The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Christian Aid: Christianity Fastest Growing in India

Jim Rutz of Virginia based Open Church Ministries in a recently sent a plea to Christian fundamentalists across America to provide funding for ""Operation Agape, Madhya Pradesh". In the newsletter her claims that hundreds of thousands of Hindus are being converted and India:

The fastest-growing networks of pure house churches are in India. (China may be growing as fast, but most of their house churches still center around a single pastor. This has limited male membership to roughly 20-25%.)

The best network is Operation Agape, which began in 1995 in central India as an "experiment" devised by strategist Wolfgang Simson and a wonderful Indian couple who will remain nameless.

They started launching churches through spiritual power encounters-and running them without pastors, buildings, or Sunday services. This has produced well over 3000 house churches in Madhya Pradesh in the last six years-with 60,000-70,000 converts. Their methods have become a model for churches all across India.

I have traveled with Victor, teaching seminars with 50-250 church planters, mostly young dalits, 21-28, formerly called "untouchables." These people are incredibly eager junior apostles. After all my 22-day seminars, the total of perhaps 1800 attendees estimated that they would plant over 35,000 house churches in the next three years!

And this is only the beginning. One of my seminar hosts in Eastern India answered a knock on his door on December 20th to find eight elected representatives of 42 villages (40,000 people) who announced that after much study, they all wanted to leave Hinduism and become Christians! He sent them away, demanding to see declarations of serious intent with signatures. About four days later, they were back with statements, signatures, and a lot of thumb prints from the villagers. He immediately got to work, rounding up groups of disciplers, church planters, and mentors.

Even more amazing: Just five or six weeks ago, there was another knock on his door. This time it was a whole new group of leaders with the same request-on behalf of 500,000 Hindus!

This is an extremely crucial time for India. We must help these people. House church planters are ridiculously under funded, often walking long distances just because they don't have bicycles or mopeds. (Walking often invites queries and stoning.) What a waste of trained talent!

Your contribution will promote self-reliance, not dependency.

The bottom line: Mopeds are $700-900. Bicycles are $40. Gospel literature is very cheap. Every dollar works overtime in India. Will you consider the work in Madhya Pradesh as part of your new pattern of giving?

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