India (IGL/MNN) — You may have recently gotten an e-mail prayer alert that reads like this: "Please pray for churches in India. Buddhist extremists in India burned down 20 churches last night. Tonight they plan to destroy 200 churches in the province of Olisabang. They plan to kill 200 missionaries within 24 hours."
Rev. Samuel Stephens with India Gospel League says this message is false. He writes, "If this were
true, I would have been one among the first few to receive such information because of the presence of our extensive network of pastors and church planters spread over a good part of the country. Further, there are no provinces in India. We have states and districts. There is no state or district named Olisabang."
Another fact that debunks the e-mail's veracity: Buddhist extremist groups are prevalent only in Sri Lanka, not in India. Violent attacks on Christians and pastors and the destruction of churches by Buddhist extremists are becoming increasingly frequent and widespread in Sri Lanka.
However, IGL says Buddhists and Christians in India have lived peacefully and in amity with each other for years. Stephens notes: "I am led
to believe that this message is a deliberate, planned and mischievous attempt by Hindu extremists to damage the good relationship between Buddhists and
Christians. It is intentionally sent out to create animosity between these two groups."
The ministry team believes the e-mail is the work of a Hindu extremist group operating from outside the country (probably the U.S.) sending out e-mails under the names "Pastor, Dalit freedom network," "Sudhir – Architect," and "United Church." They have been
widely distributing anti-Christian and anti-missionary e-mails. One of the stated strategies of the RSS–the leading Hindu extremist group that is behind all this–is to create confusion and disharmony between minority groups in the country.
Violence against Christians is a reality. Attacks on churches and against believers occur somewhere in India in some form every day.
However, IGL urges caution and wisdom on regarding information that is shared.
Pray that truth will be revealed. Pray, too, that the church will not shy away from persecution and tribulation but stand firm with the strength of the Holy Spirit and continue to grow and multiply.