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Evangelical Christianity and Democracy in Asia$
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David Halloran Lumsdaine

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195308242

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195308242.001.0001

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 Ethnicity, Civil Society, and the Church: The Politics of Evangelical Christianity in Northeast India

 Ethnicity, Civil Society, and the Church: The Politics of Evangelical Christianity in Northeast India

(p.131) 3 Ethnicity, Civil Society, and the Church: The Politics of Evangelical Christianity in Northeast India
Evangelical Christianity and Democracy in Asia

Fernandes Sujatha

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the contemporary relationship between politics and evangelical activity. Focusing on the northeast Indian state of Manipur, it makes comparisons with Mizoram, Nagaland, and Meghalaya and draws out the implications of the historical data for the contemporary political climate. The first section explores the interaction among Christian missionaries, tribals, and the British state in the colonial context, showing how the attempt of missionaries to build an autonomous tribal leadership was hampered by the diversity of tribal groupings and the ties of the missionaries to the colonial state. The second section focuses on two themes: how evangelical practices of congregationalism have given expression to diversity, but also how, in a context of ethnic violence and rivalry, this decentralized organization leaves the church unable to overcome fragmentation. The final section explores a third theme, suggesting that the evangelicals' desire for stability in the region has impeded their ability to foster social movements for justice and equality, leaving the space open for insurgent and terrorist organizations.

Keywords:   Manipur, evangelical activity, political climate, Christian missionaries, tribals, congregationalism, ethnic conflict, evangelical church

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