More Information
ISBN: 9781783682522
Imprint: Langham Academic
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 14
Publication Date: 14/03/2017
Pages: 258
Series: Studies in Christian History
Language: English

Brother Bakht Singh

Theologian and Father of the Indian Independent Christian Church Movement


Brother Bakht Singh Chabra, a Sikh convert, was one of the foremost evangelists and Bible teachers in India. Bakht Singh was well known as a pioneer in gospel contextualization and a proponent of indigenous Indian churches. The movement and assemblies he established were often viewed as splinter groups from mainstream churches and many considered his teachings and theology as negatively syncretic. In this publication, Dr Bharathi Nuthalapati establishes that Bakht Singh’s theology was rooted in the Indian spirituality of experience through personal relationship and devotion to God or Bhakti. Brother Singh Christianized Bhakti and in his hands Bhakti became a Christian idiom. The author also analyzes how pre-Christian, Sikh elements persisted in Bakht Singh’s movement while remaining theologically orthodox, as well as how various aspects of Indian religiosity and biblical and western Christianity were adopted, rejected, reinterpreted, or revolutionized in his movement.

Author Bios

B. E. Bharathi Nuthalapati

B. E. BHARATHI NUTHALAPATI holds a PhD in Church History from Fuller Theological Seminary, California, USA, and has several academic articles published in the USA and India. As well as being a visiting professor teaching History of Christianity, she also provides academic book reviews and teaches seminars in India and around the world. Her ministry includes counseling families and individuals in south India.


For all those interested in deepening their knowledge of the varieties of religious experience in the wonder that is India, and for those concerned about indigenous ways in which the Christian faith has been fostered in interaction with inter- and intra-faith realities, this book offers much sustenance to accompany this journey, and I warmly recommend it to practitioners and researchers alike.

Rev J. Jayakiran Sebastian, DTh
Lutheran Theological Seminary,

This is one of the more important books to appear in recent years, filling a gap in the contemporary accounting of India’s newer, indigenous churches. It should be read by theologians, missionaries, and seminary students alike.

Cecil M. Robeck, Jr, PhD
Fuller Theological Seminary,

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
  2. Acknowledgements
  3. Chapter 1
    1. Introduction
      1. History of Scholarship
      2. Sources and Methodology
      3. Structure
  4. Chapter 2
    1. Bakht Singh and the Beginning of the Assemblies
      1. Biographical Details of Bakht Singh
      2. (6 June 1903 – 17 September 2000)
      3. The Process of Making Christianity Indian
      4. The Situation of the Denominational Churches in the 1930s and 1940s
      5. The Beginning of the Assemblies
      6. Assemblies
      7. The Spread of the Movement
  5. Chapter 3
    1. The Phenomenon of Spiritual Life Churches
      1. New Testament Pattern
      2. Common Characteristics
      3. Spiritual Life Church Movements
      4. Commonalities between Austin-Sparks, Watchman Nee and Bakht Singh
  6. Chapter 4
    1. The Ecclesiology of Bakht Singh
      1. The Nature of the Church
      2. The Unity of the Church
      3. Practices in the Assembly
      4. Worship and Church Order
      5. Government and Organization of the Assemblies
  7. Chapter 5
    1. Sikh Antecedents of Bakht Singh: Their Influence on the Teaching and Practices of the Assemblies
      1. Religious Background of Bakht Singh
      2. Main Tenets in Sikhism
      3. Similar Concepts
      4. Similar Practices
  8. Chapter 6
    1. The Bhakti Theology of Bakht Singh
      1. Sources of Authority: Pramanas
      2. Hermeneutics
      3. Bhakti
      4. Sikhism and Bhakti
      5. The Indian Christian Bhakti Movement
  9. Chapter 7
    1. Religious Culture of the Assemblies and Its Impact on Christianity in India
      1. Special Features
      2. Impact of Bakht Singh on Christianity in India
      3. Foreigners as Coworkers
  10. Conclusion
  11. Glossary
  12. Bibliography
    1. Primary Sources
    2. Correspondence
    3. Interviews
    4. Secondary Sources