Tag Archives: india

Gender Justice in light of the Bible

Gender Justice ScaleA major worldwide issue today is gender justice—ending inequalities between men and women in the family, workplace and larger community. Christian approaches to this critical problem can help to reveal the character of the gospel to the rest of the world.

Female subjugation is a worldwide tragedy. More women, aged 15-44, die from male violence than from cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined. Millions of women and girls suffer sex slavery. A woman dies in childbirth every minute. Women suffer from illiteracy, medical discrimination and many other things more than men. Sons are valued more than daughters. In India and elsewhere, this is a millennia-old calamity.

This calamity results from the fall. To understand what true gender justice is, we must return to what God originally intended when He created the first man and woman. We find that in Genesis 2:18. Many English translations say something like this: “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

Historically, even in the church, we have considered the woman as an assistant to the man, a “helpmeet.” But the original Hebrew, ezer, does not allow this weak interpretation. This word, rich in meaning, actually means more like “comrade,” or “ally,” a “mirror image” or “complement,” one who supplies something the man lacks and can never do alone.

In the Old Testament, ezer is used of God 16 of the 21 times it appears, as helper to His people. It is used twice of Eve. In other words, just as God supplied vital help to His chosen people, the woman also performs a vital, God-ordained role without which something important never gets done. The woman performs an essential, equal, but different, role in partnership with the man.

In this plan, the man is the “head” of the woman (like the head of one’s body). “Headship” does not mean “hierarchy,” any more than God the Father is superior to the Son in His essence. Even in the church, this basic truth is imperfectly understood.

From these biblical principles, male domination subverts God’s original plan and prevents a man from being a man. Male domination is part of the curse that befalls humanity after the fall (Genesis 3:16). Feminism also subverts God’s original plan because it reacts or rebels naturally against male domination, but fails to recover God’s intended role for women as ezer.

We are all fallen beings and none of us, even as Christians, ever perfectly follows God’s original plan in our marriages and other relationships with the opposite sex. We have lost who we truly are.

However, we who have entered Christ’s kingdom by His grace have His Holy Spirit through Whom we may recover what we lost through the fall. When we learn to listen to the Holy Spirit in our marriages, in our church fellowships and in the marketplace, we begin to recover those truths Adam and Eve knew before they lost fellowship with God.

When we do this, many outside the Kingdom will begin to grasp the practical implications of the gospel and want it for themselves. Pray that as men and women of His Kingdom, we will learn these lessons well for His glory and the advancement of His Kingdom. India needs this. So do we all.

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Pray for Persecuted Christians

India-ChurchAround the world, in many ways, the gospel of Jesus Christ is under assault. With recent headlines, we tend to equate this with Islamic attacks upon Christians in the Middle East and Africa, but the enemy wars against Jesus Christ everywhere and in many ways. This includes India.

Open Doors International reports that the Word Watch List of persecuted Christians, based upon the number of attacks between November 1, 2012 and March 31, 2014, places India at #8 of the top 10 nations undergoing the heaviest persecution of Christians. That list was made up before the accession of a BJP majority in India’s parliamentary election of May 2014.

Since that election, the number of incidents involving persecution of Christians has increased at least 55% under the fascistic BJP government of Narendra Modi. The goal of the BJP and its af liates is to unite India under a Hindu religion and culture. They encourage violence against Christians, and many misguided people comply. Persecution takes place in every state of India.

Persecution comes in many forms. BJP-controlled governments enforce anti-conversion laws. Mobs raid churches, beating and killing church members, burning Bibles, raping women, erecting Hindu idols. Some villages forbid Christians from earning a living and using village wells. Policemen arrest Christians on false charges. Spies enter churches to monitor Christian activities. Christian children are seized and indoctrinated into Hinduism.

All of this comes just as the Spirit of God continues to enlarge the scope of the gospel in India through IGO and other like-minded ministries. In the past year, IGO has made great strides in Odisha, Darjeeling and Mizoram in addition to our main training center at India Bible College and Seminary. God gives us new opportunities to enlarge our witness through ministries that uplift those in poverty—schools in the slums, sewing ministries to women, and others.

God continues to enlarge His harvest force in all these places, and to give us new means to communicate the gospel to greater numbers of people. But we must always engage in spiritual battle with an enemy who will not give up though one day he must lose.

At the heart of opposition to the gospel is a spiritual enemy who darkens sinful hearts with lies. Paul, who experienced persecution many times, warns us that we struggle “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” As we engage the enemy on our knees in prayer, we will gain the victory even as the early church gained the victory.

Pray for our brothers and sisters in India’s persecuted church. Let us “remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are ill-treated as if you yourselves were suffering.” (Hebrews 13:3). Let us also pray that God continues to bring opportunities our way in the midst of trials and opens the door for an unprecedented Great Awakening.

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Weighty Prayers

True-PrayerWe must all learn to pray more “weighty” prayers.

The great 19th century preacher, Charles H. Spurgeon, once said, “True prayer is measured [by God] by weight, not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length.”

How do we pray more “weighty” prayers? In humility. In faith. In accordance with God’s will. Focused upon others. In boldness. In the name of Jesus.

This is a critical time for your “weighty” prayers on behalf of India Gospel Outreach.

Over the years, our praying friends have opened many new doors of ministry in many new places. We are grateful to each of you who have been a part of this critical prayer support. So also are the countless men, women and children who have been blessed through your faithful and “weighty” prayers.

Again, this is another opportunity for you to help enlarge the influence of the gospel in India, especially through this ministry and to potentially change the eternal destinies of millions.

In addition to the daily prayer requests that follow, I request that you pray daily this month for a very special need:

In the past year, enemies of the gospel were elected to the highest offices of Indian government during the most recent national election. Their stated aim is to make India a nation for Hindus only. Since that election, persecution of Christians has increased in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka.

They are even attempting to bribe Christians to become Hindus. In Uttar Pradesh, they planned a mass conversion of 4,000 Christian families to Hinduism for Christmas Day. Praise God, through the prayers of many of you, so much infighting and confusion took place among the leadership, the event never took place!

But they have not given up, and neither must we. We must continue to pray “weighty” prayers until all things are subjected to Him.

Therefore, I would greatly appreciate your daily prayers for the Christians in Uttar Pradesh where much persecution is taking place. With more than 210 million people in this large state with 1,325 people/square mile, 742 urban centers, 307,452 villages, there are only about 200,000 Christians, many of them only nominal believers.

IGO has sent a number of trained church planters to this state and is planning strategic things in this large state, so influential for the rest of India. Please pray daily that God will raise up and prosper these schools to train many evangelists who will plant churches in every zip code and reach every ethnic group in Uttar Pradesh with the Good News.

Pray for a mighty awakening to the gospel, not only in Uttar Pradesh but throughout India. Pray that God will give IGO many opportunities and resources to take the Good News to many new places.

Thank you for your bold, faithful—and essential—“weighty” prayers.

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The Theologian in You

There is a general misconception that theology is only for religious specialists who spend years in college and seminary and church pastorates. Not true. In truth, we are all theologians. Theology is the study of God, and whether our beliefs are well-formed or half-baked, all of us have ideas about God and the world in which we live. Our decisions and our attitudes are influenced by those beliefs.

Therefore, the wise person sets out to determine just what his beliefs about God are and to correct those that are wrong.

Some of the sources of our beliefs about God come from the revealed Word of God. There are moments in which God may have indeed spoken to us to clarify truth about Him. At other times, our beliefs come from questionable sources, such as negative personal experiences or cultural influences that tell us lies about ourselves and about God. These unconscious but erroneous beliefs can have a devastating effect upon us and those who must live with us.

At times, we should each clarify what we actually believe about God and whether our beliefs agree with the revealed Word of God. It may be that what we say we believe is not what we actually believe in practice.

Theology is not just for theologians, seminary students and pastors, it is for all of us. We must make a conscious and constant effort to align our beliefs with scripture to help us make wise life decisions and decisions that affect us and those around us for eternity.

The main divisions of Christian theology include (1) exegetical theology (interpretation and study of scriptural texts), (2) historical theology (the history of doctrinal thought), (3) systematic theology (arranging the teachings in a logical order which includes apologetics and ethics, the doctrine of origins to the doctrine of last things) and (4) practical theology (salvation, preaching, education, administration, worship, the Great Commission). To effectively live our Christian lives, we must have strong foundations in each of these areas.

Of course, Christian theology is more than the sum of correct beliefs about God.
It involves our response to the work of the living God in our lives, moving us to act in love and obedience toward him. Our correct beliefs become a living faith as we listen to God and learn to do His will in our lives.

For example, if we say we believe in an omnipotent God, we will trust God to do great things in our lives and the lives of others. We will give ourselves to prayers of faith.
We will not become discouraged when things do not always go our way. We will trust God to be stronger than the circumstances that surround us.

We will also get our priorities straight when it comes to the Great Commission.
We will more readily see the lost world around us and ask God how He can work through us to accomplish His redemptive purpose among the spiritually lost at home and abroad.

In India, millions of people remain in spiritual confusion because of diabolically distorted and darkened perceptions of God. Join us with your prayers and resources to insure that the Bread of Life reaches all who hunger for it.

Blessings in Christ,
Valson Abraham

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