The Christian Post recently had the opportunity to travel to India to observe the work Christians are doing throughout the country to help empower a societal group that has been neglected for the better part of recorded human history. This is the first part of a four part series detailing their work.
"You were born in the image of God." For many Christians across the globe this is a well-known and common Biblical verse from Genesis 1:27, but for Kumar Swamy and his family this would be the most radical and life-changing message they had ever heard. Though the words are simple, the power contained in them was enough to have them dedicate themselves to Jesus in an instant and compel them to spend their lives fighting for the oppressed, as well as spreading His name to everyone who would listen. Swamy and his family are Dalits.
There are over 250 million Dalit men, woman and children who are abused, neglected and exploited in what is widely considered the world's largest human rights atrocity. Currently, there is an effort to empower Dalits with education and through the grace of Jesus Christ, but the greatest challenge is a suppressive socio-religious order which has been engrained into the psyche of the Indian people. more >>
Pranitha Timothy is a soft-spoken Indian woman who has led over 50 rescue operations to free slaves in Chennai, India. She has survived a brain tumor and a number of run-ins with violent slave owners, and says God has cleared the path for her to fight injustice in the world today.
According to the website for The American Anti-Slavery Group, there are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today. As the director of aftercare for International Justice Mission in the Province of Chennai, Timothy and her teams have rescued 4,000 slaves in the last nine years. She has regularly risked her life for these forced laborers, never knowing for sure if she will see her husband and young daughter again, and she gives God all of the credit for her success.
"God goes before us into the places of darkness and makes the paths straight for us to bring rescue," Timothy told attendees of Willow Creek Association's Global Leadership Summit on Friday. more >>
Pastor Ponnachan George, a senior leader of Gospel for Asia in India, is recovering in a hospital today after being held hostage for nearly a week by a terrorist group before he was finally released on Sunday.
GFA Founder and President K.P. Yohannan told The Christian Post on Monday that the terrorists targeted George because they believed they could ransom him for money. George is a prominent leader in the region – he oversees about 300 missionaries, 200 churches, 26 Bridge of Hope centers, three radio broadcasts and a Bible college – and he was the only person kidnapped by the terrorists.
"For years we have been doing tremendous amount of community development ... but all these things we do so that Christ's love can be communicated. So these terrorist groups must have concluded, 'These people have a lot of money, so you kidnap their leader and that means they have to give the money,'" said Yohannan. more >>
WASHINGTON – Some 100,000 ethnic Chins from Burma have fled torture and religious persecution in their homeland to take refuge in Mizoram state in eastern India, where they make up an astounding 10 percent of the population – but on paper – they don't exist.
This problem – the Chins' legal non-existence in Mizoram – brought together a panel of humanitarian experts on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about the plight of this highly overlooked ethnic group – 90 percent of which is Christian – at a media event for the release of the 134-page report, "Seeking Refuge: The Chin People in Mizoram State, India."
"Partially due to difficulty with access into Chin state in Burma and Mizoram in India, there has been much less focus on the Chin situation than it really warrants," said Joel Charny, vice president for humanitarian policy and practice at Interaction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based relief and development organizations. more >>
NEW DELHI – A court has ordered the Jammu and Kashmir state government to temporarily halt criminal proceedings against a pastor accused of bribing Muslim youths to convert to Christianity.
The state's High Court on Feb. 11 halted proceedings in the police complaint of "promotion of religious enmity by conversions" against the Rev. Chander Mani Khanna of the Church of North India denomination. Responding to a petition by the pastor to quash the complaint, the court issued notices to top officials of the state's police department and interior ministry because investigators have not been able to formulate charges even though the case was registered last Oct. 29, Pastor Khanna told Compass by phone.
Pastor Khanna, who retired on Jan. 16 from All Saints Church in Kashmir Valley's Srinagar city, seemed relieved. more >>
India's first transgender pastor, a 25-year-old who is in charge of a small congregation in the southern city of Chennai, is from a leading evangelical denomination, whose bishop cautiously says his church's constitution does not bar a transgender from being ordained.
Pastor Bharathi, known only by her first name, is openly transgender and she is leading a congregation in Chengalpattu area on the suburbs of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state, Bishop Ezra Sargunam, head of the Evangelical Church of India, told The Christian Post.
Asked if the ECI has made a policy decision to allow the ordination of transgenders, Bishop Sargunam said the church's constitution is silent on it. more >>