Question Text : i am really confused about the question raised by our professor in our college about the indian christian theology…………. my question is that do we need an indian christian theology in the indian context if yes than why do we need indian chrristian theology if no than why we dont need what hermeneutical principle would we apply to follow to do so…………….. would be very happy if u would please help me to find out ?
Answer Text : Though the gospel is the same, the way it is appreciated and understood is different in different cultures. Jesus came to the world as a Jew and He lived and taught as a Jew. His food and clothing were Jewish. But when that message was to be preached around the world, the Jewish element has to be explained to the hearers so that the message will be understood properly. That is why there are so many commentaries written on the Bible. Otherwise there could be total misunderstanding of the message.
The classical example of this is found in the book ‘Peace Child’ written by Don Richardson. Richardson was a missionary among the cannibalistic Sawi tribe in Indonesia. He learnt their language with much difficulty and when the gospel was preached to the tribe, the people saw Judas as the hero and Jesus was to them a dupe to be laughed at, as deception was the highest virtue in their culture. Richardson was in great difficulty and he was determined to leave the mission field because the tribes were still fighting between them. But because the tribes did not want him to leave, they decided to make peace between them and the way it was done was by exchanging children to the enemies to be looked after. When he saw this he got the clue and he presented the Christ as God’s Son sent to reconcile us to Him. The result was the conversion of the tribes to Christ and the establishment of an indigenous church among them.
One reason why the Gospel did not make head way among Indians is that the early missionaries did not take note of the cultural offenses while they preached to Indians. For example, slaughtering a calf for food is a highly offensive thing here and the Bible translators could have avoided the mention of the calf being slaughtered for food. Instead in that place if they had simply said a grand meal was prepared with out specifically mentioning the slaughter of calf for food, many more Indians would have been willing to read the Bible.
The greatest Indian saint Sadhu Sunder Singh would put this idea in his own words when he said “we need to give the water of life in an Indian vessel”. The core message of the Bible has to taken out and presented it in a way which is understood and appreciated by the indigenous community. In Richardson’s language there will be “redemptive analogies” in each culture and until they are discovered and the gospel presented, it will become an offence to the hearers and they would never be able to appreciate what God has done to redeem this world.
Is there need for an Indian Christian theology? Yes, indeed. Every time the gospel is preached, preachers are using Indian languages, Indian illustrations, Indian cultural traits to make the gospel relevant to the hearers. The gospel makes its head into the community if it is presented in the way appealing to them.