Cultural Religion vs. Unadulterated Gospel in the Hindu Context

June 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Do you agree with the high caste Hindu who stated that these missionaries have been totally unable to distinguish between the cultural religion they tried to preach and the unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ as seen in the New Testament?

I do not agree with the high caste Hindu who stated that missionaries have been “totally unable to distinguish” between “cultural religion” and the “unadulterated gospel” of Jesus Christ. I think the high caste Hindu is using hyperbole, an exaggeration to evoke strong feelings and create a strong impression. First, I think this is unfair to the missionaries that have left their homes to live out the gospel among the Hindu people. Two, I think this statement vastly underestimates the difficulty in making sense of foreign cultures and discerning how to best share the gospel message. Third, the terms “cultural religion” and “unadulterated gospel” are not defined so the reader can only guess the meaning.

I assume that the Hindu would define the cultural religion of the Pharisees as Judaism, and the cultural religion of Western missionaries as some type of Phariseeical Christianity neither which lead to salvation. If so, I would wholeheartedly disagree that Western missionaries somehow have not been able to preach a saving gospel message the Hindu people. Finally, I would argue that the “unadulterated” or “pure” gospel of Jesus Christ in the New Testament was because of the messenger not the message. Jesus preached repentance due to the Kingdom of God being upon us, but he lived out the gospel in his death and resurrection (without sin). Missionaries, as fallen people living in a fallen world will most definitely have difficulty in overcoming their personal worldview in order to understand the worldview of the people to which they hope to minister.

D. D. Pani, “Fatal Hindu Gospel Stumbling Blocks” (IJFM, Spring 2001)

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