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HVK Archives: Christian newsletter adds fuel to row

Christian newsletter adds fuel to row - The Times of India

Yashwant Raj ()
January 21, 1999

Title: Christian newsletter adds fuel to row
Author: Yashwant Raj
Publication: The Times of India
Date: January 21, 1999

NEW DELHI: A Christian organisation's newsletter has, by falling into
the "wrong" hands, added fuel to the conversion controversy for its use
of certain words to describe its religious activity in the country.

Printed by Reverend C. George and Dr Alex P. Abraham, the newsletter,
Operation Agape, has liberally used words such as "conquer", "enemy
territories" and "crusade" while referring to conversion activity.

About J&K, the bulletin notes, "The Lord helped us to conquer many new
territories." In relation to Punjab, it mentions that the authorities
did not allow a "big crusade" planned by a local pastor. For Himachal,
it says, "This year the Lord helped us to conquer about seven new
unchurched tehsils."

The quarterly newsletter, said the Kottayam-based Rev George, was not
for general circulation and was meant only for a select few comprising
the "prayer groups". The VHP had got hold of it recently and

VHP central secretary Mohan Joshi said there could be no better proof of
"their (Christian) intentions" and "methods". He added, "The conversion
activity needs to he probed by commissions set up in each state."

The VHP argues that the word "conquer" dearly indicates the use of force
and "that they are out to conquer this country through conversions".
The term, 66 enemy territories", referred to areas outside their

In MP, the bulletin says, a pastor is "facing strong opposition from the
enemies of the gospel". That's battle language, the VHP said. Wrong,
contends the Rev George, one of the two printers.

He said the words and terms referred to had been misunderstood. "They
have been used purely in the spiritual context" he added, 'land they are
quite well understood by the people the bulletin is meant for."

Elaborating, he said, "In our view, the world is divided into two
kingdoms - one of God and the other of Satan." And, for people in God's
kingdom, the other kingdom - that of Satan - was enemy territory.

Asked if that other kingdom could mean the other religions, he said,
"No. In fact, even a 'nominal Christian' (not a true believer) can be
an enemy for those who belong to God's kingdom and believe in Jesus

And "conquest", Mr George said, stood for merely taking the teachings
and preachings of Christ to areas which had not known them yet. The
bulletin has also used the term "Church planting" for this activity.

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