Tim’s thoughtful, provocative and challenging book is worth a careful read by any who work cross-culturally, not just in the Hindu context. However, he is thoroughly grounded, by experience and research, in the lives of people of Hindu background, particularly high-caste Hindus.
He shows how the gospel can lovingly transform Hindu culture, “first by revealing the glory of God found within certain values of Hindu dharma, surprising the people with the revelation that Jesus is a lot like them and cherishes their culture. Second, the gospel may clarify the need to believe what Christ has said about his kingdom values that are incompatible with Hindu dharma. Third, the gospel may also redeem certain Hindu values…”
Culture can be a bridge, not just something to be swept aside in Westernization, a key issue Tim demonstrates so deftly by displaying how God can use and redeem Hindu cultural concepts and practices to portray and illuminate the gospel. This kind of incarnational perspective is the heartbeat of effective discipleship, particularly in a cross-cultural setting. The end result is Jesus in Indian garb, eating Indian food and teaching in a completely natural Indian way, and being worshipped in a way that is a fulfillment of the highest aspirations of Hindu culture. There is more than theory here: there is authentic practice honed by 30 years of loving, respectful interaction with high-caste Hindus.
Refreshing, encouraging, instructive: this is a must-read book.