This is a house in Dimapur, which is the "commercial" capital of Nagaland, primarily because it is in the lower lying land and the train station is located here. In many ways it is very much like a typical "border" town where there is a mix of both Nagas and Indians.
I do not actually know too much about Nagaland, although I should, but in the context of the country banning The Da Vinci Code, both book and film, this week, I have been having a little look at 'the most baptist country in the world'. Apparently over 90% are baptists.
A hundred years ago, the Nagas were 'fierce' headhunters , illiterate and hostile, according to the very kind American missionaries, foremost among them being Dr Edward W. Clark. By some accounts, "the fruit of these early missionary efforts has been wonderful indeed: Naga tribal people wholeheartedly embraced the Gospel, evangelized their own people, and established churches and schools. Naga Baptists are extremely active in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ through the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC), sending hundreds of their own missionaries and evangelists to work in other parts of India and in nearby countries." Dr Clark obviously did such good work, that one of his successors, Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern (US) Baptist Theological Seminary cheekily suggests that he has an idea that he and his wife sit close to Jesus in Heaven's throne room!
All good stuff, if you think it right that westerners should go round converting other people from their beliefs. But now there is a threat, worse even than the Da Vinci Code and that is that the Nagas are being “swamped by the encroaching typhoon of theological liberalism among American Baptists.”
“What an incredibly sad ending to one of the greatest mission societies in history. How easily the same thing could happen to us. It may not be good news to some, but I returned more the opponent of anything other than orthodoxy than I have ever been in my life.”, said Mr Patterson from the Southwestern Baptists, who lso makes the point that "the Naga people are vulnerable to charismatic teachings". Well, who'd have thought?
“Imbibed from some television preachers in the West", he said that Southern Baptists should pray that the Nagas are not too heavily influenced by such elements".
“Because they are so vital to reaching the unsaved population for thousands of miles around them, they must remain pure in doctrine and practice, and we must pray that India will not restrict them.”
Some ideas for prayers are as follows:
1. Please pray specifically for the end of fighting among the Nagas
and for them to show the whole world that, because of Christ in their lives, they live in peace.
2. Please pray for an end to the human rights violations as a result of the occupation of Nagaland by India.
Heaven forbid then that the Nagas become exposed to liberal Christian thought through the inflitration from these people! That the Nagas may in fact develop their own ideas about their religion. That would never do. Fire and brimstone, that's what they need.
In the meantime, I wish the Nagas well in their search for peace amongst themselves and with their neighbours.