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Monday, May 17, 2004

A View From India

By the Rev Isaac Newton Johnson, B.D.

Special to ASSIST News Service

LUDHIANA, INDIA (ANS) -- The Voice of Christians Evangelical Church, Ludhiana, India, which I founded, strongly supports and appreciates the statement of the President of European Commission, Romano Prodi, urging European Christians to promote tolerance and brotherhood. (Pictured: Isaac Newton Johnson).

In the same breath he also paid rich tributes to the European Christian heritage by proclaiming, "One cannot understand the history of Europe without the history of Christianity." He said this in the meeting called "Together for Europe", the first major ecumenical gathering after the enlargement of the European Union that took place in Stuttgart, Germany on May 8, 2004. More than 10,000 members of 175 Christian movements took part in this event.

He also cautioned that Europe must not turn into a fortress because of terrorism. This menace could not be fought by war. The real answer was to strengthen democratic institutions.

It is good to note that the Protestant, Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox Christians of European Union who participated in this historic meeting have pledged to influence the European continent with the transforming power of the Gospel message.

Since the reformation movement that took place in the 16th century, the Church was revitalized to eventually become a force for the world evangelization. The last 250 years have seen a worldwide advancement of the Gospel. Praise the Lord! Yet in this time, deadening secular humanism has effectually become the dominating force in European society. This philosophy has corrupted every part of its culture - art, music, social values, morality and theology too.

The decline in Churchgoing has been so disastrous that only about a tenth of Europe's more than 500 million people are regular churchgoers at present and less than one percent are evangelical Christians. Could we say that Europe is a "reached" continent for Christ?

Historically Europe is Christian continent. Its great spiritual Christian heritage has blessed the world. Five hundred years ago Christianity was a beleaguered remnant in western and northern Europe, but then God gave great movements - the Reformation, Pietism, revivals, men and women of God - which resulted in the world being penetrated with the Gospel. We praise God for the past. Once upon a time Europe a missionaries sending continent unfortunately has now turned into a missionary-receiving continent. We pray may the Europe's spiritual fortunes once again be restored, and this continent will return to its Christian roots.

Young people are a great challenge for churches in Europe. In few countries has Christianity any meaning for its youth. Christians are considered remnants of a past age that hinder progress. New Age spirituality, an eastern religious worldview and fascination with the occult have diverted millions from their rich Christian heritage and its absolutes.

In central and eastern Europe 25 percent of young people are unemployed, and drug and alcohol abuse and suicide are common. There is growing need to pray for those involved in outreach and disciplining ministries among youth.

Rev. Ulrich Parzany, General Secretary of the German YMCA, called on Christians to spread the Gospel message, "Europe needs Jesus." Yes of course, he is absolutely right!

And we at the Voice of Christians Evangelical Church, Ludhiana, India, proclaim that "Europe desperately needs Jesus" and earnestly wants to work together with European Evangelical Christians to stop further decline of Christianity in Europe and to restore its lost glory.

God bless Europe!
Rev Isaac Newton Johnson is an Indian evangelical Priest who became evangelist in 1976. He is international media missionary and Chief Foreign Correspondent of Masihi Sansar "Christian World" newspaper, Jalandhar and regularly writes up "Spiritual Food - Window on the World" column for this newspaper for the last four years. He has researched on the decline of Christianity in the West and wrote "Decline of Christianity in the West" Part I and II. He has completed two years of a Bachelor of Divinity degree from the International Theological Open University, Sri Ganganagar, (Rajasthan) India in February, 2002. He is Priest-in-charge and Spokesman of Anglican Diocese of Amritsar, Anglican Church of India (CIPBC) and founder and president of Voice of Christians Evangelical Church, Ludhiana - India. His e-mail address is:
The above article published in May 15, 2004 issue of Masihi Sansar (Christian World) newspaper. Freddi Joseph, Chief Editor "Masihi Sansar" (Christian World) Newspaper, Lamba Pind, Jalandhar, India.
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