Doon Theological Journal is published by

Luther W. New Jr. Theological College
P. O. Kulhan
Sahastradhara Road
Dehradun 248001, India
Email: dtjournal@gmail.com
 

Issues and Abstract of Articles

DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 8.1 (2011)

A Consideration of the Judgment of God and the Teaching of Jesus:

The Advaitic doctrine of Maya and the Christian doctrine of creation in the theology of Brahmabandhav Upadhyay

A Kaleidoscope of Doxology: Exploring Ethnodoxology and Theology

An Enquiry into the Colonial Contributions toward the Development of Indian Christian Identity

Religion and Reconstruction in an African Society: A Deconstructive Reading of the Bible in Ghana

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 7.2 (2010)

An Appraisal of Prevenient Grace in John Wesley’s Soteriology
- P. V. Joseph

Calvin and the Credibility of the Scriptures: Contrasted with Some Modern Western and Indian Insights - Matthew Ebenezer

Do the “Pagan Saints” of the Bible Offer Hope for Today’s Unevangelized Peoples ? - Victor Kuligin

Portrayal of Women Characters in Select Balaji Serials as Perceived by Married Women in Dehuroad, Pune - Ajay Kale

The Jurisprudence of Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, India in the light of John 7:53-8:11 - Samuel P. Rajan

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 7.1 (2010)

Jesus’ Use of the Jewish Scripture in Mark and its Missional Implications in India - Biju Chacko

Missional Critical-Openness: The Bible and Religious Plurality Revisited
- Matthew Kuiper

Reformed Theology and Missions: Reviving the Basics
- Matthew Ebenezer

A New Mission ? - Terry Muck

The New Mission Worker - Frances Adeney

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 6.2 (2009)

Paul’s Defense of his Gentile Mission in Romans: Mission Theology or Theology of Mission ? - Donald Grigorenko

Verbal Aspect in the Gospel of Matthew: Discourse Prominence in the Parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard - Eric N.

Decolonizing Theological Education in Nigeria - Adekunle Dada

Senate of Serampore College (University) at Ninety: Issues and Concerns
-
Ravi Tiwari

A Creative Use of Ramanuja’s Visistadvaita Vedanta in Indian Christian Theology: An Appraisal of the Theologies of A. J. Appasamy and Dhanjibai Fakirbhai - Paluri Wilson

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 6.1 (2009)

Postclassical Greek Novels as Postcolonial Novels: Reading Chariton’s Chaereas and Callirhoe as a Postcolinal Novel - Simon Samuel

Martin Luther’s Theology of the Cross and Its Significance for Creating a Culture of Peace - Santhosh J. Sahayadoss

‘Churchless-Christ’ (A Hindu ‘Plea’): A Christian Theological Response
-
Samuel George

The Primacy of Duties over Rights in a Theistic Worldview
- James W. Gustafson

Persecution and the Church: A Historical Overview - Matthew Ebenezer

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 5.2 (2008)

The Politics of Culture Behind the Rebuilding of the Temple - Joel Joseph

Who was the Good Son? A Fresh Look at eh Parable of Matthew 21:28-32 - Graham Simpson

Reading the Postcolonial Creative Discourse: Towards Modeling a Strategic Postcolinal Theology of/for the Maginalia - Simon Samuel

Missiological Perspective of Mission Amidst Affluence and Affliction: Altering Borders for a Third Space - Jesudason Baskar Jeyaraj

Christian Existence in a Non-Christian Environment: Relevant Perspectives for the Future - Santhosh J. Sahayadoss

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 5.1 (2008)

Truth with a Mission: Reading Scripture Missiologically
-
Christopher J. H. Wright

Mission Amidst Affluence and Affliction - Simon Samuel

Western Missions and Dependency - Robert Reese

“God Sent His Son, Born of a Woman” (Gal. 4:4):  The Idea of Incarnation, its Antecedents, and Significance in Paul’s Theology - Roji T. George

Holy Spirit, Holiness, and Liberation: A Theology of Liberation in Pentecostal Perspective - Shaibu Abraham

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 4.2 (2007)

Paul’s Concern for the Unity of the Church: An Embodiment of His New Covenant Theology - Scott J. Hafemann

Interrogating Forgiveness: Learning from the Early Church
- J. Jayakiran Sebastian

Martin Luther’s Understanding of the Person Between Autonomy and Theonomy - Hans Schwarz

Human Identity in Shame-Based Cultures of Asia - Timothy C. Tennent

Biblical and Theological Basis for Leadership Training
-
George K. Chavanikamannil

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 4.1 (2007)

Mission Practice: The Early Christian Perspectives - Simon Samuel

“The Widow’s Mites:” A Pragmatic Reading of Mark 12: 41-44
-
T. Johnson Chakkuvarackal

The Social Thought of Martin Luther and its Relevance for the Indian Society - Santhosh J. Sahayadoss

Euthanasia: The Right to Die or the Slippery Slope to Legalized Murder ?
-
Paul Swarup

Sacred Texts in our Pre-Christian Past: Can the Upanishads Serve as a Hindu Old Testament ? - Timothy C. Tennent

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 3.2 (2006)

“Be Subject to the Governing Authorities”: Reading Romans 13:1-7 in the Matrix of Roman Patronage - Roji T. George

Jesus the True and Living Way - William L. Isley Jr.     

Calvin on Christian Suffering: Temporary Punishment or Eternal Blessing? - Matthew Ebenezer

Agni Kristvidya (Fire Christology): A Comprehensive Model of Spirit Christology - Paluri Wilson                                                         

“A Poor Reflection as in a Mirror”: A Response to “Pentecostal- Charismatic Movements in Post - Independent India” by George Oommen - Paulson Pulikottil

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 3.1 (2006)

Postcolonialism as a Critical Practice in Biblical Studies (Part II)
- Simon Samuel

Global Views of the Messiah - William David Spencer

The Relevance of Calvin’s Theology for the Twenty-First Century
-
Lyle D. Bierma

Pre-Christian Ignorance in Apostolic Preaching - Mohan Chacko

The God Darwin Did Not Believe in and a Call for an Artistic Paradigm
- James W. Gustafson

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 2.2 (2005)

Postcolonialism as a Critical Practice in Biblical Studies (Part I)
- Simon Samuel

The Pneumatology of Pandipeddi Chenchiah: A Critical Appraisal
- Palolil Varghese Joseph

Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements in Post-independent India: An Appraisal - George Oommen

The Challenge of Churchless Christianity - Timothy C. Tennent

Is Holiness Ascertainable? Presbyterian Perspectives on the Trials and Examination of Candidates for Ministry - Matthew Ebenezer

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 2.1 (2005)

The Biblical Creation Story and Implications for a Biblical View of Human Male/Female Societal Status and Relationships - Suraj Chellaiah

An Eternal Planting, a Home of Holiness: The Self-understanding of the Dead Sea Scrolls Community - P. N. W. Swarup

Paul’s Speeches at Lystra and Athens: A Model for Preaching in India (acts 14: 8-20; 17: 16-33) - L. Jose

The Beginning of Mark (Mk. 1:1): A Postcolonial Reading - Simon Samuel

Dr. Asgar Ali Engineer: An Appraisal - K. J. Samuel

The Ethical implications of Human Cloning - James W. Gustafson

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 1.2 (2004)

Ecclesiastical and Ascetic Fasting: An Important Difference in the History of the Church - William L. Isley Jr.

Ecumenism, Exclusivism, and national Church: Approaches in the Presbyterian Churches of India to the Concept of Ecumenism
- Matthew Ebenezer

The Revised Christology of Stanley J. Samartha: A Critique
-
E. V. Kuriakose

Cultural Nationalism and its Challenges to the Church and its Mission in India - C. V. Mathew

Theological Education in India Today: Training for a relevant Ministry
-
K. J. Kuriakose

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 1.1 (2004)

A Postcolonial Historiography: Toward a Postcolonial Approach to Reading the Discourses of a Colonial Subject Community
- Simon Samuel

Impact of Hindu Fundamentalism on Minority Rights: A Christian Response - M. T. Cherian    

The Agenda for an Indian Evangelical Theology - Mohan Chacko     

Contemporary Promises and Challenges in Global Christianity
- Timothy C. Tennent      

Fasting: The Discipline for the In-between Time - William L. Isley Jr

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Abstracts

MARCH 2011 VOLUME 8.1

A Consideration of the Judgment of God and the Teaching of Jesus: A Cultural and Linguistic Study

Victor Kuligin laments the paucity of academic material on the subject “judgment of God,” and finds the following factors responsible for the same: (i) post-modernity’s “love-affair with tolerance” (ii) a loving, less-confrontational view of God which virtually excludes the possibility of judgment (iii) militant agnosticism and atheism that considers the Christian concept of God’s wrath to be both obnoxious and a major contributing factor to growing violence in contemporary culture (iv) shifts in understanding, even among evangelicals, concerning the eternal fate of the unevangelized, and so on. The author then presents contemporary theological confusions concerning the purpose and goal of the judgment(s) of God, imported from the modern debate revolving around the purpose and goal of secular justice systems – retribution or reformation. He also provides a word-study on some key Greek terms used in the Gospels to speak of God’s judgment. The article finally calls for and provides certain guidelines for the resuscitation of the subject in Christian pulpits and publications.

The Advaitic doctrine of Maya and the Christian doctrine of creation in the theology of BrahmabandhavUpadhyay

In his article Timothy Tennent attempts to explore the theological frontier between the Hindu doctrine of creation as found in the doctrine of maya in Sankara and the biblical doctrine of creation. Upadhyay, in his attempt to build “contextual bridges” to effectively communicate the Christian gospel to the Hindus, found Sankara’s concept of maya compatible with neo-Thomistic thought and used this bridge to explain, among other things, the relationship of the Creator to creation. Dispelling the common assumption that Sankara’s concept of maya affirms an illusory universe, an idea incompatible with the Judeo-Christian universe, Upadhyay draws attention to the analogies used by Sankara - some ignored in the post-Sankara period, which well explains the misconception concerning maya - to explain the concept. He argues that maya meant the mysterious contingency of everything that is non-Brahman, and the power of God that gives birth and sustains finite dependent beings, and thus, harmonious with Thomistic ideas of necessary and contingent existence.

A Kaleidoscope of Doxology: Exploring Ethnodoxology and Theology

Ian Collinge’s articleintroduces relatively new concepts like ethnomusicology, ethnodoxology, and the like. The major purpose of the paper is to explore the relationship between Ethnodoxology and Theology, wherein “Theology provides the content and Ethnodoxology opens up culturally appropriate ways to express Christian truth,” leading to a kaleidoscope of doxology. Ethnodoxology – “the theological and practical study of how and why people of diverse cultures praise and glorify... God” – attempts to translate biblical truths through culturally relevant and indigenous communication methods. The author also discusses subjects such as “heart music” and “redemption” of cultural media; and finally considers some major theological themes where Ethnodoxology and Theology converge.

An Enquiry into the Colonial Contributions toward the Development of Indian Christian Identity

In his article SantoshSahayadoss attempts to re-examine the correlation between colonialism and mission. The author notes the two major views concerning the same: first, the idea that colonialists and Christian missionaries worked hand-in-glove with the other, mutually benefitting each other; and second, the view that the capitalistic colonialists and humanitarian Christian missionaries were bipolar opposites of each other – with interests not just mutually exclusive but also antagonistic to each other. The article further proceeds to identify the positive contributions of western missionaries in the formation of Indian Christian identity – mission activity leading to Indian renaissance and subsequently Indian nationalism, development of indigenous theology and mission, contributions in the fields of politics, linguistics, education, social reform, among others.

Religion and Reconstruction in an African Society: A Deconstructive Reading of the Bible in Ghana

Joseph Quayesi-Amakye discusses the necessity of making national development tasks serious in the Ghanian society. In this paper the author re-reads the Exodus story, the Joseph story and an episode from the Israelite-Philistine contests from a deconstructive perspective so as to propose a reconstructive Christianity for Ghanians and challenge them to take seriously their scientific/technological and environmental concerns.

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 7.2 (2010)

An Appraisal of Prevenient Grace in John Wesley’s Soteriology

In ‘An Appraisal of Prevenient Grace in John Wesley’s Soteriology,’ P. V. Joseph examines Wesley’s concept of prevenient grace within the framework of his soteriology. The author discusses the relationship of prevenient grace with human depravity and divine and human factors in soteriology—the sovereignty of God and human freedom and responsibility. Examining the interpretations of a wide range of Wesleyan scholars on Wesleyan soteriology, and delving into John Wesley’s own writings, the author discloses the complexities of the monergism-synergism debate. The article also brings Wesley into dialogue with Augustine and Calvin. It helps dispel certain misconceptions that often surround Wesleyan soteriology.

Calvin and the Credibility of the Scriptures: Contrasted with Some Modern Western and Indian Insights

Matthew Ebenezer’s ‘Calvin and the Credibility of the Scriptures: Contrasted with Some Modern Western and Indian Insights’ is a comparative study of the views of Barth, Pannenberg, Calvin, and Appasamy on the credibility of the Scripture. While Barth speaks of the Bible as the words of humans which become the Word of God through the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit, Pannenberg considers the credibility of the Scripture an open question which can be answered only in the eschaton, when the truth of Christian revelation can be verified. According to Calvin, the credibility of the Scripture lies in the confirmation provided by the “secret testimony of the Spirit”; rational proofs, provided from a human point of view, play only a smaller role. Following discussions on Appasamy’s ideas on authority, Scripture and anubhava (experience), the author proposes that a modified understanding of anubhava—the work of the Holy Spirit in enlightening, transforming, and guiding the individual into Christ-likeness—has greater proximity to Calvin’s perception of the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit, than the views of Barth and Pannenberg, in asserting the credibility of Scriptures.

Do the “Pagan Saints” of the Bible Offer Hope for Today’s Unevangelized Peoples ?

In ‘Do the “Pagan Saints” of the Bible Offer Hope for Today’s Unevangelized Peoples?’ Victor Kuligin critiques the “wider hope” soteriology—“universal accessibility of salvation”—of Clark Pinnock and others who argue for hopefulness for the unevangelized. This “hermeneutic of hopefulness” is largely dependent on the category of “pagan saints”— the “historically and/or informationally premessianic” who by responding in faith to the light of revelation that they have in general revelation and in their own religions, are saved, despite their lack of explicit knowledge concerning God and salvation through special revelation. The author examines the “pagan saints” argument by testing the compatibility of the proposed idea with the available biblical material on select “pagan saints”—Job, Melchizedek, and Cornelius—and finds it dangerously erroneous. He argues that this line of thought is unbiblical in its view on other religions and its salvific efficacy, and also questions the need and urgency for evangelism.

Portrayal of Women Characters in Select Balaji Serials as Perceived by Married Women in Dehuroad, Pune

Ajay Kale’s ‘Portrayal of Women Characters in Select Balaji Serials as Perceived by Married Women in Dehuroad, Pune’ examines the portrayal of women in select television soap operas and its effects on the identity of women in Indian society. The author demonstrates that the viewers, depending on their social position, may accept, oppose, or negotiate the preferred/ dominant reading of the text – the meaning that the producers encode in the serials. The “serials reinforce the stereotypical image of women,” and one can find attempts by women to mimic the protagonists of these serials in real-life situations. The researcher makes the following suggestions: Christian communicators understand the importance of media, and manner in which it functions so that the Christian message, worldview, and values can be presented to “people whose understanding of truth and reality is largely dominated by oral or audio-visual communication,” thereby, reshaping social values, attitudes and even relationships. He calls for talented Christian youth to consider media as a profession, and challenges seminaries to study and address issues raised by contemporary media in its diverse forms. Such studies can also help make “church communication relevant, dialogical and attractive.”

The Jurisprudence of Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, India in the light of John 7:53-8:11

Samuel P. Rajan’s article ‘The Jurisprudence of Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, India in the light of John 7:53-8:11’ is an attempt to analyze and compare Jesus’ jurisprudence in relation to prostitution in the said biblical passage with the jurisprudence on this issue in Jesus’ time and in contemporary India as evident in the above mentioned Act. The researcher demonstrates that Jesus’ jurisprudence provided equality and justice to the woman in a context where patriarchal jurisprudence denied her the same. The sexist and discriminative nature of jurisprudence in Indian law is also pointed out. The researcher also proposes consciousness-raising concerning patriarchal control of women’s sexuality, making deliberate attempts to fight the various social, economic and other reasons that lead to prostitution, treating the women involved as persons and not sex-objects, rehabilitation measures, among other things, as Christian responses to the burning issue of prostitution.

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 7.1 (2010)

Jesus’ Use of the Jewish Scripture in Mark and its Missional Implications in India

Biju Chacko’s article ‘Jesus’ Use of the Jewish Scripture in Mark and its Missional Implications in India’ tries to examine interpretive methods employed by Jesus in his discursive milieu. He points out through solid exegesis of some select passages from Mark that Jesus’ methods demonstrate a “deliberate option for the poor.” This deliberate option for the poor is manifested in the way Jesus challenged purity laws imposed by the rich and the powerful on the poor for economic exploitation. Jesus’ views on wealth and the wealthy, his demand for anti-greed attitude to inherit eternal life, and his attempt to amalgamate the ‘impure’ lepers into society, demonstrate Jesus’ bias towards the poor and the marginalized in society. Such lessons derived from Jesus’ use of the Jewish Scripture are then applied to the mission context of India. The author proposes a missional hermeneutics – having a “pro-people attitude in reading the Scripture”; a missional Christology – that “responds to the cries of the poor and disenfranchised of the world”; mission praxis in “solidarity with the poor”; and finally, sets the goal of Christian mission as transformation, and calls for a life-style of sharing.

Missional Critical-Openness: The Bible and Religious Plurality Revisited

Matthew Kuiper’s ‘Missional Critical-Openness: The Bible and Religious Plurality Revisited’ attempts to bring clarity to the biblical understanding of and response to religious plurality amidst a cacophony of voices. He points out that the Bible presents us the framework of “missional critical-openness” which can be used as a useful model in our engagements with people of other faiths. In missional critical-openness, the critique and openness towards other religions are brought together in “dialectical relationality,” and the missional purpose of God in Christ as revealed in the Scripture holds these two together.

Reformed Theology and Missions: Reviving the Basics

Matthew Ebenezer’s ‘Reformed Theology and Missions: Reviving the Basics’ is an effort to restate the relationship between Reformed theology and missions. This article looks at the theological foundations of Reformed theology with special focus on those topics that have a direct bearing on the understanding of mission, which is followed by a historical survey of missions in the Reformed tradition throwing light on the mission practices of William Carey, Alexander Duff and David Livingstone. He points out the holistic nature of Reformed missions, and calls for the restoration of such holistic understandings and praxis of mission, in the light of the many crises faced by church and society.

A New Mission ?

Terry Muck in his article ‘A New Mission?’ tries to evaluate the different mission paradigms that were employed by the church in the past and proposes a new model/ paradigm/framework for mission in the contemporary environments and its challenges. He critically presents “The Chosen People Paradigm” and “The Jesus Only Paradigm” – models of mission from the past – its biblical-rootedness, usefulness, and abuses. He argues that “wild facts” or anomalies in contemporary contexts around the world demand a paradigm shift in the understanding and praxis of mission, and goes on to present “The Reconciliation Model.” He considers the contemporary emphasis on Trinitarian theology, the ecclesiological suggestions of the emerging church movement and the emphasis on holistic mission as “signs of hope” in the transition to the newly proposed model of mission.

The New Mission Worker

Frances Adeney in ‘The New Mission Worker’ presents the innovative mission worker who critically engages with his/her context, sees the anomalies of the existing mission model, and develops novel ways of interacting with the world, in order to bring the gospel alive in the given context. She argues from her own experience that such a mission worker goes through a “spiral of knowledge acquisition” – acknowledging experiences, bracketing convictions, encountering the strange situation with openness, evaluating the strange culture, fusion of horizons and new praxis. She discusses the potential dangers and possibilities in each of these steps, punctuated with autobiographical experiences and the valuable lessons learned.

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DOON THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 6.2 (2009)

Paul’s Defense of his Gentile Mission in Romans : Mission Theology or Theology of Mission?

Donald Grigorenko’s ‘Paul’s Defense of his Gentile Mission in Romans: Mission Theology or Theology of Mission’ investigates the primary purpose of Paul’s letter to the Romans. He argues that Paul presents his theology of mission in Romans, rather than a theological treatise or a mission theology, in order to justify his mission to the Gentiles and the Gentile nations. He, like Nils Dahl and a few recent Pauline scholars, thinks that mission is the keystone of the macrostructure of Romans. Without this keystone the letter is an interesting collection of stones on various aspects of anthropology, soteriology and sanctification. This paper concludes with a reflection on the consequences of Paul’s theology of mission to our generation.

Verbal Aspect in the Gospel of Matthew: Discourse Prominence in the Parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard

Eric’s ‘Verbal Aspect in the Gospel of Matthew’ tests the viability of the theory of verbal aspect and discourse prominence articulated and developed by Stanley Porter. Naizer applies this theory to read Matt. 20. 1-16. Contrary to the traditional, customary approach of understanding the verbal system (for instance, aorist as punctiliar, completed action; imperfect as past continuous; present as continuous action, etc.), Porter proposes three primary ways of viewing the verbal aspect: perfective aspect (aorist tense); imperfective aspect (present/ imperfect tenses); stative aspect (perfect/pluperfect tenses). The perfective aspect (aorist tense) portrays a process that is complete; the imperfective portrays an action in progress, and the stative aspect reflects the state of affairs of an act. Porter then describes verbal aspect as a means by which authors indicate planes of discourse to signify points of emphasis within a given portion of a text. Naizer applies this with ease to Matt. 20. 1-16 and locates the selective use of perfect tense in relation to the labourers who were called at the eleventh hour in the narrative. This, according to Naizer, is to emphasize the stative aspect and thus to give prominence to this group of labourers in the narrative. This article thus proposes the need to rethink the traditional paradigms of reading the Greek verbal system.

Decolonizing Theological Education in Nigeria

Adekunle Dada’s ‘Decolonizing Theological Education in Nigeria’ places a strong plea for contextually grounded theological education in order to make it effective and rooted in the consciousness of a people in a given context (in his case in Nigeria). Though his frame of reference is theological education in Nigeria, the basic plea of the paper has relevance for us in India too, as we too have inherited a mode of colonial western theological education, just as the Nigerians have from the British. Dada, inspired by some of the postcolonial creative and novelistic writers from Africa, presents his plea from a postcolonial perspective. In the Saidian and Homi Bhabhan postcolonial spirit, Dada thinks that the western colonial cultural intertwining and overlapping with native Nigerian cultures cannot be erased completely. Hence what is important is a strategic postcolonial, decolonizing turn to make theological education more authentic for the native peoples in Nigeria. But while doing so he refuses to discard all that is western. Instead he advocates a recontextualization within the past and present experiences of the Nigerian people. He also cautions that in the process of decolonization the Christo-centric and biblio-centric character of Christian education should not be sacrificed on the altar of contextuality.

Senate of Serampore College (University) at Ninety: Issues and Concerns

Ravi Tiwari’s ‘Senate of Serampore College (University) at Ninety: Issues and Concerns’ is a very detailed historical account of the commencement of theological education in India in the colonial times and how the Senate of Serampore College has emerged as a significant theological degree granting body in India. Many who passed through this stream of theological education are unaware of the history and evolution of this great institution in India. After affirming its legal status, Tiwari makes a strong plea to the Indian Christian communities to think in terms of regaining the earliest university status of the Serampore College and develop it as a Christian university for higher education—secular and theological—in India. This article is very timely, as the Senate has taken up the important task of curriculum revision for its Bachelor of Divinity degree program and also some major structural changes in its academic structure and initiatives such as the drafting and passing of a new constitution, the new Bachelor of Divinity degree structure, the phasing off of existing BTh program and initiating the possibility of offering a few new bachelor level programs in Missions and Ministry Studies.

A Creative Use of Ramanuja’s Visistadvaita Vedanta in Indian Christian Theology: An Appraisal of the Theologies of A. J. Appasamy and Dhanjibai Fakirbhai

Paluri Wilson’s article is an appraisal of two prominent Indian Christian theologians—A.J. Appasamy and Dhanjibhai Fakirbhai—who have creatively used Ramanuja’s Visistadvaita Vedanta philosophy in their Christian theological articulations. Theirs is an attempt to contextualize the Christian gospel and experience in one of the religious traditions (margas) of India. But unlike Ramanuja whose bhakti is more about an individual’s union with the deity, Appasamy and Fakirbhai, think of Christian bhakti as communion with God.

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Doon Theological Journal 6.1 (2009)

Postclassical Greek Novels as Postcolonial Novels: Reading Chariton’s Chaereas and Callirhoe as a Postcolinal Novel

Simon Samuel’s postcolonial reading of a postclassical Greek novel, written toward the end of the first century AD, is an innovative and pioneering reading, which in some way can be related to reading some of the second Temple Jewish and early Christian writings from that perspective. In this article Samuel shows the complex postcolonial experience and ambivalent discursive response of a subjected Greek community in Asia Minor towards Roman colonialism. This reading shows that the Greek community’s response to colonialism was similar to that of the other subjected Jewish and early Christian communities in ancient west Asia at that time.

Martin Luther’s Theology of the Cross and Its Significance for Creating a Culture of Peace

Santhosh Sahayadoss’ ‘Martin Luther’s Theology of the Cross and Its Significance for Creating a Culture of Peace’ is a timely article which deserves our attention in our time and context when the whole world is engulfed in violence, wars and communal and economic intolerance. This article ascertains that a culture of peace can be built in a world of violence solely by patient suffering, non-violence and enemy love. However, one may find the political manoeuvering of Martin Luther puzzling in terms of his sympathies toward the peasants who revolted against their oppressive feudal lords and at the same time his advice to the feudal lords to violently suppress the revolts when all other means to establish peace failed!

Churchless-Christ’ (A Hindu ‘Plea’): A Christian Theological Response

Samuel George’s ‘Christian Response to Churchless-Christ’ is a reflective, critical reading of a Churchless-Christ advocated by some of the neo-Hindu movements and thinkers like Swami Vivekananda and Mohandas Gandhi in modern India. George argues that the advocacy of a Churchless-Christ is nothing but a world opinion because Christ can be seen or heard only in a blurred manner without and beyond the church. Christ comes to us through the New Testament, which is an early Christian confessional community document. He cannot be isolated from this document and from the community that experienced the Christ. Therefore Churchless-Christ is nothing but a blurred and truncated ‘christ’.

The Primacy of Duties over Rights in a Theistic Worldview

James Gustafson’s ‘Primacy of Duties over Rights in a Theistic Worldview’ is a very relevant article in our time and context when we witness unjust economic edifices and corporate management structures crumbling down due to their addictive and infatuated use of free market economic rights over against socio-economic duties towards fellow human beings. This paper discuses the relation of rights and duties within the Christian worldview where God is perceived as the source of all moral values. Gustafson thinks that in the contemporary world rights take precedence over duties as where in a theistic worldview it should be the other way round. He, therefore, is of the opinion that duties should flow out of a virtuous heart, which is possible only by an inner transformation of the heart and by the working of the Holy Spirit. He concludes that ‘getting the relation of duties and rights correct offers the way to resolve much confusion in contemporary conflicts that seem to have no resolution other than applying type of coercion.’

Persecution and the Church: A Historical Overview

Matthew Ebenezer’s ‘Persecution and the Church: A Historical Overview’ is a timely article that brings into proper perspective a response of the Indian Christian minoritarian communities that face very direct and violent persecution from their Hindutva neighbors. Ebenezer takes us through the history of Christianity, from the New Testament times to the present, citing and describing the experiences of Christians throughout the history of the Christian church in general and in India in particular. He traces varied reasons for the persecution of Christians such as false charges, misunderstanding, refusal of Christians to recant, state policy, fear of Christian expansion, suspicion of political affiliations, so on and so forth. He also sheds light on the issue of power in persecution. He says that those who wield power, whether Christians or not, have the tendency to persecute the powerless ‘other’. Christians are no exception to this. In order to counter persecution, he suggests that Christians must avail the constitutional and legal means and also develop an ecumenical mindset to stand united against powerful forces of persecution.

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Doon Theological Journal 5.2 (2008)

The Politics of Culture Behind the Rebuilding of the Temple

Joel Joseph’s article is a cultural, even postcolonial, critique of the politics of culture in the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. He argues that the elite cultural nationalist Jews who returned from exile, rebuilt the temple in collaboration with the colonial power and the native nationalist agents, to have their hold on power. The author argues that though the temple rebuilding is in accordance with the plan of God, this task is not an end in itself. What matters most is obedience and life in accordance with the covenant of God, rather than the temple itself. The latter without the former is simply a play of power politics with little of God, His will and purpose in it. What matters is obedience to God’s Covenant and not to the eccentricities of the externals of the temple building and the rituals in the temple.

Who Was the Good Son? A Fresh Look at eh Parable of Matthew 21:28-32

Graham Simpson’s article is an innovative cultural anthropological, historical, authorial audience centered reading, with a south Asian cultural perspective, of the story of the two sons and their father in Matthew 21.28-32. In this reading Simpson assumes a correspondence of cultural relationship between the south Asian context to that of Jesus’ context in the first century west Asia. He argues that the son who said ‘no’ at first shamed his father in public, but by a belated obedience in private, brought honor to his father. This son ‘exemplifies those who will enter the kingdom. Simpson argues that ‘it is the reversal of cultural values which gives the parable its bite.’ In contrast, the son, who honored the father in public by saying ‘yes’ at first, later dishonored him by his disobedience. Thus the parable’s central teaching ‘is the denial that appearance counts reality in God’s sight. The good son is not the one who merely says the right words and thus creates the right appearance. Rather, the good son is the one who does what is required.’

Reading the Postcolonial Creative Discourse: Towards Modeling a Strategic Postcolinal Theology of/for the Maginalia

Simon Samuel in his articulation of a postcolonial theology of/for the marginalia explores the possibility of creating a commonwealth of ministry between the ministers of culture and the ministers of theology. He suggests that the postcolonial creative, novelistic writers as ministers of culture can enrich the Christian ministers of theology. In order to model a strategic postcolonial theology of the marginalia distinct from the essentializing dalit, tribal etc. theologies, Samuel reads two postcolonial novels of Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things and Mahasweta Devi’s ‘Draupadi’. He proposes that a liberative theology of the marginalia, like the liberative voices in these novels, must occupy a strategic third space with a potential to affiliate and abrogate almost simultaneously both the dominant and the dominated discourses of power.

Missiological Perspective of Mission Amidst Affluence and Affliction: Altering Borders for a Third Space

J.B. Jayaraj explores the possibility of a strategic mission in-between the economically affluent and afflicted segments of Indian society. He argues that the Christian mission in India must occupy the strategic middle space between the affluent and the afflicted and encroach upon both spaces with a view to abrogate both these polar opposite borders so that there be one basileia –ecclesia space of emancipation. He shows this crossing of both borders by elaborating on the stories of Moses, Esther, Jesus and Paul.

Christian Existence in a Non-Christian Environment: Relevant Perspectives for the Future

Santhosh Sahayadoss explores the need and significance of a strategic Christian existence in between an increasingly polarized and polemic pluralistic context of India today. He makes a plea for recognizing others as people of God, and thus initiate reconciliation and solidarity with others. The Christian existence he proposes is a dialogic existence with others in order to build a human and humane community.

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Doon Theological Journal 5.1 (2008)

Truth with a mission: reading scripture missiologically

Chris Wright’s article is an innovative article that integrates a few autobiographical details with some fundamental questions on Christian mission which Wright tries to answer experientially and biblically. As it is typical of Wright, he reads the Old Testament from a missiological perspective. He thinks that the Hebrew Bible is a missional document not only of the early Christians but also of all Christians of all times. In this article, he makes a plea for ‘the missional basis of the Bible,’ by not rejecting ‘the biblical basis of mission.’ For him, ‘the whole Bible is itself a “missional” phenomenon.’ It is the product of God’s mission even as it is ‘about God’ and is ‘His word.’ This re-formulation invites us to have a radical re-vision in our reading of the Scripture both as ‘God’s word’ and as the ‘construct’ of God’s people on God’s mission in the world.

Mission amidst affluence and affliction

Simon Samuel’s article ‘Mission amidst Affluence and Affliction,’ in its first part, delineates the contexts of affluence and affliction in India, and defines the theory of mission of/ from the middle space, which he calls the ‘basileia-ecclesia mission of economic enunciation and emancipation.’ In the second part, Samuel describes the praxis of mission of/ from the middle space in light of Jesus’ mission in Mark and the Jacobean and Pauline mission amidst affluence and affliction. He thinks that the early Christians occupied the strategic third space in between the spaces of affluence and affliction, and from that space they affiliated and abrogated, almost simultaneously, both the polar opposite spaces. This ‘amidst economic mission’ of the early Christians may best be described as the mission of ‘economic mutualism.’ By this, they purged the polarity within their community and promoted the dynamic of basileia- ecclesia mission in the wider Greco-Roman-Jewish world of economic polarities.

Western missions and dependency

This is a provocative article on the Christian mission work in the Latafricasian countries that link up with western churches and mission bodies for economic assistance. Instead of evolving strategies and encouraging independence in native mission fields and churches, Reese finds the western churches and mission agencies perpetuating a dependency syndrome in the churches and mission agencies in these countries. He thinks that this tendency began with colonialism and it has been continuing ever since, due to the economic imperialism and globalization initiated from the west. This article proposes five requirements to avoid and eradicate the problem of dependency.

“God sent his son, born of a woman” (gal. 4:4): the idea of incarnation, its antecedents, and significance in paul’s theology

In the article, Roji T. George investigates the Pauline idea of incarnation Christology and its antecedents in the Hebrew Bible, in second temple Judaism, and in the Jesus tradition. In this respect, he stands in the new line of New Testament scholars, (James Dunn, Martin Hengel, David Wenham, Larry Hurtado, Luis-Fletcher and others) who align themselves to belong to a New History-of-Religions School that reads Pauline christology as one that is rooted in the Hebrew Bible and in the second temple Judaism and in Jesus tradition rather than in Hellenism. George finds traces of early Christian Christology in second temple Jewish heterodoxy which came to Paul via Jesus and the pre-Pauline gospel tradition.

Holy spirit, holiness, and liberation: a theology of liberation in pentecostal perspective

Shaibu Abraham’s article is an attempt to see ‘liberation theology’ in a Pentecostal perspective. He thinks that more than the socio-political structural transformation, the starting point of real liberation for an individual is in terms of his or her holiness and transformed life in the Spirit. When this takes place in the lives of a large number of people in a society or nation, structural socio-political and economic transformations are bound to take place. For Abraham, individual transformation is the key to structural transformation. In this respect, this article brings a corrective to the radical, leftist, understanding of liberation/ salvation of the mainstream liberation theologians.

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Doon Theological Journal 4.2 (2007)

Paul’s Concern for the Unity of the Church: An Embodiment of His New Covenant Theology

In this article, Scott Hafemann examines, “the way in which Paul applied his understanding of the church as the people of the new covenant to the issue of the unity of the church itself.” He argues that Paul’s ecclesiology and his concern for unity among God’s people derive from biblical-theological rather than pragmatic concerns. Hafemann shows that the church, the new covenant community, in Paul’s theology acts as the outpost of the kingdom of God and God’s alternative in the midst of this evil age and hence, the relevance and importance of church unity.

Interrogating Forgiveness: Learning from the Early Church

Interrogating Forgiveness: Learning from the Early Church is an investigation into the understanding and practice of forgiveness in the early church during Cyprian’s time when the church passed through severe Roman persecution. Jayakiran Sebastian investigates this with a view to learn the effect and implication of forgiveness on an individual and on the wider society. This paper reveals that the early church within its ranks practised forgiveness in order to equip the saints of God to withstand persecution, i.e., to challenge and overcome the persecuting Roman colonial powers. It shows that forgiveness and reconciliation are decisive initiatives that can neutralize the discourse of violence. They have an equipping and enabling power on the victims of violence. They express resilience and endurance of the suffering people. Forgiveness, thus, is an empowering act.

Martin Luther’s Understanding of the Person Between Autonomy and Theonomy

Hans Schwarz in Martin Luther’s Understanding of the Person Between Autonomy and Theonomy shows that the idea of free choice (autonomy) was abhorrent to Luther, despite his allowance of some measure of free choice to human beings. According to Schwarz, Luther believed (contra Erasmus) that free choice of human beings can do nothing but evil. On the contrary, the more we come in conformity with God (theonomy), through faith in Jesus Christ, the more we become agents of our own life and not victims of our own doing. In other words, those who are ‘theonomous,’ who live in conformity with God in Christ, are autonomous in all spheres of their lives. Only they can ‘be unambiguously good.’ This is the advantage that a Christian enjoys. Therefore, Christians can freely engage in a constructive way in society.

Human Identity in Shame-Based Cultures of Asia

Human Identity in Shame-Based Cultures of Asia is an interesting reading of human identity in Asian shame-honor based cultures. After an anthropological and comparative analysis of ‘guilt/innocence’ and ‘shame/ honor’ in global cultures, Timothy Tennent examines the biblical evidence of guilt, honor and shame, and focuses on the theology of the cross in a shame-based context. He then moves on to see some of the implications of this study on our understanding of the atonement. He thinks that the contributions of honor and shame on the public, social and relational aspects of Christ’s atonement in Asian societies are great, and yet, conversion to Christianity is one of the most “shameful” things in these societies. He says: “Missionaries who have worked in shame-based cultures frequently observe that the reason most Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists resist becoming Christians is not primarily because of specific theological objections to the Christian message. More often, there are powerful social and cultural forces which serve as the primary barrier to Christian conversion.”

Biblical and Theological Basis for Leadership Training

George Kuruvila Chavanikamannil’s Biblical and Theological Basis for Leadership Training highlights the basis of Christian leadership training from a biblical and theological basis. This article provides an excellent study of leadership training from a biblical perspective. It offers a detailed word study of a few prominent words in relation to leadership used in the Bible such as leader, disciple, assistant, sons of prophets, etc. The main focus of the paper is on Jesus and his method of training his own disciples, which Chavanikamannil categorizes under eight headings, and also the training practice, ensued in the early church by the early apostles.

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Doon Theological Journal 4.1 (2007)

Mission Practice: The Early Christian Perspectives

The article “Mission Practice: The Early Christian Perspectives,” explores the early Christian mission praxis by using certain postcolonial theoretical concepts. It sheds light on the various strands of early Christian traditions with their respective perspectives on mission practice, and also on the intense cultural negotiations between the early Christians and the second temple Jews for a space for mission practice. The author thinks that the early Christian strand that asserted a third space, which he calls the ‘eschatological space,’ has succeeded in initiating a worldwide mission.

“The Widow’s Mites:” A Pragmatic Reading of Mark 12: 41-44

“The Widow’s Mites” offers a pragmatic reading of Mark 12. 41-44. This article, by offering a liberationist reading of the story, sheds light on what he calls ‘a theology dealing with issues of widows (a widowology or a cheraology).’ At the outset, the author sounds ambitious, innovative and as a result arouses quite a bit of curiosity. But as he progresses he settles down with certain already existing (and cherished) conclusions.

The Social Thought of Martin Luther and its Relevance for the Indian Society

This article is an attempt to relate the social thought of Martin Luther to the present day Indian context. This is apparently a bold initiative. The author handles it with ease and proves the point to a large extent. This article, thus, challenges the view that the western theology, particularly the theology of Luther, has little relevance, if any, in the socio-political contexts of India.

Euthanasia: The Right to Die or the Slippery Slope to Legalized Murder?

Paul Swarup’s article on “Euthanasia” is a critique from a biblical perspective on an apparently popular and impending legislative attempt to introduce ‘good death’ (euthanasia) in India [The Euthanasia Regulation Bill 2000] after the manner of it being introduced and practiced in some western countries. He fears that the introduction and the practice of the proposed bill with legal backing could have far-reaching implications for the marginalized sections of the Indian society.

Sacred Texts in our Pre-Christian Past: Can the Upanishads Serve as a Hindu Old Testament?

Timothy Tennent’s ‘Sacred Texts in Our Pre-Christian Past’ reopens an issue that fascinated and appealed to many Indian Christian theologians and believers. He begins the article by citing the use of the Hebrew Bible, the post-biblical Jewish writings, and certain ‘other’ texts and sayings in the Christian Testament. This gives him the leverage to forward a few cautious suggestions that (i) we should neither be condemning nor be naively accepting the non-Christian texts, and (ii) we should not make Christ a stranger to any culture. The author, thus, makes a rather persuasive plea for importing the appropriate ‘other’ texts in our evangelistic settings in order to corroborate the Christian kerygma in a Christocentric manner.

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Doon Theological Journal 3.2 (2006)

“Be Subject to the Governing Authorities”: Reading Romans 13:1-7 in the Matrix of Roman Patronage

This article by Roji T. George foregrounds the patron-client relationship of the Greco-Roman world as the best means to read Romans 13:1-7. This study shows the advantages of Cultural and Sociological tools in New Testament Studies. According to him, these tools enable us to find a satisfactory solution to the apparent ambivalence in Paul’s advice to the Roman believers to confess Jesus (and not Caesar) as the Kurios and at the same time to pay tax and be subject to the Roman Kaisarios. He describes this phenomenon in terms of ‘conscientious disobedience.’ Paul appears to instruct the Roman believers to be both anti- and pro-Roman almost simultaneously.

‘Jesus the True and Living Way’

William Isley offers a strong plea for true Christian spirituality based on the scriptural understanding of Christ as the way, the truth and life (John 14:6). He explains spirituality based on truth as a participatory lifestyle of continuous discovery within the knowledge of the triune God, which is firmly anchored in the historical revelation of God to his covenant people. He makes a plea that in spirituality ‘Let us neither continue to follow modernity’s arid and dead end path nor rush into the swampy and foggy trait of contemporary spirituality, but rather follow the way of Jesus, the truth and the life, who has already gone before us to the Father and will accompany us on our journey with his Spirit.’

Calvin on Christian SUFFERING: Temporary Punishment or Eternal Blessing?

This study on Calvin’s understanding of suffering is both informative and inspiring. This is an area that many may not look into while studying Calvin’s theology. But Ebenezer foregrounds the physical sufferings of Calvin to understand Calvin and his theology.

“Agni Kristvidya” (Fire Christology): A Comprehensive Model of Spirit Christology

This is a pioneering study in the area of Spirit Christology by Paluri Wilson. He takes the concept of Agni from the Hindu scriptures and religious traditions and argues that this perhaps is a useful cultural category that Christians of India can explore in presenting Christ and the Christian understanding of Spirit Christology in Indian cultural context.

“A Poor Reflection as in a Mirror”: A Response to “Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements in Post-Independent India” by George Oommen

In this article, Paulson Pulikottil responds to George Oommen’s earlier article in Doon Theological Journal: ‘Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement in Post-independent India: An Appraisal’ (2.2, pp. 142-163). Here Pulikottil, unlike Oommen, responds passionately as a ‘participant scholar.’ The author not only offers a corrective to Ommen’s interpretation of Indian Pentecostalism, but he also unveils important dimensions of Indian Pentecostal history, which hitherto have not been addressed. This article intends to initiate a dialogue between ‘participant’ and ‘non-participant’ scholars so that there will be an informed understanding and awareness on the emerging and widely expanding Pentecostal and Charismatic movements and their histories in the Indian subcontinent.

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Doon Theological Journal 3.1 (2006)

Postcolonialism as a Critical Practice in Biblical Studies (PART II)

This is a continuation of the article under the same title appeared in DTJ 2:2, 2005, pp. 97-119. In this article, Simon Samuel analyzes the remaining two models of postcolonial reading of biblical discourses: ‘the intercultural/sub-cultural model’ and the ‘strategic essentialist and transcultural hybridity model.’ The author argues that the intercultural/sub-cultural model, in tune with the spirit of postmodernism, breeds sub-culturalism that erases the potential for opposition. The strategic essentialist and transcultural model, which he pioneers and proposes in biblical studies as a model, is one that can effectively engage and explain the complexities and conundrums of the biblical discourses in relation to empire, colonization and nationalism.

Global Views of the Messiah

This article examines the claims of Jesus’ appearances in various cultures and their implications for proclamation of the gospel. The author finds common threads in all non-biblical and syncretistic presentations of Jesus in Caribbean, African, Islamic, Chinese and Hindu religions. In all these religions and cultures Jesus holds a special attraction to people and their response is evidence of Jesus’ prior claim on them. While Jesus has a place of honor in these cultures and religions, they often have a distorted image about Jesus, which is far removed from the biblical revelation. The author thinks the uniqueness of the person and work of Jesus – his being the Supreme God and the sufficiency of his redemptive work – is not adequately apprehended in these cultures. The paper challenges Christians to assume the servant role and assist people to find Jesus as he is presented in the Scripture.

Relevance of Calvin’s Theology for the Twenty-First Century

Lyle D. Beirma examines the theology of John Calvin and seeks to discover its relevance in contemporary times when the western theology is criticized by Asian and Latin American theologians as individualistic and dogmatic with little significance for the life of majority of Christians living in other parts of the world. The author argues that Calvin’s theology is a theology of piety which has tremendous implications for people’s personal, spiritual as well as social life, i.e., it elicits a piety and godliness in the life of a Christian which in turn contributes to the quality of life in the society and polity at large.

Pre-Christian Ignorance in Apostolic Preaching

This article by Mohan Chacko deals with the issue of “pre-Christian ignorance.” The author contends that in the Bible, such ignorance is ethical rather than metaphysical, contrary to that of Hindu philosophy. Pre-Christian ignorance is culpable, for it is a lack of recognition and rejection of God’s work and not a lack of knowledge or information. It is equivalent to rebellion against God’s covenant. God’s “overlooking” of this ignorance in Gentiles is both a word of judgment as well as grace. As a word of judgment, it is equal to God abandoning the nations in the past. The good news is that now, because of Christ, God calls the nations to repentance and is favorably disposed to their salvation. His passing over the sins of ignorance is not quite forgiveness or justification, but is more than a postponement of punishment. So understood, there is no contradiction between Lukan Paul and the Paul of the epistles, as is sometimes alleged. The book of Acts does not teach a natural theology nor do the epistles forget God’s gracious disposition to the Gentiles. The author develops implications for the mission of the church in India.

The God Darwin did not Believe in and a Call for an Artistic Paradigm

James Gustafson attempts to show the folly of Darwin’s claims on the “evolution” of humankind. The author states that it is only on certain metaphysical assumptions with limited insights in theology and science that Darwin draws his naive conclusions about God. By employing a limited metaphysical paradigm, Darwin attempts to annihilate the creator God and establish evolution as an alternative explanation for life in Nature. Contrary to this, the author opts for an open paradigm in which God could be portrayed as an artist. By employing this, the author attempts to reconcile what is not reconciled in Darwin’s thought.

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Doon Theological Journal 2.2 (2005)

Postcolonialism as a Critical Practice in Biblical Studies (Part i)

In this article, the author describes the theoretical roots of Postcolonial Studies and explores its possibilities in Biblical Studies. He suggests that Postcolonialism as a theoretical concept can be applied to reading the biblical discourses as most of these are originated in various colonial contexts and from among the colonized subject communities. In the second section of this paper, he reviews the existing models of postcolonial readings such as the essentialist/nativist, resistance/recuperative (in the present issue), the intercultural/ subcultural models and finds them to be inadequate to deal with the complex responses of biblical discourses to empire. Hence, he proposes a new model, which he calls ‘strategic essentialist and transcultural hybridity model,’ a christened version of a critical practice in discourse analysis pioneered by Homi K. Bhabha and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (discussion on the latter two models will be in the forthcoming volume of DTJ). This model, the author thinks, could engage the complexities and conundrums of biblical discourses in relation to empire, colonialism and nationalism.

The Pneumatology of Pandipeddi Chenchiah: A CRITICAL Appraisal

Pneumatology, as a distinct filed of study in theological reflection, has gained momentum in recent years largely because of the phenomenal growth of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. Following this trend, the author examines the pneumatology of one of the prominent Indian Christian theologians, Pandipeddi Chenchiah. Chenchiah understands the Holy Spirit as a new “cosmic energy.” He develops his concept of the yoga to appropriate this energy to build a “new creation,” which is understood in terms of a new social order. The author, while appreciating Chenchiah’s attempts to impress upon the Indian Church of the significance of the Holy Spirit, thinks that Chenchiah’s pneumatology, to a large extent, is incompatible with the historic Christian faith and the Scripture. However, the author perceives that Chenchiah’s efforts to reflect on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit should be seen as a great service to the Indian Church, particularly in the context emerging pneumatological discussions.

Pentecostal-charismatic movements in post-independent india: an appraisal

This article is an unsympathetic ‘outsider’s reading of the history of Pentecostal and Charismatic movements in India. The author seeks to make a comprehensive analysis of “the Pentecostal-Charismatic movements in India with a view to highlight its major features and historically significant developments” with special focus on Pentecostalism itself. For someone who is interested in the factual historical details of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, this paper may appear to be inadequate in factual details. However, for one who is interested in a critical appraisal of this movement, this may be of some help.

The challenge of churchless Christianity

The article explores the growing contemporary movement whereby Hindus are embracing Christ without visibly uniting with the Church. The question, which this article seeks to answer, is, if someone can say ‘yes’ to Jesus, but ‘no’ to the church. After surveying the historic Roman Catholic and Protestant ecclesiology, the article demonstrates that this churchless Jesu bhakta movement cannot be reconciled with any historic expressions of ecclesiology but, instead, represents a radical break with historic Christian ecclesiology. The author, then, provides a careful survey of the most prominent theologians who have addressed each side of this question: M. M. Thomas and Lesslie Newbigin. Finally, the author concludes with an evangelical assessment, which explores four areas, which need further reflection and evaluation if this movement is to enjoy wide acceptance in 21st century ecclesiology.

Is holiness ascertainable? Presbyterian perspectives on the trials and examination of candidates for ministry

Mathew Ebenezer’s paper explores a debate among the Presbyterians of European settlers in the North American continent in the latter half of the eighteenth century. At a time when colonization of the Native American land and subjugation of its peoples were rampant, the burning issue among Presbyterian settlers was: “Is holiness ascertainable?” In this article, the author examines the debate between Patrick Allison and John Blair who represent the Old and New Side within the church. To some it may show how a church can be unconcerned of the wider socio-political issues of colonialism and occupation of other peoples’ land and be narrowly focused on an ‘internal’ issue of the holiness status of potential ordinands, whether or not it should be ‘experiential’ or ‘visible’ holiness. To others, like the author himself who is an ‘insider,’ this debate highlights the importance of visible Christian character and holiness in the life and conduct of ordained ministers in the church, the implication of which obviously will be much wider to Christians and others of all times.

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Doon Theological Journal 2.1 (2005)

The biblical creation story and implications for a biblical view of human male/female societal status and relationships

Analyzes the creation story in the Bible where the account of first human relationship between humans (male-female) is given. This relationship is basically a family relationship. Presents common misunderstandings and misrepresentations of the creation story, and examines the literal and plain meaning of selected verses. Indicates how the fall has brought problems in relationships and in societal status among humans and what the redeemed community as an integral part of the society could do with this view.

An eternal planting, a home of holiness: the self-understanding of the dead sea scrolls community

Studies the two metaphors “an eternal planting” and “a house of holiness’ which were used extensively by the DSS Community as an expression of their self-understanding. The metaphors of the “plant/planting” and the “temple/sanctuary” were vital for their understanding of themselves as a group set apart from the rest of Israel. Like two sides of the same coin, they represent theological ideas that complement each other. The community appropriated these two traditions and adapted them to suit their new context, and this gave the community the dynamism and the vitality to fulfill their self-appointed role as an eternal planting, a house of holiness.

Paul’s speeches at lystra and athens (acts 14: 8-20; 17: 16-33): a model for preaching in India

The book of Acts shows how the gospel spread from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. In this phenomenon, speeches played a significant role. Examines the earlier Christian expansion by reading the speeches of Paul in Acts 14 and 17. Although the historicity of these passages is accepted, the speeches are understood as Luke's own description of the Gentile mission. These two speeches are given in two Gentile contexts, which are similar in their religiosity and worship. However differences can also be noted. The first is given in a rural and the second in an urban intellectual setting. These speeches seem to be giving a model to share the gospel to the Gentiles, in the 1st century context, which is not too far from the contemporary context in India.

The beginning of mark (mk. 1:1): a postcolonial reading

Reads the beginning (arguably the title) of Mark from a colonial/postcolonial perspective in order to find whether or not Mark begins the story of Jesus as a pro- or anti-colonial response to Rome or as an ambivalent affiliative-disruptive postcolonial response to both the Roman colonial and the native Jewish nationalistic and collaborative discourses of power. Mark begins the good news of Jesus Messiah in a moment of historical transformation of his minoritarian community which is trying to map a space for itself in a colonial setting dominated by Rome and by a certain segment of the Judeo-Jewish culture. Mark's borderline engagements of cultural difference may be consensual and conflictual, affiliative and disruptive at once.

Dr. Asgar Ali engineer: an appraisal

Pluralism, according to Engineer, is a characteristic of modern democratic countries, with the feudal state giving way to the democratic, with citizens free to choose a religion of their choice. He is critical of the Islamic world, which cannot cope with the notion of civil society, and where the freedom of religion is not a religion of choice. Engineer’s attitude toward other religious traditions is pluralistic, considering other traditions equally valid paths just like Islam. His presentation of Islam and the acceptance of pluralism is to protect the safety and security of Muslims in India, and allow peaceful coexistence with different religious communities, particularly Hinduism.

The ethical implications of human cloning

The issue of cloning human life can only be understood by grasping the moral philosophies used by various commentators schooled mostly in European philosophy, such a utilitarianism, deontology, religious, and virtue ethics. After reviewing the anticipated benefits of human cloning and the liabilities, the author reviews how various ethical systems would likely treat the issue of cloning human life. Finally, he offers reasons to reject human cloning on deontological grounds in a Christian context.

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Doon Theological Journal 1.2 (2004)

Ecclesiastical and ascetic fasting: an important difference in the history of the church

William Isley argues that the ecclesiastical fasts maintained and practised in some church traditions according to the ecclesiastical calendar, unlike ascetic fasts, continue the New Testament understanding of fasting. He says, “The ecclesiastical fasts preserve Jesus’ teaching better than does the fasting of Christian ascetics.” This is perhaps an eye-opener to those belonging to the free, independent and charismatic church traditions where ascetic fasting still holds sway in asserting purity, holiness and is understood as a means to gain God’s favour.

Ecumenism, exclusivism, and national church: approaches in the presbyterian churches of india to the concept of ecumenism

This article examines historically and critically the three approaches in the Presbyterian churches of India to the concept of ecumenism. The paper unravels the neglected history of the Presbyterian churches and the sacrificial contributions of these churches toward the church union in India. Ebenezer examines the issue of identity of the Presbyterian churches and as an insider laments over the losses incurred by the Presbyterian churches over union. He thinks that ecumenism was suicidal to the Presbyterian churches in matters relating to their identity.

The revised christology of stanley J. Samartha: a critique

This is a critical reading of eminent Indian Christian theologian, Stanley Samartha, from an evangelical, missiological and theological perspective. The author finds that Samartha proposes a revision of the historic Christology to install Jesus of Nazareth into his pluralistic framework, which has resulted in a reductionism in his interpretation of the Scripture. In Kuriakose’s view, Samartha’s theo-centric Christology is a centreless Christology, for it is fastened to an indefinable, abstract ‘Mystery,’ which is a Christology without any foothold. He concludes that the revised Christology of Samartha, which aims at bringing religious harmony in society, is neither faithful to the biblical revelation nor to the historic understanding of Jesus Christ.

Cultural nationalism and its challenges to the church and its mission in India

This article by C. V. Mathew on “Cultural Nationalism” explores the origin of Hindu cultural nationalism in India, which, in his view, is an unfortunate aftermath of the British Raj and Indian nationalism. Mathew thinks that cultural nationalism, as it is promoted by the Sangh Parivar, is bent on diluting the cultural identity of Christians, their theology and traditions. Therefore, he challenges the Indian Christians to assert a space where they could be both authentic disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ (‘World Christians’) and at the same time patriotic citizens (‘national Christians’) of India.

Theological education in India today: training for a relevant ministry

This paper explores the current state and relevance of theological education in India. It is an appraisal of theological training with a view to challenge the existing ministerial training. He thinks that theological education in India still depends on western forms of training. The paper sheds light on other hindrances like dearth of good libraries, practically experienced faculty, dependence on obsolete curriculum and methods of learning and exclusion of laity from training. According to the author, for a relevant ministerial training there should be sufficient involvement of the whole people of God in training and change in the curriculum.

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Doon Theological Journal 1.1 (2004)

A Postcolonial historiography: toward a Postcolonial approach to reading the discourses of a colonial subject community

Theological articulations from diverse Indian perspectives are not new. They are as early as or perhaps earlier than the western critical scholarship. However, attempts toward a postcolonial approach to theological and biblical studies are new. As an initiation into this, the article on postcolonial historiography examines theoretically certain issues relating to reading the discourses of a colonial subject community, keeping in mind that the biblical discourses, especially the NT discourses are from colonial subject minoritarian communities. We live in a world in which imperialism and colonialism are on the rise in an unprecedented scale. We also see the native breed of elites duplicating the imperialism and colonialism of their former colonial masters on their native ‘others’ in the form of cultural nationalism and majoritarian democracy in a number of nations. This latter phenomenon is particularly seen in India. In this context, what would or could be the response of subject communities, is as pertinent as it was in the past. Hence the importance of ‘A Postcolonial Historiography: Toward a Postcolonial Approach to Reading the Discourses of a Colonial Subject Community.’

Impact of Hindu fundamentalism on minority rights: a Christian response

This article describes the nature and practice of Hindutva promoted and practised under the banner of cultural nationalism in India. By highlighting the constitutional provisions on Fundamental Rights especially freedom of conscience enshrined in the Indian Constitution, the author argues that the religious persecutions and minority bashing in India with overt and covert permission of the authorities are violations not only of minority rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution but also violations of human rights. He proposes that the Christian minority communities of India need to respond to these violations by means of a ‘public theology.’

The agenda for an Indian evangelical theology

Recent years have witnessed the rise of Evangelical theology in most parts of the world and in certain parts, it unfortunately swings toward Christian fundamentalism. It is in this context that the author reflects on the agenda for an Indian Evangelical theology. This paper is a review and critical analysis of three Indian Evangelical theologians, Ken Gnanakan, Sunand Sumithra and Bruce Nicholls. The author makes a strong plea that Indian Evangelical theology must not only be directed to God as a God-glorifying theology but also to one’s fellow human being and address contemporary human questions in the light of God’s revelation. He also pleads that Indian Evangelical theology must be based on Scripture but at the same time speak from one’s own context and experience.

Contemporary promises and challenges in global Christianity

The article is a reflection on the ever-increasing new centers of Christianity in the non-western world and the new challenges and promises that brings to the Christian church as a whole in terms of mission, evangelism and praxis. The author also explores the potential new roles and responsibilities of the western churches in this changing scenario.

Fasting: the discipline for the in-between time

‘Fasting: The discipline for the in-between time’ reads anew the New Testament understanding of fasting. The author makes a strong case, based on his new literary critical reading of Mark’s Gospel, that fasting is an expression of grief of the followers of Jesus in the in-between time subsequent to the violent removal of their bridegroom. The primary aspect of Christian fasting is that it must be a sign of grief over the death of Jesus and the fact that he is no longer with us. Thus there is an eschatological dimension to fasting which, Christians do while living in the eschatological tension between “the already” and “the not yet.” The ecclesiastical fasting developed in the Church in later years, has little to do with the New Testament understanding of fasting. This would be discussed in detail in the forth-coming issue of DTJ.