Living Water and Indian Bowl

[ 0 ] February 26, 2014 |

Book Reviewed 

B. P. Khanal

B. P. Khanal


In this book Living Water and Indian Bowl, Dayanand Bharati appeals the native Indian churches to present the gospel in the Indian thought patterns. He suggests that the mission should be indigenized; the corporate worship in church should be relevant to the seekers. To make it seeker friendly worship services should also be indigenized. He further asserts that the Christian communication of the gospel must be culturally contextualized, then only the message of gospel would produced a positive response. In his concern, the work of evangelism has not been effective as expected in India only because of the evangelists are lacking something to make it original, usual, local, and relevant to their context. He brings out reasons for the Christian failings in communicating Christ to Hindus and put some practical suggestions for improvements. Thus, urge is that, all evangelical Christians in India (and even other parts of the world) should consider his suggestions as practical to make the message of gospel effective and compelling to a non-believing Hindu neighbor, presenting the living water (Jesus Christ) in an Indian Bowl (local or native flavor or culturally relevant manner) so it would not be ignored as foreign religion.  

Dayanand makes it obvious that the Christian communication of the gospel is a one-way traffic. It is because Christians expect the Hindus to accept the message of the gospel right away. And to make the gospel message kind of trapping net to the immediate audience, the church is using a number of methods, concepts and theories, and yet she is failing in reaching the Hindus in surroundings. Author makes it plain that any religion (here, the Christianity) is not a doctrine or creed or set of rituals, but it is a living spirituality. Therefore, the church must have to realize that the proclamations of the living Christ in His original form the message and means both need to be a living and working. To make a better communication of the gospel, the church must get down to the level of its anticipated recipients.

But how the gospel message could be translated into local or native context? The author does not leave this question unanswered. He asserts some practical suggestion in the book, which can be listed as follow:

  1. 1.    The church must reorient herself for an ample knowledge of the target audience of the gospel message. This requires adequate learning of the culture, religious faiths and different worldviews of the people, which define the reality of the people and their needs.  For this there should be entire revision of the theological education and training curriculum.
  2. 2.    The means and methods of presentation must be relevant to the Indian context.
  3. 3.    The worship pattern in the church must have to be indigenized.
  4. 4.    The Bible must have to be translated in a local language of communication that can be easily understood by the non-Christians readers.
  5. 5.    The members of every local church, meaning, all the Christians must pay due respect for others’ religious customs and practices.

Book: Bharathi, Dayanand. Living Water and Indian Bowl. ISPCK: Delhi,  2001.



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