100%, but I know my Baptists friends are questioning and doubting me at this point. It tells us in Luke 10:9 when entering a house to "Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The Kingdom of God has come near to you.'" I do not have time to go into everything here, but I will simply say that it is happening, out of the mouth of a Baptist, God is using physical healing still today to bring people to himself. And give me a break, I married a Pentecostal so if anything I'm a Bapticostal.

1 comment:

  1. I've enjoyed this series and have used the two points of this series myself in going door-to-door in southern India. My gospel presentation to Hindus has always included the broad meta-narrative first as a response to the "all gods" answer I have usually gotten when asking about their beliefs. When they see the meta-narrative of the Bible, it creates a dilemma for Hindus because they can't accept an exclusive God and deny him at the same time. When they realize their own need, many realize that only one God can save them and the Christian narrative demonstrates how this has happened.

    But I also always ask to pray for them and ask for their specific needs. I don't know that this is prevalent in India, but I know that some places in South America where I've been have people who go door-to-door selling prayer. We offer it for free. I met one lady who wanted to read the Bible, but couldn't read. She only had access to written material if her husband would read to her. So I (the translator, really) sat with her for a time and just read the Bible out loud to her. But it matters that people know you care and are willing to talk to God on their behalf. It's also nice to wee when they find out that they can talk to him too on their own.

    But you are also on the money with your observations of the miraculous. Western culture is curiously dead in this area where the miraculous is more common in other areas of the world. Many of our fellow Americans dismiss such claims as being a result of third-world ignorance or stupidity, but I'm sure you know as well as I do that too many people in the third world can smell a hoax just as well as we can. Also, such a quick dismissal is a sign of self-deceit. First-worlders are as prone to chasing hoaxes as anyone. Just look at the attraction to the paranormal by those who deny miracles attributed to Christ or the willingness of so many to believe the lies of politicians.