Christ And The Hindu Diaspora, by Paul Pathickal
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/WestBow Press in exchange for an honest review.]
There is a lot the author of this book gets wrong, or does less than ideally–there is some repetition about the obstacles for Hindus converting to Christianity en masse, he has a misguided Calvinist view on total depravity, as well as a lack of understanding about the nature and family of God–but there can be no denying that the author has a passion for evangelism of the population of the Hindu diaspora. Considering the fact that this book shows evidence of a great deal of reading, includes detailed data and results from a survey undertaken by the author, and contains a lengthy dialogue with a prospective believer whose family cult is one of the dreadful cults of an avatar of Shiva, this book gives a reader a great deal of information about the possible avenues of conversion for Hindus to Christianity, especially once they depart India and face life in a West that is thankfully resistant to the false doctrines of karmic debt .
The contents of this book are focused on introducing the reader to the issues of faith present among foreign-resident Indians, especially in the United States, as well as what barriers and potential bridges to evangelism exist within this population. Chapters include discussions on the development of Hinduism, the Hindu diaspora, scriptures and gods within Hinduism, the survey apparatus of almost 200 Hindus, prejudices against Christianity, a defense of Hinduism, the issue of karma and caste, and a few chapters dealing with the biblical approach to witnessing to Hindus. It is clear, whatever the author’s flaws, that he has a real passion and a great deal of knowledge in the area of witnessing to Hindus, and that Christianity has answers to the essential flaws in the karma system and the rigidity of the caste structure within Hinduism. Indeed, the author can be taken seriously that India’s development as a nation depends in large part on their rejection of the caste system and its injustice, and that the sooner this is done, the better. Additionally, the author makes it clear that many Hindus lack a firm understanding of the complex relationship between Christianity and Western Civilization and tend to lump the two together, to general confusion and muddled thinking.
Admittedly, I do not consider myself a particular expert on Indian culture and the Hindu religion in particular. Yet, as someone profoundly interested in evangelism and the work of missionaries around the world, I found this book to be a worthwhile read, largely because it was written by someone with a passion for a particular group of people they had a close degree of knowledge and familiarity with, and because it provided a good example on what sort of elements are necessary for a persuasive appeal to others, namely a firm knowledge of where someone is, a respect and love for them as beings created in the image and likeness of our heavenly Father, and the ability to encourage them towards the Kingdom of God through knowledge of where they are and where, God willing, they are going. The author manages to be tough-minded without being cruel and heartless towards the fate of those who die without a knowledge of Jesus Christ, although the author shows no understanding of the general resurrection and its application for Hindus. Even given the fact that the author lacks the sort of biblical knowledge that would make his book even better, his obvious and noble concern for the people of India is something to be appreciated and applauded, and his general approach one that should be adopted in other areas and with other populations.
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