Christianity Remade: The Rise of Indian-Initiated Churches

Christianity Remade: The Rise of Indian-Initiated Churches

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Author/Contributor(s): Joshua, Paul ; Carpenter, Joel A
Publisher: Baylor University Press
Date: 08/01/2022
Binding: Hardcover
Condition: NEW

If there is one question that haunts Indian Christians, it is this: What does it mean to be Indian and Christian? This matter of identity presents a unique challenge, especially today, in the face of a Hindu nationalist challenge insisting that to be truly Indian, one must be Hindu. Christianity Remade, however, offers a unique path forward by studying the rise and character of Indian-initiated churches (IICs), Christian movements founded by Indians to address Indian issues, needs, and opportunities.

IIC is not a common term in Indian church life or theology today. Only a few scholars have focused on Christian movements arising in India. Based on firsthand experience from research conducted through the Mylapore Institute for Indigenous Studies, Paul Joshua's groundbreaking work presents a truly striking discovery: IICs represent a pivotal, re-formative phase in the nearly twenty-century history of Indian Christianity. They result from critiques of the inherited structures and outlook of mission-founded Christianity. They respond to the deep needs of people on the lower rungs of Indian society, and they fashion their spiritual answers and modes of being from deeply Indian religious materials. Thus, they engage in a creative combination of Indian popular piety and the gospel of Jesus Christ as found in an Indian reading of the Bible.

Joshua engages specific IIC movements to draw out singular contextual ingredients: the rise of Indian nationalism, the generative power of Christian revivalism, the movement for national independence, the bhakti tradition of popular Hindu devotional practice, the challenge of Hindu spiritual power, and the dynamism of contemporary urban culture. From these ingredients, and drawing on insights from postcolonial studies, Joshua reveals how a subaltern sensibility and vision from the margins of Indian society challenged both the colonial overlords and the mission-church hierarchs to create a Christianity made in India.