Even at that time, Muslim ministry was seen as an important mission field. However, there were very few people aware of, and concerned for, the salvation of Hindus. Hindus are pluralistic, and so exclusive truth claims don’t really make sense to them. When one Hindu came to a Christian talk and met the speaker, he was challenged with the idea that not all views can be equally valid. Either Jesus died or he didn’t die. Muslims believe he didn’t die. Christians believe he did. They couldn’t both be right! Faced with a crisis of faith, he ended up choosing to stick with the Hinduism he knew.
From that time onwards, over the last 20 years, I have been praying for, learning about and training others in Hindu outreach. Hindus generally are not troubled by logical inconsistencies. They learn their religion through experience, not doctrine. In addition, their community and culture are more authoritative for them than any Scriptures. Finally, there are many cultural and historical barriers to Hindus considering Christ. Hindu culture and religion are tightly interconnected. So it’s hard to know which elements are cultural, and which are religious.
This makes it very difficult to engage Hindus with the standard gospel presentations and resources we have available. We need to engage in critical contextualisation to break down barriers and make connections to the gospel. Hindus need time to meet Jesus in the stories of the Bible, and experience his power in the changed life of his followers. They also need to see authentic Christian love in community. A conference I went to in 2017 in Thailand helped me to understand the Hindu worldview better. My own reading, experience talking with Hindus and visiting temples have also helped shape my understanding.
Alongside my regular church ministry, my friends and I have been holding (almost) annual conferences to train and raise people to reach Hindus, as well as an annual Hindu Prayer Guide. I have also run training programs at Moore College through ADAPT (Applied Discipleship of All Peoples & Tribes), Ministry Training and Development (MT&D), the University of Sydney and University of Technology Sydney, as well as many churches and para-church organisations.
There were around 160,000 Hindus in NSW in the 2016 Australian census, and this number is likely to grow. Thankfully many more people, churches and groups are realising what a huge mission field there is among Hindus, and how difficult and important it is to reach them. I think we are on the cusp of a wave of wise and effective ministry to Hindus, and I look forward to how Christ will win them to himself.
Please pray that more and more people will be equipped to share Jesus with Hindus and disciple them to trust and follow Christ. We are also considering whether we can start a Hindu MentAC¹, inspired by the good work that has been happening among Muslims. I cannot tell how He will win the nations, but I rejoice that I can be part of this glorious work to give Jesus his earthly heritage!
Clive* / Moore College Alumnus