Thursday, April 16, 2009

Who Are the Marathi Christians?

Marathi Christians

There is unique identity of Marathi Christians also called as Maharashtrian Christian in India. They commonly speaks Marathi language as their Mother tongue, they also speak English for communication. Christianity in Maharashtra has long history, dated back to several centuries, Marathi Christians are descendants of the thousands of original inhabitants of North Konkan, West Maharashtra, Ahmednagar, Vasai,solapur, Thane and Raigad Districts. The total of Christians in Maharashtra is only 2%.

Majority of Marathi Christians are Roman Catholic But there are Protestants in some Parts of Maharashtra, specially in Ahmednagar & Solapur. these are the only districts in Maharastra which has majority of Protestant Christians as compared to Catholics. [1].

There is the first Church in Ahmednagar which was built by the British Missionaries in Miri[2] (a small village in Pathardi Taluka). Every village has its own Church for Worship in Ahmednagar. Most Protestant denominations are represented in Ahmadnagar as a result of missionary activities throughout the state. The largest Protestant Denomination in Ahmadnagar is the Church of North India, Haregaon village in Shrirampur taluka of Ahmednagar district is set to receive thousands of devotees on the occasion of the annual 'yatra' (feast) of the 'Matmauli' The blessed virgin Mary. on September 7th & 8th. Haregaon is often described as the pandharpur of the Marathi-speaking catholics in the state as nearly four lakh devotees from ahmednagar, Pune,Nasik, Aurangabad[3]. districts and Mumbai attend the 'Matmauli yatra' every year to celebrate the birthday of the mother of jesus christ. the jesuit priests in the small village had started the feast in 1949. Great number of christian reside in Miraj. 'Miraj Christian Church' has 2nd largest members in Maharashtra.


Christianity spread in Ahamednagar & western, Southern part of Mahrashtra in early 1800 A.D. By the British Missionaries. & American missionaries. Since 1947 a Union of presbyterian, reformed Congregational, Methodist, and Anglican Congregations. In Maharashtra, the great Marathi poet Narayan Wamanrao Tilak realised that a Hindu-Christian synthesis was simply not possible unless the Christian religion had deep rooted in the Indian culture. He trained the Marathi Christians to worship and sing Bhajans and Kirtans. He showed Christian faith in a genuinely the Indian cultural way.

The Percentage of Christian Population in Ahmednagar, as recorded in the Census of 1881 in the old Gazetteer, was only 0.64% whereas it went up to 2.49% in 1901 and 2.72% in 1961 and in 2000 it increased to 10%. [5] This increase is mostly due to the proselytising activity of various Christian Missionaries. The litracy rate is very high Among Ahmednagar Christians and They are well settled in Mumbai, Pune and Nasik areas.


There are similarities of customs and culture between Hindus and Christians in Ahmadnagar, such as dress, food and cuisine. The Hindu custom of wearing a mangalsutra and placing bindis is still prominent among native Christians. Other religious traditions in Ahmednagar Christians are much the same as elsewhere. However, there is neglect of Christians by the government of Ahmednagar, which caused underdevelopment and unemployment among some Christians.

East Indian

On the West Coast of India the Christians are called as East Indians. who embraced Catholicism during the period 1200-1600 due to the missionary work of european fransciascans and jesuits. The East Indians are Fluent in Marathi and English.


Church In Vasai

Pope John XXII in 1329 has acknowledged the presence of christians when he addressed letters to the Christians of 'Konkan-Thane, Sopara (Now, Nala Sopara), from 1321 onwards. [6] The Apostle St. Bartholomew was reputed to have come to kalyan. Which means there were Christians in Maharashtra even in the 1st Century. Many more European and middle-east missionaries had come to Konkan (Thane, Bombay, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurga districts) between 1st and 12th Century.

The British East India Company designated them with the name East Indians during the Diamond Jublilee Celebrations of Queen Victoria in 1887 to distinguish them from the Goan and Manglorean Catholics who came to Bombay in search of jobs and who had similar surnames as Catholics of North Konkan, West Maharashtra. Before 1887 East Indians did not have a fixed or all embracing designation so obviosly they referred to themselves as Catholics or Christians. [7]

Famous Marathi Christians

  • Vijay Hazare was indian cricket player, he was a marathi christian from solapur ditrict. He captained the Indian cricket team in 14 matches between 1951 and 1953 [8]
  • Pandita Ramabai (23 April 1858, Maharashtra- 5 April 1922) was an eminent Marathi Christian social reformer and activist. she was born as hindu brahmin and then evengelised. [9]
  • Narayan Wamanrao Tilaka great marathi poet born in Mahrashtra as Brahmin but letter adopted christianity. he wrote many Christian songs & bhajans in marathi.
  • Shahu Modak (1918-1993), a Marathi/Hindi movie actor was born in a Christian family in Ahmednagar. He primarily acted as Lord Krishna in 29 mythological films.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

India Christian Media

Another wonderful website bringing the Gospel to millions of people in India.


Indian Television Ministry

Calvary Swaram
Tue - Friday, 9:00 pm - Subhavartha
Tuesday, 6:30 am - Teja
Friday, 6:30 am - Maa TV
Saturday, 9:00 pm - Samskruthi
Sunday, 7:00 am - Zee Telugu

Calvary Darshanam
Mon - Sunday, 7:00 pm - Subhavartha
Tuesday, 9:00 pm - Samskruthi
Thursday, 6:30 am - Teja
Sunday, 6:30 am - Maa TV

ICCOV Service - Live Streaming
Sunday, 6:00 pm - Indian Chruch
Live Web Cast

Find out more about our services >>



522 Skyline Drive,
San Ramon, CA 94583.


#13-1-55/E/63A,Shanthi Nilayam,
Avanthi Nagar East, HYD 500018.

Map and driving directions >>


On the Pod Cast:

- a blog for all pastors

On Live Church Webcast:

- Sundays - 6:00pm to 7:30pm PST

NEW Audio / video ADDITIONS

Bro.Kripal Mohan Director, for Song of Hope, India.
Kripal has a wonderful wife Lisa Yashoda & two sons, Levi & Asher.
Song of Hope is a ministry which works to build worship - culture evangalisim, teaching & hosting worship conferences for all christian communities.

Let us praise GOD with his albums Naa Pranama,Snehithuda , Neekorake and Romans which will be streamed very soon on Indian Christian Media.
Let us all praise HIM for his new national album "PANAH".

Listen here >> Song1 Song2

download podcast

Indian Christian Media
522 Skyline Dr
San Ramon, CA 94583
Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay

Indian Christian Media.

Indian Christian Networks is the leading Internet broadcast platform for Asian Indians who wish to extend their reach, reward and return through community and streaming media. Our interactive platform enables ministries the opportunity to deliver their content over the Internet, to a global audience.

Our vision is to proclaim the message of salvation to Indians across the globe with love and compassion. We provide audio and video resources, news, articles, and other resources to help Indians with their spiritual growth.
Our website,, is built around fresh, relevant content that focuses on educating our online audience and assisting them in their quest to strengthen their relationship with God

If you would like to help us in this Endeavour please contact us .

About Us.

Indian Christian Media launched in April 2007 with the following as its mission statement:
We have developed this website to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ through the support and promotion of Indian Christian Music & Sermon endeavors; and to glorify God by ministering to His people through the medium of Audio & Video.

We keep Jesus in focus, and accept the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The Bible forms the basis, for all that is decided at our ministry. We provide opportunity to fellow Christians to be a witness in the Cyber world..

Event Calendar

For a complete listing...
see our event calendar >>

Calvary Evangelical Fellowship's Crusades

13-15, May 2008

Speaker : Rev. Dr.Jayapaul Chennai Venue : MBC High School Grounds, Mehaboob Nagar, AP,India..

Calvary Mission's Crusades

19-21, May 2008

Speaker : Dr. P.Satish Kumar , Venue : Zilla Parishad High School Grounds, Tadepalligudem, AP,India..

ICCOV Guest Speaker

Sat, May 31st

Speaker : Augustine Jebakumar , Venue : ICCOV ,19001 San Ramon Valley Blvd, San Ramon, CA 94583.

ICCOV Guest speaker

Sun, Jun 15th

Speaker : Rev.Dr. A.Jawahar Samuel Venue : ICCOV ,H19001 San Ramon Valley Blvd, San Ramon, CA 94583.

PANAH Released

Click below links to listen.
Panah ~ Kenny
Mera Jeevan ~ N.Singh

Monday, April 6, 2009

India Bible Literature

India Bible Literature's website makes it clear just how amazing some of these organizations bring the gospel to the Marathi people really are. The idea of at least one page of the Bible in every Indian home is so wonderful, and it should definitely not be considered an impossible task.


"So is my Word that goes out from my mouth will not return to
me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for
which I sent it.
" Isaiah 55:11

The heart of I.B.L. consists of our Literature Ministry. Placing at least a portion of the Scripture in every Indian home has been our vision. A vision we are working towards making a reality through committed efforts and innovative programs.

Our Literature Ministry consists of primarily printing and distributing Bibles and Study materials. These are offered for small donations, so that each home will be blessed with atleast a portion of the Scripture. Our programs reach over 17 million people throughout India in 20 different languages annually.

Our Bibles, New Testaments and Gospels are available in 17 languages. Study Bibles are available in English, Hindi, Tamil , Marathi and Telugu.

As you know, we are a non-profit organization and all our programs are run from proceeds received from distributing Bibles and Scripture material. We request you to uphold our Ministry in your prayers and also contribute to help us bring the Word to every Indian home. Be a part of this magnificent dream and watch the blessings overflow into your home.


We print and distribute Bibles and Study Bibles of varied versions in English and vernacular languages of India . Used Bibles from abroad are also given away to Bible colleges and church leaders for a small donation.
Children's Bible School Books

Children's Bible School books are printed every year for four grades to be used in CBS during summer. The Teacher's Guide helps the teachers to reach children effectively while the Workbook activities are both interesting and educative for the Children. These books are printed in English and 13 languages for different language groups.

Help for Sunday School Teachers

IBL also prints and publishes books to help Sunday School teachers in co-operation with different partners from India and abroad. Our partners from Finland have helped us to publish the Great Joy Teacher's Guide Series I - VI. They organized Sunday School Teacher's Training program in different parts of India. During this time, the participants are introduced to the Great Joy Books I- VI, covering the age groups of 3 - 14. Important topics like What God is like?, What Jesus is Like? , Learning about Hell and Heaven and Missionary Work are presented in a very simple and clear manner to help the teachers to communicate to the students easily. Each book is accompanied by a picture book as visual aid. The Teachers' Manuals I & II are printed and used during the Teachers' Training programs, by the leaders during the program.

Great Joy books are available in English, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Punjabi, Marathi, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali and Gujarathi.

CEF Books for Child Evangelists

The Child Evangelism Fellowship Specialized Book Ministry, Northern Ireland, UK , has been partnering with us in publishing books for child evangelists and volunteer teachers since 2002. It is a five-year project, printing and distributing one-pack each year.

So far, we have published Children's Workers' Pack I, II & III containing text books accompanied by relevant visualized lessons along with one year Teaching plan.

Sam Doherty, the author of most of these books as an expert, elicits the doctrine from stories and helps teachers to express the biblical truth in a systematic way.

The titles of three sets of CEF books published so far are given below :

CEF Children's Worker's Kit – I
• The First Steps
• The Bible - visualized lessons and text book
• The Lord Jesus Christ - visualized lessons and text book
• Wordless Book

CEF Children's Worker's Kit – II
• How to Evangelize Children – Training manual
• Questions Children Ask - visualized lessons and text
• Who is God? - visualized lessons and text book
• What is God Like? - visualized lessons and text book
• A Wordless Book
• One-Year Teaching Plan
CEF Children's Worker's Kit – III
• Salvation the Gift of God - Part I – visualized lessons and text book
• Salvation the Gift of God - Part II – visualized lessons and text book
• How to teach Bible Doctrines to Children
• One Year Bible Plan
• The Wordless Book

RMA Picture Chart

The multi-colored picture charts with 42 lessons covering from Genesis to Revelation, are available in English and regional languages. These are very popular among Sunday School teachers and child evangelists. On one side you have the lesson well explained while the other side has the relevant picture which the teacher can display on the board. It has a Teacher's Guide also. These are given to us from our partners in Ireland .


In cooperation with International Cooperative Ministries, I.B.L publishes Bible Study books authored by Pastor Dick Woodward. These are published as 33 books, covering both Old and New Testaments, in 11 languages.

Adult Literacy Primers

Adult Literacy Primers and Teacher's Guide are produced as three graded books in 16 major languages of India . Special training is given for volunteer teachers on teaching methods.

These are available in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Assamese, Oriya, Marathi, Urdu, Bengali, Santali, Zomi, Gujarathi, Nepali and Marathi.

ACTS Renewal Magazine

ACTS magazines are published in English and 7 regional languages. They are packed with powerful messages contributed by men of God with spiritual experience, biblical knowledge and commitment. The messages given by our preachers and pastors using the contents of the magazine have brought many to the feet of God. ACTS Magazine is given free to pastors, preachers, evangelists or church leaders who teach a group of 20 or more people once a week. It has articles that teach how to prepare sermons, evangelize, pray for the sick, strengthen the church, grow as a believer in Jesus, be effective as a church leader, and much more.

With the help of World Missionary Assistance Plan WMAP, CA, USA , we have been printing and distributing ACTS magazine in English, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali and Oriya from eighties.

We also print English-International in great quantity and send them all over the world. ACTS is also published and distributed in Swahili, French and Spanish.

The Shepherd's Staff

The Shepherd's Staff – known by some as – “A Bible School in a Book” – is a 1000-page book designed to train and equip church leaders. It contains the spirit-filled, Bible-based writings of many authors.

Ralph Mahoney, the Founder of World MAP spent many years gathering, editing and preparing this material. It is a good instant preaching guide for christian leaders.

The TSS has almost everything that a preacher or evangelist needs for seven to ten years of teaching and preaching. The profound Bible study and interpretation serve as an ideal guide to anyone who wants to preach.

Harvest India

Harvest India is the bi-monthly English magazine of India Bible Literature. It has the reports of I.B.L. ministries, testimonies and powerful messages. Distributed free of cost for those who write and ask for it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Salvation Army in India

Please pray for the Salvation Army members doing such a wonderful work in India. They need all of our support and prayers in these difficult times. Your prayers and your donations can win souls for Christ Jesus!

Prayer Pointers

1: India South Eastern Territory
Answered prayers : the healing of to two officers, Captain Justin and Corps Helper Edwin. Both involved in a serious road accident. Captain Justin's injuries were particularly severe, affecting his brain. But God helped in every way, and the Captain was back home 19 days after the accident, well and without side effects from the operation or accident.

for revival among the youth - who are unconcerned about their eternity.
for Catherine Booth Hospital at Nagercoil - facing a lot of problems in the community.

2: India Eastern Territory

Salvationists' deep desire for salvation of souls continues with evangelists sent to far away places even across different cultures

God has given us a new territory in the state of Arunachal Pradesh to proclaim the good news. Praise God with us for this and uphold us in your prayer that the work of the Salvation Army will continue to be fruitful in the days to come.

Matter of concern:
Problem of drugs, tobacco and alcohol addiction specially among youth

Our brethr en in the Cachar Hills, please pray with us that the constant inter-communal v iolence between the Dimasa and the Hmar people will be ended peacefully.

3: India Western Territory

Thanksgiving: for extension work at several new places.

4: India Central Territory

Thanksgiving: for the Youth Mission Team and its Outreach Evangelism programme.
Further to the above item, the Youth in every Division has met to find new areas of opportunity for conducting outreach evangelism twice in a month: visiting houses, distributing tracts, talking to people, conducting open air and other meetings.

5: India South Western Territory

Thanksgiving: We have opened a new extension centre at Thodupuzha, north east of the Territory where we now have 12 families.

Matter of concern: Peermade issue. This is the eastern high range area where due to financial problems tea estate companies have closed down their factories. The people are out of work. The Government and voluntary agencies, including the Salvation Army, are working on behalf of the people's relief.

Self Support: Many Corps struggle to raise sufficient income. So we plan to conduct a survey with a view to identify fund raising possibilities.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Christian Bibles for the Marathi

Thanks to the wonderful work of the World Bible Translation Center, there are Christian Bibles that have been translated and are available online for free! Anyone traveling to India can print out these bibles from their computer, and bring them to the Christian churches in the Maharastra region in Western India.

The Bibles

Here's some information about this incredible organization:

In the Beginning . . .

World Bible Translation Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1973 in Arlington, Texas. A handful of people began the Center's work with the common desire to see God's Word accurately translated in a simple and clear way into the world's languages.

With the need for translation established, the first major consideration was to set up a system for coordinating the steps involved in the translation process. Priority was given to:

Clear Communication
It was decided that actual translation would be done only by those who speak the target language as their mother tongue. No one else can clearly and consistently communicate the message like mother-tongue speakers to their own people. And each translation is produced on a reading level suitable for the common person.

Qualified Greek and Hebrew scholars make sure every word and phrase is true to the original meaning. With the aid of a third-party back-translation, they check every verse to ensure that the text is complete and that nothing inaccurate or misleading finds its way into the published text.

Translation has historically been known (and avoided) as a work that takes a great deal of time. Some translations have taken up to fifteen or twenty years. Thanks to better tools, especially computers, software and digital resources, the time required to produce a translation has decreased dramatically. That allows the Center to produce more texts for less money. It must be noted that no computer exists that can do accurate translation work on its own. What computers can do is the mammoth job of storing and organizing data, as well as dramatically streamlining the drafting, editing, and checking of the text during the translation process. Typically, a New Testament translation can be completed in as little as three years.

The three factors described above--clear communication, accuracy and urgency--are important in all of the Center's work. Although the means of achieving these may vary in each new project, they are always the goals that are constantly emphasized as translators and scholars carefully select the words and phrases that will communicate the Good News in each target language.

Targeting and Identifying Language Groups for Bible Translation

Extensive research is required to determine specific target languages for the Center's translation projects. Each potential language group must be thoroughly investigated with questions such as:

Are there existing Scriptures in that language and do they communicate clearly and effectively?
How many people speak the language?
Are there mother-tongue speakers of the language available with the skills necessary for translation work?
Is a translation needed to support planned or existing evangelism?

Mission agencies and organizations, field missionaries and various publications prove extremely helpful in finding answers to these and other questions.

Above all, leaders of World Bible Translation Center believe in prayer, and that, in His timing, our All-Powerful Lord will open opportunities when and how He desires. With this confidence, the Center views the world and the opportunities that exist to lay the Word before the eyes of its billions.

Publishing and Distribution

Once a translation is ready for publication, the Translation Center typesets, prints, and distributes the text to the people of the target language.

The Translation Center doesn't own any of its own printing equipment, which gives it the flexibility of purchasing printing anywhere in the world--wherever it's most economical.

This advantage allows the Center to print many more copies at a greatly reduced cost, taking advantage of paper supply and demand, as well as currency fluctuations throughout the world.

The Center has printed and distributed 18,538,065 Bibles and New Testaments throughout its history. In addition it has provided Scripture portions and internet downloads of its texts in the tens of millions.

The Translation Center depends on the generosity of individuals, churches, and other mission organizations not only to maintain current distribution levels, but also to expand them in the future.

The Ongoing Work of Bible Translation

World Bible Translation Center is a ministry that is focused on world evangelism. All who are involved in this work believe strongly that the time, energy, and finances invested in producing understandable Scriptures will multiply the effectiveness of those working on the front lines of missions.

From the first prayerful consideration of a new translation project to the distribution of Easy-to-Read Bibles around the world, the Center's primary focus remains the same--to bring glory to God. And Scriptures laid before the eyes of those still untouched by the message of God's grace in a language they can really understand bring the Center one step closer to that goal.

Through the Center's distribution of Bibles, the Word is going out to the far corners of the earth. And the fruit it bears confirms that World Bible Translation Center is being blessed by a Father who loves His fragmented creation.

The ministry of Bible translation and the work of World Bible Translation Center have caught the imagination of thousands of believers. Their enthusiastic support and participation have made the difference in the Center's successes in the past. And now, more than ever, their encouragement, prayers and financial contributions are causing the Center to flourish.

So much remains to be done. Billions of unevangelized people present a formidable challenge. But the words of God's servant David, in the face of another overwhelming task, are as relevant today as they were three thousand years ago: "Be strong and brave and finish this work. Don't be afraid, because the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will help you until all the work is finished. He will not leave you. . . . " (1 Chronicles 28:20)
With that assurance, no challenge is too great.

A letter from one of our readers:

"Since this translation of the New Testament is my first honest meeting with Jesus Christ, it was in my heart to write a few words about what this book has meant to me personally. My friend gave me one of your New Testaments with the words, 'Look, you've already received a gift.' I went home with some indescribably special feelings.
I began to read the New Testament immediately. I was surprised at how easy it was to read. I have a Bible in my home that I have taken in my hands several times wanting to read at least a little of what is written inside but, honestly, it was too hard for me to read and a bit hard to understand so I usually gave up rather quickly. I haven't been able to put this translation of the New Testament down. It is written so simply, understandably and is approachable to every person.
I wouldn't want this letter to appear like ordinary words of praise for this translation of the New Testament but rather, words from the heart of a person who was lost but now looks into the light. 'What great blessings there are for the people who know they have spiritual needs. God's kingdom belongs to them' (Matthew 5:3)."

Sincere greetings,


Split, Croatia

God’s Word or God’s Words?

By Ervin Bishop, Senior Translation Consultant
World Bible Translation Center

The Bible is the Word of God. “Word” in this usage, however, is not the same as “words.” The Word (logos) of God is His “Message” conveyed to us, the people of the world using our “words,” that is, whatever human language we use. This means it has to be expressed differently for different people. There is no “standard” form of God’s Word in any language today. That’s why a Bible written in any of a hundred different languages or styles is still the Word of God, as long as it accurately conveys the message originally expressed in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.

That the Bible is the Message of God expressed in the words of men is also illustrated by the fact that the same message is often expressed by different writers of Scripture in different words. For example, compare Matthew 8:16 and Luke 4:40. Both indicate the time of the same event, but Matthew says literally, “Evening becoming,” while Luke says, “Going down the sun.” Both describe the same time of day, but each in his own characteristic idiom. In a similar parallel between Matthew 14:15 and Luke 9:12, Matthew uses the same expression as above, but Luke varies his style with the phrase, “the day was beginning to close.”

A simple explanation for many of the variations between parallels in the gospels is that each writer was free within the Holy Spirit’s guidance to use his own natural language to express the truths revealed to him.

There is a related consideration which makes the variants between parallels significant for the work of translation. It is the fact that the Greek gospels in many passages apparently represent translations of material originally spoken (or perhaps written) in Aramaic. (Note the explicit references to “translation” in several passages, e.g. Mark 5:41 and 15:34). Aramaic was the language spoken by the Jewish people of Palestine in the first century (cf. Acts 21:40; 22:2; 26:14), and most scholars agree that Jesus and his followers spoke Aramaic. This being the case, we have in the Greek gospels some Biblical examples of translation. From these examples we should be able to derive some approved principles of good translation.

Below are five versions of a statement made by John the baptizer at the end of his ministry, just before the baptism of Jesus. His words express his own unworthiness as compared to Jesus’ greatness. Each Greek version of this statement appears below, accompanied by a literal English translation. John surely spoke to his Jewish audience in Aramaic. All four gospel writers record John’s message, and Luke quotes it again in Acts, this time giving Paul’s version of it. We have, then, five different Greek “translations” of John’s original statement.

5 Translation styles

Besides variations in grammar and syntax between the five versions, there are significant differences in the choice of words and expressions. Note that the idea conveyed with the term “sufficient” in the first three writers is expressed by John and Paul with the word “worthy.” Mark, Luke and John all make specific reference to the “thong” of the sandal, but Paul and Matthew do not. Paul, however, is the only one using the expression “the sandal of the feet.” Mark is unique in mentioning explicitly the action of “bending down.” Of special interest is Matthew’s apparent use of a different figurethat of carrying the sandals instead of untying the sandals. But most English translations are misleading here. Although the word used by Matthew usually has the meaning “to carry,” it can also have the meaning “to remove,” which it most certainly does in this context. So Matthew was just expressing in different words the same idea found in the other translations of John’s statement.

The differences between these writers should not be disturbing to the person who understands the nature of human communication. Consider the variety of ways the message “He died” might be expressed in English: “He passed on,” “He expired,” “He met his end,” etc. All are valid ways to state the same fact.

In the case of the New Testament writers’ translations of John’s words, each expressed the same message using language that was natural to him or would communicate best to his particular audience. There are, however, no differences in meaning. What one writer makes explicit is implicit in the other versions. For example, the fact that Mark makes explicit mention of bending down does not mean that he added any information that is not present in the other versions. For the other writers the action was so obviously a part of “loosening the sandals” that it did not need expression.

Considering the differences between the five versions of John’s statement, do we really know what John said? The answer is “Yes.” We may not know the exact Aramaic words that John used, but we most definitely know what he said. He said that Jesus was so much greater than he was that he was not good enough to perform for Jesus the humblest duty of a servant. While the words in each of the five translations are different, the message is exactly the same.

The Marathi People in India

India is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, with hundreds of linguistic nationalities and hundreds of different castes (tribes) residing in each state. The caste levels are based on the measure of purity in relationship to the holy scriptures. The Marathi-speaking peoples live near the west coast of central India, in Maharashtra and other surrounding states. The Marathi cluster includes four distinct unreached people groups: the Berar Marathi or Brahmani, which has a population of over seven million; the Dhanwar; the Maratha, with a population of over sixty million; and the Thakur. Each group speaks a different dialect of Marathi.

The Marathi groups vary in location and type. Some of the Marathi tribes tribes live in the hills, while others live in the Deccan Plateau. There are landowners and cultivators, as well as illiterate tribes living in small jungle villages. All levels of society can be seen among them, however, the majority belong to the lowest class of farmers. They also have differing religious practices and cultural traditions.

The Family...
The basic social unit in India is the family. Families generally are large, and extended families often live together or near each other. Rural women are responsible for the children, household, and helping in the fields. Traditional marriages are still arranged by parents, often with the consent of the bride and groom. Marriage is sacred to most Indians and is considered to endure beyond death. Chastity is the most treasured virtue of womanhood.

Women wear a long length of fabric or a colorful pantsuit with a knee-length shirt. They also wear considerable jewelry. The red dot on their foreheads was traditionally a sign of femininity, gracefulness, and marital status, but has become for many an optional beauty aid.

Men wear Western-style suits or more traditional clothing, such as the large piece of cloth wrapped around the waist. Hindus and Muslims may wear a long shirt with pants, sometimes accompanied by a jacket or a vest.
Image Most of the Marathi are Hindus. For them, Hinduism is a "way of life" defined more by their actions than their beliefs. Shared beliefs of various indigenous religions have merged over thousands of years. They worship many gods, have sacred writings, hymns, rituals, theology, social laws, and myths concerning Hindu gods and goddesses. They teach that animals have souls. Cows are sacred and other animals are also revered. They believe that the soul never dies but is reborn in a form of an animal. If a person lives a good life, the soul will be born into a higher state. A person's reincarnation continues until he or she achieves spiritual perfection. Eight percent of the Marathi are Muslim, result of invaders and wars with the Moguls that took place during the eighteenth century.

What you can do…

  • Adopt the Marathi people.
  • Learn as much as possible about this group
  • Organize strategic prayer
  • Provide financial resources to train local leaders
  • Arrange short missions trips

...until there is a strong church established among the Marathi people..

How to Pray for the Marathi...

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to break the power of idolatry and superstition that are keeping the Marathi bound.
  • Take authority over every spiritual power that has ruled their lives from generations, and declare freedom in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Ask the Lord to call people to share Christ with the Marathi.
  • Grant wisdom and favor to nationals and missionaries targeting the Marathi.
  • Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Marathi through dreams and visions.
  • Ask God to give us creative ways to train Christians to reach the Marathi.
  • Pray that God will give the Marathi believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
  • Pray that Christian radio broadcasts, the Jesus film, and gospel recordings will have an impact among the Marathi for the Glory of God.
  • Pray for God to raise up a strong local churches among the Marathi.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Without a Vision the People Perish

The story of the India Gospel League begins with one man’s conversion to the Christian faith through faithful missionaries nearly 150 years ago. Today the ministry stands firmly on the same vision and calling, to bring the Gospel and the love of Jesus Christ to unreached peoples and through effective discipleship extend God’s reign over the nations. Here is the story.

My great grandfather was the first one of my family to become a Christian from the Hindu religion. He heard about Jesus when the Salvation Army missionaries first came to India in the 1860s. He accepted the Lord into his life in a street meeting. Because he came from a high caste Hindu family, his family felt he had brought them disgrace by becoming a Christian. He left home and became an itinerant evangelist, going from village to village preaching and sharing his witness.

His son, my grandfather, founded the ministry that today is known as the India Gospel League. He lived his life to the very end as a preacher and an evangelist, and so did my father after him. I had the privilege of working with my father for 12 years in the ministry. He taught me many things, but I will always remember his last words to me: “No matter what happens, son, don’t lose the vision.

My father had organized the ministry in India on the basis of his deep conviction that as Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” The vision is reaching out to the neglected masses of people in the villages of India who are perishing without Christ. Most of them are dying without an opportunity to even hear the name of Jesus in their entire lifetime. This verse is the motto of the ministry, and we remain committed to that vision and calling.
—Samuel D. Stephens, President

Rev. Samuel D. Stephens is the third generation leader of the India Gospel League, which was founded in 1948 by Samuel's grandfather, Rev. Devaprasad Stephens. He passed the ministry to Samuel's father Rajah, who in 1971 established the ministry as a Registered Society. Samuel D. Stephens served as a barefoot pastor until his father’s death in 1988, when he assumed leadership of the ministry.

In 1994, the ministry was established in the United States as a 501(c)3 corporation. The India Gospel League, North America’s mission is to raise awareness and encourage involvement and support among the people of North America for the India Gospel League’s evangelism, discipleship, church planting, education, agricultural assistance, economic empowerment, and medical programs. It provides information, raises financial support, establishes prayer coverage, sends training teams, and secures sponsorship for Indian children, Children’s Gospel Clubs, barefoot pastors, Bible students, villages and entire regions where the Gospel has not yet penetrated.