4) Schwartz and the British Bishop
Schwartz, a German missionary, landed in Tranquebar in 1750 and did not leave South India till his death in 1789. He worked as a missionary in Trichinopoly, from 1769 to 1779. Let us see what Percival Spear says in his book “The Nabobs”.
“While in Trichy, Schwartz occupied a room in an old Hindu building just large enough to hold his bed and himself and in which few men could stand upright. He rose at 5, breakfasted at 6 or 7 on a basin of tea and some bread cut into it. The meal lasted not five minutes. He dined on broth and curry, very much like the natives. He never touched wine except on a Sunday” .
Late in the 18th century, a Bishop was sent from England to Calcutta. “It is said that the arrival of Bishop Heber in Calcutta caused some excitement among the Brahmins and sanyasis. At last, it was said, the Christians had sent one of their holy men and their interest was not unmixed with anxiety for the prestige of their own faith. So one of the Brahmins was appointed to visit the Bishop and report to the rest.
5) Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, personally close to him, showed weakness for money. When money came by the easy way, he betrayed his master and God by a simple kiss. No wonder the evangelists of today, who claim to take the message of Christ to the masses and gain souls for Him, fall into the trap of love of money, fame, comfort and a desire to establish a family hierarchy in spiritual superiority.
6) Prosperous Evangelists
Many of the Christian evangelists I have come across through their programmes in different TV channels appear well fed, well dressed and are careful in their make-up. In short, they appear a prosperous lot; some of them rich, no doubt, and the others very rich. And none of them look humble and poor. They got all the money as a gift from God, in exchange for their ministry. They forget to acknowledge the fact ,that their money came from lean and scanty purses of their admirers and devotees ,attracted by fanciful fund raising techniques under titles like “Young Partners”, “TV Club” etc.,
One “born again” preacher said with pride in his TV programme that his suit cost him four thousand rupees. Good. God blessed him with an expensive suit, shirt and tie to match. I, an average lower middle class citizen of India, neither too rich nor too poor can boast (if ever I do) only of a shirt not more expensive than Rs. 200 and a pair of pants costing less than Rs. 300. People of much less means than I, must have contributed to his Rs. 4000 suit, under the mistaken notion that they were giving away their offerings for God’s work.
Another famous preacher was all smiles when he said that his daughter was being educated in Australia, and continued about how happy he was hearing her voice from Melbourne whenever she rings him. This person, if he had continued in his secular job, instead of changing tracks to evangelism would not have afforded a taxi ride from Madras to Madurai.(?) Now he had enough money to send his daughter to Australia for her education. I remember how much I hesitated , and finally decided not to spend 4000 Australian dollars to secure an entrance visa into that country, for my son Suresh.
If only one observes the dress and jewellery worn by popular evangelists and their families,one can have a fair idea of their well stocked wardrobes. I once counted the number of change of saris by the heroin in a Hindi film based on a Bengali story. Fifty six saris in all, within the two and a half hour of the show, all those saris being provided by the director or producer of the film; which were perhaps later returned to the shops from where they were borrowed. I consider it vulgar on the part of corrupt politicians to own unimaginably large wardrobes like that of Jayalalithaa of Madras, Mrs.Marcos of the Philippines, Eva (Evita) Peron of Argentine and others. Amassing of wealth, if it is vulgar for the politician, it is sinful for an evangelist.
Owning six hundred acres of prime land and a number of colleges and institutions initially funded and supported form the money collected from general public and holding them under the pretext of a Trust, but in reality a family property, doesn’t appear ethically correct and spiritually upright. The meaning of the words “ownership” and “trust” seem to overlap,but to them they are synonyms. An evangelist based in Trichy, celebrated the wedding of his daughter in a posh hotel in the city and had the ceremonies telecast in one of his programmes. The bride was shown in all her finery including a cluster of glittering gold chains