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Christianity in South and Central Asia$
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Kenneth R. Ross, Daniel Jeyaraj, and Todd M. Johnson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474439824

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474439824.001.0001

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(p.261) Independents
Christianity in South and Central Asia

Roger E. Hedlund

Edinburgh University Press

The term ‘Independents’ differentiates lesser-known congregations and small clusters from the historic Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic denominations. Chennai (Madras) is home to a vast number of Christian denominations and institutions. Groups may range from 20–25 in number to as large as 400–500. Similar new Independent churches and movements are found in many parts of India. Sadhu Sundar Singh was a pioneering figure in the indigenisation of Christianity in India; baptised at Simla, he nevertheless remained free from the imported ecclesiastical institutions that Westernised the Indian church. There is also a more radical transformation of Christianity in hybrid religious groups in the borderlands between Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. The faith relation to Jesus of several Isa-Muslim and Christ bhakti-Hindu groups transcends the traditional denominational boundaries of Christianity. Prior to 1950 no Nepali Christians were resident in Nepal, but Nepali people managed to seep out into India, where a number of them became Christians, with most Pentecostal or Charismatic in character but indigenous in origin; more recently as many as 1 million were reported. A tiny underground church exists in Islamic Afghanistan, composed of former refugees who became Christians during the 1970s while in other countries.

Keywords:   Christianity, India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Independents, Charismatic, Pentecostal

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