India (MNN) — When you think of persecution, a box of receipts is probably not the first thing that would come to mind. Yet for Christian ministries in India, it’s a perfect symbol of pressure from outside forces.
“Since the Hindu party came into power at the central government they have been tightening restrictions, watching things a lot more closely, and putting ministries under a tremendous amount of scrutiny,” says John Pudaite of Bibles For The World (BFTW).
In this case, scrutiny means yearly trips to meet officials with several boxes of receipts and records that will be analyzed line by line by government representatives. “The government will expect to be able to point at an item and have us produce the receipt for it.”
On paper, increasing financial regulations might not seem like persecution, but in reality, Pudaite says it comes down to one goal: complication. “It takes a couple of weeks and repeat visits and intense scrutiny, and it’s a way that they can really frustrate and try to discourage those who are working in ministry for God’s Kingdom.”
What’s more, Pudaite is concerned that this is only a taste of things to come. He’s afraid pressure from the government and other forces will continue to grow in the coming years.
But the Body of Christ has a distinct advantage. “The way [the government] sees it, it’s purely economic or financial,” Pudaite says. “These forces in power don’t understand that this is about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
“As this is happening, we see the Church growing stronger and coming together.” Smaller ministries are banding together with larger denominations, and the Church is uniting with new vigor in the midst of new pressure.
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“We just need prayer here for ourselves and our teams, that they may stay diligent and focused on their role of keeping things in order so we can continue to pass these inquiries without any problems,” says Pudaite.