Laymen Ministries

India: The Legacy

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Jeff Reich


Series Code: LM

Program Code: LM000146A

00:46 Old India, as it's often been called has a rich history
00:50 that dates back thousands of years.
00:52 Many Hindu temples, both ancient and new
00:55 are seen throughout the country.
00:58 Dynasties have come and gone over the centuries.
01:05 Nearly 80 percent of the people of India are Hindu.
01:20 Islam has a growing presence in India
01:23 with around 14.2 percent of the population being Muslim.
01:27 Islam first came to the western coast of India
01:30 with Arab traders as early as the 7th century AD.
01:34 And eventually spread from the north to the Malabar Coast
01:37 and then across India.
01:39 2.3 percent of India is Christian
01:42 having deep roots to early Christianity.
01:44 In the first century,
01:46 many Jews that had converted to Christianity
01:49 as well as other converts escaped the persecution of Rome
01:52 by following the trade routes all the way to India.
01:57 These were known as the Syrian Christians.
02:00 The Apostle Thomas landed on the coast of Kerala,
02:03 India in 52 AD.
02:06 His converts became knows as St. Thomas Christians.
02:09 Both groups followed the simple faith of the earlier apostles
02:12 and most kept the Seventh-day Sabbath.
02:15 The New World Encyclopedia states,
02:17 "Their tradition goes back
02:19 to the beginnings of first century Christian thought,
02:21 and the seven churches
02:23 that are believed to have been established
02:24 by Saint Thomas the Apostle.
02:27 The Nasrani preserved the original rituals
02:30 of the early Jewish Christians,
02:31 such as covering their heads while in workshop
02:34 and holding their ritual service on Saturdays
02:36 in the tradition of the Jewish Sabbath.
02:39 These early Christian Jews
02:40 believed in Jesus as the Christ,
02:42 but followed Jewish traditions and called themselves
02:45 Nazaraeans or Nazrani,
02:47 meaning Jews who followed the Nazarene Messiah."
02:53 On July 8, 1497,
02:55 Vasco de Gama a Portuguese explorer
02:58 was commissioned by King Manuel I
03:01 to lead a fleet of four ships
03:02 with the crew of 170 men from Lisbon, Portugal to India
03:07 on a conquest for Portugal and the Catholic Church.
03:10 The Hindus in Calicut
03:12 initially welcomed the arrival of de Gama and his sailors,
03:15 but tensions quickly flared up
03:17 after de Gama offered their ruler
03:19 a collection of relatively cheap goods as arrival gifts.
03:23 They also felt victims
03:25 to the wiles of wealthy Arabianmerchants
03:27 who influenced some of the local Muslims
03:29 to attack these Portuguese explorers.
03:32 De Gama returned to Portugal vowing revenge
03:35 and to return to save India from these pagans for the pope.
03:42 A few years later in February 1502
03:45 Vasco de Gama was in charge of another Indian expedition,
03:49 but this time with an armada.
03:51 On his ships, he took with him
03:53 military troops and Roman Catholic priests
03:56 who would serve his spiritual and tactical advisors.
04:00 As the armada approached the shores of India,
04:03 it encountered a ship heavily laden
04:05 with Muslim pilgrims returning from Mecca.
04:09 De Gama ordered an attack
04:11 and watched while these ships went up in flames,
04:14 thus he announced his return to India.
04:22 As de Gama and his accompanying priests made themselves known
04:26 among the inhabitants along the Malabar Coast of India,
04:29 they were very surprised to encounter Christians
04:31 living in this heathen land among the Hindus and Muslims.
04:35 One must remember that Thomas and Syrian Christians
04:38 looked to the Syrian Bible as their guide of faith.
04:42 So when they first met these Portuguese Catholics,
04:45 they were a bit surprised as was recorded
04:47 by the well-known historian Charles Givens.
04:53 "The title of Mother of God was offensive to their ear,
04:57 and they measured with scrupulous avarice
04:59 the honors of the Virgin Mary,
05:00 whom the superstition of the Latins
05:02 had almost exalted to the rank of a goddess.
05:05 When her image was first presented
05:06 to the disciples of St. Thomas,
05:08 they indignantly exclaimed,
05:10 "We are Christians, not idolaters!"
05:17 This is the famous St. Thomas Mount.
05:20 They say that.
05:21 St. Thomas was murdered here or martyred here
05:24 in 72 AD by Hindu fundamentalists.
05:26 It's really hard to know what to believe
05:28 when it comes to the stories about Thomas,
05:32 St. Thomas of the Apostle Thomas
05:34 because revisionist have rewritten history so much,
05:37 so I'd like to show you just a few examples
05:40 of what I'm talking about.
05:54 First of all I can guarantee
05:56 that the Apostle Thomas never came from Rome,
05:58 he most likely came from Antioch in Syria to India
06:01 when he came here to evangelize and share the gospel.
06:04 And secondly, I'm positive that
06:07 the Apostle Luke never painted this picture in 50 AD
06:10 because the adoration of the worship of Mary
06:14 never was really became dogma in the Catholic church
06:16 till 1854 under Pope Pius IX.
06:19 So this would have been a foreign concept
06:21 to the early apostles and any other followers.
06:24 And the whole idea of relics and hold sacred bones
06:31 and different things like that
06:32 are all part of the revisionist theology of Catholicism
06:35 to try to help people or to make people think
06:38 that all of these saints were somehow connected
06:40 to the Catholic church, were all part of the interest
06:44 of the church of Rome
06:46 in propagating its authority and power
06:48 as being the only and one true church.
06:52 The historian Claudius Buchanan
06:54 tells about the contact of the Portuguese Catholic priests
06:58 with these native Thomas and Syrian Christians of India.
07:03 "These Churches,' said the Portuguese,
07:05 'belong to the pope.'
07:07 'Who is the Pope?' said the natives,
07:08 'We never heard of him...'
07:10 'We, ' they said, 'are of the true faith,
07:12 whatever you of the West may be,
07:14 for we came from the place where the followers of Christ
07:17 were first called Christians, meaning Antioch."
07:22 Because these natives would not bow
07:24 to the supremacy of the pope
07:25 and the dominance of the Catholic Church,
07:27 they soon found themselves
07:29 in the midst of the Portuguese inquisition.
07:32 They were told to convert or die.
07:35 Soon, the simple church
07:37 of the Thomas and Syrian Christians
07:39 was dominated by the Catholics.
07:41 It was not till the middle of the 17th century
07:44 that there was an uprising against the Jesuit priests
07:47 for their oppression of the Syrian
07:48 and Thomas Christian churches.
07:51 A significant turn of events took place in Mattancherry
07:54 near Cochin on the Malabar Coast
07:56 when the Thomas and Syrian Christians
07:58 tied themselves to the large cross
08:01 and swear on oath to separate themselves
08:03 from the Catholic Church.
08:05 Unfortunately, the damage was done
08:07 through reeducation and cohesion.
08:10 Their theology and worship styles
08:12 were adopted from Catholicism
08:14 which is still seen today throughout their churches.
08:17 They forsook the Seventh-day Sabbath of their ancestors
08:20 and other biblical teaching of the primitive church.
08:23 Today, the most famous places in India
08:26 have been historically revised to make it appear
08:28 that they are part of Catholic history.
08:32 Adventists first entered North India in the 1890s.
08:36 L. J Burgess and his wife Georgia
08:38 started an outreach for women.
08:42 This picture from 1898 shows
08:44 some of the first Adventist pioneers to India.
08:48 At first the work was slow
08:50 in a country dominated by Hindus and Muslims.
08:53 In 1897, D. A Robinson
08:55 started the first Adventist school for girls.
08:58 He went on to become
08:59 the director of the Indian Mission.
09:01 Unfortunately, he succumbed to smallpox
09:03 and passed away in the year 1900.
09:10 The leadership in India fell on the young W. A Spicer
09:14 who became the head of the Indian Mission
09:16 and the editor of the Oriental Watchman,
09:18 the first Adventist paper published in India.
09:21 At the 1901 General Conference session,
09:24 he was elected to the position of secretary
09:26 for the foreign mission board in America.
09:29 Spicer Adventist University in Pune, India
09:32 still bears his name today.
09:35 The fist Adventist church in Southern India
09:37 is located in Prakasapuram.
09:40 We took a road from Chennai to visit this area
09:43 and to see some new developments
09:44 for Laymen Ministries in this historic region.
09:53 Early in the morning we made our way
09:55 along a new toll highway.
09:56 Finally, India has some decent highways.
10:14 Along the way, we stopped to see
10:15 the famous Ranganathaswamy Temple complex
10:17 located on the Island of Srirangam
10:20 which is positioned in the middle of two rivers.
10:24 This is considered to be
10:25 the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world
10:28 as it covers an area of about 6 million 790,000 square feet.
10:34 People come here by the thousands
10:36 to pay homage to the idol of the God Vishnu
10:39 that sit in the middle of this stone temple.
11:07 Also in this area of Tamil Nadu,
11:09 there are the ruins of the palace and temple
11:11 of the Chola dynasty,
11:13 which is one of the longest ruling dynasties
11:16 in the history of Southern India.
11:19 At one time it controlled the whole southern tip of India
11:22 and its influence was reached as far away as Malaysia.
11:28 These ruins date back to the 11th and 12th centuries
11:32 being built by the famous Rajaraja Chola.
11:41 We drew another six hours to get Parankuntrapuram
11:43 which is near the tip of South India.
11:46 It was here that the very first Adventist church
11:48 was built in Southern India.
11:53 We met with Pastor Jones now retired,
11:56 but used to be the pastor of this historic church.
11:59 He had studied the history of this Adventist church,
12:01 so we asked him to share about
12:03 how Adventists first came to South India.
12:44 This is the first Seventh-day Adventist church
12:47 in South India Union.
12:49 In the year 1907,
12:52 Elder James, Elder Shaw and Elder Enoch
12:56 came to Prakasapuram
12:58 and stayed here for about a month.
13:00 Then they all went back.
13:01 Then in 1908,
13:04 Elder James along with his wife and children
13:07 came and settled here, started his work.
13:12 First work they started was among the sick people.
13:15 It's a kind of medical missionary.
13:19 Then, they had also been giving Bible studies to the people.
13:25 The first baptism took place in the year 1910.
13:31 The first baptism consisted of about 25 people.
13:37 That's how the first church in South India Union
13:41 started here in Prakasapuram.
13:44 Just down the street from the Adventist church
13:46 is the Indian church of only Savior
13:49 which also keeps the Seventh-day Sabbath.
13:52 It's interesting to know that back in 1854
13:55 the founder of this church discovered the Sabbath truth
13:58 from a study of the Bible.
14:00 It was estimated that in the year 1900
14:03 around 500 to 1000 Tamil Sabbath keepers
14:07 were in this area of India.
14:09 It was in search of these Sabbath keepers
14:11 that drew early Adventist missionaries
14:13 Elder Juts and James
14:14 accompanied by two of his friends to this area.
14:19 A more recent historical development
14:21 was a donation of this buildings and land
14:23 to Laymen Ministries.
14:25 In front is an active church
14:27 and the back is a completely functioning community center
14:30 to which we're going to add an orphanage.
14:34 Laymen Ministries has been talking about
14:36 starting an orphanage in India for years.
14:38 There's a real need for that here.
14:40 And after the success that we had in the country of Lithuania
14:43 with helping the government orphanages there,
14:45 we thought the timing is right
14:47 and just recently this facility here
14:49 became available for Laymen Ministries
14:51 to start a really nice orphanage out in the country.
14:54 And so, we're hoping next year, this time,
14:56 when we do a report about our project here in India,
14:59 that we'll be able to bring you here
15:00 and show you the young children
15:02 that will be benefited by being involved with an orphanage
15:04 ran by Laymen Ministries.
15:08 I'm Moses Daniel, I'm a layman, I'm taking care of this church.
15:14 We have five families coming to this church
15:17 and this is very nice to have a community center here.
15:20 We have lot of Hindus and lot of Roman Catholics
15:25 and this church serves them by giving them the real truth.
15:30 This is the building
15:31 which is meant for our community services.
15:34 And we do some technical,
15:38 we give some technical practices,
15:41 trainings like computer services, computer,
15:45 basic computer learning, computer skills
15:47 and spoken English, soft skills like spoken English
15:52 and this is the computer center actually.
16:00 Okay, we have seven computers.
16:03 So far, we have finished three batches of students.
16:08 Our students are from this local area
16:11 and they come here
16:13 and they not only get the education,
16:15 but we also give them our books, our literature,
16:19 our gospel books and we give them,
16:22 we tell Jesus loved them
16:25 and they get not only the training,
16:28 they are trained to heaven.
16:32 The room attached to this is that
16:35 community center which we give sewing training.
16:40 This we especially give training for ladies.
16:44 We bring the unemployed ladies
16:48 and we give them sewing training.
16:51 We have finished three batches and lot of ladies
16:55 from this area both married and unmarried,
16:58 they come and get the training and they're employed,
17:02 they get skills in sewing.
17:07 And they get some money.
17:10 And we want orphanages,
17:13 orphanage to be started with this building which is enough.
17:18 We have enough of bathrooms
17:21 and we have enough of sanitary facilities.
17:24 And to begin with,
17:26 we can use this building for the boys' dorm.
17:29 I myself have studied in orphanage
17:32 for about 15 years.
17:36 And after that, after having my education through an orphanage,
17:41 through the help of an orphanage,
17:43 I have run an orphanage for 12 years.
17:47 We have produced lot of students for this country.
17:52 They're working in various capacities.
17:54 And they still have connection with me.
17:57 And I love them and they love me still.
18:00 Okay, we have to see the kitchen.
18:04 We have already built a kitchen,
18:06 keeping in mind to have
18:08 children or men for the training.
18:16 So this is the kitchen.
18:19 We have all facilities like water,
18:22 water connection and drainage system,
18:25 everything is okay.
18:28 The whole land and the whole building
18:30 has been made only for Laymen Ministries.
18:35 This building and the land is,
18:37 can be used for the Laymen Ministry.
18:41 Laymen Ministries sponsors 24 Bible workers
18:44 along with three team leaders.
18:46 These faithful Bible workers go door-to-door
18:49 working areas of the city giving Bible studies.
18:52 They have a systematic way of working.
18:54 As they approach the door,
18:56 they mention our television programs
18:58 as many of the people are familiar with them.
19:00 This often opens the door.
19:03 Then they share books and literature
19:05 which we print as well.
19:06 Eventually they establish group Bible studies
19:09 which leads to evangelistic series,
19:11 followed by baptisms
19:13 and the establishment of a small church.
19:21 I'd like to show you some examples
19:23 of our new church plans.
19:28 Right now we're heading over to a church
19:29 that's called Nimilitary.
19:31 It's a church that has been established
19:32 by Laymen Ministries Bible workers.
19:34 And, Pastor, did you say that
19:36 local people help get the money together
19:38 to help buy that church,
19:40 to build the church or is that rented place?
19:42 It's a rented place. Rented place.
19:44 It's a rented place.
19:45 Yeah, so that's where we're headed now,
19:46 we're all packed in this car in a lot of traffic right now.
20:11 We first made a quick stop to see
20:12 one of our new church plants
20:14 that's on the roof of a house.
20:16 These church plants eventually end up
20:18 having their own church buildings
20:20 as the congregation grows.
20:55 Pastor Johnson wanted to show us one of the churches where
20:58 the Bible workers did the groundwork
21:00 and now they're running a building here.
21:02 How long ago did they establish this church here?
21:04 Seven months back.
21:06 Okay. This is real recently.
21:07 Yes.
21:09 And they're meeting at someone's home or is it rented?
21:11 It's a rented place.
21:50 Here is still another church plant
21:51 in another rented building.
21:54 One of our Bible workers
21:56 shares a testimony with the believers here.
22:19 On this trip to India,
22:20 I'm trying to get a little bit of an idea
22:22 of what we're doing with the Bible workers.
22:24 Bible workers go into an area,
22:25 sometimes work it for five or six months,
22:28 develop a core of people
22:29 who are interested in studying the Bible
22:30 and then we establish a church.
22:32 This morning we saw one church that was established
22:35 that was meeting actually in a house,
22:37 they're actually renting the house.
22:39 And then, there is different developments
22:41 that are taking place with the different church groups.
22:43 Some of them are well established churches
22:46 where we bought property, build the church.
22:48 Sometimes we do this in connection
22:49 with the local union or the conference here.
22:52 Sometimes with other organizations
22:54 that help with the church building process,
22:56 but nevertheless over the years of being here for 21 years now,
23:00 we've established a lot of churches in the Chennai area.
23:06 When we were here on this trip,
23:08 we found out that there was going to be 11 people baptized,
23:12 again as the result of our Bible workers.
23:15 We never rush people into this decision
23:18 as we want to see true conversions.
23:21 The Bible workers have built
23:22 close relationships with these people
23:24 over the last several months.
23:26 Each has a story to tell.
23:29 Since working in India since 1993,
23:33 by God's grace we have seen thousands of baptisms.
23:42 Twenty one years of journey Laymen Ministry in India.
23:49 I couldn't believe that.
23:51 We just seems to be met but 21 years passed.
23:56 And we met in the city of Porur in Chennai, India.
24:02 We were holding evangelistic meeting.
24:04 Gary Gibbs and you came and to video record that one.
24:10 Then after that I couldn't see you.
24:13 '99 Doug Batchelor came,
24:17 hold a big evangelistic meeting
24:19 and I was the coordinator, one of the coordinator
24:23 and handling all the finance section of that.
24:28 By God's grace when I saw that Doug Batchelor meeting
24:32 and I heard about he was doing TV,
24:34 radio and all of publishing, all of that.
24:38 Then I told in our church
24:40 that we need a TV program in our church.
24:42 Then next year, in 2000 Elder Mark Finley came
24:47 and we hired a big hall,
24:48 Kamaraj Hall in the city of Chennai.
24:51 It too, it is a big hall.
24:54 Then I thought that we need a TV program in India.
24:59 As my church and myself, we're all praying that
25:04 by God's grace that I was able to meet you.
25:08 First we met in Pastor Shadrach home,
25:11 then we met in one of our lay member house.
25:15 And we were talking about how to start a TV program.
25:18 Laymen Ministry is a pioneering for TV evangelism in India
25:24 and Bible worker, then publishing,
25:29 we did a role model.
25:31 Still there are number of ministries
25:34 following other method,
25:36 it is because we have a system to follow in India.
25:43 Laymen Ministries owns and operates
25:45 a television studio in India
25:48 where we produce our own television programs
25:50 that are aired on a number of
25:51 different cable and international networks.
25:54 The upper floor of our studio was for book storage
25:57 and is used for community outreach.
25:59 We have a church behind our studio
26:01 that is used as a training center for laymen
26:04 and has services every Sabbath.
26:08 Our editors work at producing a variety of TV programs.
26:12 We have people come into our studio
26:14 to record sermon presentations
26:15 and sometimes even special musical pieces.
26:19 We produce programs in Telugu, Tamil and English languages.
26:24 Christo Samuel directs our studio operations.
26:28 Here are just a couple of samples
26:30 of some of our programs.
26:37 1 John 3:1,
26:39 "Behold, what manner of love
26:41 the Father hath bestowed upon us,
26:43 that we should be called the sons of God:
26:46 therefore the world knoweth us not,
26:48 because it knew him not."
26:50 May we realize the importance of the love God has given us
26:53 and cherish every moment of it.
27:09 Laymen Ministries started working in India in 1993.
27:14 God has blessed in so many ways.
27:16 Now after 23 years of work,
27:18 the historical legacy continues to be established.
27:21 Over the years we have printed thousands of books,
27:24 tracks and Bible studies.
27:25 TV programs go around the world.
27:28 Bible workers touch people's lives in a very personal way,
27:32 thousands have been baptized.
27:35 And if it were not for people like you
27:36 who support projects like this,
27:38 these blessings would not have happened.
27:41 Next, we plan to reprint books like
27:43 the Great Controversy and the Desire of Ages.
27:46 We'll be adding more networks to air our television programs
27:49 as well as getting our orphanage up and operating.
27:52 Thank you for your support.


Revised 2016-05-02