Mission Issues in the History of Christianity in India
The Mass Conversion Issue In the history of Christianity in India there were many incidents of mass conversions which can be considered as a big issue. According to Kamala, Portuguese came to India and converted fishermen in masses, between 1 536 to 1 DADA. Nearly 20,000 fishermen were baptized without proper religious education; this was one of the reasons for SST. Francis Xavier went to the South to look after the spiritual needs. SST. Xavier entered Malabar Coast in ADDED to preach and baptize the people. Within few months the number of baptized members went up to 35,000 urine a period of four years.
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Most of the converts were from low caste people like Para’s, Muskrats and Skidpans. L Kamala argued that there was mass conversion among the aborigines of Chattanooga in Eastern India. German Lutheran missionaries began their work in ADDED and within a few years few thousands advises were converted. In ADDED Jesuit missionary, Constant Livens arrived there and had successful mass conversion movement among Mundane, Roan and Karri. In five years he baptized about 75,000 advises in and around Ranch. By 1931 AD, there were nearly 275,000 Catholics among the tribal. In the Northeast after the World War I in 1922, the area was entrusted to the Salesman of Don Boss. By ADDED there were around 50,000 Catholics in Assam and Megalith. The tribal were attracted in large numbers through the work of education through schools and hostels. 3 Many of these youths later became active missionaries. According to McGovern, the definition of the term ‘mass conversion movement’ means the coming to Christ of the people of one caste, in family groups of five to fifty t a time, amounting to two or three hundred or two or three thousand in a year” . Gandhi]’ was against the mass conversion of Hindus to Christianity by the missionaries in India. There was a tension created between Gandhi and Christian Mission Issues in the History of Christianity in India By Cantilevered missionaries in India. Gandhi charge d the missionaries that the missionaries were taking an undue advantage of people’s disabilities; such people are incapable of spiritual conviction. Gandhi also believed that any conversion was purely a self- seeking process by which missionaries sought political power. Gandhi himself has emphatically denied that he was a Christian and rejected Christ as the Savior and the Lord.
When asked by McGovern about untouchables becoming Christians, Sandhog’s reply was, “Under no circumstances do I favor their becoming Christians. Let them seek uplift in Hinduism. They are better off without uplift in Hinduism than with uplift in Christianity”. 5 2. Mission Issues from Catholic Mission Julian Salesman presents the main issues derives from Catholic documents such s: the issues related to propagation of faith, Vatican II related issues, Evangelic Annuitant (issues related ventilation), Redemption Mission (missionary activity other than ventilation) and ecclesia related issues in India. All these issues can be considered as main missionary issues derives from Catholic Church history from Indian continent. First issue was of Paddock (patronage on propagation of faith) means “authority to Portuguese government to establish mission centers and churches, appoint clergy and authority over to support them in all possible ways”7 During the period of Paddock period Portuguese colonial powers captured important cities in all major Christian areas and coastal areas in India, so Paddock made an impact in mission work within the Catholic mission and among the other groups. This colonial protection was very helpful for Francis Saver’s to work among the Para’s (fisher folk) community and to bring them to the church in large number by protecting them from their oppressors. Later patronage introduced Latin forms of liturgy, worship forms and aggressively propagated it to have a move to their side from Thomas Christians; t was the main agenda in the Synod of Damper on June 1599. In response to this issue Thomas Christians took an oath against the Paddock efforts to safeguard their faith known as Cocoon cross oath (Oath at the Hunchbacked cross) on January 3, 1653 near to Entrancement’10 The second issue during this period from Roman Catholic legacy is the conceptualization model which followed by Robert De Nobly. There are several basic musicological principles that are necessary foundations for the conceptualization of theology. Nobility developed a theology that functioned as a bridge between the Bible ND cultures to articulate the gospel meaningfully to that particular context.
If the theology is not valid to the spirituality of the local community then that theology will never survive long. So, it is important for the theologians to study the cultures because “contextual theology is incarnation in utilizing cultural forms and transformational in sanctifying their meanings”al Thirdly the mission goal of Vatican II “is to aim at the conversion of people to the Christian faith, with a view to the expansion or extension of the Catholic church”12 But there are different forms of experiments that have happened in history in the application to Vatican II decisions.
Under the Evangelic Annuitant (issues related ventilation) church took the issues of ventilation seriously with an emphasis on popular piety and people’s liberation by affirming small local communities. 13 Redemption Mission (missionary activity other than ventilation) dealt with the fullness of revelation. 14 Along with these issues the catholic mission in Asia (specifically in India) is primarily “one of love and service”1 5 towards the local people.
From this time onwards Liberation theologies and all Marxian ideologies influenced mission understandings. Almost all these issues are very vital issues even today in mission academics so this is necessary to look into the context very seriously. Conclusion: There are several mission issues related to the mission history of the church in India. External and internal issues still contributing negatively and positively which ultimately can help the church to correct the limitations they might have in the past.