Created by on 6/27/2016 8:47:26 PM
E. Stanley Jones. Christ Of The Indian Road. New York: Abingdon Press, 1925.
I don’t usually read a lot of books that are 90 years old, but this one was worth it. Jones wrote this book to stimulate western thought about what it means to be a follower of Christ. Challenging prevalent views that missionary endeavor included the transformation of culture to something more “civilized,” Jones argues that a follower of Christ in India should look and act differently than a follower of Christ in Australia, Canada, America or Great Britton. Jones is convinced that the core of missions is Christ and that it is the missionaries responsibility to introduce individuals to Christ rather than to a foreign culture or construct of church. He argues in 1925 for an incarnational ministry among the Indian people. He says that for Christian missions to be effective in India, then we need to focus on introducing Jesus and Jesus only. Speaking with Gandhi and other Hindu leaders, Jones identified that Indians liked Jesus but they did not like many of his followers. One Hindu philosopher said, “I have one word to speak to you: If you Christians had lived more like Jesus Christ, this process of conversion would have gone on much more rapidly.” (p.115) He also quotes a conversation he had with Mahatma Gandhi. He asked, what must Christians do to see Christianity naturalized in India? Gandhi responded, “I would suggest, first, that all of you Christians, missionaries and all, must begin to live more like Jesus Christ.”
The message was to the church and mission community of 1925, but it is just as relevant today as it was back then. Jones recognizes that being a missionary does not mean being God’s lawyer, ready to fight for his influence and defend him against all attacks, but to be his witness. This is a very helpful book in recognizing what it means to be a witness of Jesus Christ across cultural divides.
Review by Craig Kraft