Harvest Times for Your Family

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Christian Magazine for All

GLS aims to spiritually enrich the entire family to enrich society. To this end, we publish a monthly magazine ‘Harvest Times for Your Family’ with specific columns dedicated to Children, Youth, Women, Bible Study, Devotions and Contemporary Issues.

It is our vision that this ministry would touch and enrich your walk with the Lord, edify your church and influence our nation. We seek your prayers and participation as we accomplish this aim.

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Homosexual Activism – The Need for Christ-Centered Responses

“Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set” (Prov. 22:28).

Removal of a Landmark

On 18 May 2013, France became the 14th country to legalize homosexual marriage. India is not far behind. Homosexual activism in India is gaining momentum. On 2nd July 2009, an old cultural landmark was removed[1]. The Delhi High Court overturned the 150 year old section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and legalized consensual homosexual activities between adults until the Parliament chooses to amend the law. This was despite the Government of the day not giving its consent to the issue and the masses of democratic India remaining blissfully unaware of the issues involved. The watershed decision was celebrated primarily by the LGBT sections of the society, the liberal media in India and a few supportive voices from civil society. The two-bench court cited the higher motivations of inclusiveness and understanding and equal opportunity of life to overturn this old law[2].

This landmark judgment by the High Court was a significant step towards the legal (and in some segments of society, cultural) acceptance of homosexual[3] relationships in Indian society. However, this reverberating revision of law was not deemed worthy of being discussed across the country by involving diverse voices, despite the seismic shifts that it could potentially bring to the most foundational and enduring unit of any society – the human heterosexual family. In an urban poll conducted in Sept 2009, 73% of those polled felt that homosexuality should be treated as illegal and 83% felt that homosexuality was “against Indian culture”.[4]

 

Silencing the Dissenting Voice

Given the un-representative (though legal) processes by which homosexual activists have sought to gain sanction for homosexuality in Indian society, it is not surprising that when anyone objects to homosexuality (whether on rational grounds or irrational), the person is immediately censored with thought terminating words like “homophobic” or “moral policing” pushing objectors to the back foot and cleverly tarnishing their motives without examining their arguments. Just dis-agreeing with the notion of homosexuality in the most sane and sensible way would quickly earn the arguer the label of a “bigot”! Clearly, there is more at work here than just disagreements. This is part of an apparently global strategy employed by homosexual activists to paint all those who disagree with them into a corner[5].

But is the decision on homosexuality in a country a moral issue? How can we judge others, some say. How can we impose our view of love and morality on others, say the others  Surely, those with homosexual orientation cannot help themselves since they were “born this way” (a phrase popularized by Lady Gaga[6]). Can you accuse someone of being left-handed just because the majority is right-handed? That makes sense to a lot of people today. It’s not a matter of morality but of preference or orientation, we often hear. Or is morality simply a matter of a broad or a narrow mindset (since the educated liberal richer classes in India are more open to homosexuality than the others). This is part of the larger issue that must be debated: “Does objective morality exist?”

The Double Standards of the Entertainment Industry

Recently, on 15 April 2013, Outlook India published or celebrated stories of lesbian “couples” in India. It is not an isolated story. The media is on a campaign to create a context for homosexual marriages. However, it’s interesting that the words ‘morality’ and ‘moral principle’ are used freely when topics related to financial misdemeanor, political corruption, international crime and geo-political issues are discussed. But when sex or sexual behavior is discussed, the very same people who would cry themselves hoarse about injustice in general, would dismiss morality as merely a matter of “preference”. A generally vociferous Pooja Bhat can complain earnestly that ” The moral fabric of India is tattered beyond repair” commenting on the Dec 2012 Delhi rape case, but would want to reject any notion of morality when it comes to her artistic choices and its salacious portrayals of personal or public sexual behaviour. Bhat is but a fair sample of her talented fraternity which has a moral opinion on war and copyright issues and everything else including reporters prying into their personal affairs, but sexual behaviour is dismissed as a matter of personal preference. Isn’t there a self-contradiction behind this selective application of morality?

Further, we have learnt that while we cannot change reality, we can change the words used to describe them. So ‘vulgar’ has become ‘steamy’, ‘promiscuity’ has become “foot-loose’, ‘pornography’ is now ‘adult entertainment’ and “sodomy” is “gay”! So you could be talking about a range of sexual destructive behaviours or “freedoms” but it has as little impact on your soul as discussing chocolates or vegetables. Perhaps Isaiah’s pronouncements against verbal and moral confusion are applicable here as well. He says “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light, and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter”[7].

The Need for Passionate Prophetic Voices

Every society needs prophetic voices that will bring objective moral perspectives into mundane human situations. Those who believe that homosexual behavior is detrimental to human society (despite the genuine emotional and sexual struggles of many homosexuals[8]), must be willing to stick their neck out to argue for a society where all sexual activity outside of a heterosexual marriage is eventually counter productive. We must be willing to argue that non-heterosexual relationships are not mere deviations, but eventual destroyers of the human social network (pun not intended) as we know it. Often, we consider these issues as taboo without realizing the colossal destruction it brings on our future generations. If we can discuss the destruction of our natural habitats upfront, shouldn’t we be equally or more upfront about discussing one of the greatest threats to our social habitat – the human family.

Only those who genuinely love homosexuals and homosexual activists can enter into a rational discourse with them and debate their views. We must love all kinds of sinners without loving their sins. There is no place for pompous self-righteousness or judgemental vitriol. All human beings are imperfect, only our imperfections differ. Also, we must be equally willing to oppose heterosexual promiscuity and lack of marital faithfulness which is perhaps a far greater threat to the family as an institution than homosexuality. Else, we suffer from the disease of moral cherry picking – where we apply our moral assumptions and expectations on some issues and not on the others.

I offer two arguments for heterosexuality as the norm and the sole legitimate expression of human sexuality.[9]

  1. Health and Stability:

Two millennia ago, Jesus instructed his divorce-happy disciples, “What God has put together, let no man put asunder”[10] He dismissed the efforts of his male chauvinist circle of disciples to escape from the commitments to their spouse for any and every reason. He described it as acting against God’s divine purpose of putting a male and a female together in a heterosexual marriage.

The heterosexual union and family is the only time-tested model that has served to nourish, fulfill, protect and provide human beings, young and old, with the environment and the boundaries for growth and maturity. Ironically, every homosexual is born to heterosexuals. That itself should be sufficient to demonstrate that the heterosexual union is the original and only form of sexual union required. There is no alternative natural and wholesome environment for growing emotionally and intellectually stable children from the stage of conception till youth than the ambience of a healthy heterosexual and committed relationship[11].

To argue that, science can invent a reproductive process in the future that can eliminate sex altogether or just produce children with either the male or the female of the species, is to reduce a complex expression of heterosexual love and its fruit (having and raising children) and its social and psychological benefits to a mere mechanical process. Scientific processes may produce babies but it cannot humanize them by placing them in a context of human relationships. That requires a human family – with its only ideal and complete expression being children being nurtured by a male and a female parent.

The heterosexual parents also provide their children the wholesome experience of enjoying and learning from a father and a mother. (This also includes adopted children who become part of a heterosexual couple’s life). To deny access to parents of both genders to a child deliberately is a form of child abuse, especially since this “deviation” from the norm is happening without the child’s consent. It must be admitted that we don’t live in a perfect world and heterosexual parents are not always perfect. However, we don’t have to remain content with broken homes or a broken heterosexual marriage. If we can fix it, we must.  If heterosexual parents are failing, then they need to be restored and families set on the path to healing.  Homosexual activists clamouring for “rights” to “homosexual marriage” and start a “homosexual family” cleverly hide the fact that their “marriage” and “family” bear no resemblance to the traditional notions and indeed are diametrically opposed to them. Imagine the psychological challenges for a child who goes to school who has two “mothers”, because the two “mothers” wanted to pursue an un-natural relationship for self-fulfillment and got a male sperm to artificially impregnate one of them?!! This whole plot is not only un-natural but unfair to the emotional stability of the children involved. And Hollywood has a self-consciously titled Oscar nominated movie to convince us otherwise[12]

2. Purpose

To quote Jesus again, the male and female bodies are clearly designed for sexual intimacy to the point of oneness by excluding every other relationship from it[13]. For this intimacy a man ought to prioritizes his wife over every other relationship that he had know till then or will know later.  This is the original and only true sexual fit.

Human physical intimacy has purpose beyond pleasure. How do we know? Because of the way human intimacy is designed- to procreate. Not simply to reproduce (like bacteria) but to co-create a human being with a unique identity. Every human being living is evidence that someone once had physical intimacy and the baby lived to tell the tale. Without procreation, societies will become extinct species. So physical intimacy is a unique personal pleasure that has the option of looking beyond itself.

That’s of course true of almost all creatures in some sense, but humans uniquely think in terms of purpose and faithfulness as “moral obligations” not only to those involved in the sexual act but to those born as a result of it. Animals often have multiple sexual partners simultaneously or abandon their young ones early, but we don’t call it cheating or call animals to moral accountability! Human physical intimacy is not just another form of animal passion. Human physical intimacy contains within it the possibility of love, commitment and responsibility as long as “death does us apart”. But at-least the animals can pro-create. Even though they don’t co-create, since they are largely ruled by instinct.

In contrast, homosexuals simulate sex by activity which has no relationship to the design and purpose connotations of the word. It is like imitation jewelry – a pretender, though it brings pleasure to the one who wears it.

 

Ajoy Varghese is Board of Director, MLS Business Centers India Pvt Ltd.

 


[1] Arguably, past Indian cultures have been ambivalent about sexual choices, but at no point was legal sanction accorded to homosexuality as a alternative and legitimate practice in popular culture as it is done today.

[2] While democratic processes should ideally prevail to decide if homosexuality should be legal in India, it would require more than legal reasoning to come to a decision whether homosexuality is morally acceptable or not.

[3] This article uses the term homosexuality to refer to sexual behaviors between members of the same sex-whether male or female. It does not include behavior like transvestitism or the category of trans-gendered peoples.

[4] http://prernalal.com/2009/09/changing-homophobic-attitudes-in-india/

[5] http://www.massresistance.org/docs/issues/gay_strategies/overhauling.html

[6] Lady Gaga commits the classic logical fallacy of confusing categories when she clubs race with sexual behavior in her song “Born this way”. Even if the argument is accepted that some people are born homosexual (and there is no evidence yet to support this claim), race does not have an element of choice, while sexual behavior and acts are always a choice.

[7] Isaiah 5:20

[8] We must differentiate between the homosexual who is struggling with his sexuality and seeks the space and freedom to practice it and the homosexual activists who insist that homosexuality must be provided the same space, rights, benefits, status and expressions in our society as heterosexual unions as an alternative and equally acceptable lifestyle. The homosexual deserves our friendship and interaction but the activist needs to be resisted using legal and moral options available as he seeks to tamper with time-honored notions through the back-door of the media, the entertainment industry and judicial over-reach.

[9] There are obviously many more positive arguments for heterosexuality. However, given the narrow scope of this article, only the broad generic arguments which would possibly aid the most number of people have been included. Arguments against homosexuality are important but are not discussed in this article.

[10] Mt 19:6(b)

[11] Mal 3:15 – “Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth”.

[12] “The Kids are All right”(2010) directed by Lisa Cholodenko

[13]  Mt 19: 5 – “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”

Harvest Times for Your Family June 2013/Volume 10 Issue 6

Need a one stop resource to help discern God’s mind on the sexual options available today? Check out the book on Homosexual Patnerships – http://glsindia.com/shopping/books/homosexual-partnerships/

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Blow Hot. Blow Cold.


 Cartoon by Alfred Allan for Harvest Times for Your Family.

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Cat and Mice


 Cartoon by Alfred Allan for Harvest Times for Your Family. You can buy the magazine at www.glsindia.com/shopping/

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Blink of an Eye


Cartoon by Alfred Allan for ‘Harvest Times for Your Family’.

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Belly Burst


Cartoon by Alfred Allan as appeared in ‘Harvest Times for your Family’.

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Tongue


Cartoon by Alfred Allan as appeared in ‘Harvest Times for your Family’.

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My Journey as an Engineer with the Indian Government

One of the most corrupt professions in India is Civil Engineering. There is a common joke here that even tailors know which of their customers are civil engineers – they make our pockets extra-large! Having been trained as a civil engineer, I wanted to escape the rigors of temptations in field work into the ‘safe’ job of being a teacher in an engineering college. My professor in IIT Madras, where I completed my Master’s course, also wanted me to go on to complete a doctoral program and join the faculty. God, however, had other plans – He took me by the scruff of my neck and ‘threw’ me into a job with the Central Government. I was to look after the buildings in what was then the Posts and Telegraphs Department. The recruitment was conducted by the Union Public Service Commission through a stringent process of examination and interviews.

I began my first job as a raw young man designated as an Assistant Executive Engineer, in the city of Bombay on June 4, 1965. Till then, I had not travelled beyond Hyderabad outside my native Madras state. My first question to my first boss – Mr B T Wadekar – was, “Is it possible to be honest in this job?” He gave me a diplomatic – what we call these days a politically correct – answer, “You can be honest but do not expect others to be honest!”

Another escape route that I considered in those early days was entering full-time Christian service. I missed applying to the Union Biblical Seminary in Yavatmal (now in Pune) by just a few days in January 1967. This was because I believed that I had a ‘call’ for full-time work and my job as an engineer did not

deserve to be called as a response to a ‘call’. My first paradigm shift was to recognize that God can call us to anything that is ethical and creative – He is the great Creator and has made us in His image so that we can be His co-creators. I therefore determined that I shall design and construct buildings that will in some measure reflect God’s creativity in me.

To my pleasant surprise, I found that there were not too many incidents where contractors approached me with a ‘bag of gold’ to bribe me in their favour. My

second lesson was the discovery that once an officer established her/his reputation in the early years, one’s reputation travelled faster than one did! During my tenure, I served in 7 cities – Bombay, Nagpur, Madras, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Shillong and Calcutta. In very differing conditions and with officers and contractors of varying backgrounds, I found that certain factors were actually common – they respected a person who had clear ethical standards. I can think of only one instance when I had to clearly tell my Chief Engineer that I would not do a wrong thing that he was pressing me to do. From 1980 to 1985, when posted in Shillong, I had to work closely with the Minister in the Indian cabinet who was from that region; I cannot remember a single occasion when he asked me to do something that was ethically wrong.

Having been brought up in EU and EGF surroundings, I had learnt that one should not be engaged in wrong practices. However, during my early years in the Government and this was my third lesson, I learnt that this alone was not

enough. God is not only interested in His children keeping their hands and consciences clean from sins of commission; He expects us to make a positive contribution in what we do. Daniel and Joseph were my role models – Daniel 6:4 says that Daniel was neither corrupt nor negligent. This means that he was not only honest – he was hardworking and competent as well. One of the interesting paradoxes even in a corrupt system is that if you are competent, your bosses will have to put up with your honesty – after all, somebody has to get the job done! I therefore do not rush to sympathize with Christians who complain that they are discriminated against because they are honest – I make it a point to make sure that they are competent and hardworking and do not wear their morality on their shirtsleeves, so to speak! I think India suffers from two groups of people – those who are totally corrupt; and those who are honest but think that they alone are honest!

One of the early resolutions that I had made – although I number it as my fourth lesson – was to learn to treat my bosses, colleagues, subordinates and contractors as human beings made in the image of God. I did not realize the far-reaching consequences of that one single attitude. Otherwise corrupt contractors turned out high quality work for me; even mediocre officers worked hard to produce outstanding results so much so that my career was continuously appreciated by my officers and politicians at the highest level. After serving as Superintending Engineer for 6 years in Calcutta, I was promoted as Chief Engineer and was to be transferred to Delhi; I was given to understand later that the Cabinet Minister took the decision to retain me in Calcutta because he felt that I could handle the difficult labour situation in Calcutta better than any other officers.

My colleagues and associates in my job were quite familiar with the message of the Christian faith by what I shared with them from time to time as well as the way I carried out my job. There was one anonymous complaint about me that I went around baptizing people (!) – my boss in Delhi told me that he had thrown that letter into the trash bin! I was able to make time also to study Greek and Hebrew on my own so that I could handle Scriptures better when called upon to teach. I remember one of my officers quipping during one of my tours – “Your briefcase is heavier than your suitcase” – because it was only during my travels that I could spend time to catch up on reading. Here again, Daniel was my model – a civil servant who did double-duty as a prophet!

So at the end of 28 years 6 months and 26 days in the Indian Government, I relinquished charge as Chief Engineer on October 29, 1993; I had another 10 years of service left in the Government. In my last position as Chief Engineer with the Department of Telecommunications based in Calcutta, I was looking after 12 States and 1 Union Territory; the area was about one-fourth of the

whole country and I had about 250 engineers working under my charge. The reason why I have taken pains to count the days of my service is that that period is what gave me credibility for the 18 years and 11 months of service (from November 1, 1993 to September 30, 2012) with the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. When a member of the Board in Delhi came to know of my decision to take voluntary retirement, he said something like this to me: “Please preach whatever you want to preach and take whatever leave you want to avail but do not leave the Department!”

One of my discoveries about full-time Christian work was that, in spite of its importance, the environment in which it is carried out is artificial and contrived and therefore out-of-touch with the realities of the marketplace. When young people fresh out of university approach me with their perceived vision for full-time work, I normally advise them to work in the marketplace for 5 to 10 years before they even think of entering Christian work. It is when one is tried in the crucible of real life that one is better qualified to serve the Lord full-time; the sermons one preaches on Sundays will consequently have relevance to life and work on the other 6 days.

– L.T. Jeyachandran

Harvest Times for Your Family June 2013/Volume 10 Issue 6

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Bringing God’s Justice to the World; One Victim at a Time

(These are the excerpts of an interview between Mr. Sanjay Macwan, Field Office Director, Mumbai International Justice Mission and HT’s Sarita Khisty)  

HT: Thank you for talking to Harvest Times. First off, can you please tell us something about the beginnings of the IJM? Also what was the Biblical vision for the same?

SM: International Justice Mission is founded on the Biblical call for justice. We see hundreds of verses in the Scriptures that explain God’s character and desire for justice. Motivated by these Scriptures, the Church in centuries past has been involved in the fight for the rights of the poor and disenfranchised. Some prominent names would include William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King Jr. or William Carey here in India and many others. In line with this rich tradition, Mr. Gary Haugen founded International Justice Mission (IJM) on a Biblical call to seek justice for the poor primarily from Isaiah 1:17; ‘Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow’. Gary Haugen’s personal experience as part of the team that investigated the Rwandan genocide opened his eyes to how urgent and necessary this call was.  His study of scripture combined with his experiences in the field motivated him to found IJM with the aim to rescue thousands, protect millions and prove that justice for the poor is possible. IJM’s national teams of 500+ lawyers, social workers, caseworkers and community activists – the world’s largest international corps of national advocates providing direct service to victims of violence in the world – work within their communities to protect the poor from violence by rescuing victims from the hand of abuse, bringing criminals to justice, restoring sex trafficking survivors to safety and strength, and helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts. Basically, we work on behalf of the marginalized and vulnerable, supporting local law agencies to bring justice and establish rule of law in the nations. Moreover, our team relies on a strong belief in the power of prayer; drawing strength and wisdom from God.

 

 

HT: Many Christian charity organizations focus on relief work. Secular charities focus on enforcing international and national laws like maybe RTI activists etc. But IJM seems to be filling in the gaps between the bonded and ensuring that these laws actually work. Can you talk to us about the work being done here in India by IJM?

SM:  Pursuing justice for the poor is a different way in which to approach bringing God’s Kingdom in the world. As I mentioned before, it is not a new idea as Christians like William Wilberforce and Martin Luther King Jr. have built their missions on such a foundation. Human Rights Watch estimates that there are 4 crore people forced into bonded labour in India and though the law bans such practices the perpetrators continue to oppress the poor and vulnerable. Our Chennai and Bangalore offices assist the local government to rescue and provide all the necessary help for restoration to the victims of bonded labour. To date we have rescued 5000+ people from bonded labor. CBI estimates that 1.2 million children are sexually exploited in India. While Indian law prohibits such exploitation, the crime continues to persist as poverty and hunger haunt vulnerable people. Our Mumbai and Kolkata offices rescue girls from sex trafficking and provide them justice, healing and restoration through our comprehensive intervention. We do this by supporting the government to actually bring rescue to people who are trapped as bonded laborers or have been trafficked into the sex trade. We provide long-term aftercare services ourselves or partner with other local organizations that provide these critical services. We support public prosecutors in their efforts to hold the perpetrators of these crimes accountable under Indian law, so that they are no longer free to harm others, helping to transform entire communities so that poor people can sustainably count on protection from violence. For all our work we partner with the local, public justice systems to ensure it works for the poor. In Chennai, last week we rescued 91 families from bonded labor. In such cases, people from poor villages of Orissa, Bihar, etc. are promised a financially sustainable future and brought to the city to work in rice mills, brick kilns or in rock quarries. Slowly all of these promises are eroded as they find themselves caught as bonded laborers for the rest of their lives.  It is tragic but true that this happens in modern day India.  Fortunately it is also true that IJM is able to partner with the local government to rescue and provide these victims with a better future.  In this particular case our Chennai team worked with the local authorities to rescue 91 families stuck in such brutal conditions, freeing 283 people in all. There is a better tomorrow for these people as freedom and hope enter into their lives for the first time. Similarly, 2 days back, we rescued 9 girls from Mumbai who were forced into commercial sexual exploitation. To date our Mumbai office has rescued nearly 500 girls from sex trafficking. These girls are tricked and promised good jobs in the big cities. Traffickers use emotional manipulation or drug girls in order to get them to come to Mumbai. Once in the city they sell them into sexual slavery. There are hundreds of thousands of girls trapped in such horrible circumstances. They are forced, abused and beaten if they try to refuse to do this kind of work. IJM assists the police to rescue such girls, prosecute the perpetrators of the crime and support the efforts that rehabilitate survivors. The practice of Biblical justice is embedded in love that prevents exploitation and punishes those who perpetrate it. I think that such an approach to assist the local government agencies to bring about justice for the poor and vulnerable is necessary because as Christians, we understand that God gives authority and we as people ensure that such authority works for the poor. Removing people from situations of exploitation and providing them with hope is a way to restore their God-given dignity and re-establish their intrinsic value as human beings.

 

 

HT: Can you elaborate on the IJM method of working? Don’t you face a resistant, unco-operative attitude from the local authorities? How do you get the work done?  

SM:We work in collaboration with the government agencies that enforce laws and do justice for those who are facing violent injustice. Yes, in India we do face many challenges when it comes to protecting people from exploitation, prosecuting criminals and successfully rehabilitating survivors. However, we have been successful in supporting the police and prosecution in doing justice for those who are trafficked and victimized. And, there are many good officers dedicated to doing good work and building a justice system that works. Just so that your readers get motivated please note that the public justice system is improving and we are witnessing that the police is becoming more sensitive and proactive. IJM Mumbai office alone has helped the prosecution get 63 convictions in sex trafficking cases. We are happy to see many girls going back to their homes or working in safe environments to support themselves. Many families that have been rescued from bonded labor are now back in their villages earning sustainable incomes.   

 

HT: You spoke earlier about how these people are victims and not criminals. In such a case, how do you rehabilitate these victims?

SM: Social adjustment, psychological needs and overall development are all complicated for a sex trafficking survivor. When these girls are newly rescued, they are almost like dead bodies: their eyes are often vacant as they have been drained of their humanity through years of abuse. Immediately after we bring them out, physically, mentally and emotionally, they are not ready for any kind of restoration. We start walking beside them when they are in this place of brokenness. God really moves until, in a short span of time, a year or maybe two, the signs of restoration can be seen as they transform into beautiful creatures. Of course, the challenges on this road to restoration are multi-faceted. The government agencies are still struggling to have qualified, skilled and passionate people to take care of these survivors. The social services sector struggles to find sufficient funding. Within this limited setup, we at IJM try to bring in our resources and skill sets to work with local authorities. Working with both government and private aftercare homes, we strive to ensure that victims are restored.

 

HT: In this visible confrontation with evil, what motivates you to keep up the fight and not run away?

SM: We have a very strong emphasis on personal, spiritual transformation, which is based in the Bible and in the very character of God. We draw our motivation from God Himself; He loves justice. There are about 2000+ verses in Scripture which talk about poverty and injustice. We have consciously decided to embrace God’s call to better understand His character of justice, which asks us to do justice for others as a central act of worship in our lives. Being indifferent or ignorant to injustice and violent abuse is not an option for us, and we encourage other Christians to take up this call as well. We require volunteers for our rescue operations, allowing the perfect opportunity for Christians from the community to come and partner with us. In almost all of our rescue operations (157 so far), Christians have partnered with us. We have had people ask us afterwards what more they can do to help. I have also noticed how the people who have experienced the most suffering in their lives are the ones who are most ready to come forward. When confronting evil, we do so knowing who God is and with the support of unceasing prayer.

 

HT: If the Churches or individuals want to volunteer with you or support IJM, how should they contact you? What kind of training would you provide to them?

SM: First off, as I said before, pray for us. You can also volunteer to help us during rescue operations. Finally I would say: be vigilant in your own community. This is God’s world, people are God’s creation and we need to protect those who are vulnerable and marginalized.  We do witness issues of child sexual abuse, rape, and verbal and physical abuse of women and girls. I would encourage Christians to always to be vigilant and sensitive toward these issues of abuse and exploitation. I would also say that churches can allocate a portion of their budget to support acts of relief for victims of such injustice. I believe churches are responsible for the communities that they are embedded in. In sum, pray for us. I believe without prayers the work of justice is almost impossible. Come forward to volunteer for a rescue operation. And, if you want to serve in aftercare homes then please contact us.  I would also encourage qualified Christian lawyers, social workers and other such professionals to take this call and come forward to work with us to Seek Justice.   – Harvest Times for Your Family July 2013/Volume 10 Issue 7

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Mahakavi K V Simon: A Debater Par Excellence

Mahakavi K V Simon (Poet Laureate; the highest rank given to a poet in India) was a towering apologist of the Christian faith in India. Born in 1883 in Kerala to Mr. Varghese (who had mastered Hindu Puranas) and Mrs. Kandama (who was a skilled poet), Simon grew up as a child with exceptional skills in poetry. Taught by his elder brother K V Cherian, Simon started writing poems by the age of 8. In 1885, Simon was born-again in a gospel meeting conducted by Tamil David. In 1886, he passed the examination in his native language, and became a teacher at the age of 13 in Marthoma School, Eduramala.

Mahakavi Simon was a scholar in Malayalam, Sanskrit, and Tamil. He also mastered English, Hindustani, Telugu, Kannada, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Syriac. In 1900, he married Ayroor Pandalapedika Rahelamma (later popularly called as Ayroor Amma).  They had one daughter. Mahakavi Simon was one of the prominent leaders of the Brethren movement in India and a founding leader of the Brethren movement in Kerala. He mentored an astounding number of disciples including Pandit M. M. John, Pastor K. E. Abraham (the founder of the India Pentecostal Church), Evangelist K. G. Kurien, Evangelist K. G. Thomas etc. Through his Mahakavya ‘Veda Viharam’ (a poetical rendering of Genesis), Mahakavi Simon has inspired many in the following generations to write poems and even Mahakavya in Indian Languages.

Mahakavi Dr. T. A Kurien who wrote Mahakavya in Hindi, ‘Yisu Charit Manas’ (Life of Jesus Christ, which according to Dr. Lakshminarayana Dhube, Professor at Sagar Hindi University is the first Hindi Mahakavya in 1000 years and first about the life of Jesus Christ), was inspired by Mahakavi K V Simon.

Apart from writing 300 songs/poems, Mahakavi Simon also wrote more than 30 books. A few of these works are in defence of the Gospel like ‘Satyaprakashini’, ‘Krushil Maricha Kristhu’ (Christ who died on the Cross), Prathiyukthi etc. ‘Satyaprakashini’ and ‘Krushil Maricha Kristhu’ are notes prepared from the rebuttals to the wild allegations raised by Gospel critics.

Mahakavi Simon was known for conducting numerous rebuttals and debates. In the 1920’s, Gospel critics such as Krishan Namboodri (who later became Swami Agamanda), Rishiram, and R. C. Das wrote and spoke against the Christian faith and opposed conversion. The entire Christian community in Travancore requested Mahakavi Simon to refute Krishan Namboodri and others.

Mahakavi Simon conducted a series of rebuttals. There were public rebuttals as well as books written refuting the baseless allegations of these Gospel critics. Mahakavi Simon not only refuted the allegations of these Gospel of critics but also exposed their double standards by extensively quoting from the Hindu scriptures. This can be seen in his apologetics book ‘Satyaprakashini’.

Similarly, Mahakavi Simon’s knowledge of his contemporary scholarship is also demonstrated in his book ‘Krushil Maricha Kristhu’ (Christ who Died on The Cross).  For example, regarding the allegation that Christ came to Kashmir, Mahakavi Simon wrote in ‘Christ Who Died on the Cross’:

In 1887, a Russian named Nicolas Notovitch went to Ladakh via Kashmir and spoke to the Buddhist priests there. Seven years later, he wrote a book in which he said that the chief priest had showed him an old manuscript and read it to him in which it is said that Jesus came to India when he was 12 and studied under the Jain, Buddhist and Hindu teachers. This book of Notovitch, which was published in French and English, caused much dispute among the followers and scholars of these religions. However, in the 1894 October issue of the magazine ‘The Nineteenth Century’, scholar Max Muller wrote that this was a trick by the Buddhist priests to please Notovitch (knowing that Notovitch held the same opinion).

Since Prof. Archibald Douglas of the Agra Government disagreed with Muller’s theory that the entire story was fabricated, he went to Ladakh in the summer. When he told the story of Notovitch to the priests at the monastery, they were extremely angry. He came to know that there is no such record anywhere in Tibet, let alone in the collection of the monastery. Prof Douglas published his travel report in the 1896 April issue of ‘The Nineteenth Century’. As a result, it is generally agreed that Notovitch is an unreliable adventurist. Even then, Hindus and Muslims hold on to the fraudulent statements of Notovitch. Since there are many such fraudulent records and false histories being circulated in India and Europe, records about the tomb in Kashmir is also not acceptable unless we verify it.

There is another example that we would like quote which strengthens our assumption. J. N. Farkar M.A., D Lit, a great religious student and scholar, having exceptional knowledge of Hinduism, in his book ‘Modern Religious Movements in India’ writes this: “There is a tomb at Kannayar Lane in Srinagar of Kashmir. It is not more than 200 years old. Neighbours say that it is the tomb of Yusuf. Certainly it is the tomb of a saint in Islam. It does not have any special story behind it (Page 141). (Translation ours).

All these rebuttals later culminated as a debate between Mahakavi Simon and Krishan Namboodri who presented a three hour case against the Christian faith. Then Mahakavi Simon gave a four hour rebuttal by presenting Biblical evidence and extensively quoting the Hindu scriptures in Sanskrit. It is said that the many Hindus enjoyed the rebuttal as Mahakavi Simon spoke fluent Sanskrit.

In the words of his disciple K. G. Thomas, ‘As Mahakavi Simon started speaking, it became a mighty wave and destroyed and washed away the mountain of criticism that Krishnan Namboodri built. This debate had helped to arrest the onslaught of Gospel critics against the Christian faith and edified and encouraged the Christian community’.

May God raise many more apologists in India in obedience to the Holy Scripture, in the Apostolic pattern and in the legacy of the cloud of witness such as Mahakavi Simon.

– Liny John

Harvest Times for Your Family June 2013/Volume 10 Issue 6

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