"And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Acts 2:21 (NIV)
As part of my continuing education in missions, God quickened me to research a sect of Hinduism known as the "Hare Krishna's." Studying this sect and serving as an ambassador of Christ among them was part of my mission work in addition to our revitalization efforts in Syracuse, N.Y.
The main gist of their religion is to escape the cycle of death and rebirth by chanting the name of their god, called " Krishna." The method by which they hope to attain salvation from re-birth in this world is to be fully immersed into the name of their deity. They place all of their might and devotion on calling on that name, literally night and day, by means of the Hare Krishna Maha- Mantra.
During those years I became friends with an Indian college student who was also serving as a missionary for his faith. He mentored me in his religious texts, and I mentored him in mine. Our exchanges as missionaries led to mutual respect and admiration. We had so much in common! He would often come to our home and cook delicious Indian cuisine as a gift of love. However, as time passed, the main dissimilarity between our faiths became evident as well. The great difference between their religion and ours, is that while they get no answer, we do.
It has been difficult for my friend to " jump ship" and fully come to Christ because of familial and cultural pressures, but as a result of witnessing the power of the Name in our family, my friend is growing in his secret devotion to Jesus. He loves Jesus. In fact, he is watching closely what God is doing through us as we share the saving name of Jesus with the Latinos of our region. I believe with my whole heart that one day he will surrender to the Name, not as a result of arguments or apologetics, but simply as a result of witnessing the power and presence of the resurrected Christ in our midst.
Of all the things we could possibly offer as missionaries to our neighbors, the greatest is the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. If you need a God-intervention, don't go for man's inventions - call on the name of Jesus and you will be saved. Alleluia!
Pastor Juan Rivera