The origin and development of the Pentecostal Churches among the Dalits in Kerala : a critical evaluation of the missionary methods of Robert F. Cook (1913-1950).
John, Simon Karingottazhikathu.
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The following work is a humble probe into the background and history of the Dalit Pentecostal churches and critically evaluates the mission methods of Robert F. Cook. The word Dalit means the oppressed or broken victims and refers to people who are deprived and dehumanized. In India the so-called outcastes or untouchables have recently taken the name Dalit. The modern usage of Dalit began in nineteenth century with Mahatma Jyotirao Phule (1825-1890), a Marathi social reformer who worked for the upliftment of oppressed class. The Harijans, Backward classes, Scheduled castes, Outcastes, Untouchables, Panchamas and Chandalas were known by the common name Dalilt. Since the inception of the Pentecostal movement, the Dalits have formed an integral part of the Pentecostal churches. From the very beginning the Pentecostal church in Kerala attracted members from the Dalit communities. This was from the time of Robert. F. Cook (1914). Through Robert F. Cook's ministry the Dalits accepted Pentecostalism and gained liberation from their oppression. This is the first attempt to trace the history of Dalit Pentecostals in Kerala. However the readers will find a description of the beginnings and the characteristics of Pentecostalism that attracted the marginalized to Pentecostalism, and provided them with a liberative force. An evaluation of the origin and development of the Dalit Pentecostal churches is essential for the self-understanding of the community of believers and for the articulation of its mission in the world. I hope that the reading of this thesis will open the present day Pentecostals to restore the early characteristics of the movement so that it will challenge social evils that Pentecostalism once did so ably.
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