by C.V. Mathew
Edited by C.V. Mathew, a former dean of Union Biblical Seminary who now chairs the Evangelical Fellowship of India, this book includes essays by eleven authors, eight of whom are Indian nationals.
Mylapore Institute for Indigenous Studies (MIIS), Chennai / Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (ISPCK), P.O. Box 1585, Kashmere Gate, Delhi-110006, India, 2003, 246 pages, $17.00.
—Reviewed by Ray Prigodich, placement coordinator, TEAM, Wheaton, Illinois.
Edited by C.V. Mathew, a former dean of Union Biblical Seminary who now chairs the Evangelical Fellowship of India, this book includes essays by eleven authors, eight of whom are Indian nationals. All the authors have had direct association with Roger and June Hedlund, an American missionary couple. The book is thus a festschrift, prepared in honor of the Hedlunds’ nearly thirty years of service—teaching, writing and research—in India.
As with nearly any book of this sort, the essays vary rather widely in style, focus and degree of helpfulness. Given the book’s title, this reviewer was disappointed to discover that nearly half the essays lack any specific reference to the Indian context.
Two of the essays stand out as particularly helpful. C.V. Mathew cogently explains Hindutva, the widely-held political philosophy that considers Hinduism to be an absolutely essential component of Indian nationalism. Mathew presents seven major implications of Hindutva for minority religious groups in India and concludes with seven suggestions as to how the church might best respond to the threat posed by militant Hinduism.
Paul Joshua presents a helpful overview of Indian Instituted Churches—those more indigenous church groups lacking any direct ties with the mainline denominations. The author not only describes, analyzes, categorizes and critiques these independent churches, he also gives attention to the oft-strained relationship between these churches and the mainline. Rather than looking askance at the Indian Instituted Churches, as mainline Christians often do, Joshua urges mainliners to learn from their more indigenized brethren—to get ideas from them about how to do a better job of contextualizing Christianity for the Indian milieu.
Takatemjen Ao and O.L. Snaitang provide helpful insights into Christianity’s cultural and social impact in tribal areas of Northeast India. Offering many practical suggestions, Jesudason B. Jeyaraj calls on the Indian church to get more involved in social action, while Sakhi Athyal presents a stimulating discussion of the role of women in the churches of India.
The remaining five essays focus respectively on the essentials of evangelicalism (Vernon C. Grounds), pastoral ministry and mission (Ian S. Kemp), spirituality and the importance of Bible study and training (L. Malsawma Vanchhawng), mission and research (M.T. Paul) and Paul’s proclamation in the context of religious plurality (Brian C. Wintle).
Check these titles:
Hedlund, Roger E. 1991. The Mission of the Church in the World: A Biblical Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House.
____.1992. Evangelization and Church Growth: Issues from the Asian Context. Madras, India: McGavran Institute.
____. 2000. Quest for Identity: Indian Churches of Indigenous Origin, The “Little Tradition” in Indian Christianity. Delhi, India: ISPCK.
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