Pentecostalism in Kerala

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Pentecostalism was established in Kerala at the start of the 20th century. Kerala Pentecostalism is one of the powerful spiritual christian movement that originated, developed and spread in Kerala.

History[edit]

Indigenous Pentecostalism in India first emerged from the Syrian Christian community in the state of Kerala. Christianity in Kerala claims its origin in AD 52[citation needed] when the Apostle Thomas arrived and preached the gospel to Jews and the native high caste Brahmins.[citation needed] In addition, there were evidences of migrations of Christians from Syria in the fourth century and the eighth century to Kerala.

The Pentecostal message from the West arrived in Kerala in 1909 through the visit of George Berg. This American missionary of German descent arrived in Bangalore in 1909 and preached in a convention in Kerala. The first Pentecostal congregation was formed through the efforts of Berg in Kerala only in 1911; this was among first generation Christians. Berg was the first missionary to reach out to the natives who[clarification needed] did not speak English.

In 1913 Pastor Robert F. Cook also came to India as a missionary. He came to Kerala and began his ministry there in 1914. By 1923, Cook had established 36 churches in Kerala, known collectively as the South India Full Gospel Church. Pastor K. E. Abraham, who was associated with Pastor Cook until 1930, was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1923, an event considered as the foundation for the establishment of the India Pentecostal Church of God. In 1930, Pastor K.E Abraham who believed that local Keralite churches must be independent from foreign organizations for effective evangelization within India, split from Pastor Cook and formed the South India Pentecostal Church of God. He later changed the name of the church to India Pentecostal Church of God.

In addition to the work begun by Abraham, Pentecostalism grew rapidly in Kerala through the ministries of the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission (CPM), the Church of God (Cleveland), and the Assemblies of God.

Communities[edit]

  • The Pentecostal Mission (TPM)
  • The Indian Pentecostal Church of God
  • Assemblies of God
  • Church of God (Full Gospel) in India
  • New India Church of India
  • New India Bible Church
  • Sharon Fellowship Church
  • Church of God in South India
  • New Life In Jesus Embassy Church

There are hundreds of other independent congregations throughout Kerala. Its strength varying from 20 to 50000 members. These independent groups are formed mainly due to personal visions of individuals. Some of them are:

Name Leading Location
El-Shaddai Ministry Pr. Tinu George Kottarakkara
Grace Fellowship Pr. Tijo Thomas Adoor
Heavenly Feast Pr. Mathew Kuruvilla & Pr.Thomas Abraham Kottayam
Torch of Truth Pr. Suresh Babu Thiruvananthapuram
Karisma Fire Thiruvananthapuram

Convention Preachers[edit]

List of some popular convention preachers are :-

  • Pr. K A Abraham
  • Pr. M A Varughese
  • Pr. P G Vargis
  • Pr. Suresh Babu
  • Pr. P V Asari
  • Pr. Thiruvattar Krishnankutty
  • Pr. Manu Menon
  • Pr. Rambabu
  • Pr. B Monachen
  • Pr. Finny Stephen

Wearing Ornaments[edit]

In Kerala many Pentecostal denominations do not wear ornaments. When the Pentecostal fathers came to the Christian faith, many of them came from influential and high caste families who threatened to strip them of their inheritance and wealth for stepping out of their religious systems to embrace a new faith. The church fathers also noticed that the caste distinction inside the church was hindering fellowship between the non-ornament wearing lower caste believers and the ornament wearing higher caste believers. Hence, in an effort to remove the barrier within the church and also to make it easy for new converts from both castes, the church fathers came up with the system of giving up their ornaments/jewellery when a person got saved and baptized. The intention was to unite the body of Christ, remove discrimination and act as a sign for outsiders of their consecration.

Institutions[edit]

List of some main institutions are :-

  • Faith Theological Seminary
  • Sharon Bible College
  • India Bible College & Seminary
  • Doulos Theological College
  • Calicut Theological College
  • Light for India Bible College
  • Bethesda Bible College
  • Harvest Theological College
  • Mahaniyam Bible College

Media[edit]

Media plays a leading role to spread Pentecostalism in Kerala through Television Channels, Radio Channels and Newspapers.

Television channels[edit]

Radio/FM channels[edit]

There are large number of FM radio channels available in internet. And some FM channels also available through mobile applications.

  • Bafa Radio
  • My Worship Radio
  • Jesus Coming FM
  • Psalms Radio
  • Manna Live Bible
  • Heavenly Radio
  • Radio Holy Family
  • Swargasudha FM
  • Living Voice Online
  • Heavenly Beats Radio
  • Radio Manna
  • Malayalam Worship Radio
  • Sehion Radio
  • MGM Radio
  • Gloria Radio
  • Worldtoworld Radio

Newspapers[edit]

  • Hallelujah
  • Sworgeeya Dwoni
  • Good News
  • Jeevamozhikal
  • Suvartha
  • Zion Kahalam
  • Marupacha
  • Revive

Resistance[edit]

The US-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned some attacks on Christians in Kerala, generally considered a safe-haven for Christians because of the large Christian minority there. The ICC warned that the Kerala attacks would only embolden anti-Christian extremists elsewhere to attack the even more vulnerable Christians in their states.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad along with the Arya Samaj arranged the Ghar Wapsi Program and converted a few number of Christians to Hinduism in Kerala. Because Dalit Christians had belonged to SC/ST communities before conversion to Christianity, but they are denied the government’s SC/ST benefits in education and job reservation.

References[edit]