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Fundamentalists respond to church growth with violence

ICC Note

“[Dalits are] ostracized from any religious opportunities there in India , and they’re turning to Christ because Christ loves them. And they’re beginning to see that, and they’re turning to Christ by the tens of thousands. This persecution has been deliberately focused on that,”

21 January, 2008 India (MNN) ― Violence that started in India during Christmas celebrations has only escalated in Orissa state.

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Operation Mobilization’s Peter Dance said that is likely the result of a combination of things. The area has many strong Hindu fundamentalists, and there are many Dalits coming to Christ. “[Dalits are] ostracized from any religious opportunities there in India , and they’re turning to Christ because Christ loves them. And they’re beginning to see that, and they’re turning to Christ by the tens of thousands. This persecution has been deliberately focused on that,” said Dance.

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Those changes have not hindered church growth, and the persecution has actually contributed to church growth. Many people turn to the church during uncertain times. “Now of course there’s a whole lot of questions that go with that: ‘Do they know what they’re doing when they turn to the church?’ etc. Well, that’s where churches and other organizations, including ours, are invovled in being able to share the beauty of Christ,” Dance explained.

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The current violence is a reminder of the continual struggle Christians face in India . Dance says Christians need to pray for the “thousands and thousands of Christians in refugee camps.” Christians as well as Hindus and Muslims are ministering to refugees. OM is trying to raise funds to provide food, clothing and shelter.

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