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Friday, May 2, 2014

Because They Believed In A Different God

"The West is like a computer from which the anti-virus program, the gospel, has been uninstalled," writes Vishal Mangalwadi in Truth and Transformation.

Mangalwadi understands first hand the significance of such an "un-installation." His country, India, experienced the benefits of what William Wilberforce called "real Christianity" for about 150 years. But when the "anti-virus program" was removed, negative consequences for India were deep and far-reaching.

When British rule in Bengal began in 1757, governmental leaders took bribes, and corruption was rampant. [Remember Merry Olde England?] The British East India Company came to India to make money, but not the Moravian-Haugian way. They had neither the mindset of a Moravian, nor the heart of Hauge, and therefore could not carry those views of business into the workplace. British corruption, Mangalwadi relates, "destroyed Bengal's economy and became a factor in the death of several million people in the famine of 1769-70."

But then something remarkable happened. The Wesleyan revival took hold in England. Converted British leaders like Wilberforce saw Christianity as something more than a private, personal religion. They saw "real Christianity" having enormous implications for the whole of society.

"Following the Wesleyan revival in England," writes Mangalwadi, "the British evangelicals transformed their government in India." Charles Grant, in the 1770s and early 80s, campaigned to give India "a philosophical basis for moral absolutes....via evangelization." 

"During the nineteenth century," writes Mangalwadi, "British evangelicals succeeded in transforming England and their government in India because they believed in a different God. Their God used his power not to oppress and extort, but to serve..."

The effect of this belief was a significant transformation of Indian government and business. So much so, Mangalwadi relates, that in 1947, "independent India and Pakistan received clean, although not perfect, administrations."

But after Independence in 1947, things changed. Why? Because the "real Christianity" of Wesley and Wilberforce, which had provided a motivation for Brits like Charles Grant and William Carey in 18th-19th Century India, was "un-installed" in the 20th. While Wilberforce's "real Christianity" had a profound effect on India for more than a century, "in the last sixty years," notes Managlwadi, "corruption has grown exponentially."

Mangalwadi understands what is really at stake with the un-installation of "real Christianity" in the United States. Things that previous generations considered unthinkable are actually happening today because subsequent generations have believed in different gods.

In 1998, Christianity Today referred to Vishal Mangalwadi as, "India's foremost Christian intellectual." He has a critically important message for the West today, as only someone from the East can say it. Read Truth and Transformation: A Manifesto for Ailing Nations. Then read his other great work, The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization. Awesome stuff. Truly awesome.

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