By all accounts a great harvest of the Holy Spirit is going on in India at the present moment. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) has a project in India called My Hope which recently reported over 4 million responses to the gospel over the past few months! Effective evangelism in India is spreading and millions of lay Christians are being equipped to share Christ powerfully in this growing harvest season.

I visited India twice in the 1980s and saw a marvelous work of the Spirit in the south, in the state of Andra Pradesh, one of the larger Christian population centers in India, with over 10% of the state professing faith. I preached to thousands, baptized hundreds, dedicated church buildings, layed hands on the sick, and particpated in times of deliverance. What I saw changed my life. I have longed believed that India was ripe for an even bigger harvest. Hinduism has failed India and Islam is not the leading force for change in a modern democracy like India, which is an increasingly open society.

The Indian church uses mass media, appropriate music, personal witness and local church leadership to spread the gospel effectively. They encounter the demonic realm routinely but what marks the church in India more than anything else is love of Christ and neighbor.

One of my favorite Christian missionary teachers of the 20th century was E. Stanley Jones, the Methodist missionary to India. His work on the kingdom of God is seminal and his book, The Christ of the Indian Road, impacted me very deeply when I first read it. (It was a controersial book in the West because it challenged our Western way of thinking about the kingdom of Jesus.) Once, when E. Stanley Jones was with the great spiritual teacher Mahatma Gandhi, he asked the famous man the following question: "Mr. Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is it that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming His follower?" Gandhi replied that his problem wasn’t with Christ but with the fact that so many Christians are unlike Christ.

It is very easy for Western Christian conservatives to make apolgetical reasons for Gandhi’s misunderstanding at this point. I rather prefer to ask: "Why would he say this unless there was some serious truth behind the statement in the first place?"

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  1. Rev Hau February 21, 2007 at 9:18 am

    Please will you come to ORISSA tosee the needs of Gospel.

  2. John H. Armstrong February 21, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    How I wish that I could but my health will not permit such a trip unless God heals me of a chronic illness that brings me great difficulty every single day of my life.

  3. Brett Roberts February 28, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    What type of method did you use in India for witnessing? What kind of culture do they have such as how do they learn about the Bible what keeps them away from loving Christ and are some things we need to do in preparing to go to India for a study abroad as missionaries?
    Thank you

  4. John H. Armstrong February 28, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    The best means, from my limited experience, is to work with indigenous Indian believers, as co-workers, not as Western-style managers. Being culturaly sensitive in India is crucial, as everywhere, but especially here. E. Stanley Jones is a great help, as is Lesslie Newbigin, both of whom had fruitful long-term ministry in India that was quite unique.
    Indian leaders do make mistakes, as do Western leaders, but how we seek to correct them is very important. I would network with exsiting Indian people and leaders if I were to serve in India.

  5. Bro. Syam Sunder March 1, 2007 at 4:50 am

    “ But whoso hath this word’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of Compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him ?
    My Little Children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth”
    I John- 3: 17-18
    Dear Beloved Brother in Christ,
    Greetings in the name of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.
    I would like to Introduce my self. My name is M. Syam Sunder, working as a Evangelist and Social worker, for the last 5 years in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, South India.
    I am sharing the Love and Compassion of Christ to the unreached millions in India through our Ministry. Our ministry name is “Companions of Compassion Network”( CCN India ) is a non- denominational, non-profit making Evangelistic Ministry dedicated to carrying the good news of Jesus Christ by walking in the Love and Compassion. And our ministry got Registration Under the Indian Societies Registration Act 35 of 2001 in the Year 2003 with Registration No. 145/2003 and also registered with Ministry of Finance, Government of India Under Section 80 G (5 ) ( vi ) of Income Tax Act 1961. with its base center at Guntur city in Andhra Pradesh
    I was covered with My Gospel Team 23 villages and hamlets in our mandal and I am organizing Biblical meetings, prayer meetings, Children Evangelism, Distribution of Christian Literature and I am also conducting door to door prayers to the most needy and suffering masses to know the true God, who is coming very soon. I am also visiting the remote villages and educate the people about Holy Bible and what in Christianity. Many people are converted and I have given them Baptism in the Name of “ Father, Son and Holy Spirit”. I am working as a social worker also, and organizing some developmental activities with small local donations for the welfare of our poor and needy. So that I have a good changes to spread the word of God and turn the rural folk towards the true God for their salvation.
    At present I am working individually to do His service in our area. According to Mark- 16:15 I am doing Gospel work in our area. And also God has given me a burden to do work for the needy disturbed Orphans. I was Started the Orphanage with faith in the year 2003 with 25 HI/AIDS effected Orphan Children. who lost their parents with HIV/AIDS. And I was striving to mould them as a useful citizens to future India and pleasing to God. Its wonderful privilege to share about my ministry with you. Since 3 years we are doing the ministry work with faith. But I have no any financial assistance to do His work. I work independently. I am not belongs to any denomination. There is a great necessity to make our congregations in fully faith. I am very much interested to work with you to do His service in our area.
    Please pray for my work, Congregation and my organization to spread the word of God.
    I hope and pray Almighty God always help you and assist you in every deed.
    Please kindly visit our Website and give your blessings to our ministry.
    Kindly drop me a letter
    Thanking you,
    With Kind regards,
    Your’s in His service,
    Bro. M. Syam Sunder
    Founder & Director- CCN India
    If you need more information about our ministry I can send the information for your kind notice. Please pray.

  6. Sitaram March 26, 2007 at 10:13 am

    Please go and find what Hinduism is then you would under stand what Mahatma actually meant
    The greatness of Hinduism is difficult to be understood
    if viewed from a constricted Christian point of view

  7. John H. Armstrong March 28, 2007 at 7:50 am

    Sitaram makes a fair point actually. We should read what the Mahatma said and thus seek to correctly understand what he meant. E. Stanley Jones did exactly that and thus was widely respected by Hindus all across India, including Mahatma Gandhi. He borrowed from Hinduism, learned from it much and respected it deeply.
    What Jones did, however, was show how the Indian way was uniquely situated to hear the message of Jesus as the great teacher, and then as Lord of heaven and earth. He did it in culturally inviting ways and with deep respect for Indians, something all too uncommon in the West among Christians who attack and treat others poorly.

  8. We pray that God will strengthen the hands of those laboring in India to build and strengthen His Kingdom. Because of our ongoing work in Andhra Pradesh, our hearts are knit together with those who face continual persecution and hardship for the sake of Christ.

  9. A. S. Mathew May 3, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Dr. E. Stanley Jones is
    very respected all over India, both by religious
    and political leaders. He has preached over 40 years
    in Maramon convention in
    kerala (Marthoma Church
    annual convention). Dr.
    Jones concept of conversion
    was rather different. Every State of India has
    different culture, food and
    social life. When we force
    other people to follow us
    in totality, the friction
    starts. The people of
    Nagalad eat certain food,
    but the people in other
    States won’t eat the same
    food. When we preach Jesus
    Christ, we are not there to
    convert them from one eating habit to another one. Dr. Jones preached
    Jesus Christ plainly while
    respecting the Indian culture.
    That is a great model to
    be followed. The Pentecostal denominations
    in Kerala are hardcore
    anti-jewelry, whereas the
    the believers of the same
    denominations in other parts of India wear plenty
    of jewelry. We must let
    the food, jewelry and social cultures to be out
    of the equation of evangelism.

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