The Church’s Mission and Post-Modern Humanism by M. M. Thomas
M.M. Thomas was one of the formost Christian leaders of the nineteenth century. He was Moderator of the Central Committee of
the World Council of Churches and Governor of Nagaland. An ecumenical
theologian of repute, he wrote more than sixty books on Theology and Mission,
including 24 theological commentaries on the books of the bible in Malayalam
(the official language of the Indian state of Kerela). This
book was jointly published by Christava Sahhya Samhhi (OSS), Tiruvalla, Kerela,
and The Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (ISPOK), Post Box
1585, Kashmere Gate, Delhi - 110 006, in 1996. Price Rs. 60. Used by permission
of the publisher. This material was
prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.
Chapter 1: Common Life in the Religiously Pluralistic India
If each Faith keeps its ethics of law dynamic
within the framework of and in tension with its own transcendent vision of
perfection, the different religious and secular Faiths can have a fruitful
dialogue on the nature of human alienation which makes love impossible and for
updating our various approaches to personal and public law with greater realism
with insights from each other.
Chapter 2: Religious Fundamentalism And Indian Secularism - the Present Crisis
There is a present crisis of Indian
Secularism and its relation to religious fundamentalism. Freedom of propagation
and conversion involves not only matters of religion, but also of culture and
political ideas. Any restriction at this point will affect the fundamental
rights of the human person in general.
Chapter 3: Meanings of Being a Secular State: A Critical Evaluation
Open Secularism and Renascent Religion are
allies and need to reinforce each other in public life to redeem the new human
values of freedom, equality and justice and enhance the quality of national
fraternity in a situation of religious and ideological pluralism.
Chapter 4: A Christian Anthropological Approach To Globalisation
ecological justice, and justice to the weaker sections of society and
specifically development of social institutions cannot be taken up by the
economy directed only by the market-profit mechanism in which the social
objectives of the peoples are destroyed for the sake of economic growth.
Chapter 5:. Technology, Culture and Religion
Two challenges seem to loom large in the
modern world including India which is in the process of modernization; one, of
humanizing the technological revolution to serve the poor and protect the
ecological basis of life; and the other, of building a secular state and common
civil society with openness to religious insights in a situation of religious
Chapter 6: Primal Vision And Modernization
A critique both the primal and modern
visions of human being and society in the light of each other and in the light
of the theological vision of God’s purpose for the future of humankind.
Chapter 7: Gospel to the Tribal People
It is quite clear to all historians of
modern India that the story of the spiritual and socio-political awakening of
the adivasees or indigenous people anywhere in India can be understood
only by taking into account the large role played by western Christian Missions
and indigenous churches in transforming their lives.
Chapter 8: Gospel And Secular Culture
The dynamics of modern “secular culture”
have their roots in a concept of humanism derived from the Christian gospel but
that because of the failure of the churches to respond positively to the values
that emerged in Christian culture as implication of Christian humanism, they
were sought to be realized in human history under the dynamic of “secularist
ideologies of humanism” in opposition to the Christian faith.
Chapter 9: Higher Education in Kerala
The difference between
education understood only as training in technical skills within the ideology
of the economic growth and education for promoting a technical society within
the framework of a culture of “scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of
inquiry and reform”, is indeed great. Education that gives training in
technical skills and does not help the trainees to examine and discern the
false ends which may be hidden in the engineering and managing technology that
they use, is not service to humanity.
Chapter 10: The Power That Sustains Us
The power that sustains us is the
fellowship of other people, who are with us in this fellowship of struggle for
the building of a new society.
Chapter 11: Search For a New Ideology of Struggle For Social Justice With Eco- Justice
We need a science and technology
reinterpreted within a new framework which takes the organic and spiritual
dimensions of reality seriously along with the mechanical. It is only then that
technological development will promote eco-justice, preserve human personhood
and peoplehood. It is an alternative technology that we are seeking.
Chapter 12: Towards an Alternative Paradigm
The basic central elements in the making
of the counter-culture and the germ of the future society are the forces
released by the self-awakening and the struggle for self-identity and justice
of the traditionally oppressed peoples of India. If the church is to take the
Jesus-tradition seriously and become Jesus-communities, its mission should be
to build religiously pluralistic communities for concerted action for a better
world in the common hope of the Kingdom of God to come.
Chapter 13: The Emerging Political Scenario: the People’s Search For an Alternative
It is quite unrealistic to build our hope
on the expectation that market economy is moving to any inevitable doom or that
we can count on the permanence of the democratic polity in India continuing to
permit agitation of peoples’ movements against the present pattern of
development. Capitalism has shown its resilience before; and if India’s ruling
class feels seriously threatened by peoples’ movements there is real
possibility of democratic freedoms being restricted.
Chapter 14: The Christian Contribution to an Indian Philosophy of Being and Becoming Human
is in relation to the ensuing dialogue about a genuine Indian Humanism that
does justice to the mechanical, organic and spiritual dimensions of humanness
and social history, that a Christian contribution to Indian philosophy acquires
Chapter 15: Inter-Religious Conversion
1. The individual's right to profess,
practice and propagate religion; 2. Should religious conversion be
depoliticised or outlawed? 3. Some Christian theological reasons for promoting
a non-communal expression of the Christian faith and fellowship.
Chapter 16: Issues In Evangelistic Mission In The Present Indian Context
1. What is the Evangel, the gospel? 2. The missionary movement proclaimed the
gospel to people of other religions and cultures. 3. The evangelistic witness cannot be isolated from the total
life of the church.
Chapter 17: Emerging Concepts Of Mission in Asia
The Christian is called not to convert
but to witness. The Church’s prophetic
mission is to humanize the mechanisms of our corporate life.
Chapter 18: Mission Of The Church In The Pluralistic Context of India
Though it has existed in India for
centuries, pluralism is also a modern reality. It is our common historical responsibility to build a genuinely
human community, bringing peoples of all religions and cultures together within
the framework of pluralism. What is the
gospel for such a pluralistic situation as ours, where the common search is for
the path of humanization?
Chapter 19: Re-Articulation Of Christian Identity in Higher Education
The Christian college should have some
place in its structure where Jesus and his human-ness can be presented in the
Scriptural context with its cultural implications, to those who wish to learn
Chapter 20: The Quest for a Human Community in a Religiously Pluralist World
The question of
providing spiritual fellowship to those committed to Christ in different
religious communities is a peculiarly Indian ecclesiological problem which has
been with us for many decades and needs to be faced squarely. If the church
expects the Hindu family’s toleration of any member converted to Christian
faith, the church and Christian families also have to justify theologically and
sociologically inter-religious marriages within their circle and deal
pastorally with the persons involved.
Chapter 21: The Church - The Fellowship of the Baptised and the Unbaptised
Christ, not Christianity or Western
culture, has been the slogan of many leaders of the Neo-Hindu movements in the
19th century, even as Christian Missions insisted on the three as one package.
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