Re-conversions in India becoming more common as many turn to Christ

By January 19, 2006

India (MNN) — Christians in several states in India are concerned after believers were attacked and pressured to return to Hinduism. According to reports, 136 people in Orissa State re-joined Hinduism in what nationalists Hindu groups describe as a ‘home-coming’ ceremony. In Rajasthan Christians were beaten because of their faith in Christ.

President of Mission India of Grand Rapids, Mich. David Stravers says there are a couple of reasons for this. “The Hindu extremists are manufacturing these re-conversions just to get publicity. There is right now a mass movement to Christ among the poorest people of India, the untouchables. And, this has the Hindus really worried. They see people are clamoring to hear the Gospel, to have a relationship with Jesus.”

Stravers also says those who are re-converting may be fruit of tract or hit and run evangelistic campaigns where they fail to be discipled. He says discipleship is important. “One of the things that we do in our programs is make sure that every person who hears the Gospel has a relationship with a local Christian. When people have a relationship with local Christians, (re-conversion) does not happen.”

Mission India provides assistance with training and materials to help Indians with their outreach and discipleship efforts with the goal to plant churches. They do this through children’s Bible clubs and adult literacy training. “Literacy training is very highly sought after in India. We have more than 100,000 people waiting to receive literacy training. All the materials that we use are Scripture-based and 40 percent of the people that enter our literacy training course end up joining a local church.”

According to Stravers there’s only one thing holding them back. “The main thing is money. It costs about $30 per person to graduate a person from the one year training course. The children’s Bible clubs, it’s only about a $1 a child. It doesn’t sound like much, but we had 4-million children in our clubs last year and another 2-million who wanted to be in clubs.”

While thousands of people are turning to Christ already, Straves says it’s just the beginning. He says Indian pastors believe an incredible harvest is about to take place. “Together they agreed that India could become 20-percent Christian by the year 2020. That would mean 275-million converts in the next 15 years.”

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