If you ask Hindus if they believe in Jesus, the answer will be “yes”. If you ask Hindus if they believe Jesus was God incarnate, the answer will be “yes”. If you ask Hindus if they accept the teachings of Jesus, the answer will be “yes”.
So are Hindus really Christians?
During my travels to India, I sat down with the four Hindu priests pictured in this blog. They were very friendly, accepting, and excited to talk about the things of God with an American pastor. We had a very pleasant discussion about faith, doctrine, temple practices and what it meant to worship God. At first glance, it felt like I was having fellowship with four Christian pastors. They agreed with everything I brought up or talked about. This is why they chuckled and said, “We might be Christians”.
But it didn’t take long before I realized their acceptance of everything I had to say wasn’t because they were Christians but because they were syncretists. In other words, they accept all religions and philosophies that embrace their basic tenants of compassion, generosity, honesty, and self-control. In fact, it is said that Hindus are so accepting that they worship 300 million different gods. Yes, they view Jesus as a holy man who was an expression of the divine to the world, but they also believe that about millions of other gods along with idol worship, reincarnation, and karma.
This highlights a trap that we can all easily fall into when talking about Jesus with non-Christians. We can tend to measure Christianity by how things sound. Do people “believe” in Jesus? If the answer is yes, then we conclude they must be Christians. Right? Not so fast, the real question isn’t if they believe in Jesus but does it line up with what Jesus believes. My Hindu friends believed in Jesus, but they didn’t believe what Jesus believed when He said,
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Jesus is very exclusive and does not share His authority with any other deities, gods, or idols. So when Hindus “believe” in Jesus and also worships idols, we aren’t talking about the same Jesus. They have lumped Jesus in with their other gods which is against everything Jesus taught in the New Testament. The issue isn’t “if” you believe in Jesus, but does it line up with what Jesus believes? Do your views about salvation and eternity line up with Jesus’ views about salvation and eternity? This distinction is critically necessary every time you talk with others about Jesus (i.e. Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, etc.), because eternity is at stake (see my blog post, Hell No).
So the next time you get into a discussion about Jesus, ask more questions and dig a level deeper. You may find things aren’t really how they sound. You may find there are many different versions of Jesus floating around the landscape. You also may find that God wants to use you to help people see the real Jesus and discover their need for His love and forgiveness.
Remember the Gospel is good news and it’s important we protect it and keep it “good”.
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