Brother Lawrie - Saint Or Sinner ?
In South India there is a preacher named Paulaseer Lawrie Muthukrishna.
Priests and Bishops ridicule him as Satan incarnate, a mad man, interested only in amassing money from the American’s. His mission is dubbed as a vast money swindling organization.
The clergy hate him for his non-adherence to the traditional norms of Christian rituals and the fact that his followers believe him to be the “Son of Man” is condemned by them as blasphemy.
The Church of South India has excommunicated Brother Lawrie and calls him an infidel and seducer of the faithful. He is not allowed to preach anywhere near a Church.
Traditional Christians are warned not to attend Lawrie’s meetings, as the priests know he can take multitudes away from the Church by his powerful orations.
Thus Brother Lawrie is an enigma to the modern Church.
He comes from a traditional Christian family, and his great grandfather embraced Christianity about 160 years ago. His grandfather and parents believed in the rituals of the Church.
Lawrie was baptized as an infant by the Reverend Samuel in a Church at Munnar, Travancore Diocese. Until he was excommunicated, Brother Lawrie was a Church-going Christian even though he rebelled against most of the Church rituals, which, according to him, have now become empty ceremonies the true meaning of which is lost in obscurity.
The urge to seek the real God and to worship him truthfully was always present in his mind.
Those of us who knew him as a youth seldom suspected his longing for God. In those days he performed everything with great vigour. We often met him on the football field. He played soccer with such zest that he kicked a man as viciously as he would the ball!
Burning with patriotic fervour he took a leading part in the Quit India Movement of 1942. He started a student agitation and organized a strike in his college.
In his “hate the whites” fervour he stole the communion bread knife from the then Bishop of Tirunelveli - an Englishman - an act condemned as a sacrilege. He was dismissed from the college and went to Ceylon.
Politics failed to grip him nor did regular Church going appease his hunger for the true meaning of God.
While in Ceylon, he studiously read all the religious books he could find. The Vedas, Koran, and Bhagavad Gita all created an impression on his mind, which he quotes in his speeches and writings.
He also studied the writings of saints such as Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Yogananda, Aurobindo Ghosh and many others. His quest only ended on that day in 1943 when he had a vision of Lord Jesus which changed his life for ever.
(An article which appeared in the weekly, “The Sunday Standard” which enjoys the widest circulation in India)P.J. Prasad
After preaching thrice around the world Brother Lawrie has grown immensely in spiritual stature. He commands a following in many countries of the world. Yet he steers clear of all denominational wrangles of the different Churches.
He states that he belongs only to Christ. Nor can he be bought by any Church or group at any price!
Addressing a gathering in the U.S.A. he made the following statement: “I was offered large sums of many by many denominations in U.S.A. Even Brother Osborn, Dr. Oral Roberts, Dr. Billy Graham and others whom I met personally, Assemblies of God, Episcopal Churches, Businessman fellowships could not look at me or receive me simply because I refused to become their man even though I was Jesus Christ’s man”.
Of late Brother Lawrie has remained in his Ashram, busy with its activities. There was a time when he went all over the world explaining the Word of God as written in the Bible.
Now people from all over come to this Ashram, in a little known place in South India.
The Manujothi Ashram is the “New Jerusalem” for the covenanted followers of Brother Lawrie. It is about six kilometers from the little town of Mukkudal, Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu and located where noisy traffic cannot disturb the peace and meditation of the inmates.
It does not have modern amenities such as electricity. Yet members of the Ashram - most of whom come from affluent countries - love staying here with Brother Lawrie.
It is an incredible sight to watch this multi-racial throng get together in their day-to-day activities. They sing with gusto during their sessions of worship and are enthralled by every word that emanates from Brother Lawrie.
Brother Lawrie speaks to the congregation in English and some of them do not understand this language or any of the several European and Indian Languages into which the messages are translated. Even so they seem to understand his meaning.
Brother Lawrie’s ministry can be divided into three distinct phases. The first was the Holy Spirit’s ministry in which cures were witnessed.
The second phase was the “Preaching the truth” ministry in which Brother Lawrie expounded the Bible. This gained for him a large following especially in Western countries.
The third and present phase is the “Rapture of the Bride” ministry in that the Bride, the true Church - and her Lord are brought together.
Many left Brother Lawrie when he began to expound this message of the Bride and also because of his followers honoured him with the title “Son of Man”. Yet amongst his staunch followers are scientists, scholars, successful executives and businessman from India and abroad.
How this movement is financed is a mystery. Though Brother Lawrie accepts all offerings, he has never allowed the hat to be passed among the congregation, nor even issued appeals for funds.
The general impression of the public that Lawrie has American money is a fallacy, says Dr. S. C. Jacob, a close camper of his.
“Unlike the customs adopted by other Indian and foreign evangelists in the Christian World, I have never allowed the offering plate to be passed through the audience for collecting offerings” wrote Lawrie to the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi once. He even agreed to the institution of an enquiry.
Brother Lawrie condemns the practice of the priests who appeal for money for various purposes.
Explaining his aversion to this procedure, Brother Lawrie says that when the wife (Church) looks to other sources for her sustenance because her husband (God) neglects her, the meaning of marriage is just a farce.
Even though Brother Lawrie has remained in the Ashram his ministry seems to be thriving. Batches of foreigners come to hear him expound the meaning of the Bible, especially the end-day messages.
People in hundreds trudge the dusty footpaths that link the Ashram with the outside world to be with Lawrie even if it is only for a few minutes.