They Will Be Known By Their Pride

A new crisis in the Indian Church?

Mark Raja
5 min readJan 7, 2024
The good Samaritan tending to a wounded man while a priest and a Levite walk on by. Line engraving by T. Cook, 1809.

Until the late 80s, the Indian Church was quite evangelistic and dynamic in faith, but then she welcomed a new wave of health and wealth preachers who filled the platforms across the country. The Church was fascinated with her large public gatherings, crusades, and mega-churches. Other churches without such an outlook were perceived as boring, unsuccessful or even unspiritual.

This form of Christianity has eroded our spirituality into therapeutic deism and given rise to a Church full of charlatans who were after money, popularity, pleasure, and power. Today, many of these churches have become personal family businesses here in India. Churches by and large have almost become like the world, and our society has lost the chance to see the light.

Any advice against such teaching then was silenced. It took over three decades for many to realize the damage done. Unfortunately, some believers felt deceived and walked away from the Church, and some even from their faith. Today, there is some understanding that this health and wealth theology has failed us, and we need to seek God again.

Though many were right in rejecting such teaching, they are falling into the same error in the name of so-called sound theology. By refuting the health and wealth frenzy, they swayed to another extreme and made their theology their idol. It has turned many like the Pharisees of Jesus’ times. Sound theology is important, but it is not a brand to associate with but a journey we take towards truth. Sadly they are not seeking the truth but instead trying to make an alternative that gives them identity and power. The error they fail to notice is that it is not merely our theology that is the issue here, but our heart that is evil.

I am not sure how much theology the Samaritan had, but clearly, the priest and the Levite had no love.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, I am not sure how much theology the Samaritan had, but clearly, the priest and the Levite had no love. Today, the so-called sound theology groups lack love but over and above despise the Samaritan for doing good.

Though the health and wealth church and its problems continue to grow, I see this worrisome development. They talk big words and teach great theological frameworks, mostly imported from the West, but they are like the church in Ephesus who lost their first love.

Though such extremes existed in the Church, the concern is this is gaining popular. You may soon find them in your neighbourhood. This cool trend is not teaching us to love God and our neighbour but instead, it is the same old pride in a different bottle.

These are the six vices we need to watch out for among us. They are full of pride, overestimate their head knowledge, undermine the work of the Spirit, underestimate prayer, create divisions in the body of Christ, and disengage with the world.

The idea to write this is not to accuse individuals but to identify these vices and to resist them. Though these signs are prominent in certain denominations / theological circles, this mindset is prevalent across the board. I need prayers that I may not fall to these errors.

At the core, it is purely human pride to elevate oneself from others. It means they have not fully surrendered to Christ and fellow brother or sister in Christ but instead made their knowledge or denomination their confidence. They think they know God better than others and that God chose them for their superior theology.

To them, truth is merely theoretical. They fail to understand that Truth is God himself who is in us and, sound theology should be made visible in love. Discipleship to them is transferring some information to another person, which they do all the time. That is what they mean by ‘bible-based church’. They preach about orthodoxy and orthopraxy, doctrine and practice, but the question is, which doctrine is nurturing their pride?

If they have to talk about Jesus to a non-Christian, they are more likely to talk about their sophisticated theology than Christ. They regard their systematic theology or catechisms or denominational manuals as higher to Christ.

With their confidence in their knowledge and traditions, they undermine the work of the Spirit of God in the world and through the body of Christ. They are pretty deterministic and confident about how God should and will act. This overconfidence makes them ignorant about the spiritual reality we live in.

In pursuit of condemning the health and wealth theology, they more or less ignore the gifts of the Spirit through which God strengthens the body of Christ. Though they believe in the fruits of the Spirit, yet they hardly take time to examine those in them.

Since they undermine the work of the Spirit of God, they also underestimate the power of prayer. Prayer to them is mostly a legalistic private act. Though they agree with the role of prayer, we can hardly see them earnestly praying. They rarely come together to pray corporately for anything outside their closed groups.

They are experts at dividing people by their theology. They disassociate with all those who don’t fit their categories like a typical Brahminical system. They glory in the distinctions of their theology but are not even remotely concerned with the unity of faith in the body of Christ. They reconcile this problem by concluding that others who don’t fit their categories are not the body of Christ.

And finally, they care less about the outside world and disengage with it as much as possible. They don’t seem to have any good news for the world as they are not chosen, instead, they are inward-focused and are obsessed with those in their echo chambers who they believe are chosen by God. They can argue all day about their theology but ignore the needs of the people in their neighbourhood. They mostly multiply by converting other Christians to their fold than outsiders.

Love separates us from darkness into God’s marvellous light, not any particular theology. Sound theology that is not practised in love is false. It is those who love, obey Christ and become his body. Hence, the body of Christ is known for their love for their neighbour and their enemies, not merely by their knowledge or denomination.

Today, I hope we resist these vices, seek truth that is rooted in love rather than regretting it later. Let us remember. God is love, and whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. Amen!



Mark Raja

I mostly write to clarify my understanding. You will find my articles on themes like beauty, faith, hope, culture, and common good.