Malayalee Pentecostals and ornaments

Whey Keralite Pentecostals do not wear ornaments?

In Kerala many pentecostal groups will not wear ornaments.  If you ask "why you are not wearing ornaments?", the new generation has different answers and very few does not know the reason.  Some will say our fathers did not wear ornaments and that is why we do not wear ornaments.

Now I remember the story of a Pandit.

There lived a Pandit (or called Poojari which means the person who perform the rituals at the temple) in a small village. One day this Pandit got a cute pet cat.   Pandit loved this cute cat and decided to take it to home.  This cute 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 it. It was become a problem for the pandit.   This cat doesn't know whether it is offered to God or not. Whenever the cat sees the milk it started to lick the milk.  Usually pandit gave milk to the cat but drinking the milk which is to be offered the God annoyed the pandit.

Few times the cat came and drink the milk which has 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 of 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 some new groups allow to wear ornaments because they do not find any supporting doctrinal evidence from the Bible)

To know the reason for abandoning ornaments well, we need to understand the social as well as the cultural situation of the time when 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 Gold 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 relative.  Their new found faith and speaking in tongues were strange and treated as madness by the society.  Many were thrown out from their an-sectoral homes.  In marriages and special occasions, they were not invited and denied entry. Most of them had to rebuild their life from scratch.  But their faith was so strong.  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 from their family.  They spend many days without food or shelter.   Many were eating leaf of plants or roots 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 with unbelievers. etc.  This was to keep themselves pure and holy.  They found joy in worshiping the Lord in spirit.   It was a requirement for the believers to get baptized and join a pentecostal church or group.  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 of the elders.  It was done to keep the holiness in the community and gathering.  Due to which miracles happened among them.  Those who were afflicted by evil spirits were brought among them and got deliverance by ministry of anointed pastors. There were well known prophets among them.  Fasting prayers and conventions conducted frequently and many were come to faith.  The work of God's spirit was evident in their ministry. 

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 among the Pentecostals.  In the olden days when they gathered together, they were wearing white dress as much as they can separated them from others.  It is 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.  It helped them to publicly declare their faith.  God loved this group.  Multiplied them.  Even now they keep their tradition of abstaining from Gold or Silver or any kind of ornaments.
Whether they are in UK or USA, they kept their identity.

Giving below the reasons to abstain from ornaments.

1.  God is more than anything else.
2.  Spent whatever they got in spreading 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.  Their financial position did not allow them to buy Gold or Silver.