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Bindi (Hindu mark of respect) and Christian believer.

Queston text:  Is wearing Bindi(Mostly Indian women wear on middle of forehead) wrong in christianity? Give us bibilical answer please.

 
               
Answer text:  

Indian culture is very much influenced by the Indian religion. In fact, it is very difficult to separate Indian culture from its religion. Most of the cultural practices are based on some religious concepts. Bindi is no exception. It was originally given by the poojaries as a mark of approval after idols were worshipped. Though Bindi today has become just a beauty spot, originally it has had its religious implications. Now to answer your question whether it is right for a Christian believer to use it, you need to see it in this light. We are commanded in the Bible that no relics of idolatry is to be brought home lest we be cursed(Dt.7:25,26). Read what the Psalmist would say about other gods in Psa.16:4. God hates idolatry and worship of other gods because it destroys the worshipper and takes the worshipper away from God for time and for eternity. So no trace of idolatry is to be found any where near the child of God. God bless!

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Posted by on May 27, 2010 in Christian life, Uncategorized

 

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Casting Out Demons!

 

Question Text:  How is it possible that people from different religions drive out demons in the name of other gods? Exorcism is performed by many people today of various religions and beliefs.  Jesus said that Satan could not be against Satan.

 Answer Text:  You have given a very good and a very practical question. As you said, there are people in various religions who are able to ‘cast out devils’ form possessed people. It really looks contradictory to what Jesus said in Mt.12:26. So how shall we understand this situation? Have you ever witnessed some one other than a follower of Christ casting out demons from possessed people? If there is ever a chance, you must go and witness it for yourself. They never ever cast out using some one’s name or authority. They do it own their own power or in the power of the one in whom they work with, often torturing the possessed person. No demon ever goes out if some one tells them to get out from the possessed person in the name any man or any gods.

For example, no one can tell the demon, “I command you in the name of Hitler to get out of that person” or even to say, “I command you in the name of any god/s to come out”. They actually use force for casting out demons. And all that they can do is to keep the demons in the possessed persons under suppression. Demons are still in the possessed persons but they won’t exhibit their presence fearing the ones who suppressed them or “cast them out”.

This I know from my experience. I had a person brought to me who was possessed and was suffering for long years. The person suffering was the mother of three kids and the youngest was an infant. When she got possessed, she would fall flat irrespective of the place where she is. Being a tea leaves plucker in an estate, while engaged in the work she would fall flat and exhibit signs like that of an epileptic patient. She had fallen like this while cooking and at other times. But since her case was one of black magic and the demons could not even be suppressed by several Hindu poojaries and others. Finally, she was brought to me as a preacher of the gospel.

The demons were fooling me at first. Whenever I was with them, she would be normal and when ever I came out of their house demons would come back with more force and give more trouble. This went of for more than a week and I did not know what to do, that being my first ever exposure to a demon possessed person. Then I went and consulted a senior brother who told me a tremendous secret. This is the secret which helps all other exorcists to do their job. When a person is possessed, if we catch hold of that person, we are in fact catching hold of the demons who have possessed that person. Till we keep our hold on that person, demons are in our hands. If we torture the possessed person, the demons get tortured. If we have the mental stamina to face demons in this way, any strong person can suppress demons. And mostly exorcists use the power of their god/s to suppress demons in a possessed person.

When I learnt this secret, I fasted and prayed the whole of the following day I went and brought that person under possession and caught hold of the demons and that was the end of it. They started shivering like leaves in wind and promised never to come back to that person again as I commanded them in the name of Christ.

I hope you got the answer to your question. Others do not cast out using any name. They suppress demons by force, often by torturing them. Sometimes demons leave the person fearing torture but mostly they remain suppressed. You can read my interesting conversation with the demons from http://mathewpaul.org/tag/evil-spirits/ . Only at the name of Christ every knee shall bow. To His name be all glory. Amen

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2009 in Evil Spirits

 

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Brahmin Wanting To Be Christian.

Question Text “|: I am born a Hindu (Brahmin). My family is a staunch Hindu one.   Unfortunately, Hinduism has rampant caste system, in which our families believe. There are several (I mean hundreds) blind practices our families follow, and we are not allowed to question them! They expect us to follow these traditions and practices (including severe forms of untouchability, casteism, hypocrisy, so on) very obediently.  I am very frustrated by such a religion. Just because we were born into it doesn`t mean we need to be in such a dark religion life long! This is where we need your help sir. All of a sudden, I felt being called by Jesus. I started reading more and more about Him, till I realized He has to be my Lord. His forgiveness, His love, His life – all these attracted me to Him. After several months of reflectioion,  I am convinced that I  should follow Jesus. The problem is I have none to guide me. It looks like I am alone in this journey. In particular, I am drawn to Protestantism. Can you please guide me  in whatever way you think will help me? What all should I do in this transformation? 

I have some specific questions too: 1. I will be staying with my parents (who are staunch Hindus) for 1 year. So in this 1 year, I cannot take any `visible` steps towards Christianity. I really want to be a Christian, and be proud about it. And I don`t want to hurt my family. If I tell them about my becoming a Christian, they will disown me and get deeply hurt. I am so confused about how to manage this situation. And right now, is there anything I can do without getting baptized? I am not a scripture oriented person. I just want to lead my life as Jesus taught. Can you please suggest me a simple lifestyle till I get baptized? 2. I want to know why there are denominations within Christianity and specifically in Protestantism. 3. There is a Protestant Church in our city (Bangalore, India) that I have been to once. Since I am Hindu now, I feel somewhat weird and a little scared as to how the Pastor and others may feel and react. Is it normal? And what should be my first step towards becoming Christian? 4. How should I pray to Jesus?  I don`t have His photo. Is that required? What is the `method` to pray to Him? 5. Should I change my name on baptism?

Answer Text:  

I am so glad to meet you with your questions.  May the Lord guide you in your desire to be His follower.Before answering your queries, let me just give you a link from where you can read about Anand Mahadevan, Business Editor of Outlook India. Anand published his testimony in the opinion column of their magazine and publicly declared that he is a follower of Christ for the last 15 years, though he was born and brought up in a staunch Brahmin family. This he published at the time when riots were taking place in Orissa last year reconverting Christians into Hinduism. http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?238770  . For some reason if you can not open that link, this article is published in Oct.27,2008 issue of Outlook India. It is a must read for you.

Now let me try to answer your questions from No.5-1. Your fifth question was whether you should change your name at baptism. If you have been able to read Anand by now, you would have learnt that he not only did NOT change his name, he did NOT throw away any of the cultural traits which was NOT against the Bible. The Bible does NOT require you to change any thing except your heart. In fact, the Bible asks you to continue in the social and cultural stream where you were at the time of accepting Christ. `Each of you should remain as you were when you accepted God`s call` (1Co 7:20). One of the reasons why Christian faith did NOT impact the high castes of India is that the early missionaries did not remove the offence of the gospel as they preached Christ here. The impression that high caste Indians got was that one should become meat eaters and wine drinkers to become followers of Christ!!  What a tragedy!! I wish you would remain a Brhmin as far as your food habits and other habits which do not go against the gospel. So, please do NOT think of a new name for yourself or a new way of eating or dressing to follow Christ. NO!!

 Now, in your fourth question you asked about praying to Jesus. There is absolutely NO formality at all when it comes to praying to Jesus. Prayer is talking to God. If you want to talk to your friends, you go near or get connected. Like that, if you want to talk to God, go to a quiet place and get connected to Him. The amazing thing is that God has already spoken to us and it is found in the Bible. So when you want to talk to God, first listen to what He has to say by reading the Bible. As you read the Bible desire in your heart to hear the voice of God and tell Him, ` O God, speak to me`. When He speaks to you as you read the Bible, be prepared to do what He says. Then you can open your heart and tell Him every thing as you tell your friend. God`s years are open to our prayers any time. And the first thing we need to get from God is His forgiveness and then invite Jesus to come and live within your heart so that He will live within you.. So, why don’t you go to http://www.4stepstogod.com and pray that prayer at the end of the page from your heart and God will forgive you and Jesus will come to live within your heart. That will get you connected to God through Christ. Now you need to live a thankful life to God and from then on God’s ears will be open to you to listen to all your prayers. You need to pray at least twice daily spending a minimum of half hour each in secret.

Then you asked about the photo of Jesus. We really do NOT have the photo of Jesus. What is circulated as Jesus photo is just imaginary drawing which comes from the middle ages. It is a Catholic invention. Now, I have never seen you. If I draw a face and circulate among friends saying that it is you, how pleased will you be? You would think I am mad. Will you not? Jesus may be thinking the same about those who circulate a picture saying it is His photo. PLEASE HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

Your third question is about how Christians react to others coming to church. One of my close friends is Dr. Namboodripad who is a Brahmin convert now in Chennai. He said he walked into a church once just because on the name board it said, `All are welcome`. Though it may not be found written out on the name boards of many churches, the attitude really is the same towards any one who comes to them. So feel absolutely free as you walk in next time. In some churches, strangers are warmly welcomed. Tragically in some churches strangers are ignored. I do not  know what your experience was when you went in once. Try not to choose a large congregation because you get lost in the crowd.  If it is a small Bible lovers’ group, you really get a family atmosphere there and you can get people to pray for you personally which will be one of the greatest assets in your life.

Now, your second question is a very important one about denominations among Christians. Well, I would put it bluntly like this. Christianity is a living organism. New branches are bound to come when the old become lifeless and useless. I think, you got the point. The Bible is our ultimate authority as it is God`s Unchanging Word to man. As days went by, as Christianity became an organized religion when the Roman Emperor Constantine accepted faith with out real repentance in his life, Christianity began to become corrupted. You and I know that Vedic Hinduism has nothing to do with present day practicing Hinduism. But when that happens in Christianity, God raises new people who will go back to the Bible to rediscover its truths. Unfortunately some among Protestants too have grouped themselves under human heads and headquarters with diocese and bishops which are NOT found in the Bible. The NT pattern of church life is NEVER an organized religion. There are several NT patterned churches/assemblies in India and in Bangalore as well. You need to choose one that you think is doing maximum justice to the Bible.

Now, for your first question, I am so excited that you found Christ to be a unique person. In the next one year when you stay with your parents, do every thing possible to get to know the Bible and the truth of the gospel. Baptism is the final step when you publicly declare your faith. Once you do that, it should be a life time commitment. Even death or severest persecution should NOT deter you from your decision. So before you accept baptism, make doubly sure that this is the faith you want to follow till your death. Read your Bible and pray in secret every day. Remain in close contact with the Lord and now that internet facility is there, you can be in link with many practicing believers like you. Meet me in my personal website which is on prayer. www.mathewpaul.org/2008/10/21.beief-testimony  . I do an online Bible study every day at 11 am (IST) and on Thursdays at 8 pm also at http://www.looktojesus.com/chat/study.php?study=4  .  I shall be very happy to be in touch with you and guide you in every step of the way for His glory. God bless.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2009 in Christian life

 

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Need for Indian Christian Theology

Question Text :   i  am really  confused about the question raised by our professor in our college  about  the indian christian theology………….  my question is that do we need an indian christian theology in  the indian context if yes  than why do we  need indian chrristian theology  if no than why we  dont need what hermeneutical principle would we apply to follow  to  do so……………..  would  be very happy  if u would please help me to  find out ?

Answer Text :  Though the gospel is the same,  the way it is appreciated and understood is different in different cultures. Jesus came to the world as a Jew and He lived and taught as a Jew. His food and clothing were Jewish. But when that message was to be preached around the world, the Jewish element has to be explained to the hearers so that the message will be understood properly. That is why there are so many commentaries written on the Bible. Otherwise there could be total misunderstanding of the message.

The classical example of this is found in the book ‘Peace Child’ written by Don Richardson. Richardson was a missionary among the cannibalistic Sawi tribe in Indonesia. He learnt their language with much difficulty and when the gospel was preached to the tribe, the people saw Judas as the hero and Jesus was to them a dupe to be laughed at, as deception was the highest virtue in their culture. Richardson was in great difficulty and he was determined to leave the mission field because the tribes were still fighting between them. But because the tribes did not want him to leave, they decided to make peace between them and the way it was done was by exchanging children to the enemies to be looked after. When he saw this he got the clue and he presented the Christ as God’s Son sent to reconcile us to Him. The result was the conversion of the tribes to Christ and the establishment of an indigenous church among them.

One reason why the Gospel did not make head way among Indians is that the early missionaries did not take note of the cultural offenses while they preached to Indians. For example, slaughtering a calf for food is a highly offensive thing here and the Bible translators could have avoided the mention of the calf being slaughtered for food. Instead in that place if they had simply said a grand meal was prepared with out specifically mentioning the slaughter of calf for food, many more Indians would have been willing to read the Bible.

The greatest Indian saint Sadhu Sunder Singh would put this idea in his own words when he said “we need to give the water of life in an Indian vessel”. The core message of the Bible has to taken out and presented it in a way which is understood and appreciated by the indigenous community. In Richardson’s language there will be “redemptive analogies” in each culture and until they are discovered and the gospel presented, it will become an offence to the hearers and they would never be able to appreciate what God has done to redeem this world.

Is there need for an Indian Christian theology? Yes, indeed. Every time the gospel is preached, preachers are using Indian languages, Indian illustrations, Indian cultural traits to make the gospel relevant to the hearers. The gospel makes its head into the community if it is presented in the way appealing to them.

 
 
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Posted by on August 6, 2009 in Bible Questions, Theology

 

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License To Sin?!

Question Text:   I was a Hindu, saved at the age of 14. I backslid many times and then I repented. I had a horrible childhood of abuse etc, never had a childhood or teen years as a normal kid even unto adulthood. When i was 22 i committed fornication once, also drank and smoked. I repented. I stopped then I committed fornication again although a bit unwillingly. I read Heb. Chap. 10. Am i saved?

Answer Text:  You said you were saved at the age of 14, though a Hindu. Praise God for the grace given to you. Then you talked about your backslidings and coming back again and again. You talked about your reluctant sins in your life and wonder whether you are saved. Truly you need to wonder about it. The Bible teaches that a child of God can NOT continue in sin (1Jn.3:9). The very fact that you are reluctant shows that the Spirit of God is within you. That you are concerned about your salvation is an indication that you are indeed a saved person! People of the world not only commit these sins but they enjoy doing it and want to have more and more of it. The Bible teaches that God can not tolerate sin where ever it is found. There is NO forgiveness for willful sins either in the OT or in the NT (Num.15:30,31; Heb.10:26). Sin in the life of a believer is punished here and now while we are in the body (1Cor.5:5). To a sinning child of God there is NO condemnation; but there WILL BE chastisement (1Cor.11:32). The Bible clearly teaches that salvation is a gift from God (Eph.2:8). All that we can DO to get this salvation is to receive it by faith. Since you can not DO any thing to get it, you can NOT do any thing to lose it either. The Bible teaches that once you are saved you are always saved. But that does NOT give you license to live in sin. Sin will be punished where ever it is found. I am going to give you one or two links from where you can go to many other related links and learn all about being saved and the need for a holy life. May the Lord give you grace to live a life pleasing to Him so that you may not be ashamed at His coming (1Jn.2:28). May His name be glorified. Amen. Please study the following links thoroughly and live a life acceptable to Him.  http://www.gotquestions.org/once-saved-always-saved.htmlhttp://www.gotquestions.org/license-sin.html .  Praise His Holy Name.  Amen

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2009 in Christian life

 

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Will God Send Good People To Hell For Not Accepting Christ?

Question Text: How would you explain God sending some one like Gandhi to hell for not accepting Christ, when Jesus said you shall know them by their fruit?

Answer Text: You have posted an excellent question.   Good people in hell can be understood by the fact that they are dead in spirt and therefore lived a life separated from God here and will do so hereafter.

The Bible doctrine that no man is good stands unchallenged (Ps.14:3). Your statement that we can know them by their fruit was made by our Lord in the context of false teachers (Mt.7:20). Your assumption that Gandhi’s fruit was good is to a great extend agreeable though in his autobiography Gandhi confesses to have lied on occasions. Yet, he was known as the Mahathma which literally means a ‘great soul’.

Gandhi was indeed a great soul with out a doubt. But his spirit was dead and was separated from God. The Bible teaches that man is a tripartite being. Man has a body, soul and spirit (1The.5:3). The spirit in man is that part of man by which man could be in contact with God. When Adam committed sin, he became dead in spirit. Which means Adam lost His fellowship with God as he was separated from God by sin. In Adam all die (1Cor.15:22). This means all men are born in this world being separated from God. Unless a regeneration takes place every man born on earth is born and lives being separated from God. A natural man is lead by his soul element in him (1Cor.2:14). The original word for ‘natural man’ in 1Cor.2:14 is ‘psuchikos’ which means a ‘soulish (man)’. Until some one accepts Christ, he is lead by his soul and he remains separate from God.

When some one accepts Christ, a reversal takes place. A death takes place (2Cor.5:14) and a new life begins (Eph.2:1). He dies to self (soul) and he is made alive in spirit. Now a child of God is to be lead by the spirit (Rom.8:14). Tragically there are occasions when a child of God also is lead by the soul like ordinary men (1Cor.3:3). Thus they become carnal Christians. The important thing to note is that soul and spirit are identical twins and we really can not identify them or separate them and indeed, we would not have even known about these two different elements in man if the Word of God had not made it clear to us (Heb.4:12).

Gandhi being a ‘great soul’ produced fruit very similar to that of the fruit of the spirit as taught in Gal.5:22. But surely, it was the fruit of his soul and not of the spirit. His spirit being separated from God is not capable of producing the fruit of the spirit.

It is God’s desire that all men should be with Him in heaven (1Tim.2:4). God has done every thing possible for every man to be saved. Now it is man’s duty to make the choice whether to be found with God or with out Him. We know from the biographies of Gandhi that he was clearly exposed to the gospel of Christ. In fact Gandhi liked the Sermon on the Mount so dearly that he read it almost regularly.

Yet, Gandhi chose not to accept Christ as his Lord and savior and remained a soulish man and never became linked to God in a practical way in his spirit. God of love does NOT force any one to accept Him. If Gandhi does not want to be with God in heaven, God is helpless and God can not and will not take him to heaven.

To me, hell also is a sign of God’s loving nature, being unwilling to force any man in to His mould with out man’s clear permission and decision. So if there is any truth in the Bible, Gandhi can not be in heaven because he did not choose to be in link with God while here on earth through Christ who said no one can come to the Father but by me (Jn.14:6). It is not a question of God sending any one to hell, it is a question of people choosing to live with out God here and now which will be their fate all through eternity as well. I hope this clarifies your question.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2009 in Bible Questions, heaven and hell

 

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Food Offered To Idols

What does the Bible say about food offered to idols and what should be my attitude when it is given to me?

There is clear instruction in the Bible that a believer should not partake of the food offered to idols.   Read the Bible now.   “The Holy Spirit and we have agreed not to put any other burden on you besides these necessary rules:  eat no food that has been offered to idols; eat no blood; eat no animal that has been strangled; and keep yourselves from sexual immorality. You will do well if you take care not to do these things. With our best wishes (Acts 15:28,29).”  Then in the epistles Paul gives some clarifications about the issue.  Read below.

In considering this question we need to look at two main passages in the NT.  In 1Cor.8 Paul is actually answering the very same question of food offered to idols which the Corinthians had asked him.  The whole chapter deals with this question. The passage is straight forward and does not fall into different interpretations. In this passage the first argument that Paul gives is that idols are nothing as there is only One God and One Lord of all.  Therefore food offered to idols has nothing special about it all.  But Paul went on to say that this knowledge that there is only One God and idols are not gods is not every one’s knowledge. There are some who consider idols as some thing and to them food offered to idols have some specialty about it.  So for the sake of the one who has a weak conscience food offered to idols should not be eaten.

The other passage to consider is 1Cor.10:14ff where Paul talks about the question of idolatry.  There are some crucial verses in this passage. I am just quoting.  Look at 1Co 10:20. “But I say that the things which the nations sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. And I do not desire that you should have fellowship with demons”. V.21 reads “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of a table of demons”.   Now let me just quote Paul again from vv.23-29.  “All things are lawful to me, but not all things profit. All things are lawful to me, but not all things build up.   Let no one seek his own, but each one another’s”. (v.25) “Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no question for conscience’ sake;” v.26)  ‘for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness of it.’  (v.27)  “If any of those who do not believe invite you to a feast, and if you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no questions for conscience’ sake”.  (v.28) “But if anyone says to you, This is slain in sacrifice to idols, do not eat for the sake of him who showed it, and for conscience’ sake; “for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness of it”;  (v.29) “conscience, I say, not your own, but the other’s. For why is my liberty judged by another’s conscience?”    Paul’s main concern in this passage seems to be that we should not cause an offense to a weak brother for whom Christ died. So Paul concludes this passage by saying whether we ate or drank, we should do it for the glory of God; that we should make sure that we do not offend any one; that my concern should be the salvation of others when I do any thing.

One or two OT references are suitable for this context.  Look at Deu 7:25 “You shall burn the graven images of their gods with fire. You shall not desire the silver or gold on them, nor take it for yourself, so that you may not be snared in it. For it is an abomination to Jehovah your God”.  (Deu 7:26) “And you shall not bring an abomination into your house, lest you be a cursed thing like it. You shall utterly hate it, and you shall utterly despise it. For it is a cursed thing”.  These and other passages very clearly show that any association with idolatry of any sort is to be avoided at any cost.  The determination of the Psalmist is some thing that we should learn from.    “Their sorrows shall be multiplied who run after another god. I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood; and I will not take their names on my lips”  (Ps.16:4).

I remember an occasion when I was given such food by a neighbor of mine who holds me in high respect.  He had gone to a far away very famous Temple and ‘prasadam’ (the food offered to the idol) is supposed to have very special power attached to it.  When given to me in my house, I accepted it that I might not offend my neighbor.  But I made sure that I did not part take of it.  In situations like these we need to use great discretion and make sure that the name of the Lord is glorified by what we do and the other person is not offended by it.  May the Lord help us.  To His name be glory. Amen.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2008 in Christian life, Uncategorized

 

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