a huge complex run in a democratic way, projecting its spiritual objective. But this group kept itself segregated from organized Christian churches like S.P.G., C.M.S., Lutheran, Anglican etc.
The more aggressive and anti-church group is the Pentecostal Mission, originally called Ceylon Pentecostal Mission. One will see their elders in white dhoti and white kurta and their women in white sari. They were very orthodox and strict in the observance of their church doctrines and considered themselves superior to other groups of Christians because they believed that they were the only ones who knew the truth about God as revealed in the Bible. They considered the manifestation of the Holy Spirit more important, spoke in tongues etc. Their women folk were not permitted to wear any gold ornaments to adorn them because they considered that the Holy spirit which they acquired through immersion baptism added more beauty to them than all the gold of this world. Thus they prepared themselves to meet their heavenly bridegroom.
They also weaned away from homes young boys and girls in their youth and brain-washed them into believing that they knew the truth of the Bible while their parents weren’t in the truth. They broke many homes by causing spiritual dissensions and separated children from their parents, husbands from their wives and wives from their husbands. They impoverished men by encouraging them to part with their money for what they called God’s work.
The followers of this group do not take medicines for sickness of any kind. They believe in prayer-cure of all ailments, Typhoid, diphtheria, cancer, kidney failure or what ever. They gather around the patient in groups and raise their voice in supplication to God loud enough to reach Him, in devout prayer for the cleansing of the sick by the Holy Spirit. Faith could have cured a few but it also failed in many cases for which they had the simple explanation, “It’s God’s will.”
It is surprising that at present there is a flood of evangelists hailing from Nagercoil to Chennai. Tamil Nadu appears to be a breeding ground , in India, for high pressure preachers and healing ministries. I can name two dozens of them, each one leading his or her own group. Some, in addition, also run orphanages, old peoples’ homes, schools, theological institutions etc., And one among these evangelists maintains teams of people praying round the clock in half a dozen cities in south India (including Mumbai) on behalf of the sick and the suffering, for solving domestic problems involving human relationships and financial troubles. Though faith is the basic requirement demanded for the efficacy of such prayers, it appears, this system runs on military precision and whenever you ring them they are there at the other end to listen to your owes and pray.
These evangelists are exposed to millions at a time through weekly (or daily) TV appearances, audio & video tapes, CDs, web-sites, e-mails , fax and other high-tech facilities. They have gone into high-tech culture at enormous expenses which they pass down to their followers, admirers and beneficiaries who cough up the money in the belief that they are offering their mite for God’s work, often at a sacrifice. One family of preaching and healing ministry claims to telecast forty programmes in the TV world-wide, every week, in nineteen languages at an enormous cost of over four crores of rupees in a year. (calculated on a modest average estimate of Rs 25,000 for each programme on a TV channel)
I recall the names of a couple of forceful and effective evangelists from the west who occasionally visited India - Oral Roberts and Billy Graham. They went round the world to “save souls for Christ” as they called the objective of their mission. At the close of their sermons they summoned the people to come forward to the stage from where they spoke, to confess and repent for their sins and accept Christ as their personal saviour They prayed for the vast crowd that accept Christ as their personal saviour and gave them instructions what to do next. Thus they saved many millions all over the world
Joyce Meyer is a lady evangelist popular these days She has acquired a wide vocabulary, has a fluent tongue, delivers rapid-fire sermons, is effective in her body language and gesture and wears expensive dresses. Her mission is limited only to delivering sermons. Her talks are available dubbed in Tamil and other Indian languages.