Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

Pentecostals, Proselytization, and Anti-Christian Violence in Contemporary India

Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

Pentecostals, Proselytization, and Anti-Christian Violence in Contemporary India

Article excerpt

Pentecostals, Proselytization, and Anti-Christian Violence in Contemporary India.

By Chad M. Bauman. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2015. Pp. 224. 64 [pounds sterling]/ $99; paperback 16.99 [pounds sterling] / $24.95.

Anti-Christian violence does not exist in a vacuum. As suggested by the title of his book, Chad Bauman, associate professor of religion at Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana, sets out to answer why Pentecostals are targets of anti-Christian violence in contemporary India. Bauman starts by situating Pentecostalism in India within the "polycentric" global Pentecostal movement. Chapter 2 provides a broad historical analysis of Hindu-Christian conflict, going back to the legacy of European colonialism. Despite the colonial misrepresentation of the Christian faith that produced misgivings about missionaries and Christian mission work, Christianity in India--especially Pentecostalism--has experienced steady growth from the mid-1970s on. To stop the growing tide of proselytization, indigenous organizations such as Arya Samaj and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) emerged. Indigenous leaders like Mahatma Gandhi feared that Christian converts would be sympathetic to the colonial power and would bring about disunity in the fight for freedom. Christian conversion, therefore, was seen as being denationalizing.

Drawing upon Bauman's fieldwork in both North and South India among Christians and Hindus, chapter 3 is the heart of the book, outlining reasons for the disproportionate targeting of Indian Pentecostals. …

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