What is the best way to share the gospel with a Hindu?
Thanks @SeanO! I am glad to share what I have learnt both from my failures and success @Rezen, I come from a Hindu family and still waiting for my parents to grasp the uniqueness of Christ, though they do notice and appreciate the hand of God in my life. I dont think there is one best way to share the gospel, especially with a Hindu! Hindus can each be quite unique in how they follow their faith with different concepts about God (impersonal vs personal) and with different practices- temple ritual worship of different gods (the most common one), meditative yoga, a pious life, ancestral worship, nature worship, etc. It is very important to understand and get to know each person individually. Despite the variations there are certain common ideas that seem to define the Hindu psyche-
- Karma, the moral law of cause and effect determining the status of a soul in the next life is believed as a fact.
- Great weight is given to insights from those in authority because of their learning and spiritual status.
- Religion must elevate a person to a higher moral status.
- There is great pride in the age of Hindu religion as being old and is thereby considered true.
- Christianity is considered a religion of the West and embracing it can be interpreted as betrayal of Eastern heritage and values.
- All paths lead to the same God.
- Hindus are generally open to talking about God and religion and are not necessarily private about their faith. They also have a group oriented culture where needs of the group may take priority over individual’s.
An extra effort needs to be made to explain some of the following common objections to the gospel message -
- Why must I be responsible for Adam’s sin?
- Doesn’t the idea of grace lead to more sin?
- How is Jesus different from another guru?
- Why does the West have to be right about God?
- What about reincarnation?
- How can a recent religion claim to be true?
Though I have said all that, many seem to follow what they do religiously, out of respect for family traditions and to maintain a strong community. Many modern day Hindus are respectful of the different practices but dont always understand why they keep the traditions.
When I was first approached with the gospel, the personal and communicative nature of God was highlighted to me from scripture. The worship of Creator over creation drew my attention to the gospel. Ultimately, it was truly a work of the Holy Spirit and just an inner conviction of the gospel ringing true that led me to say the prayer for salvation. The process was a slow one over at least three years for me and all through I knew I was genuinely loved by the family that reached out to me.
I dont think I have yet answered your question of the approach to use! I would say, focus on being a good friend and prioritizing the friend’s needs selflessly. Indians enjoy fellowship over long meals and that may be a setting to consider. If you see a Hindu practicing their religion, you could openly ask questions out of curiosity to know more about their faith. Their answers can then be followed with more questions. There is a tendency to focus on the similarities and overlook unique claims of Christianity in an effort to maintain a pleasant exchange. But, that is where we need to hone in! The discussions on Karma and Reincarnation here on Connect may come in handy for conversations with a Hindu. Testimonies of other Hindus who have come to Christ will also be helpful - Sadhu Sunder Singh, Pandita Ramabhai, Rabi Maharaj, all were very devout followers before coming to Christ.
If you would like to learn more on sharing faith with a Hindu, I would recommend books by of course Ravi Zacharias and E Stanley Jones, Timothy Tennent and Madasamy Thirumalai.
I think you may have a long road ahead with your Hindu friend but well worth it! Look forward to any other questions you may have. God bless!
Thank you Lakshmi, very helpful sights. God bless
Glad to hear that! You are welcome.
Thank you, Lakshmi. I live in Houston area and there is a large Hindu population here. I have a Hindu neighbour that I see from time to time when he is taking walks, and I am praying for a chance to engage in a spiritual conversation soon. Your post is very helpful.
Great to hear that! May God help you build that friendship and give the wisdom needed. Thanks!