Welcome to Dharma Jyothi Vidya Peeth


Our Lectures

Late Rt. Rev. Easow Mar Timotheos was a bishop of the Mar Thoma Church much enthusiastic about the mission of the Church in north India. To commemorate the legacy of this great missionary bishop of the church the College is organizing an annual gathering of the learned men and women of the Mar Thoma and other ecumenical Parishes in the NCR for a lecture on Mission of the Church. In the year 2011-12 we had Mr. Krishnan Kutty, a freelance journalist and converted Christian as the speaker. The theme of the talk was “A Challenged Credibility : Imagining of Christian identity in India Today"

Church history bears ample evidence that the Christian faith always faced challenges right from the beginning. With the leader put to death on the cross and his followers deserting him at the crucial hour, the crucifixion must have looked like a great disaster ending all dreams.

And the eleven broken and utterly defeated men, fearful of the Jews and without any claim to any authority or resources, went about spreading their Master’s message laying the foundation of a great society spread throughout the globe. This is one of the most fascinating stories in the annals of history.

Presently we are concerned about the challenges that face the Christian mission here in our nation.

Giving it a current context I thought it good to begin with the corruption issue. The corruption debate is a theological debate on human nature. More than other religions Christianity has spoken more on corruption in its broadest sense. ‘All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God’ declares the Gospel in Romans 3: 23. And the campaign team which went on a crusade against corruption finds itself in the mire proving the Biblical truth. Along with it, other prophetic statements of the Book of Books are being proved by the events of the day showing how relevant this ancient Book is in understanding and interpreting our present.

A Christian witness, with a good knowledge of the scriptures has ample opportunities to place issues in proper context and speak authentically of solutions based on universal values which also accord with his Christian convictions.

While crass materialism overshadows the world bringing in its wake many crises, what ails the world is also what ails our nation today. Allow me to digress a little to dwell on forces that are shaping lives in the world as well as in our own nation.

Malcolm Muggeridge, a celebrated journalist and telecaster, who dominated the West for a good part of the second half of the twentieth century, surveying the world scene, had made some significant and prophetic observations.

He found that the technological and scientific advancement which emphasized on increased production and consumption besides increasing exploitation of resources did not necessarily result in betterment of the human situation. The religion of progress promoted through provision of increasing facilities for self-indulgence and gratification of the senses did not appeal to him. Ideas that happiness lay along motorways and well being in rising gross national product or that birth pills, easy divorce and abortions made for happy families didn’t appeal to him.

“A civilization must have been possessed by a death wish which so assiduously and ingeniously sought its own extinction—physically, by devoting so much of its wealth, knowledge and skills to creating the means to blow itself and all mankind to smithereens; economically by developing a consumer economy whereby more and more wants habve to be artificially created and stimulated in order to take up an endlessly expanding production; morally by abolishing the moral order altogether; spiritually by abolishing God himself and setting up man as the arbiter of his own destiny.”

Muggeridge finds that media everywhere seemingly repeating the same message endlessly in many ways: that money and sex are the only pursuits of life, violence its only excitement and success its only fulfillment.

So he concludes that darkness is coming upon our civilization on account of the transposition of good and evil. His statement reflects the words of Isaiah: ‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”(Isaiah 5: 20)

The energy crisis or overpopulation or even massive unemployment should not bother us. “The root cause of our trouble is that we’ve lost our sense of a moral order in the universe, without which no order whatsoever—economic, social, political—is attainable,” affirmed the veteran journalist who had once wrote in praise of the Soviet experiment in Communism before becoming a believer.

Paradox of our Times:

That scientific advancement and material prosperity do not answer the deepest human need is made plain by unidentified author of yesteryears. He wrote:

“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.” It is to such a realm of total disillusionment, the Gospel speaks its powerful message.

Happiness in earthly terms :

Muggeridge concludes that man’s attempt to find happiness on earthly terms is doomed from the start and the only hope is represented by the marvel of incarnation, by God becoming a Man. The new and living way opened by the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Successive generations have followed this new way that led to great moral, spiritual and intellectual creativity. The Word that became flesh continues to accomplish much by illuminating the saints and causing great splendor in art, literature and music.

The truths of the Bible have the power of awakening an intense moral feeling in every human being; that they make bad men good, and send a pulse of healthful feeling through all the domestic, civil and social relations ; tht they teach men to love right, and hate wrong, and seek each other’s welfare as children of a common parent; that they control the baleful passions of the heart and thus make men proficient in self government; and finally they teach men to aspire after conformity to a being of infinite holiness and fill him with hope more purifying, exalted and suited to his nature than any other book the world has ever known.—these are facts as incontrovertible the laws of philosophy or the demonstrations of mathematics, testifies Francis Wayland (1796-1865), American educator and clergyman.

And the Christian faith not only changed the direction of the human civilization, it also produced men and women who could sail against the tides and times. These included great preachers, Bible scholars, educators, evangelists and authors like John Wesley, Charles Wesley, D.L.Moody, Hudson Taylor, Spurgeon, A W Tozer, Billy Graham, Joyce Meyer and the like. The list is in fact endless but we need to pass on.

Great Lives :

Dr David Aikman, a former bureau chief of Time Magazine, who has been a witness of world events, has written a book ‘Great Souls: Six who changed the century’ listing Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Pope John Paul II, Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela listing and bringing out their Christian influence on our days. They manifested Christian values and in turn influenced the course of events.

But there were great onslaughts on the faith of the centuries in the form of Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species, Karl Marx’s ‘Communist Manifesto’ and Freud’s psycho-analysis creating doubts about the validity of faith in God. There was even a declaration that ‘God is dead.’

These together with the advancements in science and technology helped shape some alternatives like humanism, secularism and New Age philosophy which are now sweeping the world and seemingly providing an alternative to faith in Christ. It is the presumption that man can be moral and life could be orderly without a God. Not only the world but also our India is in the grip of such influences. We Christians have not done enough to counter these influences and re-establish the validity of the Christian experience.

The power of love :

Our whole world is now like a soap opera going on from century to century. Empires have risen and fallen. Mighty men like Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini are now in the dustbin of history. The mighty United states and Europe are reeling under economic recession and the threat of terrorism. Materially so rich and powerful; impoverished and fear- ridden at the same time.

Napoleon Bonaparte is reported to have confessed to his General (General Bertrand) at St Helena island, to which he was exiled: “…Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I founded empires. But on what did the creations of our genius rest? On force. Jesus Christ alone founded His empire on love; and at this hour millions would die for Him.” (Vernon C Grounds: The Reason for our Hope )

Love is the banner under which a true Christian operates everywhere. Jesus has said ‘By this shall men know that you are My disciples, if you love one another’ (John 13:35).

God’s power is the power of love. The Holy Spirit draws by love. Christians are saved by love. Again love ensures that we live in obedience to the Lord’s commands.

The Indian scene :

But the Indian scene today is marked by the existence of numerous denominations often at loggerheads with one another. Lack of unity is also a lack of love. The more than century-old conflict between two factions of the Orthodox church of Kerala and the numerous court battles involving Christians go to show that we are no better than the people of the world despite our profession of following a different course of forgiveness and reconciliation.

And then there are certain challenges inherent in the Indian situation. The Christian faith was associated with the British who ruled the country and hence has the tag of a foreign religion.

But no religion can be truly considered indigenous or foreign. Religion, at the best, is an instrument interpreting the meaning of life. And the existence of many religions is proof there are several interpretations as to the meaning of life. Should not a person be free to adopt the best interpretation that accords with his convictions and reason? Further any valid theory about life and living should be applicable to the whole globe and to believe that a particular religion suits a particular area is to bring the concept of religion into ridicule. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and other religions with their different philosophies represent choices before the human being. And everyone should have the right of choice.

The stranglehold of tradition is such that in matters of religion no fresh thinking is possible. Further religion is an area wherein people are not supposed to exercise any freedom of choice. It is only a matter of inheritance.

One reason for the reluctance to accept ‘change of religion’ as normal is the nationalistic /patriotic zeal that goes with religion. The average Indian takes for granted that Hinduism is the natural religion of an Indian and any other choice is a deviation from the normal.

Nationalism distorts vision :

Nationalism and patriotism have received a boost because of the freedom movement. But in actual fact a false national pride does more harm than good. Tolstoy was the one to describe nationalism as the last resort of the scoundrel as early as 1900. Rabindranath Tagore wrote a book unraveling the dangers of nationalism and it is studied in British universities.

“Even though from childhood I had been taught that idolatry of the nation is almost better than reverence for God and humanity, I believe I had outgrown that teaching, and it is my conviction that my countrymen will truly gain their India by fighting against the education that teaches them that a country is greater than the ideals of humanity,” so stated Tagore in his book, Nationalism (Published by Macmillan India Ltd).

Gandhiji was a prophet of nationalism and he drew liberally from the philosophy of the New Testament in shaping his own life. His language and beliefs bore the imprints of a Christian and his greatness lay in accepting Christian standards in his life, in mobilizing his people and in providing a servant leadership. Few Christian leaders here can match his spirit of renunciation and selflessness. Yet he couldn’t outgrow the culture in which he was born; nationalism and loyalty to his faith set limits to his ideals. I remember to have read that the Father of the Nation was not considered for the Nobel peace prize because he was considered more a national figure concerned with national causes.

The Christian ideal transcends nationalism or culture and it continues to hold true today even as in the past. It is rooted in the divine revelation of human nature. The model character depicted in the Bible is designed for the whole of human race regardless of the times, clime or race.

It will be true to say that Jesus Christ’s is the most hated and most loved name in all the earth. ‘Everyone will hate you because of me…’ Jesus prophesied while He walked on our earth (Mark 13:13) Unfortunately this is true of both East and West.

The Freedom of Religion Act in vogue in various states is just a reflection of this intolerance. It is invoked freely to harass pastors and Christians and disturb prayer and worship meetings. This Act is supposed to prevent fraudulent conversions but the truth is that it amounts to a denial of freedom of choice. Christian lawyers have to work hard to see that this Act is removed from the statutes of this secular nation. Any such piece of legislation calling itself ‘freedom of religion’ is an insult to human intelligence. I am sure right thinking men will not support such undemocratic measures and we need to appeal to their conscience.

It is my conviction that but for the spirit of nationalism and patriotism which colours the attitudes of the Hindu mind towards non-Hindus. We need to use idioms and phrases that they can understand. We need to be able to communicate that the aim of our religious propagation is to produce a better human being and a better citizen who would contribute to national well being. Indian history has evidence to amply prove this point but then if some sections refuse the believe this and propagate a contrary view, it is clear prejudices are at work.

The Bible makes it clear that conversion is not an act by humans but by the Holy Spirit. It is not an issue of adding numbers or changing names but one of total transformation of the human heart. Christ did not come to found a new religion called Christianity; he is the founder of a new way of living in a world that had already tasted the religious spirit. In a layman’s language, I could say that the Sermon on the Mount lays down the framework of that new Way.

Heart transformation :

In terms of the Bible, the Gospel is the power of God to change men’s hearts. Jim Wallis, a best selling author and theologian defines conversion as a turning from ‘sin to salvation, from idols to God , from slavery to freedom, from injustice to justice, from guilt to forgiveness, from lies to truth, from darkness to light, from self to others and from death to life. Conversion, he emphasizes, always means to turn to God.” Conversion marks the birth of the movement out of a merely private existence into a public consciousness. Could there be anything anti-national or subversive about such aims? Or missionaries seeking to train men and women fit for eternity?

“Christianity rests on the belief that God is the source of truth and He does not alter it according to the spirit of the times. When Christians sever their ties to the absolute truth , relativism reigns and the church becomes merely a religious adaptation of the culture,” writes Dr Charles Colson in his book, ‘Kingdoms in Conflict.’

And what kind of an example are we to the people of the most God-touched nation on earth or rather a God-thirsty nation, an incurably religious country ? (Stanley Jones)

How meek and gentle are we? Do we have the mind of Christ? The questions that George Whitefield asked his eighteenth century audience are relevant for us today: “ Has God wrought in you a deep sense of the outward acts of sin, but a humbling sense of the inward corruptions of your heart? Has He led you by the powerful operations of His Spirit , to the fountainhead? Has God wrought in you a spirit of zeal and love? Has He wrought in you a love for His name , a zeal for His cause? Has He wrought in your heart a deadness to the world so that you can live above it from morning till night? Has He wrought in you a love for His people?’

Self-examination :

These are questions we must ask ourselves.The responsibility to reach out to the world with the Gospel is entrusted to every believer and not merely to the clergy alone. In his first epistle Apostle Peter writes: ‘You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.’ (1 Peter 2:9)

As for becoming effective witnesses of Christ in a predominantly non-Christian nation, we have to have love, we need to be guided by the Holy Spirit and we must be equipped with the Word of God

The Sermon on the Mount should be said to be setting the model for the Christian’s identity and character. In it the Lord sets the rules of behaviour and repeatedly cautions: ‘Do not be like them’ (Matthew 6: 8) meaning thereby not to copy the ways of the world. God’s historical purpose is to call out a people for Himself; that this people is a holy people, set apart from the world to belong to Him and to obey Him ; and that its vocation is to be true to its identity, that is, to be holy or different in all its outlook and behaviour.

Materialism and its concomitant of life of the flesh are being strengthened by the entertainment industry worldwide and a media that has become a Frankenstein monster and promiscuity promoted by the American craze for freedom without responsibility.

The result ? In the words of the Russian writer, Alexander Solzhenitsyn: ‘We are standing at the edge of a historic collapse which is threatening our entire civilization with absolute destruction. Modern society is hypnotized by delusion and self deception and has lost the sense for danger. Our society is in bondage to materialism,. Nothing seems more important than consumer goods and entertainment. In this condition, society is unable to recognize the danger which is approaching.’ (Quoted by Wim Malgo in In the Beginning was the End)

Our obsessions :

We love power and prestige, wealth and fame like everyone else. We conform to the ways of the world. Look at the world. ‘Hither and thither they keep rushing restlessly preoccupied, driven to and fro by strong conflicting hungers, and instincts and desires, pursuing now one prize, now another , absorbed in money-making, love-making, war-making, peace-making, career-making-and yet in spite of it all, dissatisfied, bored, unhappy.’

This is like chasing the shadows. Man’s attempt to be happy in earthly terms is doomed from the start. Christ’s revelation that life does not consist in the abundance of things and that we have no continuing city here are truths which the world needs to heed. Christ came into the world as light and it is in that light we understand reality and also grasp the meaning of life.

“All my life I have laboured for success, wealth, acceptance and power. The more I obtained, the less I discovered I had. Surrendering everything in absolute brokenness , however, was the beginning of finding the identity and purpose for which l had battled so hard. In giving up my life to Christ, I had found it,” testified Dr Charles Colson , Christian author and founder of the International Prison Fellowship. Similar is the testimony of millions in all parts of our globe who had looked for meaning and purpose amidst the mystery called ‘life’

The Great Discovery :

Modern man is obsessed with pleasure, worships vulgar success and shuns pain and sorrow. Oscar Wilde, the great writer, was such one. He said there was enough suffering in one narrow London lane to show that God did not love man. After a series of difficult struggles he came to the realization that pain and sorrow also formed part of a loving God’s plan for the perfection of the human soul.

God has planted eternity in man’s heart and Christ came to show that everything has value only in terms of that eternity. Muggeridge points out that when every recourse this world offers has been explored and found wanting, when every possibility of help from earthly sources has been sought and is not forthcoming –it is then that Christ’s hand reaches out sure and firm, that His words bring their inexpressible comfort, that His light shines brightest abolishing the darkness for ever.

A glimpse of the meaning of the Cross is again expressed in a statement of a modern psychiatrist, Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: ‘The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of their depths, These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern.

If we have the light from Christ’s cross and understood His teachings, we owe it to the Master to speak up and spread the light in this broken and bleeding world of ours.

M.P.K. Kutty