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Letter 5 / 28 June 2004

 

Dear On-Bible Friend,

 

While I am overwhelmed by the response from the visitors of this website, I am extremely sorry for not updating it for quite some time. Several things happened during this period.

 

Though my actual year of birth is 1947, the one given on records by my parents is 1945. As mummy was a teacher of Class 1 and I was taller for my age, parents admitted me in the School when I was just about four! The retirement age for a fulltime staff in the Blessing Youth Mission, which I founded in 1971 and joined as a fulltime staff in 1975, is 58. Accordingly I retired from the organisation in October 2003. As you might be aware, I had been developing the nextline leadership for over 10 years and this came in handy when I retired. I now help BYM in an advisory capacity. My hectic years, about 30, are over, and now I spend more time in studying and writing. Pray for me and my wife so we may continue to be fruitful for God.

 

My first post-retirement work is the release of a 432 page Daily Devotional, in Tamil and then in English, which contains nearly 60% what I have written during 40 years. The title in English is Better Everyday. It aims to help Christians for wholesome development. I quote below the review for this book given by the Light of Life magazineó

 

A daily devotional, written in the Indian context by an Indian author, to be used year after year by Christians for their spiritual growth, has been a longfelt need in India. R. Stanleyís BETTER EVERYDAY is welcome to meet this need.

 

This book is different from most of the daily devotionals in the Christian world. Instead of just a devotional thought or a message of encouragement/comfort, thereís rich Bible teaching in this book. Interestingly, the author has categorised the daily readings into 26 (A to Z) subjects, from Salvation to Second Coming. Under each daily meditation is indicated where the next one on the same subject occurs. Such reference chains, with fast forward and rewind marks, increase the value of this book.

 

A Bible Reading Calendar to help you read through the Bible in one year appears in the opening pages of BETTER EVERYDAY. There are over 10 one page prayers as Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Birthday Prayer and so on. One hundred Names of God are listed to enhance praise and worship. The daily readings give a Bible portion, memory verse, full-page meditation and a stanza or a thought. Titles are catchy. "Is pill His will?" "Scripture-free Sermons" ó are examples. Over 50 pictures of pioneer missionaries and great men and women of God are inserted to add inspiration. There are appropriate meditations for special days like the Reformation Day, Indian Independence Day, Graham Staines Martyrdom Day, and so on. The English is neither British nor American, but Indian.

 

The author has given a Subject Index and a summary of what he has learnt during the 40 years of his walk with God and work for Him, as 40 capsules. Youngsters, middle-aged folks, elders, new believers, growing Christians, mature saints, voluntary workers, fulltime ministers, individuals, families, Church leaders, missionaries, students, and professionals will find this book intensely practical. The author (58) is a Building Engineer-turned Bible Teacher, known for his balanced treatment of any subject.

 

For a book of the size 23 cm x 16 cm x 2 cm with quality paper, the price of Rs. 150/- is too low. Anyone who uses this book daily is bound to become Better Everyday!

 

Copies are available from the Blessing Literature Centre, 21/11 West Coovam Road, Chintadripet, Chennai 600002, India <bymliterature@vsnl.net> at Indian Rupees 150/- (or US $ 5) per copy. Forwarding charges extra. The other language editions are underway. I covet your prayers for this big project.

 

Hopefully I will update this website henceforth periodically. I close this letter quoting the bookmark text of my daily devotional book: "God who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the Day of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:6).

 

Bye for now!

 

Your friend,

R.STANLEY

Letter No. 4 / 30 November 2002

 

How to multiply Conversions

This message is a sequel to my article, Can Conversions be Stopped? which was pasted on this website (www.stanleyonbible.com) on 18 October 2002 and published in the November 2002 issue of Blessing monthly. I am humbled by the overwhelming response for this article from Christians and Church leaders from all over the world. Many acclaimed that itís a prophetic voice in the wilderness of confusion the Tamil Church is passing through following the promulgation of the Anticonversion Law.

The keypersons of the Tamilnadu branch of the Blessing Youth Mission requested me to address them on this issue in their annual meet held in Tiruchy, 9-10 November. I write here what I shared with them. Whereas my earlier article was specifically addressed to Tamil Christians, what I write now is a message to all Indian Christians. I perceive that the Tamilnadu anticonversion bill is only an experimentation of a nationwide strategy being worked out by the enemies of the Gospel of Christ. God never had any surprise in all history and He will never have one in future either. Because He has known the end from the beginning, and as the Alpha and Omega of eternity past to eternity future, He has already taught us in His Scriptures how to defeat the enemy in any situation. Itís now our responsibility to search the Scriptures with the Spiritís help to work out a sound and successful strategy against the sinister schemes of the serpent.

The Church is the only society on earth that exists solely for the benefit of its non-members! As John Wesley rightly put it, "The Church has only one business, and that is to win souls!" Christ has not just "commanded" us but "commissioned" us to preach the Gospel. We have no choice. Evangelisation of the world leading to the multiplication of converts is our highest priority. Adverse winds against evangelism may blow more and more vehemently in India in the years to come. The Church of Jesus Christ must be sufficiently equipped for the difficult days ahead. Hereís a list of 7 changes to be effected in our conventional methods so conversions of non-christians to Christ may be multiplied as never before.

 

1. Public Programmes vs. Personal Work

The impact that mass meetings leave in cities and towns is unmistakable. The gospel becomes the talk of the town. It serves as an occasion for Christians to come out of their minority complex. But it stirs up the hornetís nest. The antichristian forces get revived. This of course must be anticipated and can be faced. But whatís discouraging is that the gains in terms of genuine conversions are generally minimal. The amount of time, money and energy spent to conduct big programmes doesnít seem to be worth it. To worsen the situation, mass meetings in India are usually sponsored and addressed by Western preachers. Non-christians especially caste Hindus donít relish it. Their wrong notions about the origin of Christianity are strengthened.

Christ preached to crowds, but He spent more time with individuals and small groups. Peter and Paul did not always have or look for huge audiences. Conversational evangelism in houses and marketplaces was the most effective method employed by the Lord and the disciples. In spite of the widespread hostility that prevailed in the first century, no one could stop personal soulwinning efforts or conversions. Communism in India grew through tea shops! Letís spend more time in contacting individuals one by one than for conducting huge meetings. This way we will attract very little public attention but gather a plentiful harvest. I salute Evangelist D. L. Moody (1837-1899) who observed, "Hand plucked fruits are the best!"

 

2. Clergy vs. Laity

God does call certain individuals to give all their time for the work of His Kingdom. They are to be supported by those who are benefitted by the message they proclaim. Churches must have pastors who would spend all their time to tend the flock. Ministries must have leaders and workers who can give all their time to realise the objectives of the organisations. Ordaining anointed Christians exclusively for the ministry of the Church has Scriptural sanction. But in course of time the Body of Christ gets divided into two groups ó ministers and non-ministers. This is utterly unscriptural. The ministry of every minister in the Church is to make every member a minister (Eph 4:11,12). There is no non-clergy in the Church. All members are "priests" to worship God (1 Pet 2:5), and to witness for Him (v 9).

Unless the doctrine of the priesthood and the prophethood of all believers is recovered fully in practice, too few will be attempting to do too big a job accomplishing too little. I am in fulltime Christian service from 1975 and I have been instrumental in leading hundreds of youngsters into fulltime ministry. But I have come to the conclusion that evangelism is too big a task to be left to the professionals. Wars are not fought by Generals but by soldiers! In olden days the Spirit of God came on select individuals only. But the endtime outpouring is promised for "all flesh" ó "sons... daughters... young men... old men... men servants... women servants" (Acts 2:17,18). This sort of outpouring is to get every Christian involved in reaching every non-christian (v 21).

I plead with pastors to encourage and give ample freedom to their members to develop creative methods of Gospel communication. In the name of Church order and discipline, donít try to structuralise every soulwinning effort and kill enthusiasm. Every pastor must remember that it is the sheep which litter and not the shepherd! (Jn 15:16).

 

3. Mega Structures vs. Smaller Units

The numerical strength of Church congregations has now become the status symbol of many pastors. Thereís a rat race among ministers to have the largest Church in the City or the State. Visits to South Korea might have triggered this passion. When temples and mosques have overflowing crowds, it is definitely not wrong to work for an exponential growth in local congregations. Worshipping God and celebrating His praises in huge gatherings is undoubtedly exciting. More the merrier!

However, there are certain inherent evils in mega-churches. When the number increases too much, interaction between believers and mutual ministry to one another becomes almost impossible. Pastors suffer burn-out when their ministries outgrow their capacity. Too much of time, energy and money will have to be spent for construction and maintenance of buildings. (For a broader treatment, CLICK: What about mega-churches?)

Gathering in the Temple and the synagogues was not a continued practice of the early disciples. The house churches became the beehive of activities including breadbreaking (Acts 2:46; Rom 16:5; 1 Cor 16:19). The Church went underground in China during communistic oppression. A group of small congregations known as Little Flock under the spiritual leadership of Watchman Nee is an example. The Church not only survived but also thrived!

This is not a call to demolish or dismantle huge structures, but to establish and strengthen smaller units all over cities and towns. Felling a huge tree is comparatively much easier than weeding a field (Mt 13:29,30). A "little leaven" will leaven the whole lump! (Mt 13:33). It is not by calling people come to our places of worship but by going to their workspots and dwellings, the Church will grow faster. The Church-compound mentality has only hindered church growth.

Para-church organisations also should not go on increasing their size. In times like this, it is safer to have five agencies with 200 staff each than one organisation with 1000 workers.

 

4. Headquarters vs. Decentralisation

This aspect has specific relevance to missionary organisations, evangelistic associations, relief agencies, and the like. The concept of headquarters became popular a couple of decades ago in pursuit of effective coordination. An undisputed strong leader with the help of associates and assistants would direct the work across the nation from a central office. I believe that this era has come to an end with the changing of times. The old system has to be set aside if the full benefit of the new wine has to be enjoyed. There are several reasons why we must think of decentralisation.

God raises a man, gives him a message, and a movement is born. This founding leader is usually a dynamic charismatic figure. After him, rarely does a single man come up with equal gifting to succeed him. After Paul it is usually a team of men like Timothy and Titus. There is only one Mother Teresa, and only one Billy Graham. Because the second leaders will be more or less equals, in order to give ample space for originality and creativity, decentralisation is a must.

The central offices of most of the Christian organisations in India are situated in the Southern States. Which means, the keyleaders are stationed in the South. But the most unevangelised parts of the country are in the North. Eventhough preachers and leaders from South are "visiting" the Northern States for ministry, it is nothing like "staying" in needy areas and creating a sphere of Christian influence. Reaching the North Indians will not be effective without reviving the North Indian Christians. Eventhough the Church was born in Jerusalem, it was Antioch which gave birth to missions. Mobility is the antidote for stagnation.

Enemies of the gospel will usually target central offices of Christian missions. God is our Protector but we must plan wisely. Otherwise what was the need for Joseph to run away to Egypt with Mary and Baby Jesus at night? God forbid, but even if one office is bombed (!), the activities must not come to a grinding halt. The branch offices should be able to run the show. In this computer age, centralisation is not at all necessary for effective coordination. Do you know that top military officials donít travel together in a single vehicle? Mission executives and administrators should overcome the carnal desire to keep all files and powers with themselves, and expect coworkers report even breathing and sneezing.

 

5. Independence vs. Interdependence

To function independently is a basic instinct of the fallen man. Desire for independence in Christian work is usually born out of reluctance for accountability and lust for applause. Itís the devilís half-truth that we can move faster and accomplish more if we do it all by ourselves.

The last four or five decades (1950-2000) have witnessed the mushrooming of scores of indigenous missions in India. Many of them had a legitimate birth, whereas others were reactionary in origin or started by a fresh missiological graduate desirous of doing something for God but was not willing to work with one of the existing structures. Following apostle Paul in spirit, we can of course rejoice that Christ is preached anyway (Phil 1:18). But in the absence of networking and partnership, the wastage of manpower and money because of duplication and unhealthy competition is unimaginable. Eventhough genuine organisations under God may go on from strength to strength, the Body of Christ as a whole will get weaker and weaker.

It is in crises we seek others. We are jolted to realize that we canít needle each other any longer because we badly need each other! Each Church denomination and Christian organisation has its strengths and weaknesses. Itís time that 1 Corinthians 12 is expounded afresh from every pulpit! Ezekielís vision of the valley of dry bones is a favourite of revival preachers (Ezek 37). How can the Church rise up as an army unless "the bones come together, bone to bone"? (v 7). Nothing can be accomplished as long as feet are fighting with hands, and eyes with ears (1 Cor 12:15,16).

Our enemy is common. Thatís a sufficient reason why we must be united. Unity does not mean agreeing with others in everything. In fact we have more similarities than differences among various Christian groups. The non-Christians and the antichristians look at Christians as a whole. They donít even know how Roman Catholics and Protestants are poles apart in faith. What an advantage!

Dr. Sam Kamalesan was the main speaker in a Pastors Conference in Maharashtra years ago, which I was attending with some of my colleagues. I have forgotten most of what he preached but this : "One horse can pull 2 tons whereas two can pull 27 tons!" (Dt 32:30; Lev 26:8). Evangelism is a proven unifier in Christendom.

I have a long-cherished dream though it may appear presumptuous. Why not Churches hold common worship services localitywise atleast once in three months! Just meeting together, though it may look superficial, will weed out suspicions between leaders and help mutual encouragement. Psalm 133 will no more be just a song. It will become our story!

 

6. Adults vs. Youth

Youth-oriented programmes are not in proportion to the percentage of youth in our Churches. Youth ministry is not attractive to many preachers because in terms of revenue it is all investment with very little returns. Many youngsters from Christian homes go to Church because they have no other choice. An average Sunday morning sermon hardly has any message for them. Talks of Zion and heavenly Jerusalem are totally irrelevant to them. The theatrical performance and hidden agenda of preachers are nauseating. On the whole, to young people religion is boring. They are just too polite to say that!

I am appalled that even some of the "youth" organisations switch gears to concentrate on adults and general congregations. Youth work is no more their primary objective. Walk into Christian bookstores and find out how many youth books come out each year. Collect all Christian magazines published in India and count how many of them are for youth, or atleast allot pages regularly to address youth issues. Secular press publishes so much to cater to youth. How many Christian TV programmes do target youth? I am not despising old people, but I wonder whether thereís no difference in the Holy Spirit giving "visions" to young people and "dreams" to the old! (Acts 2:17b).

Youth are good in making friends. Their contacts in schools and colleges are numerous. Friendship evangelism is one of the most effective methods of spreading the gospel message. Until we have mobilized our youth for evangelism, our manpower will remain low. Youth are arrows in the hands of the Almighty (Psa 127:3-5). They rarely miss the target!

Ministering to youth is an art. Very few are naturally talented for this ministry. I would suggest that every Church sends its pastor for a short-term training in youth ministryóOr, atleast appoint a youth pastor exclusively for work among youth. Elders and committee members must avoid over-interference in youth matters. Tendency for elders to despise youth has always been there (1 Tim 4:12a; 1 Cor 16:10). Sarcastic remarks and unkind comments will quench the enthusiasm of youth. Youth grow when they are trusted and encouraged. They must be given freedom to mix with the youth of other congregations. They will serve as a link between Churches and foster unity.

 

7. Preaching vs. Publishing

There could be two reasons why God allowed apostle Paul to be imprisoned so often. One, to give him rest amidst his tireless itinerant ministry; second, to give him time so he would sit and write Epistles for the Church of his day and future generations. India over the centuries, especially in the 20th century, has produced some of the finest Bible preachers in the world. The depth of their devotions and richness of their sermons have been unparalleled. But unfortunately, not even 25% of their spoken messages has been published.

I have a great regard for the preachers and Bible scholars of the West. I am highly indebted to them for their commentaries and study aids which I regularly use. But having listened to the preachers of both the hemispheres for nearly four decades, my unbiased comment would be that the Biblical understanding and interpretation of the Easterners are better and deeper than their Western counterparts. But the Western Bible teachers are much more disciplined in writing than the Indians. Lesser publishing facilities in India compared to the West cannot be always quoted as the excuse.

I believe that the winds of opposition to the Gospel which blow all over India carry from God a message to the Indian preachers. Let us not be discouraged by the doors which are getting closed for public preaching. Learn to say no to not-so-important speaking engagements. Spend more time for rigorous study and writing. Away with casual writings for which our periodicals are known for. Letís take advantage of the fast-increasing literacy rate in India. Internet is another God-given tool to get the message across.

When the Jews opposed what Paul and Barnabas spoke, they turned to the Gentiles (Acts 15:46). When the Holy Spirit forbade Paul and his team to preach the gospel in Asia, they tried to go to Bithinia. When the Spirit would not permit them go there either, they came down to Troas and finally ended up in Macedonia where they got their first European convert (Acts 16:6-15). When God closes one door, He opens another! Blessed are those who can find it!

Letter No. 3 / 18 October 2002/To the Tamil Christians

 

Can conversions be stopped?

The stringent ordinance the Government of Tamilnadu has come out with to ban forcible religious conversions has triggered controversy all over the State and the Country, both within Christian circles and other communities. The reactions of the leaders of the various sections of the Church are varied. There are talks of protest fasts, marches and closure of Christian institutions. The simple-minded and sincere Christians are thrown in a wilderness of confusion as to how they must respond to this Ordinance of Prohibition of Forcible Conversions. As a Bible teacher and a Mission mobilizer for over three decades, and as a Tamil Christian, I present here my viewpoint. "I think I also have the Spirit of God" (1 Cor 7:40).

Ordinances against conversions should not surprise Christians, especially those in India. Anticonversion bills have been in force in the States of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh for many many years. Pioneer missionaries working in these States are used to all these bills. In fact, Church growth is only vigorous in such places. Immediately after mentioning the word "church" for the first time, Jesus declared, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it!" (Mt 16:18). The building of the Church and battling against Satan will always go together (Neh 4:17). We must not forget what Pharaoh and his taskmasters did to the people of God in Egypt. "The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew" (Ex 1:12). Mr. C. Rajaji that great statesman had the wisdom to understand this. He admonished antichristian leaders, "Donít crush Christians; they are bed-bugs!" There was not a single period in the entire Church history when evangelism was not opposed.

The ordinance says that no one should be converted from one religion to the other "by force, allurements or fraudulent means." In a country like India where superstitions and sentimentality overrule rational thinking, how will anyone give up his religion if he is forced? It would have been sensible if an ordinance to ban defections from one political party to another had been promulgated! Only politicians are telling outright lies and giving false promises to the illiterate masses of the country and "allure" them to their parties for self-interest.

Jesus promised peace, joy, forgiveness and eternal life to the people. If this is called "allurement," sorry, we canít help it! All Christians are commissioned by Christ to proclaim the Gospel of these blessings to everyone on earth. The authority for this proclamation is given to them by Jesus the King of kings (Mt 28:18-20). No government can take away this authority from them. Preaching the Gospel to the non-christians is statutory and obligatory for Christians. Missionary work and evangelism are not optional for the Church. A Christian who does not make others Christians has failed in his calling. Any follower of Jesus has to be a "fisher of men" (Mt 4:19).

We are not doing acts of charity to convert people but to comfort them in their suffering because they are helpless. Why did Mother Teresa pick up babies from garbage, and the dying from the streets, and treat them in her home? Why did Graham Staines leave his country and work among lepers in Orissa? We are imitating our Heavenly Father who "makes His sun shine on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Mt 5:45). If folks are attracted to Christianity by its selfless and sacrificial service, and love for the poorest of the poor and the downtrodden and the untouchables, is it "allurement?" Undoubtedly this law will become a hindrance to the yeomen services rendered by several Christian relief agencies for the poor and the marginalised. In fact the Gospel of Christ enlightens the illiterates and protects them from being exploited by cunning businessmen who fund corrupt politicians.

God who sits in the heavens laughs at the antichristian rulers because they are fighting a losing battle. I sincerely urge all of them to read the second chapter of the Book of Psalms in the Bible and be instructed.

I predict that the anticonversion law introduced in Tamilnadu will usher in an unprecedented revival in the Tamil Church. In order that Godís ultimate purpose in letting the rulers promulgate a law like this may not be defeated, I present here some practical counsel for all Christians to follow.

1. Let prayer for missions and evangelism be our top priority. When the first century preachers of the Gospel were threatened, the first thing they did was bending of their knees before the God of heaven and earth (Acts 4:23-30). This prayer is worth memorizing. God honoured this prayer by filling the believers with sublime boldness through the Holy Spirit (v 31). Preachers and people have spent too much time in praying for head aches and stomach pains. Itís time we bring the proclamation of the gospel and salvation of men and women to the top of our prayer list (1 Tim 2:1-7).

2. Let the entire Church be mobilized for soulwinning and evangelism. Teach every Christian how to win souls for Christ. The results of personal evangelism will outwit that of public meetings. Conduct more missionary conventions and soulwinning classes than healing campaigns. This may be the final hour of the endtime harvest in Tamilnadu. Give the Sunday morning pulpit to a frontline missionary or a mission leader atleast once a month. Let each member of the congregation catch the missionary vision.

3. Donít keep on addressing Christians in public meetings, broadcasts and telecasts. The Tamil Church has been guilty of evangelising the evangelised, comforting the comforted, blessing the blessed, but neglecting the neglected. The Hindu convert preachers must specialise on speaking to and writing for the Hindu majority. The percentage of Christians in Tamilnadu is just about six. Do you know that over 90% of offerings received from people is spent on this small group only? Gross injustice and subtle imbalance!

4. Increase work among youth. College students and other youngsters are enslaved by sex, drugs and movies. They are tired of the hypocrisy and humbug of the politicians. The Church has failed to address the issues of young people specifically. When nearly 50% of the population is below the age of 20, why not one of the 4 or 5 Sundays every month be observed as a Youth Sunday in our Churches? As long as the youth meeting is conducted only as an extra-curricular activity "after" the Sunday Service, we will continue to lose our young men and young women to Lucifer. See how many times the aged John refers to young men in his short epistle (e.g. 1 Jn 2:12-14). Who should be the main actors in Godís last day outpouring?ó"sons... daughters... young men" (Acts 2:17).

5. Avoid using militant language in gospel preaching. Donít shout, "India for Christ!" but say "Christ for India!" Christ has not called us to christianize the world but evangelize it. Donít call the gospel meetings as crusades! The word "crusade" means a military expedition. Donít attack other religions. Donít preach in front of temples and mosques, and distribute gospel pamphlets in religious festivals of non-christians. Respect the sentimentality of others. Because of the blasphemous remarks made by the leading Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell of USA in October 2002 against Prophet Mohammed, riots were ignited in Maharashtra in which nine people were killed. He later apologised in public and assured that he would always show respect for other religions, faiths and denominations. Preachers, beware of lighting fires that could grow into a terrible conflagration! Jesus grew not only in "favour with God" but also in "favour with men" (Lk 2:52). That was the secret of the daily phenomenal growth of the early church too (Acts 2:47). Tolerance is a Christian virtue and it is not compromise. One of the greatest lessons of wisdom in Solomon was that he ruled for 40 years without war. He had the same enemies that Saul and David had, but was at peace with them. They favoured and respected him, which helped to make him great. Thatís why God chose him, and not David, to build the temple (1 Chron 28:2,3,6).

6. As far as possible, donít use non-Indian preachers in public meetings. Christianity is already considered as the white manís religion in India. Donít we have enough evangelists in India who can preach with cultural understanding and sensitivity? It is only practical wisdom that we donít use foreigners in direct evangelism in India. They can help as trainers and equippers in seminaries and seminars. Christianity in India, especially in Tamilnadu, is highly westernised. Apostle Paul released the gospel from the Jewish clothing. Martin Luther released it from the Latin clothing. Letís do so from the Western clothing. I often wonder why Tamil Christians celebrate English New Year so enthusiastically, but they care the less for the Tamil New Year! We the Tamil Christians speak a Tamil that sounds like Greek and Latin to the Tamil non-christians. We are yet to realize why God got the New Testament written in Greek the market language and not in Hebrew the religious language of the Jews. Use updated and simplified versions of the Tamil Bible, atleast while addressing non-christians. "Unless we speak words easy to understand, we will be speaking into the air!" (1 Cor 14:9).

7. The Church in Tamil Nadu is divided and fractured. Jesus said that a kingdom which is divided against itself shall not stand. Satan is not divided. All his workers and agents work in perfect harmony. Shame on us! Stop stealing sheep from other folds. Put an end to fighting over matters which matter not. Donít attack other churches or preachers in pulpit or print. We quote Paul and argue, "Did he not openly warn people against men like Alexander?" (2 Tim 4:14). This was a personal letter written to an individual. Even the epistles to Churches were letters for private circulation only. But our magazines are registered with the Registrar of Newspapers in India, and the copies fall in the hands of so many antichristian folks. What foolishness that we attack our own preachers and ministries in our magazines and periodicals! It is betrayal.

8. God is looking for Josephs and Daniels to be placed in high positions in civil administration. Years ago there were so many Christian IAS officers in the Tamil Nadu Secretariat and District administration. Nowadays we hardly come across Christian names in IAS cadre. Christian youngsters are interested in computer science and overseas jobs only. I call upon young people to work hard and aspire for administrative posts. We are the salt of the earth. We are the light of the world. The society will decay and die without salt and light. Parents, pastors and preachers must motivate their youngsters to face this challenge. Strong Christian presence in the government will influence the decision-makers. The impact left in Collectorates, Directorates and the Secretariat by Tamil Christian IAS officers like Mr. S. P. Ambrose, Mr. Daniel Gunanithi, Mr. Wilfred Davidar and Mr. Jagadeesh Pandian is still sharp.

9. Letís multiply our evangelistic activities but do so with wisdom. Preaching of the gospel is not banned. If such a law would come up, we will have to obey God rather than men (Acts 4:19,20). Under the present ordinance, there are certain legal formalities to be done before baptising non-christian converts. Letís go through them. Who knows, this may be Godís way of stopping fake conversions! We already have in the Church more nominals than those really born again. I urge evangelists not to do anything hastily and get everyone into trouble. Zeal without knowledge is dangerous.

10. The Tamil Christians have perhaps sent more missionaries to North India and spent more money for missions than the Christians of other States during the last three decades. "God is not unjust to forget your work and labour of love which you have shown toward His Name" (Heb 6:10). However, in the recent years the Tamil Christians have started to substitute praying and giving for going. When the early Christians lingered on in Jerusalem without moving out to Samaria and other regions beyond, God sent severe persecution among them. The result was, "They were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria... Those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:1,4). Chennai is the Jerusalem of India. If it is to scatter Tamil Christians and preachers all over North India that God has stirred the rulers to come up with this anticonversion ordinance, it is welcome!

Click: A letter to the persecuted missionaries

Letter No.2 / 30 September 2002

Dear On-Bible Friend,

Thank you for your interest in this website. After I wrote to you on the 10th September, a Visitors Book has been opened in this site where you can leave your comments.

The Lord impressed upon a few of us college students in 1965 the effectiveness of tract evangelism. Those days most of the tracts, including those in the Indian vernaculars, were printed overseas and imported from there. Obviously over 90% of them was not appropriate for the Indian culture. Not only that, when Indian non-Christians were handed out with pamphlets printed overseas, their eyebrows were raised because Christianity in India is still thought to be the white manís religion. Being in touch with the non-Christians in India, both in towns and villages, we the youngsters after much prayer and waiting on the Lord wrote a tract in Tamil titled, Good News of Deliverance! In the first instance we printed 10,000 copies with the contribution given by Mr. A. Sivapragasam a provisions shopowner in Karaikudi in Tamilnadu who was joining us in our campus prayer gatherings. For follow-up we gave our address as the Gospel Team. The response was amazing wherever these tracts were distributed.

Little did we realize at that time that this tract would soon become one of the most favourite ones of soulwinners. When the Blessing Youth Mission was organized in 1971, it started printing this tract in large quantities for its outreach teams, namely Nehemiah Teams and Deborah Teams. Today this tract is translated to over 10 Indian languages and widely distributed, under a new title, Blessing for You! Five years ago I wrote another tract for students and religionists titled, Life Before and After Death.

Both these tracts can be read in the Annexure to this letter. You have my permission to print them out in whatever format you like, but without altering the matter, for your evangelistic needs. You can give your own address for enquiries to contact.

A preacher may dilute his message to suit the audience. This a tract never does. It keeps saying the same thing again and again. No gift or talent is necessary for tract distribution ministry. We should only not be ashamed of the Name of Christ. There will be many to greet you in Heaven because they had gone there believing in the message they read in the tracts you distributed. Start today! I shall be happy to hear of your efforts and results.

Your friend,

R.STANLEY

Annexure 1 for Letter No. 2

Blessing

for

You!

"I bring you the most joyful news ever announced and itís for everyone!"

This is how an angel of God announced the birth of Jesus Christ in Palestine about 2000 years ago. Yes, this is the greatest news for all of us because Christ came into the world just for you and me. To save us sinners!

All of us have sinned. The result of sin is death. That is, everlasting separation from God to be cast into hell. But God is love. He does not desire that anyone should perish. He so loved us that He sent His only Son Jesus into this sinful world. If we believe on Jesus, we will not perish but enjoy eternal life.

Christ lived on this earth for 33Ĺ years as a man. He was tempted like us in all areas of life. But He never yielded to any temptation. He is the only One who never sinned. It was because He was God in human form. He went around doing good to people. He forgave sinners. He healed the sick. He even raised some dead persons back to life. He exercised absolute authority over nature. He delivered people from demon-possession. Nothing was impossible for Him. Can anything be too difficult for God?

Out of envy the enemies of Christ crucified Him on the Cross. But it was God's plan. His death is the supreme sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Through His sinless, spotless and sacred blood, we have forgiveness of sins and salvation. He also bore our sicknesses on His body. Neither the blood of birds and animals nor any religious ceremony can blot out our sins. The blood of Christ alone has the power to cleanse us.

Jesus did not disappear into dust. Death could not hold Him. Because He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, He defeated the devil and rose again on the third day! After resurrection He appeared to His disciples for forty days and showed Himself alive. Then He went back to Heaven. This Risen Christ has never changed. His power is still the same to bless us!

Jesus Christ is not a mythological figure. He is a historical person. It is impossible to understand history without Him. He has divided history as B.C. and A.D. One of His disciples by name Thomas came to India around A.D. 40 to preach this Good News of salvation through Jesus. He was martyred near Chennai.

The invitation of Christ comes to everyone of us irrespective of caste or creed. He has said, "Come to Me, all of you who are burdened. I will give you relief!" We have no other way to obtain forgiveness of sins. Jesus claimed, "I am the Way." He is not one of many ways. He is "the Way!" There is no salvation except through Christ. Christ is Godís only provision to redeem man.

The Bible is the Word of God. It says that there are ways which look right to men but they only lead to destruction. Forsake your sins and come to Jesus. He will forgive you. He will also heal your sick body. He is Almighty.

Jesus said He would come to earth again. The wars, famines, earthquakes and all thatís happening today were predicted by Him. All the prophecies in the Bible are being fulfilled accurately. When Jesus came for the first time, 2000 years ago, He came as the Saviour. When He comes again, He will be a Judge. Those who donít accept Him as Saviour today will have to face Him at the Judgment Seat. The choice is yours.

Life is short. No one knows when he will breathe his last. Tomorrow is not ours. Today is the day of salvation. Decide today your eternal destiny. There is nothing like the joy of forgiveness today and assurance of life forever in Heaven.

Friend, this is not a religious propaganda. In fact, no religion can save you. The Christian religion also cannot save you. Christ alone can save you! He alone can forgive you! He alone can redeem your soul! Do you want to receive this blessing? If so, please say the following prayer sincerely and in faithó

"O God, I am a sinner. Have mercy on me. I thank You for sending Jesus Christ to die for me. I believe on Him as my personal Saviour. I receive the Living Christ into my life. I accept Him as my Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and making me Your child. In the Name of Jesus, I ask!"

God bless you with His joy and peace! Do write to us if you desire to know more about Jesus.

Annexure 2 for Letter No. 2

 

LIFE

BEFORE AND AFTER

DEATH

Death is certain. It is sure. No one can escape it. God appointed it following manís sin. Science cannot stop it. Riches cannot avoid it.

Death divides life into two. One is life on this earth and the other is life in eternity. Life here is temporary but life hereafter is permanent. Life here is short but life after death is for ever.

This material world is manís habitation before death. After death he enters a spiritual world unseen today. In this world good and evil stay together. But in the world to come they are separated. The place where good dwells is Heaven and that where evil dwells is Hell. God has His throne in Heaven. Satan with all his evil forces will be thrown into Hell.

Both Heaven and Hell are real. Heaven is a place of eternal bliss but hell of eternal torment. All who obey God are rewarded in Heaven. Those who reject Him are judged and punished in Hell.

How can you enter Heaven? Jesus said, "I am the Way!" He also emphasized there is no other. No religion can "save" man. Religions can only "teach" man. But man needs a Saviour. Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world. He came into the world to save sinners.

It is sin that bars man from entering Heaven. The punishment for sin is eternal separation from God. But God loved mankind and so He sent His only Son Jesus to sacrifice Him for sin. Jesus died on the Cross 2000 years ago. He rose again. His blood can wash away all sin. But this is effective only for those who believe on Him.

What is sin? It is all ungodly and unrighteous acts. It is rebellion against God. It is refusal to accept Godís offer of forgiveness and salvation through Christ. It is failure to love others as ourselves. It is disobedience to Godís commandments given in the Holy Bible. But when a man comes to Christ in repentance and simple faith, he is instantly forgiven. He becomes a child of God. He is "born again!"

Friend, you can decide your eternal destiny today. God loves you. He does not desire that your soul perish in Hell. He wants you enjoy life forever with Him in glory.

Donít expect to repent at the eleventh hour; you may die at ten thirty! Say bye to your old and evil way of living right now and turn to Jesus. Accept His pardon. Receive Him as your Saviour. You will become a new person. Jesus is the True Light. He will shine on you. Your life will be totally changed.

Jesus will give you power to overcome temptations. Satan cannot snatch you from Godís hand. You will be safe.

You can die with hope. As you close your eyes here you will open them in Heavenóin the literal presence of God. Accepting Christ makes all the difference.

Decide today!

Do write to us if you desire to know more about what you have read in this pamphlet.

 

Letter No.1 / 10 September 2002

 

Dear on-Bible friends,

This website was launched at a point when I could wait no longer.

An immediate outcome of my personal encounter with Christ as a first year college student in 1962 was a passionate desire to dig deep into the riches of Godís Word. I have been a sincere student of the Scriptures ever since. Because I took up building engineering as the branch of study and chose the same as my career atleast for the first five years after graduation, I had no opportunity to study in a Bible seminary. But I used to sit for hours and be on my knees with the Bible open. There has been never an occasion when I got up without receiving a definite message from the Lord. Thanks to my spiritual mentors who taught me to write down immediately in a notebook whatever I learnt at the time of personal meditations. Usually these devotional thoughts have been the starters for the sermons I preached, the lessons I taught, and the articles I wrote during the last three to four decades of my ministry.

However, what I have received from the Lord has been much much more than what I could pass on to people. Hardly 50% of what I have received in my private study has been so far shared through print or pulpit. Surges of messages from God keep coming to me day after day and week after week. How can I pass them all to the present generation as well as the future ones if I must be a faithful steward of the mysteries of God? Will I not wake up before my Master as a "wicked and slothful servant" if His revelations are buried with me? It is this heartcry which gave birth to this website. Evangelist Sam Jebadurai launched it on 31 August 2002 in the opening ceremony of the Blessing Literature Centre at Chennai.

In fact, so much of material had already been typed out and stored by my enthusiastic young friends Ashok Vedasironmani and Richard Justus. My profound thanks to them. (Please read in the Annexure what Ashok has written to me in this regard.) I am updating the notes in order to upload them in stages to serve friends like you all over the world. I will of course include some of what has already been preached or published. I am grateful to Mr. Santhosh of UAE for obtaining this website space for me from Brinkster.

I thank God for the Blessing Youth Mission (BYM) which blessed me with a pulpit and a publishing unit which have served as the primary outlet for all that I wanted to say and write these many years. Writing regularly for the BYMís official organ, Blessing, as a Contributing Editor along with my wife, since 1972, has been a splendid opportunity. Out of gratitude I am directing the beneficiaries of this website to support the missionary work of BYM if they are so led. (See Home Page.)

I request you to invite as many Christian friends as possible to visit this website. Do write to me at <stanleyonbible@hotmail.com> if you are blessed or would like to comment. Bear with me if I am not able to reply your letters due to lack of time. I desire to paste a new letter every ten days on this column. Will you pray for me, please?

May the peace and power of God fill your hearts and strengthen your hands!

Your friend,

Stanley

 

 

Annexure:

 

Dear Stanley uncle,

During my third year (1998) of post graduate studies in computer application, I obeyed the call to help the BYM hq office in the field of computers. Richard, a friend of mine from Sunday School days, was waiting for his posting as a Government College lecturer. We both were working as instructors in Loyola College Computer Centre in Chennai. I decided to develop a software through which all the revelations of God from your meditations can be made available on the desktop. This software was a part of my last semester project. Richard typed the notes from your diaries and I developed the software. I believed that God would definitely use it one day for His glory. Therefore whenever both of us met we used to recall the time we spent to type and develop the software. Many times Satan used the delay to discourage me and it made me wonder whether I would ever become a useful vessel for God. We did not realise that Godís time was coming near. By the turn of August this year you called me and Dickson annan, and told us about the website you had decided to launch. My heart started bubbling with joy.

Now, as I sit to type out this letter, I am overwhelmed with praise to God for saving a wretch like me to serve Him.

Thank you, uncle, for this privilege.

Affectionately,

Ashok