Tangmarg Tyndale Biscoe branch school (Story Photo: Asia News)
India (MNN) ― Police in Michigan say a Lansing-area man is behind the Quran burning near Michigan State University that sparked international outrage and a mob attack on a church in India.
The incident coincided with a Florida pastor's plans to burn a Quran on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks as a protest against Islamic extremism.
Although the pastor didn't go through with the planned burning, there have been copy cat incidents, and the global outrage is still seething.
Dave Stravers, President of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India, detailed the reactions in India. "In Kashmir, which is a predominantly-Muslim state in India, people attacked a Christian school and completely destroyed the school. Then, in the state of Punjab, a mob also attacked a church and set church furniture on fire."
Although things appear to have settled down now, the incident reveals a deeper problem. "Mob violence by Muslims against Christians is quite unusual in India," says Stravers, "and it shows the depth of reaction against these very unchristian actions," which could mean provocation won't take much.
Mission India concerns are for partners working in regions that have had some unrest. Ministry could be affected because, as he puts it, "Unfortunately these hateful actions (threats to burn the Quran) have already severely damaged the witness of the church."
Stravers goes on to say that Satan's strategy is to intimidate people into stopping their work. Distractions and reprisal violence is a risk. However, "We do not use Satan's methods to try to advance the cause of Christ."
It's critical that Mission India continues their work with after-school club tutoring, Bible clubs for children, and literacy training: "85% of all the Muslims and Hindus in India do not know a single Christian person," Stravers explains. So far, "They've had no opportunity to respond to the Gospel. There are thousands of Christians in India that are very eager to tell them the truth about Jesus. "
It's spiritual warfare, and Mission India has the soldiers in position. "We have, in India, thousands of people praying every day that the Lord will give physical protection to the workers in India, and secondly, that the Holy Spirit will give courage to people who face opposition."
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