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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.274) Evangelicals
Christianity in South and Central Asia

Rebecca Samuel Shah

Vinay Samuel

Edinburgh University Press

In most South and Central Asian countries, while Christians account for 1–2% of the population, the region has the fastest-growing Evangelical population in the world. South Asian Evangelicalism can be traced back to the 1706 arrival in Tranquebar of two Pietist German missionaries. Fearing what they called the ‘proselytising zeal’ of Christians, the East India Company forbade missionaries into Company-ruled territories. Evangelicalism in South Asia succeeds in hostile environments because it embraces any space available for its mission. Healing and exorcism have been the key impetus bringing people to Christ in South Asia. While many Evangelical Protestant churches have adopted Pentecostal beliefs, Charismatic influences have been minimal in certain institutions. Still, the proportion of South Asia’s Evangelical Pentecostal or Charismatic population is steadily rising. Among villages are the ubiquitous ‘Independent churches’ separate from mainstream denominations. Evangelicalism in South Asia is rooted in a commitment to the care of the poor. From very early, eschatological urgency was at the heart of missions. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Evangelical churches became aware of moral destruction after decades of communism. Across Central Asia, Evangelical missionaries continue to spread the gospel but remain vigilant about when and how they evangelise.

Keywords:   Evangelicalism, Christianity, Pentecostalism, Charismatic, Independents, India, Missions

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