church growthBAGDOGRA, India (BNc) — A new congregation was established through a debate with a denominational preacher in the northeastern Indian state of West Bengel.

Missionary Jim Waldron reported today that two young men, Joseph Khati and Markus Kisku, were sent Aug., 2009, to Bagdogra as evangelists. They have since established four congregations.

The report below from Joseph, dated July 8, tells how the fourth one was begun earlier this month.

In June I called on one of the local denominational preachers to have a debate and sent him three questions to discuss: (1) How can we know we are in the true church? (2) Should we use the Bible only in the work and worship of the church? (3) The New Testament Church vs. the Free Will Baptist.

The debate took place July 1 in the building of the Free Will Baptist Church in Ghospukur, a nearby town. The pastor is Suren Sanyashi.

We had called almost all the members of that church and also some of the villagers came. There was a good crowd for this area with approximately 45 present. At sharp 11 A.M we started the debate. The first thing the pastor said was that he wanted to speak first to his congregation.

Then by turn we each took 30 minutes to speak and in this way the debate went on. He at times became very aggressive and even said, “Don’t open your Bible; we all know the Bible so please don’t try to teach us. It’s been 30 years that I have the Bible with me and I have recited half of the book of Psalms. So let’s not preach about church, but rather preach Jesus.”

But I told him that I had sent him the debate invitation and that we were gathered here to determine what the truth is: “the church that Jesus built or the manmade churches?” Then the audience also commented to come to the point and finish this discussion.

I said to the audience, “If you have any questions to ask anyone then you may ask; and in this way you will know what we hold on the said subject.”

We had several questions, some very good ones, but also some useless questions which simply took up our time.

The debate was so effective for our side that 15 members of the Free will Baptist Church came in front of us and said to their pastor,

“Why did you kept us in the darkness? And why did you not reveal to us the truth which we are hearing now? From now onwards we tell you, Suren, we are no more in the Free Will Baptist Church. We would like to study with these brothers here, who are from the Usli Kalasia (original church) as they claim; we want to know about this Kalasia (church).”

As a result, the next day five men from the Free Will Baptist Church came to us in Bagdogra and said, “Brother, we would like to study with you.” There was an 86-year-old man in the group, who had come all the way from Ghospukur to Bagdogra to study; this was really a moment of excitement.

convertsBrother Markus Kisku and I studied with them and we revealed every truth, not hiding anything from them. There was careful teaching in the matter of the Usli Kalasia, baptism, plan of Salvation, pattern of worship.

As soon as we completed the study, they started crying and began saying that “we had wasted our lives, the time that should be given to the Usli Kalasia, we gave to nothing. We repent and we are ready for the baptism, because furthermore we don’t want to risk our salvation.”

So the baptism of these people was held in the nearby river. They were family members and preaching brothers: Daniel Lohar, 72, Anil Lohar, 25, Dashai Lohar, 33, Dukhi Lohar, 86, and Lishu Lohar, 65. (Lohar is the tribal name.)

Please pray for these newly born babies in Christ.