70% of the people you’ll meet in India will identify themselves as Hindus. 20% will identify as Muslims. Here’s some insights to help you understand how to effectively share Jesus has done for you.
Sharing Jesus with Hindus
What is the key: The challenge with witnessing to the Hindu is that he sees himself as a believer.
While trying to witness to a Hindu, we must remember that we are involved in spiritual warfare which can only be won by sincere and focused prayers. So that is the place to begin. Pray regularly for the one to whom we are trying to present Christ. Because his beliefs about God and man are dramatically opposed to what we are trying to present from the Bible, our words often convey a totally different concept to his mind and therefore one has to be extra careful that we are communicating to him properly.
To a Hindu the word “God” does NOT communicate much because to him everything, visible and invisible, is god or manifestations of god. To him god is an unknowable and unknown force and not a person. We might say that the Hindu calls nature god. So to begin by telling a Hindu that God loves him does not make much sense as he himself is a part of god!
Another thing to remember, as we try to reach Hindus with the Gospel, is that the word “Christian” is a grossly misunderstood word by our Hindu friends. To them “Christian” equals “beef eater” and that is an obnoxious thing to them. Cow is one of their favorite gods and to eat beef is one the most offensive things a Hindu can conceive of. So, in trying to reach a Hindu for Christ, never introduce yourself as a “Christian.” Rather you can introduce yourself and say, “I am a disciple of Christ and I wish to introduce my ‘Guru’ Jesus to you.” Then you will have a welcome hearing as Christ is accepted and venerated as a “Guru par excellence” by most Hindus.
Probably the best place to begin is to talk about Jesus of Nazareth. To a Hindu all avatars (incarnations of god) are mythical and non-historical. But the Bible presents Jesus as a historical person who lived and died in a specific time and place and historians confirm this. Much more than His life, the resurrection of Christ must be emphasized as there is nothing comparable in Hindu thinking at all. Thus we must present Christ as a unique person of history, indeed the creator God Himself, who came to settle the sin problem of humanity. His resurrection is the proof that He was indeed God in human form.
To a Hindu sin is a serious matter. He believes in transmigration of the soul so that the debt of sin can be paid back. In fact, the Puranas (Hindu religious books) say that a person has to be re-born millions of times to pay back the negative karmas (actions) of one’s life. And there is no guarantee that in the next birth there will be no sin. So to a Hindu, moksha (salvation) is almost unattainable, even though one works very hard for it. The good news the Hindu needs to understand is that Christ paid the penalty for our sins,once for all time (Hebrews 7:27), and that salvation is a free gift based on the work of Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Moksha (salvation) to a Hindu is becoming lost in the “ultimate reality” thus losing identity forever by becoming one with it. But the Bible talks about being with a personal God all through eternity enjoying Him forever. This is something unique to biblical faith, and it must be presented as God’s own way for all men who will choose to live for Him here and now on earth. So each person has to decide where he/she will spend eternity. By coming to Christ, salvation can be received as a free gift by repentance and by faith based on His atoning work. May that be the portion of all Hindus most of whom earnestly work towards getting moksha. May the Lord help them to see the truth of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
Recommended Resources: Jesus Among Other gods by Ravi Zacharias.
Hindu – summary
- Believed by many to be the oldest religion in the world
- At the core of the religion is the worship of elements of nature and animal heroes. Each one of these gods are represented by statues that are worshiped and given offerings.
- At the center of Hinduism is an ultimate god named Brahman. Brahman is believed to be unknowable and not a personal god. While Brahman is considered to be the ultimate god Hindus believe in what is estimated to be over 330 million gods.
- Hinduism is a very personal faith. They may worship at home or in the temples. Their worship may be reflected in prayers, songs, dance, their dress, diet, colors, incense, and chants.
- What do Hindus believe happens after death? Reincarnation. They believe that we are an eternal part of Brahman trapped in the human body, and through the process of being reborn after death, an individual may ultimately, if they’re good, be rejoined with Brahman. If the individual isn’t good this person may return to a lower state as a punishment.
- Hindus do not believe in the concept of sin as Christians do. For the Hindu, the goal is to be morally good enough in this life to be reincarnated “closer” toward being united with Brahman. They believe that karma can be helped and increased through meditation and the practice of yoga, or “self-centering” where people clear their minds of all distractions.
Sharing Jesus with Muslims – Islam
- They believe in God, known to them as Allah. However, they believe God is only fully known though their sacred scriptures known as the Qur’an.
- Muslims believe the Qur’an was dedicated to the prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. They believe the Qur’an always existed, and supersedes the Bible as the only Word from God.
- They believe that the Qur’an contains everything needed to know for living the life that Allah expects of them and that it must be read and spoken in Arabic to fully understand it.
- They believe that in order to achieve salvation they must adhere to the Five Pillars of Islam, believe in Allah’s existence, acknowledge Muhammad’s place beside God as the supreme prophet, and follow the Qur’an.
These 5 Pillars are:
- The confession of faith – They must confess that there is no other God but Allah and that Muhammad is his prophet. This confession must be held to death or it nullifies their salvation.
- Prayer- Part of the Islamic faith is the requirement to pray and recite passages from the Qur’an facing Mecca five times a day: before sunrise, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset , and before bed.
- Alms giving- The Qur’an teaches that they are to give 2.5% to the needy or to help spread the Islamic faith. By doing this, the remainder of their money is purified.
- The Fast- During the lunar month or Ramadan, they are not permitted to allow anything to pass their lips – food or water- from sunrise to sunset. During the evenings there are often large feasts to celebrate Ramadan which is the time that Gabriel gave Muhammad the Qur’an.
- The pilgrimage- All Muslims who are physically and financially able must at some point in life make a pilgrimage to Mecca, the birthplace of Islam. While there they must walk seven times around the Kaaba – the shrine of the black rock. This is supposedly the site where Adam and later Abraham worshiped.
- These pillars must be kept in order for a Muslim to enter heaven with Allah.
- Muslims believe that Jesus was a teacher of God but that he was not God in human form. They believe that anyone who doesn’t confess in Allah as God according to the Qur’an cannot be saved.
- Important scriptures to use when sharing the Gospel with Muslims: John 14:6, Exodus 20:3-6, Ephesians 2:8-10, Hebrews 9:27, Mark 8:27-29
Always remember the main thing about being an effective witness is to simply be one! Go, share what Jesus has done for you.