For 150 years or so, in my state of UP (North India), Christian presence was confined to urban centers, around churches and institutions inherited from the colonial era. Colonialism ended in 1947 and, since then, older denominations here have become very corrupt, even though there are fine believers within them (one local bishop is in jail, another is out on bail, both on corruption charges).
Yet, in the midst of this decline, during the last decade the Gospel has begun to penetrate the countryside. Powerful sociological factors are at work . . . but the transforming power is of God.
Last Sunday morning we had well over 2,500 people worshiping with us in Yeshu Darbar (The Royal Court of Jesus), most of them from Hindu backgrounds. About thirty five of them stood up to testify to what God had done for them. One man stood with his young wife, coy but cheerful, a ten-day old baby in her arms.
He began his testimony – “For five years I was mad. . . ”
His matter-of-fact opening shocked the audience (even though they are used to the supernatural). So, the emcee, Pastor Jai Prakash, explained . . .”I have been to his village and his home. He was demon possessed. Boys used to chase him with stones. He used to climb up electric poles and hang on high tension wires. The “mad” man continued the narrative, “I used to bite off high tension wires with my teeth and swing into the pond holding the wire in my hand. But, the Lord Jesus cured me of my madness. He gave me a wife. Now, we have this ten-day old baby. My wife and I have come here to give glory to Jesus.”
In our Hindu heartland, almost every village has witnessing believers now. Here is a another typical story: A woman with kidney stones was advised to have surgery but the family had no money. She begged her husband to let her go to the Yeshu Darbar for prayer. Refusing, he beat her up instead. Gradually her pain became unbearable she pleaded again, “Please let me go to the Lord Jesus. He heals for free.” The husband said, “You may go, on one condition: If you returned uncured, I will not take you to the hospital, even if you die.”
The woman, on faith, accepted the terms and came to Yeshu Darbar. On that Sunday morning, there were more than ten thousand people in the football field, turned into the Royal Court of Jesus. She could not get close to the preacher, Dr. R.B. Lal, a soil scientist, who serves as the Vice Chancellor of the Deemed University (where I serve as an Honorary Professor of Applied Theology). So, the woman stood at a distance and wept, “Lord, I can’t go home without your touch.” Her prayer was answered and she was transformed. She returned home, rejoicing. Since then, her husband has been unable to prevent her from witnessing.
Literally, thousands of villages have such witnesses now. My friend, Rev. David Phillips has been commissioned to organize these new believers into five hundred churches that will also serve as centers of education that will improve living conditions. It will be my privilege to help David in training Academic Pastors (Preacher-Teachers), who will be equipped with computers to run educational centers (The University has provided a beautiful apartment at the banks of river Yamuna for my use.)
The idea of preparing the Preacher-Teacher comes from the Apostle Paul who said the Lord appointed him to be a preacher and a teacher because He wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of Truth (1 Timothy 2: 4-7). We intend to also adapt, to our situation, the wisdom of our friends at Virtues Inc. and CaCHE who are developing global programs for training Academic Pastors.
For this purpose and with the Lord’s provision, we need to raise up a team to develop digital curriculum, teaching Hindi and English and using the Bible as text. With these curriculum, we will run church-and-web-based centers of education like home schools. We praise God for a small denomination in Canada that is helping to build housing for the Preacher-Teachers trainees.
This weekend, work has once again started on editing my Minnesota lectures and sermons. These eight lectures are on “Why Christianity Lost America and How to Return America to Greatness.” The sermons are on the theme, “The Church and the Healing of the Nations.” Please pray for the finances needed for editing these important lectures.
Two lectures are already uploaded and can be viewed now on the home page at www.RevelationMovement.com. Next week, we hope to complete transcribing the lectures and then start converting them into a book.
Meanwhile, you can get the flavor of the research by going to our website and reading my latest paper, “The Problem with Bible Seminary.” This paper was presented at the Faculty Forum at our university in India.
Thank you for your prayers and financial support,
PS. Incidentally, at this time, all online financial gifts for EDUCATION go directly to Virtues Inc. in Minnesota, supporting the work of Dr. Dave Glesne, Cheri Frame and their team.
To contribute, go to the donations page on the www.revelationmovement.com website and click on General Ministries for Revelation Movement or the “Education” card for Virtues Inc, to make your credit card donation.
One Minnesota Foundation has offered to double every donation, large and small, up to $50,000 to launch this historic effort into a sustainable orbit. Virtues Inc (minus curriculum creation) is costing about $10,000 per month (between September and December). Your support will help Virtues Inc establish the Virtues Campus in two pilot churches by January 2015. Once this vision of a church-based college education is established in America, our plan is to replicate it in India and around the world.