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India and Evangelization PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Fones   
Sunday, 31 August 2008 03:01
In my post titled, "Buddhist-Christian Conflict ", I mentioned briefly that the announcement of Korea's president Lee that "Buddhists should be converted to Christianity" (that's how my Korean friend described it), along with actions that have seemed to slight Buddhists at the expense of Christians, has made evangelization in this country a bit more difficult. In a thoughtful e-mail article from John Allen at National Catholic Reporter on the situation in India, a similar point is made:
It's also important that Catholic leaders avoid adding fuel to the fire, however inadvertently. When Pope John Paul II visited India in November 1999, the headline was his call for a "great harvest of faith" in Asia in the third millennium. While Catholicism obviously cannot renounce its missionary dimension, there's probably no place on earth where a respectful witness to Christ is more easily confused with aggressive proselytism. Bold references to evangelization, especially from a foreign leader, can come across as fighting words. After John Paul's statement, the World Hindu Council called upon Hindus to "unite to face the assault," and the pope's words are still cited as a pretext for anti-Christian activity. This doesn't mean Catholicism in India should "go soft" on the commandment to make disciples of all the nations -- recent growth of the church suggests it clearly hasn't -- but local realities imply discretion about how that commandment is articulated in public, especially by outsiders.
This is a reminder that evangelization is most likely to be successful when it is carried out by dedicated lay Catholics in the marketplace in the context of genuine friendships with non-Catholics. Evangelization must be founded in genuine love for another, rooted in constant prayer, and flow from the power of the Holy Spirit active in a Catholic in a living relationship with his or her Lord, Jesus.
 

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