Replies submitted by Rev. E. Raman, President, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Madhya Pradesh, Gopalganj, Sagar
1. We have kept no such record as we do not recognize castes.
2. A small rise in the population of our Church is mostly due to natural increase.
3. Out of about 4,000 members in our Church, at present, about 94 per cent are born Christians (i.e., 240 converts).
4. In our churches in the districts of Sagar, Chhindwara, Betul and Baikunthpur tahsil, 154 converts have been admitted into our fold since 1947.
5. We believe in conversion of individuals. When a group or a family comes, every individual is baptized on his or her confession.
6. Christians, Muslims, Arya Samaj, Hindu Maha Sabha and Sikhs.
7. In accordance with the command of our Lord Jesus Christ to go and preach the Gospel to every creature, all Christians are His witness and share the message of the Saviour with others wherever they get the opportunity. Some who get a very special call, dedicate themselves as whole-time (paid) workers-teachers, preachers, medical workers, etc. They make great sacrifice in order to become whole-time workers in the service of the Lord. None takes up this kind of service for monetary gain. Such workers are paid just enough to be able to live, and question of reward does not arise.
8. Witnessing for the Lord Jesus Christ by volunteers or whole-time workers is a matter of spiritual zeal and enthusiasm which forbid all objectionable methods. Of course, humanitarian and philanthropical activities of the Christian Church cannot be called fraudulent and unfair methods as they are meant to meet the human needs. According to the injunction of the Lord Jesus Christ, �Bear one another�s burden�, Christians are bound to help the poor and the needy as much as possible.
9. There is no doubt that the majority of the converts is from poorer classes. Poverty, it is being argued is the reason of their becoming Christians. The Indian State and Congress Party is committed to a policy of social benefit and the removal of caste-barriers and this is inherent in the Foundation Charter of U. N. O. to which India subscribes. Consequently, if people who are suffering shameful disabilities which are denounced by the Government and the Charter of U. N. O. are attracted to Christianity because it provides them with relief from this intolerable burden, this is a commendation and not a condemnation of Christian work.
10. To us, Christians, conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit being the result of conviction of sin and need of salvation. Missionaries and preachers do not and cannot convert any one of themselves except those persons who are already converted by the Spirit of God. When any one having been convinced in heart and mind expresses his desire to become a Christian, he is instructed for three to six months in the Christian tenets and also tested if his motives are genuine before he is admitted into the Christian fold. Knowingly, we do not admit any one who has not had religious conviction. Of course, we sometimes find that we are deceived and. thus, some genuine cases are not admitted.
11. Absolutely not. On the contrary Christianity teaches and helps people to become better citizens.
12. We share the message of the Lord Jesus Christ with others in churches, homes, bazars, fairs and wherever we have the opportunity.
13-14. No. The aim of preaching is to propagate the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and not to offend anybody�s susceptibilities.
15. As servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, preachers preach the Gospel and try to serve the people with the spirit of the Master. They do not aspire for any standing or position among the people they live and serve.
16. The educational qualifications of Pracharaks and their emoluments vary. The question of any monetary reward does not arise.
17. Pracharaks in our Church are given three years� training in our Theological Seminary. We have sent no pracharaks for training to foreign countries.
21. Never has any such pressure been used. It is most unchristian.
22. No fairs for worldly amusements and funs held in our Church.
23. We do not make reference to any Government, except that every Sunday in our worship we pray for our President, the Government and the Country.
24. As far as I know Arya Samajists are engaged in the work of reconversion, in the places where we have our Church, without any success.
25. The relations have been normal. What is heard of deteriorated relations in just a very few places, is undoubtedly due to agitation and communal organizations such as R. S. S., Hindu Maha Sabha and Arya Samaj.
26. Not any that I know of.
28. Missionaries do not take part in politics.
32 and 33. Yes definitely. It is Christianity which has brought the present standard of social life all over the world, and thus of India also among all classes of its people, and not only among Christian converts.
34. Never even heard of such a thing.
35. The question does not arise.
36. The attitude has been appreciative. We welcome them and cooperate in the efforts as far as possible.
39. As far back as I am remember, Missionaries have been discouraging Indian Christians from adopting foreign culture-modes of living, dressing, etc. On the contrary they have been identifying themselves with-Indians by learning the language, eating Indian food, etc. Some of them take pride in dressing up as Indians and putting on Gandhi topi.
40. We Christians do not believe in being a communal group, and we do not desire communal representation. In the past, as a matter of fact we gave it up. To me it appears to be clear discrimination to inquire into Christian Missionaries activities on representations by most probably some communally-minded people and suspect our loyalty to our motherland. No power on earth can adversely affect our national loyalty. Foreign Missionaries have no interest whatsoever to interfere with our nationality.
41. We Christians have been proud of our Indian heritage and culture. We do practise those ancestral and social customs which are not contrary to the Christian faith.
42. Not at all.
43. The Evangelical National Missionary Society of Stockholm, Sweden, opened missionary work in Madhya Pradesh in 1877. The result was the establishment of several local congregations in the districts of Sagar, Chhindwara and Betul. In 1923 these local congregations in affiliation with the Evangelical National Missionary Society of Stockholm, constituted themselves into a Church called the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Madhya Pradesh. These two organisations-Evangelical National Missionary Society of Stockholm and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Madhya Pradesh-continued side by side till 1949 when they integrated to be known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Madhya Pradesh. There are 26 missionaries in this Church-8 men and 18 women. They are 22 Swedish, 2 English, 1 Danish and 1 Finish. These are all members of the Indian Church and the President is an Indian.
44. There has been no increase.
46. In all 206 Indian workers-Priests, Pracharaks, Teachers and medical workers are engaged in the Church service.
47. They have had full training in their homelands of the kind of work they are engaged in here. I have been to Sweden twice and can definitely say that they can get about three times more than what they take here. Had it not been for the call from the Lord to go and preach the Gospel, they would riot have made such great sacrifice and been here.
51. Yes. Regular budgets are prepared.
52. All accounts are audited.
53. Since 1947, our annual budgets have been for nearly 4 lakhs. This amount does not include missionaries� salary, allowance, etc. Towards the annual budget we have been receiving from the Evangelical National Missionary Society of Stockholm, nearly half the amount as subsidy.
This Church has got the following institutions:-
Child Welfare Centre-1
67. The majority of the members of our Church including myself has consistently supported the Congress Party in elections from the beginning.
70. There is no criterion of income, religion, etc.
72. We hold morning worship together with our staff, and patients are free to join if they choose to do so. They are treated alike irrespective of caste ant creed, whether or not they attend our prayers.
patients are allowed to read any kind of books. Christians
tracts and books of course are available at our dispensaries to those who care to read them.
76. We have no non-christian members on our medical staff.
83. Freeships are granted in our schools according to rules. They are not at all granted to any one as an inducement.
84. We do give religious instruction in our school, but it is not compulsory.
85. No. It is not reasonable to expect such a provision.
86. Moral instructions are given from the Bible.
87. We hive non-Christians on the staff of some of our schools, but never has any pressure been brought upon any of them to change their religion, One Brahmin teacher has been working for nearly 30 years.
89. Days of national importance are regularly celebrated in all our schools.
91. Our Boarding houses are open to all irrespective of caste and religion. Fees are charged.
92. Attendance at our morning and evening prayers for non-Christian inmates is not compulsory. And no children have been converted to Christianity by staying in our Boarding houses.
93. No. From the cause which is alleged to have led to the constitution of the enquiry committee, it appears that Christianity is considered to be a foreign religion. I emphatically wish to say that as a matter of fact Christianity is one of the religions of India. It was brought to the country about 2,000 Years ago by one of the disciples of Lord Jesus Christ from Palestine, (Asia).
94. Change of religion does not necessarily imply change of culture. Change of culture in the country is mostly due to modernistic influence. This is noticed among all classes of people. Missionaries and Christianity cannot be made responsible for it.
95. India, though a secular State, should never think of eliminating religion from education. Exclude religion from education and you have no foundation on which to build moral character. Religion has inspired more literature, more painting, more sculpture, more architecture, more music and a large part of ethical and institutional life than has any other thing.
96. No doubt the consolations of religion are an aid to recovery of patients, but they are of the utmost importance for dying ones to depart in peace. Spiritual help to the sick and dying has its immence value and is divine. It is no propaganda, and it is impossible to substitute spiritual things by secular or material things.
97-98. India being a Secular State, in my humble opinion, should not interfere with peaceful methods of propagation of any faith. If other religions also can show the same enthusiasm with the same spirit as Christian Missions, there should be no conflict. And if absolute and sincere impartiality to different religions is maintained, there is no reason why they cannot co-exist peacefully in the land as in other countries of the world. Communally-minded people are really injurious to the welfare of our beloved India.
The 29th Dec. 1954.
President. E. L. C. in M. P.