Question: "Witnessing to Hindus - what is the key?"
Answer: The problem with witnessing to the Hindu is that he sees himself as a believer. While trying to witness to a Hindu, we must remember that we are involved in spiritual warfare that can only be won by sincere and focused prayers. So that is the place to begin. Pray regularly for the one to whom we are trying to present Christ. Because his beliefs about God and man are diametrically opposed to what we are trying to present from the Bible, our words often convey a totally different concept to his mind, and therefore one has to be extra careful that we are communicating to him properly. To a Hindu, the word God does not communicate much because, to him, everything, visible and invisible, is god or manifestations of god. To him, god is an unknowable and unknown force and not a person. We might say that the Hindu calls nature “god.” So, to begin by telling a Hindu that God loves him does not make much sense, as he himself is a part of god!
Another thing to remember, as we try to reach Hindus with the gospel, is that the word Christian is a grossly misunderstood word by our Hindu friends. To them Christian equals “beef eater,” and that is an obnoxious thing to them. Cow is one of their favorite gods, and to eat beef is one the most offensive things a Hindu can conceive of. So, in trying to reach a Hindu for Christ, never introduce yourself as a “Christian.” Rather, you can introduce yourself and say, “I am a disciple of Christ, and I wish to introduce my ‘Guru’ to you.” Then you will have a welcome hearing as Christ is accepted and venerated as a “Guru par excellence” by most Hindus.
Probably the best place to begin is to talk about Jesus of Nazareth. To a Hindu, all avatars (incarnations of god) are mythical and non-historical. But the Bible presents Jesus as a historical person who lived and died in a specific time and place, and historians confirm this. Much more than His life, the resurrection of Christ must be emphasized, as there is nothing comparable in Hindu thinking at all. Thus we must present Christ as a unique person of history, indeed the creator God Himself, who came to settle the sin problem of humanity. His resurrection is the proof that He was indeed God in human form.
To a Hindu, sin is a serious matter. He believes in transmigration of the soul so that the debt of sin can be paid back. In fact, the Puranas (Hindu religious books) say that a person has to be re-born millions of times to pay back the negative karmas (actions) of one life. And there is no guarantee that in the next birth there is no sin at all. So, to a Hindu, moksha (salvation) is almost unattainable, even though one works very hard for it. The good news the Hindu needs to understand is that Christ paid the penalty for our sins, once for all time (Hebrews 7:27) and that salvation is a free gift based on the work of Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9).
Moksha (salvation) to a Hindu is becoming lost in the “ultimate reality,” thus losing identity forever by becoming one with the ultimate reality. But the Bible talks about being with a personal God all through eternity, enjoying Him forever. This is something unique to biblical faith, and it must be presented as God’s own way for all men who will choose to live for Him here and now on earth. So each person has to decide where he/she will spend eternity. By coming to Christ, we can receive salvation as a free gift by repentance and by faith based on His atoning work. May that be the portion of all Hindus, most of whom earnestly work toward getting moksha. May the Lord help them to see the truth of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.