Title

Anointing the airwaves : the influence of Charismatic televangelism on the Protestant church and Hindu community in contemporary, urban India

Date of Award

1-1-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Faculty

Faculty of Education and Arts

Abstract

The Indian Government's open policy on satellite television is attracting a plethora of American-based Charismatic television ministries in India. This thesis based primarily on an ethnographic study of church and Hindu community leaders, together with a subsidiary historical-comparative analysis, shows that Charismatic pastors are more positive about Charismatic televangelism than non-Charismatic pastors. Both groups of pastors however, have strong reservations on issues like fundraising, dress code and western dancing. The high-caste Hindus are resistant to any form of Christian evangelism including televangelism. Besides caste, class, language and gender, televangelism faces cultural barriers in reaching Indians. The prosperity, success and healing doctrines of Charismatic teaching. appeal to Hindus from the middle to lower level economic classes for whom these TV messages may be a means of achieving their material goals through a new form of "sanskritisation". Concerns have also been expressed, that these Hindus who are attracted tu Charismatic teievangelism are espousing a form of 'popular Christianity', a faith that focuses on personal fulfilment rather than personal holiness and accountability within the life of the church. A case study of the 'global' televangelism program Solutions, showed that it was generally well-received although both Hindus and Christians found culturally disjunctive elements in both the message as well as in the underlying aspects of the message such as dress code and culture. While some Hindus welcomed their own understanding of the 'syncretistic Christ', in the program, other Hindus took exception to the portrayal of the 'exclusive Christ'.

Access Note

Access to this thesis - the full text is restricted to current ECU staff and students only. Email request to library@ecu.edu.au

Access to this thesis is restricted. Please see the Access Note below for access details.

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