Date: April 1, 2015
India (MNN) — India’s government is looking the other way on persecution issues. As a result, more than one ministry is taking a page from China’s book by “going dark.”
According to UrbanDictionary.com, going dark means “You don’t speak or communicate with anyone for a given period [of] time. It is a way of protecting yourself from someone who would do you harm.”
“The best approach sometimes is to go quiet; into quiet diplomacy with those other elements of the government that are more reasonable,” adds Biblica CEO Carl Moeller.
Attacks have jumped 55% since Prime Minister Modi took office less than a year ago. As we shared last week, there have been more than 600 attacks targeting religious minorities in the past 300 days.
“People who are more prone to violence against Christians have felt emboldened by the government that’s in place,” notes Moeller. “Most people don’t realize that India, even though it’s a democracy, has a very strong Hindu nationalist movement.
“The current Prime Minister is a representative of that movement.”
“Crying foul” is a natural inclination. But what happens when those cries fall upon apathetic–and sometimes hostile–ears?
“Many organizations that have been quite outspoken (in the past) are keeping a bit quieter, because they have been exposed to threats,” Moeller explains.
Instead, many ministry leaders are learning from India’s northern neighbor: China.
Following China’s lead
China is a Communist nation and long-time persecutor of Christ-followers. During those decades of duress, the Chinese Church learned something very important.
“To engage in dialogue requires a diplomatic stance,” says Moeller. “I think a number of Christian leaders are realizing that we might get further with a hostile administration by adopting a positive and dialogue-oriented stance, rather than [an] aggressive, oppositional stance.
“When you have a government that is more permissive, you can be more aggressive in approaching their shortcomings.”
While serving as Open Doors USA’s President during the ’80s and ’90s, Moeller says they learned an important lesson, too: indigenous Christians are the best-equipped to handle ministry problems and advance the Gospel.
“The Church in China understood what it was to live under persecution, to survive. And not only to survive, but as we’ve seen demonstrated remarkably over the past 25 years: thrive under persecution,” he explains.
Biblica has been a “trusted partner” of ministries in South Asia for decades, Moeller adds. Learn more about Biblica’s ministry in South Asia here.
“We’re about resourcing them with the right Bible tools, biblical materials, discipleship materials, and study guides,” he specifies, “that will help expand the ministries that are working in the poor, oppressed, and persecuted communities of India.”
Now that you know, what should you do?
Moeller explains four primary ways you can get involved in the Great Commission and help Christians in India.
Pray for Christians whose circumstances for the Gospel are quite different than ours, Moeller suggests.
“That’s something that we need to continually do, and do first, rather than later in the process,” he states. “Pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who are being oppressed in this way.”
At the link above, you can send financial support to indigenous ministries that partner with Biblica.
“The local leadership is really at the front-end,” says Moeller. “These local leaders are called by God, in the same way that pastors and leaders here in America are. Yet, they’re called into very different circumstances.”
By visiting our Mission Groups page, you can see who’s bringing short-term mission teams to India and how you can join them.
“When I worked with Open Doors, and now with Biblica, I’ve been very concerned to tell the stories of those that can’t speak [about] these issues,” Moeller says.
“We can tell the stories of those who are persecuted for their faith. We can highlight them and demonstrate how, in some cases, God’s Word and the empowering force of God’s Word can make them strong to stand up to that opposition.”