See Ro and Eshenaur (eds.), The Bible and Theology in Asian Contexts; Ro (ed.), Christian
Alternatives to Ancestor Practices; Ro and Albrecht (eds.), God in Asian Contexts.
ATA, 'Hong Kong Declaration', in Voices of the Church in Asia: Report of Proceedings, ATA Consultation,
Hong Kong, 27 December 1973—4 January 1974 (Singapore: ATA, 1975), pp. 165—8 at p. 167.
ATA, 'Statement of Faith', p. 1. 34 ATA, 'Hong Kong Declaration', p. 168.
ATA, 'The Bible and Theology in Asia Today', p. 9.
Vinay Samuel (1939— ) trained first in India and then at Cambridge. As a presbyter of the Church of South India, he has engaged in parish work, social out-reach and theological training ministries. In addition, he was involved with the World Evangelical Alliance and the Lausanne movement. However, his theological identity is probably most clearly defined by his present position as the Executive Secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Mission Theologians (INFEMIT). INFEMIT is the umbrella body for three indigenous evangelical movements from the two-thirds world, the Latin American Theological Fraternity, the African Theological Fraternity and Partnership in Mission Asia. It is primarily concerned with articulating an evangelical theology out of the context of mission in the two-thirds world. Two of its more significant ministries are the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies and Transformation, which is an international journal on holistic mission and social ethics.
Samuel's theology is first and foremost an evangelical reflection on mission among the poor in the Indian context.36 His convictions emerged out of personal involvement in grassroots ministry to the poor in India, including living in Lingarajapuram, one of the slums in Bangalore. The experience of living in the slum convinced Samuel that the meaning for the poor of the good news in the Bible defines the meaning of the good news for all. He writes:
In the New Testament, the poor ... [are] the focus of the gospel. As the poor are called; as the multitude rejoice and experience the gospel, the real nature of the gospel becomes evident to others. This in no way means that the gospel is not for other groups. It does mean that it has to be mediated through what it means to the poor.37
The second distinctive element of Samuel's theology is that, according to Sugden, he is a 'theologian of dignity'.38 In India, the relationship between the social structure, the caste system and the Hindu tradition is intimately bound to extreme poverty, robbing the poor of dignity and a proper sense of identity. By contrast, dignity requires a proper sense of
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