Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry” (Acts 17:16).
There are some 900 million Hindus worldwide. They have ancient scriptures, called the Vedas. Their religion has no founder or prophet and has changed over the centuries with many confusing beliefs and superstitions being added to it.
They believe in one impersonal god who is a trinity of gods, Brahma the creator, Vishnu the sustainer, and Shiva the destroyer. These gods often come to earth incarnate as men and women to bring mankind back to God. Hindus say all religions are the same. They are open to listen to the gospel as they have a respect for Christ as one of their gods. Many are happy to send their children to Sunday school (the writer was saved in this way).
They believe man has a soul which dies and is reborn. They believe there is no forgiveness of sin and what is sown in this life is reaped in the next life.
Salvation is seen as escaping this cycle of reincarnation and being joined to God, losing all consciousness and individuality. They worship many idols for the purpose of good luck, health, and prosperity in this life and the next. Since there is little to look forward to, the Hindu does not give much thought to eternity.
Make much of Christ
“For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1Cor 2:2).
“Never has a man spoken like this man” was spoken by a Hindu man from Ahmedabad after reading the Upper Room ministry.
“Truly this was a gracious man” – A Hindu man after reading the words from the cross, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This man was subsequently saved.
“I have made my choice” – A Hindu man who was saved the night he heard these words of the Lord Jesus: “He that is not with me is against me.”
These are some of the responses we have seen in those who took time to study the Bible. They are impressed with a Man with whom none of their gods can compare.
We cannot emphasize enough the need to make much of the person and work Christ alone and not allow oneself to get sidetracked into other subjects however important they may seem to the Hindu.
Idolatry began at Babel (Gen 11:4; Rom 1:21-23), there being no mention of it before the flood. Abraham was an idolater (Josh 24:2) but was saved when the God of glory appeared to him (Acts 7:2), eclipsing the glory of his idols and of the city of Ur.
Paul could say “Ye turned to God from idols” (1Thes 1:9). Notice God is mentioned first. The Thessalonians first heard of the glory of the person and work of Christ. They turned to Him and their idols faded from their minds as they could not compete with the matchless, incomparable Savior (it was so with this writer hearing the gospel in Sunday school).
When Paul was in Athens (Acts 17), he spoke of the glory of God as the Creator. Such a majestic almighty God Who is sovereign, sufficient, and supreme has no need of man’s gifts for He gives to all life and breath. Such a God cannot dwell in temples made with hands. The logic of it is inescapable.
Give them the Scriptures in their own language
“And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence” (Acts 22:2).
Though all Jews understood Greek, Paul spoke in Hebrew and gained their attention. We should try to give Hindus the Bible and literature to read in their own language if possible. (In North America, Indian language materials are available from bookshops such as www.multilingual-southasian.com).
Do not criticize and avoid arguments
“For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches (temples), nor yet blasphemers of your goddess” (Acts 19:37).
Do not mock or ridicule their gods or beliefs. We can disagree and explain what the Bible teaches in a gracious way that will commend the gospel, remembering our lives speak louder than our words.
Many Hindus are strict vegetarians and some will wish to argue why Christians eat cows which they worship. Beware not to get sidetracked from the gospel to the subject of food. “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom 14:17).
The Lord Jesus said, “There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man” (Mark 7:15). They will agree that there are many people who are vegetarians but are evil. Their diet makes no difference to their heart.
Keep it simple
“Understandest thou what thou readest?” (Acts 8:30).
We have to be simple and patient in our teaching of the truth. Most have no knowledge of the Bible. One Hindu told us he thought Jesus was an Englishman. Some will express surprise to hear that Christ had risen from the dead for they had only heard He died on a cross. One Hindu said that he had never even heard of the Bible!
Hindus will show an initial interest and then the fear of persecution from their family will make them draw back. Care has to be taken and no homes visited unless asked to do so. Some want to secretly read the Bible or come to a meeting but will get frightened off if a Christian visits the home and the family finds out.
We hope these brief comments will help believers to reach many precious souls on their way to a lost eternity.