Jesudas M Athyal

The Return of the Sacred

Passion of the Christ of the Indian Road
From Permeation to Protest:
The Lost Tribes of Andaman
Conversion Debate in India
Metropolitan Chrysostom's Message
Ethical and Economic Challenges for Education in a Globalized Era
Identity And Mission: Towards A New Ecclesiology
Relevant Patterns Of Christian Witness In Pluralsitic Societies: An Indian Perspective
Religion, Marxism & Humanism In Dialogue
Gospel And Cultures: A Subaltern reading of the history of Christian Mission in India
Come Holy Spirit, Diagnose, Heal And Reconcile: Lingering Questions from Athens
Gospel and Cultures: An Indian Perspective
New Challenges for Dalit Theology
Diaconal Ministry of the Church
Public Mission of the Church
Witnessing Christ in a Pluralistic Society
The Return of the Sacred
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The Return of the Sacred:

An Indian Christian Perspective on Religion and Politics





Let me, at the outset, congratulate the organisers of the Centre for Mission Studies for selecting the theme: Nationalism and Hindutva: A Christian Response, for this year’s Consultation. Nationalism is the spirit of freedom and self-rule that a nation, especially one which acquired its freedom from external dominance, develops, and Hindutva is the ‘communal’[i] and fundamentalistic form of Hinduism. I take it that the organisers of the Consultation are concerned about the emerging nexus between politics and religious fundamentalism the world over, manifested in India most visibly by Hindutva.


When J. H. Oldham, one of the pioneers of the modern ecumenical movement, said that ‘A return to religion is a return to politics’, he perhaps meant that religion as the arena dealing with the ultimate questions of human destiny can never be distinct from politics, the penultimate arena for the fulfilment of these questions in history. Today however, the relationship between religion and politics in public life is discussed often in negative terms – as an unholy alliance between the two. It is therefore essential that in our present discussion on nationalism and Hindutva we put this transition in its proper perspective.


As religion emerged from the phase of a nascent movement (often in protest against an oppressive religion or culture) into an institution, the dynamics of ‘institutionalisation’ including power and preservation became a dominant concern. In a context where one religion is followed by the majority of the people, the temptation to perceive the other minority religious groups as a threat to its existence and consequently, the urge to bend the political process to safeguard the dominant religion’s institutional interests also becomes a factor.  In this sense, it can be safely argued that ‘the spirit of Hindutva’ is alive in all religions.


Let me come directly to the main focus of this paper. My thesis is that since Hindutva cannot be analysed in isolation as it is a mere manifestation of the resurgence of reactionary and fundamentalistic forces in all faith communities resulting from the erosion of the secular ethos that was the hallmark of nationalism in India, all religions need to own up to a certain extent, to their role in the rise of communalism and therefore an authentic Christian response to Hindutva should emerge from a spirit of repentance and a commitment to strengthen the secular fabric of the country where secularism is understood as the positive interaction of faiths at the intra-religious and inter-religious levels for the common good of humanity and where public space is tempered with the ultimate and transcendental dimension which religion provides.


When we as Indian Christians respond to Hindutva, our identity as a minority religious group (often at the receiving end of Hindutva) is bound to colour our response. This is inevitable and to a certain extent understandable as in ideological and religious discourse, there is nothing called objective or detached analysis. Therefore, while it is true that experiential factors play a major role in shaping our perception, it is also important to note that for a Christian the guiding principle in all ideological and faith matters should be the universal nature of Christ’s message and our mission must be the faith response to it. In our analysis of communalism too, the concerns of the common humanity which we share with others, need to be our dominant concern. In other words, when a Christian speaks of the dangers of Hindutva, she/he does so from the well-springs of the Christian faith which prompt her/him to participate in the affairs of the State as a responsible citizen of this nation committed to the values of nationalism and secularism and deeply concerned about the rise of fundamentalism and communalism in all religions including Christianity. In the absence of such a larger vision, our efforts to respond to Hindutva would merely amount to advocating a communal response to a communal situation.


Biblical – theological understanding


For Christians, the ultimate goal of history and human destiny is the Kingdom of God. The Christian understanding of politics emerges from the theological position that God is actively involved in the transformation of the world and that the church, as the sign and sacrament of God’s Kingdom, is involved with God in this process. The early church believed that though not to the extent of the church, the State too, was an institution established to bring justice and peace on earth, and that it could be perceived as sharing in some form the first fruit or the sign of the Kingdom of God. St. Paul’s teaching that, ‘there is no authority except that which God has established’ (Rom. 13: 1) provided the backdrop for the emergence of a theology of State in the early church. The same chapter also maintains that the State that employs ‘the sword’ to ensure justice for all, is doing God’s will. However, as in all human institutions, inherent in the State is the potential to turn demonic. In Revelation 13 therefore, the Roman State can be seen as turning into ‘the beast’.


Based on this theological understanding of the State, during the early centuries, Christians while affirming loyalty to the Emperor and praying for him, refused to pay religious homage or perform spiritual sacrifices to him. That was the church’s way of ascribing only a limited purpose for political institutions, in the process, opposing the idolatrous pretensions of the State.[ii] This was not a passive position, as martyrdom was often the cost of opposing the personality cult of the rulers. The resistance of the Confessing Church of Germany to Hitler’s oppressive regime was a twentieth century manifestation of this theological understanding. Through the centuries, the Christian faith provided the impetus for men and women to resist, in the name of God, forces of oppression and exploitation.


During the last few decades, reflections on the proper understanding of Christian involvement in politics, often articulating the faith affirmations of people struggling for justice, has emerged as one of the most influential theological movements. In the Western context, this has taken the form of ‘Political Theology’. Jurgen Moltmann put it aptly when he said: ‘Political theology became the starting point for a whole series of mediating theologies..: the theology of revolution, the theology of liberation, black theology, feminist theology and other regionally conditioned ‘contextual’ theologies in Africa and Asia’.[iii] The roots of political theology in the modern period go back to the tradition of the Confessing Church and the theologies of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth, where the lordship of Christ was affirmed over ‘the principalities and powers’.  Moltmann summed this up by saying: ‘The crucified Christ was never a good identification figure for rulers and the powerful’.[iv] He goes on to distinguish between ‘civil religion’ and faith communities. While civil religion is often the means for political states to legitimize and stabilize themselves, the universal mission of the faith community is not bound by any society or nation and represents something universal within individual communities.


The   breadth and sweep of liberation theology in Latin America in the 1960s and `70s underscored the positive role the church can play in struggles for justice. The efforts of contemporary scholars such as Johann Baptist Metz and Moltmann too were channelised to positively meeting the challenges of modernity, characterized by industrialization, urbanization, market economy and a growing State and its various ideological backbones in liberalism and socialism, with the tools of theological reflection and social analysis.


While it is true that where there is no urge of God’s love or the moral pressure of the conscience, God permits the sword of the State to ensure justice, since human nature is sinful, the duty of the Christians to be ‘loyal and law-abiding citizens’ should go along with their prophetic task to question the rulers when they turn into ‘beasts’. According to Lesslie Newbigin, ‘a church that sees the cross of Jesus as the central event of history can never identify any political order with the reign of God’.[v] Such a position is not an invitation for escapism or cynical inaction, on the contrary, it underlines the prophetic role and pilgrim nature of Christians who, as the people of God, cannot identify themselves completely with any human institution.


Christian Political Involvement


While the biblical and theological understanding of Christian mission provided the impetus for resistance to dictatorial regimes and participation in liberation movements in a few cases, it can also be argued that in modern history it was often the institutional and expansionist interests of a messianic church that shaped the mainline political policy of the church. The theological legitimisation built up to support the crusades of the middle ages, slavery and, in more recent history, apartheid in South Africa, are instances when Christianity provided the spiritual sanction for oppressive forces.  Are these mere aberrations of the past which the church has discarded in the light of the dangerous rise of religious fundamentalism and communalism in the present period? As these lines are being written, Vijay Prashad’s new book[vi] has been published. According to the book, in September 2003, when Ariel Sharon became the first Israeli Prime Minister to step on Indian soil, Hindutva and Sharonism embraced each other, and these two Asian right-wing ideologies hoped to form some sort of entente against ‘Islamic terrorism’ with the blessings of George W. Bush’s ‘evangelical imperialism’. The book unmasks the ‘nefarious agenda whereby the evangelical imperialism of the Bush administration, the predatory agenda of the Sharonists and the vainglory of Hindutva come together’. How far Prashad’s notion of ‘evangelical imperialism’ is theologically valid is a debatable point, but it is undisputed in history that all religions have played their role in the rise of communalism and religious fundamentalism.


Though far removed from Christian - majority contexts, churches in societies such as those in India too have a track record in politics that needs to be largely lived down. The contribution of Indian Christianity in the social and political transformation of independent India has been ambiguous and varied. The churches in India have been primarily geared towards social service rather than social action, charitable diakonia within the framework and patronage of the status quo powers rather than social diakonia involving participation in revolutionary ideological and political movements.[vii] Gabriele Dietrich sums up the situation thus:



Christians can hardly claim that they have been forerunners in radical social and political action in India. Their role in the freedom struggle, in the working class movement, in the peasant movement, in the dalit movement, in the women’s movement has been rather marginal. This is not the case simply because they are small in numbers. Their numerical weakness has not prevented them from becoming prominent in setting up medical and educational institutions or in furnishing so much of managing cardres for flourishing industries. As a majority they are inclined to play safe in politics. Their self-perception as a minority community, the self-made golden chains of prestigious institutions, and their church-centred activism have combined in creating a politically conservative opportunistic attitude among Christians at large.[viii]



Throughout history, there was pressure on the church to go along with the ‘idolatrous pretensions’ of the State that sought the absolute allegiance of its citizens. Within the Indian Christian community too, the traditional attitudes and customs have persisted or reasserted themselves. As Christians trying to respond to Hindutva, we need to accept this part of history.  For a Christian, all powers are derived from God and therefore it is the prophetic task of the church to raise its voice when the State claims absolute powers. There have been instances in the past where the Indian churches and Christian leaders attempted to transcend the ‘minority consciousness’ of the community by getting involved in radical political action. The courageous protest of a few church leaders in India to the human rights violations inherent in the National Emergency (1975-77) is an instance of prophetic participation in the life of the wider society. The overwhelming majority of the Christians of the country took the position that it is the duty of the Christians, as responsible citizens, to abide by the dictates of the rulers. A few however maintained that Christians should have ends and loyalties beyond the State. Defending this minority, M. M. Thomas emphatically said: ‘No criticism of religion meddling in politics should prevent the Christian community from expressing its concern for the protection of the right of dissent and from protesting against attempts of any government to liquidate that right’.[ix] 


What was implied in such a stance was the affirmation that civil liberties and democratic rights for the people is not mere charity doled out by the rulers, nor even a matter of human rights and social justice, but that it should be the vision of a just and participatory political order, not the communal or the institutional interests of the church, that should guide the political choices of the faith community. Such responses were also aimed at raising the Christian community from the level of an ‘insecure and protected minority group’ to be responsible citizens who participate fully in the life of the nation. However, on the whole, such actions remained the response of a few progressive elements in the leadership of the Indian church; the vast majority of the Indian Christians failed to own such prophetic positions. 


The Indian context


This paper aims at identifying the major currents that shape the mission of the church in India. First of all, the locus in this discussion is essentially Indian. While the theological-theoretical framework of the academic discussions in the West hold valuable lessons for the churches and faith communities elsewhere, the challenges of pluralistic societies such as India call for a different framework for discussing the public mission of the church. The third world challenge wherein the church finds itself in transition from a cultural Eurocentricism to a polycentric universal church summons us to radically redefine our paradigms of political theology.


Simultaneously, we should also accept critically the relevance of third world theological streams such as liberation theology in the Indian context. The origins of liberation theology can be traced to the growing participation of Christian priests and laypeople in the struggles of the poor majorities to overcome marginalisation, poverty and oppression. Such participation generated a deep spiritual commitment to the poor and a need to understand better the social, economic and political structures which caused these situations.[x] When we however speak of Christian political involvement in India, we need to note that the context calls for a different mandarin and analysis. True, liberation theology transcends the borders of Latin America and that in India too the huge majority of the people are oppressed and marginalized. It is essential that while we accept the fact that the rich insights and praxis that emerge from the vision developed in liberation theology has imparted a new faith perspective in the Indian context, we must also be aware of a major difference between the two contexts. In Latin America, the struggle is largely within a cultural context moulded in Christian values whereas what we need in India, where the church is a small minority, could be a contextual form of liberation theology that takes seriously the cultural – religious complexities of pluralistic India.


There is another question relevant in our current discussion on a Christian response to nationalism and Hindutva. While accepting that very often the onslaught by Hindu fundamentalists on the minority groups in India are unprovoked and senseless, we as Christians should also ask self critically whether the aggressive and insensitive patterns of evangelism, pursued by at least some sections of the Indian church in the past, have in any way aggravated the situation. In an India polarised to the core on communal-caste lines, the church should be sensitive to the patterns of its evangelistic mission. The church as a healing community needs to breaks through the barriers that divide the various communities with the message of peace and reconciliation.


This also goes along with the need to take a fresh look at the Christian understanding of evangelism and ecclesiology in India. What form can Christian witness take in a pluralistic context? How do we understand the interaction between gospel and culture in these settings? What are the implications of issues such as conversion, baptism and membership in a church in the religiously surcharged atmosphere of India? Theologians have raised in the past the question whether it is possible in India, for converts to continue to remain in their cultural moorings. There were also efforts to build up a ‘Hindu Church of Christ’ in India. Here in Maharashtra itself, Narayan Vaman Tilak had spoken about the Darbar of God as a brotherhood of the baptised and unbaptised disciples of Christ.[xi]


Such instances often remained as the experiments of isolated individuals and groups without influencing, in a decisive way, the life and witness of the Indian churches. Though the theological seminaries incorporated these concerns into their academic curriculum, the churches by and large continue to remain in their traditional framework.


Secondly, when we speak of Christian political involvement in India, we are not saying that the involvement of Christians in politics is distinct from that of the other communities, say, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. Categorising political involvement on religious lines is communal politics. While the freedom to profess and practice one’s own religion and the space to manage the institutions necessary for them are important rights, these need to be viewed as part of the civil liberties and democratic rights of all human beings, not as the concern of one community alone. There is a glorious chapter in the history of India when the Christian community voluntarily gave up its communal rights and placed its security in the hands of the mainline society. In the Constituent Assembly, there was a good deal of debate whether religious freedom clause should include the right of every person to ‘propagate’ religion. When the Christian representatives Mukherji and D’Sousa declared that the Indian Christian community had decided to forgo the communal electoral safeguards and give up ‘communal’ politics, Patel with the backing of Nehru applauded the decision; and immediately as a spontaneous response, the Constituent Assembly took the initiative to include the right to ‘propagate’ religion as part of the fundamental human rights.[xii] Christian political involvement becomes the faith response of a responsible citizen when faith is placed, alongside the progressive sections of other religions, within a secular framework to address the common challenges faced by the larger society.


In conclusion, let me mention three areas where a Christian perspective on political action is relevant in India today:


The prophetic role:


Prophetic religion affirms the spiritual alienation of the human being which makes power corrupt. Prophetic religion therefore is an instrument of checking corruption and empowering the oppressed and exploited in the name of justice. Herbert Hoefer analyses thus the prophetic role of the church:


Even if every one in India become Christian, we would not have a ‘Christian society.’ We would still have problems of corruption, gaps between the rich and poor, self-seeking pride and groupism – as we already experience in our church affairs. We are realistic about the nature and potentialities of fallen humanity…Therefore, the Church accepts that it will always share the necessary role of the prophet in civil affairs.[xiii]


In Tamil Nadu, we have a Speaker who is fond of speaking about his ‘sky high powers’ over against the press, judiciary and even the Constitution! As was noted earlier, for a Christian, all powers are subject to the domain of God and so it is the mission of the church to question any institution or individual who claim to themselves ‘sky high powers’. The Christian should approach power, whether in the State or Church, from the standpoint of a genuine concern for the humanity of all people within the framework of God’s concern for humankind in Jesus Christ.


Laity Participation


If Christians were to make their contribution to the actualisation of social justice in India, they must be prepared to participate in the liberation struggles going on in the country, not under the Christian banner, but as responsible citizens and sensitive human beings committed to the building up of the new society India should strive for. In the Latin American form of liberation theology, the clergy can and do play a prominent role in the socio-political revolution of the State and society as it is predominantly a Christian context whereas any public role for the clergy, whether for evangelisation or social action in India, will be viewed with suspicion by the largely non-Christian society. This is an area where the laity can play a crucial role. While the clergy has the task of sensitising the church to the social needs and also, in exhorting the laity to faithfully discharge their duties to the society, the clergy themselves need not necessarily play a centre-stage role in the actual revolutionary movements. M. M. Thomas further elaborates this point when he says:


In a secular state like that of India, Christian responses to politics are normally expressed through lay Christians who have taken politics as their vocation and those who are associated with political parties. But there is need to develop what has been called “the constituency of conscience” within the voluntary sectors to undergird the rights of persons on State and Society. This constituency is the foundation of political vocations, and the Churches may well play a vital role at this level.[xiv]


A laity thus involved and equipped could become a powerful force in the formation of the prophetic role of the church.


The promotion of a secular ethos


Coming back to the main theme of this Consultation, Nationalism and Hindutva: A Christian Response, since the French Revolution, nationalism has been the main spiritual and emotional force cementing all the elements of statehood into nation-states which has become the typical political unit. Secularism in terms of separation of religion and State has been the ideological ally of the nation state. Today both secularism and the nation state are under threat.[xv] Whether as ‘Hindu nationalism’ in India or ‘evangelical imperialism’ in the United States, it appears that religion defines nationalism and provides its basis in many countries. It could even be argued that religious nationalism has emerged as one of the biggest challenges to the secular State.


The debate on religion and politics needs to be placed within the context of the resurgence of identities based on ethnic and parochial religious allegiance the world over, in a context where the term ‘identity’ is increasingly used as a tool for division, not a unifying principle. As a social commentator located the problem in the Indian context: ‘…we are moving towards an era of recognition of Hindu-Muslim differences rather than pursuing their chimerical commonalities. We are moving towards a multiculturalism, with majority and minority cultures, rather than the emergence of a ‘composite culture…’[xvi]


There were great expectations in the past that under the impact of modernization, characterized by urbanization, market economy and the explosion of information, the influence of religion will gradually decline, especially in non-western and traditional societies. A generation ago, Harvey Cox wrote in the book, The Secular City about the world of declining religion. His thesis was in tune with the theory of the ‘melting pot’ where social scientists claimed that with modernisation of a pluralistic society, cultural and religions distinctions will disappear or at least become irrelevant and that all the citizens of a country would evolve a common identity. As the forces of sectarian and fundamentalist forces are increasingly on the rise all over the globe, this theory has been abandoned. Harvey Cox himself revised his theory in the 1980s when he wrote, in Religion in the Secular City that rather than an era of rampant secularisation and religious decline, it appears to be more of an era of religious revival and the return of the sacred.[xvii] Whether it is the redemptive or the demonic elements of the ‘sacred’ that has returned to influence so profoundly the course of current history is the question before us.


The resurgence of religious fundamentalism that accompanied ‘the return of the sacred’ in most traditional societies has considerable significance for pluralistic societies such as India with their fragile inter-communal framework. While academic notions about the retreat of religion and the universalisation of secularization were highly exaggerated, it is important to note that most traditional societies had a religious basis rooted largely in a secularist worldview. The modern secular State emerged from such a societal identity. Secular State does not imply that the religious view of life has no significance for public life or politics. Mahatma Gandhi has shown that reformed religion can be, and perhaps is, the only basis for building secular nationalism that recognizes the unity of humanity, which transcends religious, communal and secular ideological divisions in the nation.


India has a tradition of having an organic relationship between secular, democratic and social movements on the one hand and reformed religious thought on the other, an interaction that shaped the socio-political and cultural life of the State and society. Any viable expression of political theology in pluralistic contexts needs to relate the Christian public mission to the secular context informed by renascent religious movements. In his Stanley Samartha Memorial Lectures delivered recently, C. T. Kurien analyses how religions, rooted in the values of justice and equality, can play a significant role in building up communal harmony in India.[xviii]


The Public Mission of the Church


J. H. Oldham’s categorical statement, quoted at the beginning of this paper, now appears to be a hesitant question. Is a return to religion really a return to politics? Should it be? In a communally charged context, Jurgen Moltmann’s statement that what we have witnessed in recent times is “the creative return of religion to politics and the dangerous return of politics to religion”, sounds more realistic. In India we can perhaps say that the creative return of religion to politics in the earlier part of the last century has given way to the dangerous return of politics to religion during our times.


It is at this historical juncture that the Christian voice in public life is sought to be re-articulated today. As was noted earlier, in India, when at the threshold of national independence itself, the Christian leaders decided to forgo any special electoral safeguards and give up ‘communal’ politics, they affirmed their basic belief in secularism as the framework for a pluralistic society. Several Indian theologians have pointed out that one reason for the revival of fundamentalist forces is that the non-communal aspects of religion have become marginalized in recent years. This is as much true within the Christian church as it is in the other religions and in inter-religious relations.


The position of some political sections, notably secularists and leftists, that in a pluralistic context, any public role for religion will lead to conflict and therefore, religion should be confined to one’s private realm, would reveal a lack of proper understanding of the progressive and life-affirming aspects of all religions. It is doubtful whether it is possible, or feasible, to thus separate religion and politics. An option more sensitive to the religious ethos of India would be that religion should become relevant to political life without being co-opted by it. As M. M. Thomas puts it: ‘If religion is part of the problem in India, religion must also be part of the solution’. What is being affirmed here is that while communalised religion threatens to shatter the secular ethos of the country, the anti-dote to fundamentalism and communalism lies in an alliance of the faith communities, rooted in a secular ethos and committed to the promotion of peace and justice concerns.


Suffering and renunciation are themes easily identified with the religious ethos of India. In the struggles for national independence, Mahatma Gandhi could easily draw sustenance from ‘the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died’. The cross of Jesus has continued to be interpreted in India, not only by Christian theologians but by many others - religious Hindus, Indian artists and poets and even India’s secular politicians - as the symbol of God’s identification with the suffering and oppressed humanity.[xix] The cross is therefore the most pertinent form of the church’s public mission in contexts such as India. Such an insight would involve a paradigm shift in our understanding of mission – a shift from the messianism of the crusading and triumphant God to the suffering servant. This shift is a universal phenomenon, as much true in the Christian-majority western nations as it is in the pluralistic context of India. Moltmann who, in 1964 wrote Theology of Hope, wrote, eight years later, The Crucified God. In the second book, the point of reference is not so much hope as the cross. ‘If God in the former book was the power of future, God is now experienced in suffering. God involves himself in the suffering of history and carries the history forward through suffering love’.[xx] Lesslie Newbigin carries this theme forward when he says: ‘The victory of God is finally accomplished in the rejection and death of Jesus. The king reigns from the tree’.[xxi] A God who shares the pathos of the people is a theme with which the marginalized and oppressed people of India can easily identify with.


In the final analysis, a faith response to Hindutva and participation in political action in India should be rooted in the prophetic tradition of the Christian faith in which the process of reformation would begin from within, but it needs to find a place in public life only as one among many faith communities committed to the building up of a secular and democratic India, living and working in dialogue with other religions and ideologies, and participating alongside them in the struggles for peace and justice. The mission of the church in such contexts is understood as opening politics and society to the influence of the search for the ultimate meaning of being human and the ethics of human relations where political life is tempered with the transcendental dimension of faith.











[i] According to Ninan Koshy, community is a grossly misused term in India. Community and communal are primarily used in India in a negative sense – to denote an exclusive and parochial approach to one’s own caste or religious group in relation to the others and to view the whole body politic as the arena for the inter-play of the various majority and minority ‘communities’. See The Community We Seek: Perspectives on Mission (ed. Jesudas M. Athyal), CSS, Tiruvalla, 2003


[ii] Mathew, George (ed.), Towards Christian Humanism: An Indian Perspective (Juhanon Mar Thoma Memorial Committee, New Delhi, 1983) 19

[iii] Rasmusson, Arne, The Church as Polis: From Political Theology to Theological Politics as Exemplified by Jurgen Moltmann and Stanley Hauerwas (University of Notre Dame Press, USA) 14

[iv] Rouner, Leroy S. (ed.) Civil Religion and Political Theology (University of Notre Dame Press, USA, 1986) 54

[v] Lesslie Newbigin, Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, 1986) 125

[vi] Vijay Prashad, Namaste Sharon: Hindutva and Sharonism under US Hegemony (Leftword Publications, New Delhi, 2003)

[vii] Towards Christian Humanism, 9

[viii] Dietrich, Gabriele, ‘Laity in Secular Social Action’, NCC Review (February, 1987) 94

[ix] Towards Christian Humanism, 20

[x] Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement (WCC, Geneva, 1991) 997

[xi] Plamthodathil S., Jacob, The Experimential Response of N. V. Tilak (CISRS-CLS, Madras-Bangalore, 1979)

[xii] M. .M Thomas, Nagas Towards A.D. 2000 (Centre for Research on New International Economic Order, Madras, 1992) 213-214

[xiii] Hoefer E., Herbert, Church-State-Society: A Lutheran Perspective (CLS, Madras, 1982) 38

[xiv] Towards Christian Humanism, 25

[xv] Koshy, Ninan, Religion and Politics: The Debate at the end of the Century (Ecumenical Christian Centre, Bangalore, 1995) 5-6

[xvi] M. Amaladoss, ‘Religions are to Promote Life in Freedom’, People’s Reporter (Vol. 16, No. 22) 3

[xvii] Religion and Politics: The Debate, 8-9

[xviii] C. T. Kurien, ‘For Communal Harmony, Dwell Together in Unity’, People’s Reporter (Vol. 16, No. 22) 6

[xix] Towards Christian Humanism, 4

[xx] The Church as Polis, 51

[xxi] Foolishness to the Greeks, 99