Conversions and re-conversions in South Gujarat: an analytical study of the responses of the converts and re-converts in the context of persecution
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- Hindu; conversion; Christianity; Gujarat; India; Hinduism; church growth; persecution; Missions and World Christianity
This research paper primarily investigates the causes for re-conversion in certain Christian converts in Gujarat who renounced their Christian identity and returned to the Hindu faith. This investigation was undertaken by interviewing both Christian converts who faced pressure to re-convert to Hinduism but remained consistent in their Christian faith, as well as re-converts that returned to Hinduism from a Christian identity as they faced the same pressure.Chapter I explains the past ministry movements in Gujarat and the present scenario of conversion and re-conversion in south Gujarat. Details of the degree of resistance and animosity of Hindu fundamentalists toward Christian converts, churches and pastors, missions agencies, and missionaries are provided. This chapter depicts the present eruption of discontent concerning church growth in Gujarat. It also addresses the importance of the study and the operational questions of the research.Chapter II presents the literature pertaining to pre and post conversion and re- conversion events in the past and present religious history of India, and in particular, Gujarat. This chapter questions why contemporary fundamentalists react strongly to conversion when the past Indian religious history confirms the experience of many conversion events with no fanatical fury. This chapter also presents the negative interpretation of conversion activities of missionaries and pastors held by the Hindu fundamentalists, the brutal atrocities against Christians and missionaries, and the politicization of religious issues by Hindu fanatics.Chapter III explains the procedural steps of the research methodology. Chapter IV provides a detailed analysis of the responses of the five sample types–individually and correlatively. This analysis explains the actual causes for the re-conversions currently taking place in south Gujarat.Chapter V offers valuable suggestions based on the conclusions of the research. It confirms that re-conversion events in south Gujarat have not affected true Church growth of Gujarat. The author challenges Indian churches and mission agencies to be mindful of their prior negligence as they make renewed efforts in church planting. The researcher’s efforts can assist the readers in perceiving the facts behind re-conversions in Gujarat.