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I would not use text books of theology or commentaries of ecclecial frame work, but mainly analyze the missionary books written by eminent theologian of that era, which were used by both church and academy. It has been a major concern for the students of missiology and theology that how missionaries influenced the local culture and the lives of the people.

It is observed that there were attempts to damage local languages in terms of omposing the missionary language and dress-codes. This framework is important as the question of Indian Christian identity seems to be a core point of conversation both in academy and church. It is particularly important as the current world is within the process of deglobalization and the opportunity to deglobalize the mission is unique and challenging. This study is important in signifying the nexus between hegemonic powers and colonial mission in India.

I state these facts as a preamble to the wider historiography which would certainly offer a new method of recognizing the genuine works of mission boards and missionaries in terms of brining a transformation in the Society. In many areas the shift took place and the present church is a product of continuing encounters and confrontations.


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Since the missionary history of India has been interwoven with the Colonial history of the region, I should vividly project the background of the mission historic-geography. Indu Gopan a historian states that for the last five centuries, Indians have been the assisting the Colonial powers from Europe to establish domination over the neighboring countries in Asia. For instance, on May 2, , the Portuguese took 19 ships and soldiers from India to conquer Malakka successfully.

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Therefore, the history of mission should be dissociated from the history of colonial powers. There are varied interpretations and definitions given to mission by the missiologists across the globe. However, I consider the definition that has been offered by Paul M. Collins is a possible one in terms of locating the potential of mission today. Collins states:. They will be 1 mission in relation to conversion and 2 mission in relation to an understanding of the search of the divine… Mission is to be understood primarily as the initiative and action of God, the Holy Trinity, rather than as a task initiated by the church.

Divine mission so understood is therefore not conceived in relation to church recruitment; but is conceived in relation to the divine purposes in creating and redeeming the cosmos. The article claims:. The novel demonstrates the destructive effects of the British patriarchal colonial system in twentieth century Dominica by depicting ways that cause deep and undying physical and psychological pain.

A search for similar voices in Indian context should be a starting point for evaluating colonial mission within its proper context. Andrew Porter concludes his claims after a careful study:. Although missions could not avoid empire, they were determined to put it in its place. The extent of their determination, the universal sweep of their theology, the global extent of their contacts and their consciousness, deserve more acknowledgement than they have generally received. Missions also operated in a world where many different pressures-political, theological, economic and intellectual-combined, as we have seen, to distance from empire no less than to draw them together.

These pressures too deserve serious recognition. Aggressive crusading was far from representing the only evangelical approach to the missionary task. This conclusion is important as a number of movements were inspired by the missionaries in terms of equality and justice in many Indian states. The association between native movements and missionaries offered a unique dimension to this question and it provided a space for missionaries to be politically independent in their mission agenda to some extent. Even though the space eas not sufficient enough to accommodate the dreams and aspirations of the people of the land, it could serve as a channel for motivation.

Sajal Nag in his book, The Uprising: Colonial State, Christian Missionaries, and Anti-Slavery Movement in North-East India , vividly locates the reasons why the missionaries could challenge some evil practices that prevailed in India such as sati , slavery and caste issues. Sajal thinks it could happen because of an independent space that missionaries could explore in negotiation with their colonial mission boards. Sajal Nag argues:. The organic correlation between the empire and Christian missions has to be traced back to the beginning of the evangelical movement in England.

Total collaboration between the missions and colonialism was the strongest in the case of Spain and Portugal, where the colonial state not only sent out missionaries but also looked after their protection and sustenance. In contrast, the British state took the help of missionaries only to legitimize colonial rule.

As a result the missionary endeavour did not necessarily turn political. While searching for the roots of missionary theology, this insight seems to be very significant as it refers to the dynamics and undercurrents of the political inclinations of missionary movements.

A Mission Theology Which Anticipates the Future

It is not very easy for the students of mission to explain, evaluate and analyse the current status of mission due to its multiple dimensions. However, there are a number of notable studies and research papers prepared by missiologists and researchers on contextual mission in India from various view points. Though India is enriched by many diversities of cultures, languages, and religions, at the same time, unemployment, poverty, injustice, oppression and social evils are also prevalent. New movements and attitudes pose menacing challenges to the mission of the Church.

Mission on the Way — Issues in Mission Theology by Charles van Engen

It is the reality of modern India in terms of social and political dimensions. At the same time the cultural and religious dimensions are more complicated and the product of multi-faceted movements and currents. It is noted that among the Hindu movements, there are two powerful voices namely traditional voice and the voice inspired by Western ideas of liberalism and enlightenment.

This idea has been portrayed by Paul Joshua Bhakiaraj by linking the role of theological interpretation in defining the Indian Christian identity:. Nevertheless formal Indian theology has been true to its name. It has been Indian, in that the local context is the base from which the theological enterprise has been pursued.

It has engaged with a range of issues that the region throws at us. The multiplicity of approaches to formal theology is an expression of the importance of culture and context. Though there are a number of attempts made by the main stream churches and their mission boards, it is noted that the mission strategies are still colonial or Western.

Along with the mission centers run by the churches, there are fruitful mission works conducted by individuals and trusts. Rajendran did a study on such endeavours and makes the following assumption:. To avoid missions controlled by family members, we must groom new leaders. We should require separation of personal and mission property, so that work can move to others. Let us avoid missions the property of a few families. Since I have consulted many documents that dealing with the identity and character of the mission of the church in India, it observed that in many parts of India, Christian missions did not maintain a focus in terms of Christology and theology.

Without a vision and focus, there were some activities which could only be counted to be development activities similar to the works of non-governmental organizations in the country. In this regard, D. He writes:. A self-critical examination of its own history would provide the church with the criteria it needs not only for its ongoing mission to be a blessing in the midst of the nations but also for the theological exploration that is needed to undergird this emerging missiological emphasis.

In , D. I consider this document to be an important milestone in the history of mission studies as it could address more or less all issues in the context in defining Christian mission. In order to represent the emergent identities in the Indian church, the volume could include case studies and stories that dealt with struggles and aspirations of the society including the social injustice and inequality. In order to derive and redefine the implications of the study and directions for the future, I would like to keep the current socio-political scenario as a wider milieu.

Many leaders of the church now pose a question regarding an authentic and possible version of Christian mission which can address the issues in a significant manner. While rethinking Chrisitan mission, D. David M. However, unfortunately many such studies seem to be photocopies of North American documents and research works.

This conclusion is important as a number of movements were inspired by the missionaries in terms of equality and justice in many Indian states. The association between native movements and missionaries offered a unique dimension to this question and it provided a space for missionaries to be politically independent in their mission agenda to some extent. Even though the space eas not sufficient enough to accommodate the dreams and aspirations of the people of the land, it could serve as a channel for motivation.

Sajal Nag in his book, The Uprising: Colonial State, Christian Missionaries, and Anti-Slavery Movement in North-East India , vividly locates the reasons why the missionaries could challenge some evil practices that prevailed in India such as sati , slavery and caste issues. Sajal thinks it could happen because of an independent space that missionaries could explore in negotiation with their colonial mission boards. Sajal Nag argues:. The organic correlation between the empire and Christian missions has to be traced back to the beginning of the evangelical movement in England.

Total collaboration between the missions and colonialism was the strongest in the case of Spain and Portugal, where the colonial state not only sent out missionaries but also looked after their protection and sustenance. In contrast, the British state took the help of missionaries only to legitimize colonial rule.

As a result the missionary endeavour did not necessarily turn political. While searching for the roots of missionary theology, this insight seems to be very significant as it refers to the dynamics and undercurrents of the political inclinations of missionary movements. It is not very easy for the students of mission to explain, evaluate and analyse the current status of mission due to its multiple dimensions. However, there are a number of notable studies and research papers prepared by missiologists and researchers on contextual mission in India from various view points.

Though India is enriched by many diversities of cultures, languages, and religions, at the same time, unemployment, poverty, injustice, oppression and social evils are also prevalent. New movements and attitudes pose menacing challenges to the mission of the Church. It is the reality of modern India in terms of social and political dimensions.

At the same time the cultural and religious dimensions are more complicated and the product of multi-faceted movements and currents. It is noted that among the Hindu movements, there are two powerful voices namely traditional voice and the voice inspired by Western ideas of liberalism and enlightenment. This idea has been portrayed by Paul Joshua Bhakiaraj by linking the role of theological interpretation in defining the Indian Christian identity:.

Nevertheless formal Indian theology has been true to its name.

Risk In Missions

It has been Indian, in that the local context is the base from which the theological enterprise has been pursued. It has engaged with a range of issues that the region throws at us. The multiplicity of approaches to formal theology is an expression of the importance of culture and context. Though there are a number of attempts made by the main stream churches and their mission boards, it is noted that the mission strategies are still colonial or Western. Along with the mission centers run by the churches, there are fruitful mission works conducted by individuals and trusts.

Rajendran did a study on such endeavours and makes the following assumption:. To avoid missions controlled by family members, we must groom new leaders. We should require separation of personal and mission property, so that work can move to others. Let us avoid missions the property of a few families. Since I have consulted many documents that dealing with the identity and character of the mission of the church in India, it observed that in many parts of India, Christian missions did not maintain a focus in terms of Christology and theology.

Without a vision and focus, there were some activities which could only be counted to be development activities similar to the works of non-governmental organizations in the country. In this regard, D.


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  • He writes:. A self-critical examination of its own history would provide the church with the criteria it needs not only for its ongoing mission to be a blessing in the midst of the nations but also for the theological exploration that is needed to undergird this emerging missiological emphasis. In , D. I consider this document to be an important milestone in the history of mission studies as it could address more or less all issues in the context in defining Christian mission. In order to represent the emergent identities in the Indian church, the volume could include case studies and stories that dealt with struggles and aspirations of the society including the social injustice and inequality.

    In order to derive and redefine the implications of the study and directions for the future, I would like to keep the current socio-political scenario as a wider milieu. Many leaders of the church now pose a question regarding an authentic and possible version of Christian mission which can address the issues in a significant manner. While rethinking Chrisitan mission, D. David M. However, unfortunately many such studies seem to be photocopies of North American documents and research works. Therefore, I would like to highlight the efforts of Indian church in promoting the idea of eco-justice.

    For instance, the Church of South India could include the theological vision on ecology in its liturgy two decades ago which undoubtedly paved way for a fresh understanding of ecology and enviromental justice.

    The Church of South India also has a department which is responsible in running programmes in this line. It is possible to maintain the theological conviction to support the issue by protecting the planet only through a systematic inclusion of ideas from the level of Christian education classes in the local churches. In the context of interactions between cultures and ecclesial forms in India both during colonial and postcolonial stages, the question of interaction of cultures or inculturation seems to be significant in defining a possible cross-cultural mission.

    Finally there are three practical pointers, which may be identified, in order to assess the ongoing task of inculturation in each local context. These pointers relate to the processes of decision making and the outcomes of those decisions. Firstly, the question must be posed about the locus of decision making. Where does authority lieto make decisions and to whom are the decision makers accountable? In terms of the accountability of decision making, are the outcomes of processes of inculturation monitored?

    And if so how does the process of monitoring inform onfgoing deate about and initiatives for inculturation? Such questions imply that the processes of inculturation and their outcomes are provisional contemporary. It is noted that in India, there are movements and identities that would redefine the church with the help of native cultures and practices. While redefining the church with the help of native cultures and practices a notion of mutual respect will emerge to support the new locations of mission. Joseph Mattam explains this point by stating:.

    No culture is foreign to Jesus. His message is not meant to bear the garb of any one particular culture or group. The way I live out my fidelity to Jesus should not make a foreigner out of me in my own country, as it has happened in the past. For instance Joshua Russel Chandran, the first Indian principal of United Theological College, Bangalore stood for more publication to support the mission and ministry of the church in India.

    Since I would like to highlight the significance of knowledge activism today in promoting Indian biblical scholarship, I point out the vision of The Bangalore Theological Forum which was started in and the then principal of United Theological College, J. Chandran stated:.

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    It gives me great pleasure to commend this new theological journal, The Bangalore Theological Forum. Some may wonder whether it was wise on our part to have launched a new periodical of this sort when there are already several struggling…. One of the major concerns in this regard is the ministry of publication in the Indian theological scholarship.

    It has been a challenge for the authors and researchers to locate an appropriate space to express their views as many UK based and US based publishers marginalize the endeavours of the writers from our context by branding their works as of lower quality. To name a few, Bangalore Theological Forum, BibleBhashyam and Vidyajothi Journal of Theological Research, have also promoted many researchers in offering them a space to publish their works.

    Asia Journal of Theology that brings together many major theological schools in Asia also functions to be a key channel in supporting this aspect.