Recently, the Times of India reported that the Ahmedabad-based cult, Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan has bought a 30-year-old church in Portsmouth, Virginia with plans to convert it into a Swaminarayan temple of pagan worship. The Portsmouth church is not the first to be converted into a Hindu center of pagan idolatry. This seems to be the start of a troublesome trend among failing churches in the United States.
This latest conversion of the Portsmouth church is only one of five other recent conversions from a Christian church to a pagan temple here in the United States by the Hindu cult Swaminarayan Sansthan. Other converted churches are in California, Louisville, Pennsylvania, Los Angeles, and Ohio. This troubling trend is not limited to only here in the United States; it is happening abroad as well. Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan has converted other churches internationally, one in London and another near Bolton in Manchester UK. Additionally the group is working on an acquisition of a church in Toronto, Canada.
There is an ever-growing number of pagan Hindu worshipers in the United States. For example, Virginia has a population of more than 10,000 Gujaratis. While we as Christians should be alarmed at the conversion of churches to pagan Hindu worship centers, we need to remember that this can present an opportunity to reach the lost. This prospect of hope comes in Christ and readily provides a mission field to preach the Gospel to those lost in the pagan cult of Hinduism.
While the field is ripe for the harvest the question has to be asked, why are these supposed “Christian” churches selling their buildings to pagan entities? Where are these churches Christian ethics and morals? While yes, a church may be failing, does that make it right for a church to sell to just anyone who offers the right amount of money? No, churches should not be selling to anyone who is willing to buy. Just because your churched failed and you need to sell does not mean you forsake your moral and spiritual commitment to the body of Christ at large or your duty to honor God.
These churches that are selling to this pagan Hindu cult are inviting the devil into there backyard to play and shake hands with their community. Even in selling, these churches owe it to the community, the body of believers, and above all to Christ to do the right thing and not sell to groups or businesses that openly are against Christianity.