Scripture Reading: Acts 21:17-20a
(Blog entries of this trip are online at India Updates)
Report: India 2011
1. Oct. 16-Nov. 14, 2011: My fifth preaching trip to India; Marc Smith was my companion in this work; also worked with Steve Wallace and John Gentry.
2. Most diverse trip re. places visited and the opportunities presented.
3. Preaching in a foreign land takes the help of many people, for which I am thankful: local church, supporting brethren, Chella Thangam, Joshua Mahendranath, Balaswamy, Deenadayal, Lenin Babu, Rayudu, many other Indian brethren and Marc Smith.
4. It is proper and good to report on the work God has done through our service, Acts 21:17-19 (14:27).
I. THE PLACES.
A. Four States, Fifteen Places and Thirteen Churches.
1. Tamil Nadu (Oct. 18-25):
a. Oct. 19: Periyakulam (2 hrs. outside of Madurai)
b. Oct. 20: Arappalayam - Preacher meeting (church in Madurai)
c. Oct. 21-23: Arappalayam church in Madurai
d. Oct. 24: Gobi church (Gobichettipalayam)
e. Oct 25: Nasiyanoor church (4 miles from Erode)
2. Maharashtra (Oct. 26-28):
a. Oct. 26-28: Lonavala (hill station): 3 day gathering of brethren from Mumbai and Pune (institutional backgrounds)
b. Steve Wallace and John Gentry.
3. Karnataka (Oct. 29-Nov. 4):
a. Oct. 30: Bangalore church (worship)
b. Oct. 31-Nov. 4: Preacher classes (Advanced) in Bangalore (46).
4. Andhra Pradesh (Oct. 5-10):
a. Nov. 5: Overnight train trip to Guntur.
b. Nov. 6: Papayapalem (Francis), Madala (Lenin); gospel meeting at night.
c. Nov. 7: Morning - Gadevaripalle (Amrutharao) with brethren from Nagavaram (Vidyasagar); Afternoon - Vannayapalem (35, Amrutharao and M. Jagannadam); Night - Madala (meeting).
d. Nov. 8: Sattenapalli (all day preacher meeting); Abburu (Ch. Thomas, lives 50 km. away) - Night outdoor meeting of 250-300.
e. Nov. 9: Gurajala (Jeremiah); Evening visit in Guntur with brother Yesuratnam and family.
f. Nov. 10: Seaside village of Pallipalem (Yoseburaju--Joseph Raju)
g. Nov. 11: Overnight train trip back to Bangalore; stayed the night
5. Karnataka (Nov. 12-13):
a. Nov. 12: Bhadravathi (6 hour trip; met brethren and preached gospel meeting); Salmonraju the evangelist.
b. Nov. 13: Bhadravathi (worship; meal with brethren, returned to Bangalore by 7:00 pm.)
c. Nov. 14: Returned home.
II. THE AUDIENCES AND MESSAGES.
A. A Focus on Bible Authority at New Locations the First Ten Days (4 churches, 1 preacher meeting, 1 gathering).
1. The work of teaching brethren the institutional errors is ongoing and growing as a result of this trip.
a. Tamil Nadu is heavily influenced. Inroads made in and around Chennai through work of Steve Wallace and John Gentry.
(1) Madurai: Bible authority (establish and apply), work and organization of the local church; additional lessons.
(2) Madurai: Good chance of arranging a multi-day preacher class with men in fellowship with errors of institutionalism.
b. Pune and Mumbai: Some progress; John Gentry had a two-day debate with Jim Waldron on limited benevolence / centralization.
2. Public and private meetings on the influence of liberally-minded men on faithful brethren in Andhra Pradesh. (B. T. Naidu; we exhorted preachers to stand united in opposing error.)
a. Indian brethren in A.P. who have stood against liberalism need continued exhortation because some are trying to wear them down and draw them back into liberalism.
b. Brother Jerry Parks was in Guntur after us; He gave the same exhortation.
B. Complete Conversion to Christ, Lk. 14:25-27, 33; Matt. 6:24.
1. Visiting the churches helped us observe that work needs to be done on teaching complete conversion to Christ.
2. Appears there has been much emphasis on the number of baptisms, but too little on the repentance prior to it and the full conversion that it must produce. 2 Cor. 6:17
3. Vestiges of Hinduism addressed and rebuked:
a. Bindi (in Hinduism it represents the "third eye", eye of wisdom, a symbol of enlightenment). Liberal preachers have taught this is OK.
b. Registration of family with Indian Government. Based on the Caste system, designation indicates whether or not one is Hindu or Christian, effects a person's ability to be eligible for government benefits.
-Lack of teaching has resulted in brethren (including preachers) not always making this clear declaration of faith.
C. Bangalore Preacher Classes (2 Tim. 2:2).
1. Exceptional class this year - very pleased.
a. We asked an Indian preacher to teach a lesson each day (incl. Salmonraju, Baburao and D. Silas).
b. They taught some needed lessons on personal devotion and responsibility in doing the work of evangelists.
2. It has become apparent that the effectiveness of the preacher training classes can be increased by having them closer to where the men live (rather than bringing them to B'lore). (Economical)
a. Since 2006 ~300 preachers; Concerned that many are still in fellowship with liberalism and/or straddling the fence.
b. Direct, on sight contact is essential to know and effectively address needs, 2 Jno. 12; 3 Jno. 14.
D. Visiting the Churches. (Acts 18:23)
1. This is where Marc and I were the most encouraged and excited about future work.
2. Observation is key to learning what is most needed, Acts 11:23.
3. The observations of a seasoned preacher who interpreted for us was very helpful (Deenadayal). With his help, we observed:
a. Brethren need to grow and be grounded in the faith, Col. 2:6-7.
b. Brethren need to learn to be converted to Christ, not men, 1 Cor. 1:10-13.
c. Brethren need to be living their faith in their communities, 1 Pet. 2:11-12.
d. Brethren need to learn and meet their duties in the local church: to assemble, to worship, to give, leadership (elders), service (deacons) and work (preachers).
III. THE FUTURE, Jas. 4:15.
A. A More Localized Preacher Training Class in 2012.
B. Two-Three Day Visits with Several Local Churches: Hyderabad (two churches), north of Guntur; others.
C. Attempt to Make more Inroads with Institutional Brethren.
1. In and around Chennai (Chella Thangam invaluable helper).
2. In and around Madurai (follow up on initial contacts).
3. Steve Wallace (Feb. 2012); Preacher classes (2013?).
D. Hope to Explore Opportunities in NE India with Brother Thang Guite.
1. Shillong is 1,900 miles NE of Bangalore.
2. Several sound churches; strong institutional presence.
1. The past five years of work has been focused on teaching preachers the errors of liberalism, and this work must continue.
2. The work is also growing beyond preacher training classes, reaching into the towns and villages where the churches are and where the brethren live.
3. The work is bigger than any man; it is the Lord's work, cf. 1 Cor. 16:10.
4. The work is not in vain in the Lord, 1 Cor. 15:58.