India (MNN) ― The spiritual atmosphere in India is quite positive in many areas, despite disturbing reports.
Both Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh states have "anti-conversion" laws that restrict individuals' rights to choose a religion other than the one into which they were born. Both states' governments are run by the BJP, a Hindu nationalist-backed political party.
Gospel For Asia's field leader in North India, Simon John, thinks the media picture painted is darker than the indigenous church finds it.
However, he concedes that, "There has been much pressure put on the Christians living in the central part of India in states like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, in particular, there has been a whole lot of pressure and persecution."
John says the reports of persecution reflect a state of mind not necessarily shared at the national level. Harassing Christians may accepted in a half dozen or so states, "But at the same time, as a government, the government of India seems to be very supportive of all the people of different faiths, and especially of the Christians"...which sometimes translates into more freedom to work more openly and evangelistically in some parts of the country.
Even with John's encouraging news of astounding church growth taking place under tightening restriction, many GFA leaders ask for prayer during this time of stepped-up anti-Christian sentiment.