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Why Malayalee Pentecostals not wear Ornaments
Why Keralite Pentecostals do not wear ornaments?
In Kerala many pentecostal groups do not wear ornaments. If you ask "why you are not wearing ornaments?", the new generation has different answers.
Now I remember the story of a Pandit (or called Poojari which means the person perform the rituals at the temple). One pandit in a certain village bought a cute pet cat. This cat used to eat with the Pandit and sleep with him. Wherever he goes, the cat follows him. Pandit loved the cat and took care of it.
As part of the worship ritual, this pandit has to offer milk to his God in the temple. As soon as the cat sees the milk, it drank the milk. This cat doesn't know whether it is offered to God or cat. Few times the cat came and drink the milk which is to be offered to the God. To avoid such embarrassing situation Pandit started to tie the cat to a tree before he perform his worship rituals. It was his habit to tie the cat before he perform the pooja (worship). After the worship, he release the cat. Years passed and the the pandit died. His son started to perform the worship rituals. He continued the custom of tie the cat before the worship.
And it become the part of the worship ritual. Years passed and the the
cat also died. Now the children of the pandit does not know why they
tie the cat before the worship. They thought and felt to complete the
ritual, they have to tie a cat. They couldn't find a cat in their
village. They felt that their worship is not complete and did not find
satisfaction. So they brought a cat from the near by village. After
brining the cat, they tied it to a tree and did their worship ritual.
Now they are satisfied.
Originally, to avoid the cat from drinking the milk which was set aside for the worship was the basic idea of tie the cat to a tree. But now it become part of the ritual.
I found many of the decedents Malayalee Pentecostals are in the same boat where the decedents of the above pandit. Many of them does not know why the forefathers decided to avoid ornaments. Now many of the new generations pastors as well as believers searching bible to find out why they are not wearing ornaments. Few denominations of Kerala Pentecostals will not baptize you if you are wearing ornaments. (Now new generation or some new groups allow to wear ornaments)
Ornaments and Pentecostals in Kerala
To know the reason for abandoning ornaments well, we need to understand
social as well as the cultural situation of the time when our our
forefathers came to faith and received the gift of Holy Spirit. Social
status at that time was determined by the amount of Gold and Silver
ornaments one wear. In marriages, a part of dowry was given as gold
ornaments. The weight of gold ornaments determines the status of the
family in the society at that time. Those who are rich used to wear a
lot of God
ornaments. Those who are poor used to wear ornaments made of glass,
plastic or stone beads. In marriage and other occasions gold and
silver ornaments were given as gifts.
When our forefathers came to faith, many of them were denied possession and wealth from their parents and relatives. Their new found faith and speaking in tongues were treated as madness. In marriages and special occasions, they were not invited and denied entry. Most of them have to rebuild their life from scratch. But they were so strong in their faith. They found happiness in Jesus and the worship in spirit more than anything else. They left everything for their faith. Many of them were thrown out of their family. They spend many days without food or shelter. Many were eating leaf or root of plants to survive. When they were not able to eat food, how do you expect them to wear ornaments.
They took a joint decision to abstain from divorce,
wearing ornaments, remarriage of divorced, smoking, drinking wine,
going to theater to watch commercial movie, watching drama or dance along with unbelievers etc.
It was a requirements for the believers to avoid such things to get
baptized and to join a pentecostal church. If anyone found violating
these teachings, were not allowed to say testimony in the church and
were dismissed those who did not heed the correction. It was done to
keep the holiness in the community and gathering.
At that time there were miracles happened among them. Many of those who were afflicted by the evil spirits were delivered by the ministry of anointed pastors. There were well known prophets among them. Fasting prayers and conventions conducted frequently and many were come to faith.
One of the Bible verse used to point out why they should not wear ornaments were 1 Timothy 2:9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
Wearing white dress was a peculiar tradition in the pentecostal fading now a days. In the olden days when they gathered together, they were wearing white dress as much as they can separated them from others. It was insisted by the leaders to be white (pure) inside and outside. Their Love of God stood above all things.
They realized that love of God is more precious than silver or Gold. To maintain equality, they decided not to wear Gold or Silver or other ornaments. They wanted to have a separate identity. They decided that if someone who is not willing leave ornaments for the sake of God, is not worthy to follow God. To weed out the half minted people and create a strong and faithful group, they decided that anyone want to join them must abstain from wearing any kind of ornaments. If you are not willing to give up your ornaments, you are not worthy to follow Jesus. That was their reason to abstain from wearing ornaments. Whether they are in USA or UK, North India or in South India, they keep their identity and the rules set by their forefathers.
The basic aim for abstaining from ornaments is that to keep a separate
identity from the world. Otherwise the leaders could have advise the
believers that they could wear cheap ornaments made of plastic or
natural materials. But they wanted to keep an identity. This identity
is a declaration to the world that you are committed your life to Jesus
and you will serve Him all through your life. In your happy days and
in your sorrowful days, in your abundance and in your scarcity you will
follow Jesus and his teachings. It is the evidence of your commitment.
This responsibility of being recognized is also a way of keeping
ourselves from self-destructive habits, such as smoking, drinking, and
other worldly desires.
Just like when a Sikh wear bana, turban, white bana, kara, beard, he is declaring that he is committed and have dedicated the self to the Guru and shall serve ALL even those who want to cheat you, or hurt you.
So not wearing ornament is your commitment to do good and follow Jesus and serve the mankind. If you are willing to do that, you are welcome to join the pentecostal group. A committed group.
Giving below the reasons to abstain from ornaments.
1. God is more than anything else and it is a commitment to God.
2. They are willing to spent a portion their income for spreading the Gospel.
3. Maintain Equality.
4. To test the Love of God.
5. They found that there is no use in stacking money by amassing Gold or Silver.
6. They find it useful investing in property and education of children than buying Gold which will reduce its weight through constant use.
7. Many did not had money to buy gold
The Origin of Ornaments
Recently we understand that from the Dead Sea Scrolls we found the Second Book of Adam and Eve. In the 20th Chapter Vs. 31 says "And when they looked at the daughters of Cain, at their beautiful figures, and at their hands and feet dyed with colour, and tattooed in ornaments on their faces, the fire of sin was kindled in them."
Ornaments were introduced by Satan to the Sons of Cain who were sinful. They put on ornaments, painted their bodies, dyed their hair and skin with colours to attract people. Honestly, use of ornaments, dyed hair, coloured body parts and hands were used to attract the opposite sex. It is a tool of Satan. Hence it is advised not to be an agent of Satan wherever you are.
Ornaments and Israelites
In Exodus 33: 3-6 we can see that the Israelites stopped wearing ornaments right after the incident of Aaron made a The Golden Calf which displeased the God. Please read the following verses which clearly says why Israelites stopped wearing ornaments. I recommend you to read the complete chapter of Exodus 32 and 33. Here is the reproduction of Exodus 33: 3-6 . 3“Go upto a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, because you are an obstinate people, and I might destroy you on the way.”
4When the people heard this sad word, they went into mourning, and none of them put on his ornaments. 5For the LORD had said to Moses, “Say to the sons of Israel, ‘You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. Now therefore, put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what I shall do with you.’” 6So the sons of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onward. (New American Standard Bible)