— In the last few years, persecution against Christians in India has been on
the increase. Anti-Christian sentiment is at an all-time high. Unfortunately,
one leader in India doesn't expect that to change in 2008.
Founder and President of Gospel for
Asia KP Yohannan says 2007 has been a very violent year for
believers. "There has not been any single week during this year that we
didn't have to report that some missionary was beaten up and abused or was in
the hospital. (We've even seen) some of our sisters being abused and beaten
up," which isn't typical there, says Yohannan.
Why is this happening? According to
Yohannan, Matthew 10 says this type of persecution is inevitable. "Jesus
promised this was going to happen. More people are coming to Christ, and we'll
see a greater amount of persecution. Satan knows his time is very short, and
therefore he will intensify persecution."
While Yohannan is praying that persecution subsides, GFA is not ignoring the
problem. He says they're training Bible college and seminary graduates to be
prepared for persecution. "When the graduation takes place, many of the
students are going out knowing that some of them are going to face severe
persecution. One of the most common things we are hearing is that when they
finish their training, many of them get beaten up and face difficulties for preaching
According to Yohannan, the training
has helped. "Not one missionary so far ever said to us, 'I'm going back
home, I don't want to face this.' Rather, they're saying that they will
continue to go forward preaching the Gospel."
Out of that growth, an increasing
number of Bible school students are taking an oath to give it ALL for the
Gospel. However, resources to help these new graduates aren't affordable by
most. That's why Bible Pathway is helping.
Bible Pathway's Al Joslyn says his
organization will be helping a specific Bible Institute. "In early Spring,
one Bible Institution over in Northern India is going to be graduating over
1,000 students. These students are young pastors who will be going into highly-persecuted areas. And they will be starting churches and witnessing for Christ
Bible Pathway has been asked to send
Bibles and Bible Pathway Commentaries to them. However, Joslyn says,
"Unfortunately the shipping cost is upwards of $10,000. So we're looking
for alternative ways of shipping so we can get them there in time to equip
these young people to go out and win the world for Christ in their area."
Another group is clashing with the
government over rights. Tribal farmers,
known as the Gujjars, want affirmative action rights. Recent clashes killed more
than 20 as the Gujjars in the state of Rajasthan seek rights given to other low
castes of India's society which would provide them opportunities for education
Mobilization works in India with national believers. OM's Peter
Dance says the elected Hindu government in Rajasthan promised these rights in
their bid to win the election, only to renege on that promise.
Their demands are being met with
opposition from other tribes. The Meenas oppose the granting of tribal status
to the Gujjars fearing they will lose their own quotas for education and jobs.
The two sides clashed in eastern Rajasthan as the Meenas tried to break the
Dalit Hindus also have these
affirmative action rights, but they lose those rights if they convert to
Many believe this could further
anger the upper castes of India's society. According to Dance, conversion to
Christianity angers nationalistic Hindus. "Part of our mandate is to
support and encourage these new believers. Discipleship training is part of
that. And in a lot of cases, we're standing beside them financially because
they've left their job, and some of these pastors have several of these church
communities scattered around their local area."
Pray that many more people will turn
to Christ. Pray for boldness for those sharing the Gospel. And, pray that those
attacking these believers will come to Christ.