Response to Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi’s Articles

Christians from all walks of life respond to Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi’s articles.


The views expressed here are personal and does not necessarily represent that of any organization including Sakshi: An Apologetics Network (SAN). SAN is a non-denominational apologetics network and we believe in providing platform for all born-again believers in every denomination as long as they do not contradict the only infallible word-The Holy Bible. Except for the core-doctrines of Christian faith, you may read different perspectives on various other issues (politics, economics, or social etc) and that should not be construed as the view of SAN.    
 Response of Dr. Arun Gadre (Marathi Novelist, Recipient of Twelve Awards and a Medical Doctor)

The article by Vishal – 'Why is Christ Loosing to Mao?' is a thought provoking one. I agree with his suggestions that Christian leaders should apologize for murders committed by Mao followers. But there is a catch in it though; Christians will be made scapegoats for all future murders and Maoists will happily hide behind.

I think that, what Vishal has in mind, provides an answer to the prevalent emptiness in a Maoist's/ secular person's mind, the emptiness which leads to violence. Yes, I agree. The secular world is empty of meaning today. I knew that for certain when I had long talks with Vijay Tendulkar, a noted dramatist in Marathi, before he died. He was a frustrated person who had no answers to the human evils which he so ably demonstrated in his dramas throughout his life.  I was a staunch atheist myself before I came to Christ. It was Orissa that awakened my seeking. Mrs. Gladys Stain's reaction was the last straw that broke me away from my atheism and pulled me to Christ. That is why I endorse Vishal's suggestion to forgive the Hindu fanatics and the Maoists. An armed response is not an answer.

I know how multinational NGOs work, as I am serving one. Monitoring and Evaluation rules the NGO world. Numbers and graphs have become Gods and Ends. Means are not important. The carrot and stick model operates the number. The hirings, promotions and firings are dependent on the graphs. I no longer wonder, nowadays, why the American Banks collapsed. In any system that is ruled by Monitoring and Evaluation graphs, the only way out is fabrication and hence it becomes a deception happily cocooned in virtual graphical reality. I believe that organized Multinational Christendom (including Catholics and Protestant sects) are also under the number game influence. I can easily accept it, when Vishal points out that many Pastors are pressurized in to increasing their ‘numbers’. The nature of conversion does not matter. Number matters. A pastors' bread and butter depend on the numbers.  When this becomes obvious, it hurts the secular sentiment the most as in this postmodern era every one is suspicious of motives. Number is a very offensive motive indeed. Politics is a number game by its intrinsic nature, in democracy as well as any other political system. More the number with you, more the power you possess.

It's evident that the Maoists, the Swami and the Hindu fanatics, all have indulged in the number game.  Reservation is unfortunately a number game again. I disagree with Vishal that only the high caste people oppress lower castes. I lived in a small rural town where caste was the biggest sin. I have seen low caste fanatics too. In fact the vote bank politics, armored with reservation, has corrupted the lower castes equally. When I asked why reservation is required for the second generation Dalits, every one became angry. On the other hand the reality is that very few first generation Dalits can avail the reservation as of now. Whatever is available is grabbed by the second generation Dalit as he/she has access to more facilities. It's a mockery of the concept.

Social engineering has a very limited role I believe. What every one requires is conversion and not reservation. Reservation has made the caste system more evident and darker and all struggles to do away with it are of no use. Caste is also so powerful among Indian Christians that unfortunately some times I am introduced as a Brahmin convert by my Christian friends. I wonder whether they will declare that proudly about some one who comes from a Dalit background. William Carey has observed in one of his letters – "There are two main obstacles for conversion to Christ in India. First is the caste and second one is so called self proclaimed Christians!” I think after two hundred years the same remains true.

Reservation is dividing and poisoning India from within and I believe that Christian Dalits should not ask for reservation. To uplift the brothers of lower socio-economic status is our responsibility. We have that capacity. Have we strived for that? No. To cling to the old caste after conversion is a sin. If one is accepting Christ at the cost of loosing the reservation quota, his/her motive is clear. If we accept that Dalit Christians are entitled for reservation we have admitted caste in Christian world view. That is unbiblical.  If we as Christians really want to attract Marxists/ secular people, the biggest obstacle is not The Bible and Christ but 'Christianity' in the form of organized religion like Catholicism, Protestantism and all other Christian sects which practise infant baptism.  The logic is simple. If Christian parents are not going to give the freedom for their children to select their faith / world view after they attain adulthood, why should the same be demanded from the Hindu parents, if after aggressively converting one to Christ we are going to baptize his/her child in his/her infancy to 'increase numbers'? Well, this proposition is fundamentally flawed in the eyes of a secular/Marxist person and in the eyes of our Lord and Bible too! We all should reform from within fearlessly and honestly, accepting the cost involved in it, (I believe that it is massive as Christianity is the richest section in the world). We should switch over to The Bible and Christ from Christianity and adapt Adult Baptism; we really can not oppose any number game intellectually. What is happening in Orissa is just a violent version of the number game. 

We all must endorse what LT Jeyachandran has put succinctly in following words – 1.     Conversions in response to allurements are not conversions at all in the first place – this has to be made clear. Such converts are not likely to pose any threat to anyone except to true Christians and the cause of Jesus Christ!
 2.     All Christians are Christians only by conversion – there is a peculiar idea in the mind of many that those who are born in Christian families are automatically Christian. We have to go on record publicly that only those are Christians who have repented – conversion of mind and attitudes to sin and God – and put their faith in Christ for their salvation. Every human being has therefore to reach that point of decision whatever the background of birth. 
|3.     Because of what is stated in point 2 above, Jesus Christ can be worshi

pped in any way that is culturally suitable to the follower of Jesus. One does not have to be Anglicized in order to be a follower of Jesus! That is the reason Christians can claim that not just individuals but cultures and languages will also finally stand redeemed in Christ.  We shall be able to declare that culturally we are Hindu but our savior is The Lord Christ. It will clinch the matter. People will oppress us with some other pretext no doubt; but genuine seekers will not be shunned away by the walls of organized Christian religion. I think Vishal has done a great favor to all of us. In times of conflicts, it is God's grace that such a sane voice is our guide. We must halt and think.
We must remember three things stated clearly in The Bible.

1 – The path of salvation is narrow, very few will come. 
2 – Not all who call him Lord are his real disciples. The truth will be revealed at the judgment day. 
3 – Persecutions will come. We must pray.

May Lord bless us all with his grace and wisdom.   


Response of  G Bibu (Lawyer)

I have gained much instruction and new light on certain issues from the edifying contributions made in the past by Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi.  I have introduced his writings to some of my acquaintances, and will continue to do so.  I have quoted him in some of my writings, and I am personally blessed by his valuable literature.  Even his present articles in question are commendable, and afford some decisive solutions to the crisis against the church, as witnessed in Orissa.  Wherever I could not agree with Dr. vishal, I dissent respectfully, and I express my opinions as hereunder: 

1.  I am all for bringing the Maoists, to normal civil life, and doing everything possible in helping them convert from Maoism to Christianity.  But I do not agree that the church must apologise on behalf of the Maoists.  The Maoist ideology is to fight oppression by taking up arms against the oppressors, and rescuing the oppressed or retributing on their behalf.  This is not something they would have done exclusively for the Christian oppressed, but for the oppressed of any community. 

2.  There is ground to argue from the Scriptures that retributive action by unauthorized hands should not only be discarded, but also must be impeded by dissuasive rebukes.  This is plainly witnessed in Jesus rebuking James and John for proposing to bring down fire from heaven, against the Samaritans who gave them offense (Luke 9:54-55).  The Scriptures also afford sufficient scope to go a step further and to do everything possible to repair any damage done to my oppressors, by my unauthorized defender or avenger. For Jesus was not content with merely rebuking Peter for striking off the ears of one of those who came to arrest Him, but also healed the injury done by Peter, by fixing the ear that was striked off (John 18:10-11 read with Luke 22:50-51).  And I think the church in Orissa is under scriptural obligation to do both, the former with respect to the Maoists, and the latter with regard to her Hindu oppressors.  But I do not see any place for an unconditional apology to be tendered by the church, as if to bolster the false accusation of "Christian Terrorism" as already hurled against her by her oppressors.

3.  The church has already condemned the murder of the Hindu Swami and his associates by the Maoists.  This denunciation however appeared hypocritical to the biased Hindu eyes. The question that arises therefore is, how would they possibly view the apologies proposed to be tendered by the church, as being any less hypocrisy? 

4.  As concerning the proposal to make peace with the Hindu oppressors, the Church must seek every possible means to achieve it, and must be ever willing to make peace.  This however must not be sought after, at the cost of her essential ministry of making disciples.  I do not see how the hostile Hindus would come in terms of peace with the church, unless the church be willing to compromise on conversions.  And I do not see how the church can negotiate this nonnegotiable aspect in the interest of peace, and still be faithful to the "Great Commission". 

5.  While attempting for peace-making with the Hindus, and extending hands of rehabilitation to the Maoists in teaching them to renounce violence, the Christians must not forget, that there is a clear distinction between defence and retribution.  We must teach Christians not to cooperate in any act of retribution against the Hindu community.  However, the Christians must also be taught their right of Private defense guarantied to them both under the Scriptures, as may be inferred by parity of reason, from the instance in Exodus 22:2-3), and which is also recognized and guarantied by the law of the land as under sections 96-106 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.  Since there is every possibility that persecution can repeat itself in Orissa and other parts of the country, Christians must do everything towards peace-making with the Hindus with in the confines of Scripture, in order to avert any such possibility of attacks, but at the same time be prepared for their self-defence, so that they need not be cast upon the mercies of unscrupulous rebels such as the Maoists, or the uniformed ruffians such as the Police, should such a situation arise afresh in future.



Response of George Anthony Paul (Relationship Manager with a Consultancy)

I have been blessed by Dr Vishal’s writings. Vishal Mangalwadi's suggestion is really radical. It makes us think of our social responsibility. It goes a step further in answering, am I my brother's keeper? However, I think Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi redefines who my brother is. It also goes a step further in answering the question, who is my neighbor? However, again Dr. Vishal redefines the identity of my neighbor. In this case at hand, both my neighbors (Maoist and Hindu terrorists) are the ones who beat up people on the street and rob them. One beats up my brother, another beats up my neighbor because he is beating up my brother. Should I take sides with the one who beats my neighbor and condemn the one who beats up my brother? My love for my brother may push me to do this, however I should do what is right and follow the Lord's example. We do have an example set by our Lord Jesus Christ in such similar situation.

 In John 18 there came a band of soldier's to arrest Jesus though he did not do anything wrong. Jesus was considered a heretic and traitor by the Jews. The Hindu fanatics think the same about Christians in India. Then in John 18:10; just like a Maoist, Simon Peter took up arms to protect Jesus. After this action of Peter, the Lord did not apologize to the chief priest and to the chief priest's servant Malchus. Rather the Lord rebuked Peter and asked him to put his sword in his sheath. Similarly, we must ask the Maoist to give up his gun and arms. Further, in Matthew 26:52; the Lord tells

Peter, for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. We should tell the same to the Maoist who helps us, just as Peter helped the Lord. The Lord by rebuking Peter chose to suffer the pain on the cross rather than protect himself.  

 

Did the Lord desert Peter by not apologizing for his actions? Did He not own Peter by not apologizing for Peter's sin of taking up the sword? I think the Lord by not apologizing, did not abandon Peter, rather He owned him by dieing for him on the Cross. Nevertheless, He went to Peter later after resurrection and spoke to him in John 21. Just as Jesus went to Peter where he was, we should go to the Maoist where they are, into the jungle. 

 

Further, just as the Lord prayed for the forgiveness of his killers, we too, though suffering because of Hindu fanatical acts, should reach them through forgiveness and by our acts of charity towards the downtrodden and thereby enabling the upper caste to see their sin of suppressing the poor in the name of caste.

 

Finally, it is the Lord alone who can own our sin and offer us forgiveness. Yet the Lord did not own up by asking forgiveness for our sin, but owned us by paying for our sin. In the same way we must own up by paying for the Maoist action rather than ask forgiveness for their sin. It is the Maoist put must down his arms and ask Christ and the Hindus to forgive. The Hindu may not forgive but Christ will forgive, if they come and ask of Him.



 

Response of Sam N Jacob (Managing Editor, Gospel Literature Society and a formerly a pioneering missionary in Assam) 

The scenario described by Vishal, if true, is very disquieting. According to that, evangelists have willingly accepted the protection of the Maoists for the 'furtherance of the gospel'. Good News and Maoism are preached together though they have un-mixable. They follow a godless ideology totally incompatible with the gospel.  In politics, probably, an enemy's enemy is a friend. In a social sense we may think that VHP is an enemy of the Christians. But we have no fight with flesh and blood. VHP and the Sangh Parivar are not our enemies. Both the Parivar and the Maoists are agents in the hands of the Devil. What is happening is a ploy of the forces of darkness to compromise the servants of God to ally themselves with the Devil's agents.  When an evil spirit possessed girl kept on shouting that Paul and friends were servants of God, Paul did not take advantage of the opportunity provided by her for preaching the gospel. Instead she was freed from the evil spirit to follow Christ. Christian aim has to be the transformation of the Maoists. They are also slaves of the Evil one. Do you think we can free them by aligning with them? Aligning with them is equivalent to becoming willing participants in their acts of commission.

From Vishal's report, what transpires is that the gospel and Maoism are preached together as part of each other.  Probably this explains why there is no character transformation in the 'new believers'. The evangelists themselves are showing duplicity. They are declaring clearly that end justifies the means. The sheep have simply been following the shepherds. The question before us is, do we need the commendation and protection of the Maoists to preach the gospel?

If we willingly take advantage of their protection, we are also willing participants in their crime of killing the Swami to protect us. In such a situation, it would be more apt if we would not only apologise but also accept the responsibility of Maoist's crime and accept the riots as just punishment, though given by unauthorized people.


Response of Bro. Sam Philip (A Pioneering evangelist in North India) 

I have a great respect for Dr. Vishal and his immense contributions for the Indian Church. Much of his thoughts and works are from the experience of working in the field and therefore I always read his works with great interest. I read the four articles with a similar interest and few of my observations as a field worker in North India are given below:
 
1)     His suggestions about peace and reconciliation efforts need to be considered seriously though we might continue to discuss on the strategies of making those efforts.

 2)     While I appreciate his deep insights from the field, my own experience from Naxal affected areas in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra does not allow me to reach the same conclusion about Maoist and their connections with Church, if any. I also have co-workers who continue to work in Naxal affected areas in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. Most of us work as evangelists trusting in the faithfulness of God rather than being paid by any organization. Some of us including me do part-time jobs to support ourselves as teachers in schools or colleges. In my experience and from the experience of my co-workers, Maoists are criminals, rather than revolutionaries, extorting money from the people. They are also not much bothered about the welfare of the people but are more interested in their own survival. It is true that they do not create any trouble as long as locals do not oppose evangelism but if the locals oppose evangelism they will ask us to leave. I felt that whichever direction the locals tend to move, they too move in the same direction. In many places they worked hand in hand with RSS members too. It must be borne in mind that VHP initially claimed that Maoists used to attend Swami Laxmanananda's meetings and were appreciative of his works. If that is true, then the current sympathy for Christians is a matter of convenience. Even otherwise, the connection between Maoist and Christians, if any in Orissa, is a local phenomenon and cannot be generalized for other parts of the country. So I am afraid that I might have to disagree with owning up Maoists. However, we should continue to work from outside and should try to bring them to Christ. 

3)     However, this does not mean we should abandon the peace initiatives. We should be courageous to implement a few of the suggestions of Dr. Vishal such as extending the relief work to Hindus who are affected by riots etc. This, I think, will prepare reconciliation for the persecuted (Christians) and the persecutor (Hindu militants). This will be a good testimony and I think is needed at this hour. 

4)     In my discussion with a Christian brother on Dr. Vishal's articles, we thought about an alternative way of building peace and reconciliation. In 2 Samuel 3, we read

Joab, captain of King David, killed Abner without the permission and command of King David. We read that King David mourned for Abner and people realized that Abner was killed without King David's permission. Maybe we should declare a mourning day for Hindus who were killed or suffered as a result of riots. That may help in furthering the peace initiative.

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One Response

  1. salam may allah the creator help u all pls fwd peace tv n dr zakir naik

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