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Jesus died for my karma

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Culture and TheologyMissions  

The latest issue of Christianity Today (May 2007) includes a fascinating article with Ram Gidoomal entitled "Christ, my Bodhisattva." Ram grew up in a Hindu environment but then got saved while he was in England, where he still lives. The point of the article is the need to contextualize the gospel to Hindu's. For example, there are practical problems.

"I recall my first visit to a church here, my first church ever, St. Paul's Onslow Square. I went to the evening service, so none of my friends or relations would see me going. The first thing I looked for on walking in was the shoebox. I wanted to take my shoes off: This is holy ground, and you're asking me to come in with my dirty, filthy feet and go into the presence of God? This is not right: this is not holy. I must take my shoes off. But they told me that there was no place for shoes. So I went to sit on the floor, in the proper location of respect, and the usher said to sit on the wooden bench. Then the organ blasted out and I thought, Who has died? Because organ music was just for funerals in my mind. It was an alien experience." 

 But the more interesting question is how to actually communicate the faith. "So I decided, When they talk about sin, I think of karma, and I believe Jesus died for my karma, so I am going to accept him on those terms."

Now I am all for contextualizing the gospel so that people can understand it. But one can certainly take it too far. I think (at this moment anyway) that this statement could be helpful for people to understand the gospel, but not as a statement of the gospel to stand by itself. But I am being too picky? Do you think that this would be a good statement of the gospel?  

Thursday, May 10, 2007 1:01 PM

Sam wrote: You're not too picky for me... I agree that the church he describes needs to contextualize, but his statement fails as a representation of the Gospel.  As I currently understand Karma, and Hinduism in general, there is no personal God, rather, there is a great oneness of which I am a part.  If you have no personal God, then you have no God from whom you have been separated and with whom you need to be reconciled...and if you miss this, you have missed the Gospel.
It may be that the emergent church movement might like this quite a bit, because there is a tendency there to associate salvation with an ongoing "Heaven on earth" sort of plan...we are saved here and now...there is a myopic mis-emphasis on ethics and its impact on our lives and the lives of those around us.
The Karma line may have some sort of correlation with our sanctification, but not our salvation.

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