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Web Resources

on Hinduism

Hindus Next Door

This Catalyst Postings article observes the significant presence of Hindus in the US and other Western countries. These newcomers are often the wealthiest and best educated of those who are foreign-born. Because "of their upper-middle-class economic level and professional status, Indians have gravitated to suburban communities....One reason we aren't reaching them is because most Hindus don't have practical needs that are often a doorway to reach other groups. Few.... need housing, food, or clothing. Many (although not all) speak excellent English and are successful in academic and professional spheres."

"Hindus are seldom seeking dogmatic or logical 'truth,' but many are hungry to experience a relationship with God that addresses the needs in their hearts.... Hindus often come to understand Jesus in progressive steps."

This article ends with a number of helpful suggestions about how individuals and churches might reach out to Hindu friends.

Dean Halverson and Natun Bhattacharya elaborate on 6 suggestions regarding dialogue with Hindus: (1) Ask and listen; (2) be aware of differing definitions; (3) offer Jesus’ forgiveness; (4) keep God’s personal nature in mind; (5) be prepared to answer the objection that Jesus in not unique (just another avatar); (6) share how Jesus is inclusive toward others.

Lalsingkima Pachuau, Associate Professor of History and Theology of Mission at Asbury Theological Seminary, identifies some basic characteristics of Hinduism and comments on evangelistic efforts among Hindus.

Prem James describes how a 1986 consultation in reaching high caste Hindus led to collaboration between 11 different agencies. Efforts were jointly made to reach a 10 million-strong high caste people group in Karnataka, among which there were less than 100 believers. This included the production of tailor-made tracts. James comments, “For example, we contrasted the fact that our guru washed disciples’ feet…with their culture where it is the devotee who touches the feet of the guru.” There are now more than 7000 believers among this people group in Karnataka.

H. L. Richard elaborates on the following pieces of advice: (1) Don’t criticise or condemn Hinduism; (2) Avoid triumphalism and pride; (3) Don’t imply conversion requires separating from family and/or culture; (4) Don’t be premature in speaking about hell and Jesus as the only way; (5) Don’t hurry; (6) Incorporate biblically consistent Hindu values; (7) Know Hinduism and each individual Hindu; (8) Acknowledge failure; (9) Share one’s testimony; (10) Centre on Christ.

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This is Lausanne Occasional Paper 14 (LOP 14), a report dating back to 1980. Headings are: Introduction; Biblical Framework for Hindu Evangelization; Hindrances to Evangelization of Hindus; Case Studies of God’s Action in Christian Ministry to Hindus; Strategic Planning for Evangelization of Hindus; Resources and Tools for the Task; Commitment; Closing Concern.

Reid and Corduan provide an overview of Hinduism under the following headings: Locale; History; Holy Scriptures; Temples and Worship; Basic Beliefs; Hindu view of Jesus; Salvation in Hinduism; Factions in Hinduism; Misconceptions; Outreach to Hindus.

Paul Hiebert was Professor of Mission Anthropology and South Asia at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois. He recognises that the resurgence of Hinduism as an active formal religion challenges Christians to rethink their mission to Hindus and the Hindu world.

Donna Strom gives examples of the many preliterate animistic beliefs held by the majority of Hindus. Both bhakti marga and karma marga contain many animistic practices.

Rick Rood highlights major differences between Hinduism and Christianity. He attempts to identify Hindu beliefs about God and the world, noting the development of two streams of thought – the philosophical stream emphasising the oneness of all things and the stream that emphasises personal devotion to a deity. He then examines two core beliefs, what Hindus believe about the source of evil and suffering and what they believe about life after death. This leads him to comment on doctrines of karma, reincarnation and the caste system. He considers the four life-goals of a Hindu and the three possible paths to moksha (liberation). He finishes by outlining a Christian response. He compares and contrasts Hindu and Christian thought with respect to the creation of the world, the understanding of human nature and source of estrangement and the way of salvation.

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