Hindutva Nationalism and Civil Government in India: Towards a Theology of Engagement from Luther’s Two Realm Perspective

Sam Thompson, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis


The task undertaken by this dissertation is to offer a theological response to Hindutva nationalism and its challenges to Christians in India. The particular focus is to understand and critique Hindutva conception of the State and its failure to work towards the common good of all. Towards that end this dissertation expounds a theological frame work in light of Luther’s Two Realm theology to help Christians take their Christian faith seriously (exclusive in nature) while embracing an inclusive paradigm (inclusive in nature) which enables Christians to work together with people of different faiths or no faiths for the common good. This dissertation affirms that, Luther’s Two Realm theology provides an analytical tool to understand and distinguish between the concerns, activities, and mode of God’s rule in relation to God’s two realms of life, which is fundamental to any theology of engagement. In light of the principles explicated, this dissertation affirms the state to be an instrument of God in the left-hand realm for the maintenance of external peace, justice, and the common good for all. Such an affirmation helps Christians in India to affirm the Indian constitutional version of the state and government which seeks to represent and accommodates every one irrespective of one’s caste, creed, language or culture over against the Hindutva vision of a monolithic Hindu state where people belonging to non-Hindu religions do not have a legitimate space in the nationhood. In our effort to find a common ground with people of different faiths or no faiths, this dissertation emphasizes the importance of two foundations for our common existence, namely common Creatureliness and common morality based on natural law and human wisdom. This dissertation explores a Christian’s social engagement in the public square, through their vocational call to be a citizen and/or as political authority. Finally this dissertation examines how the Church as an institution in the left-hand can carry out its divine mandate towards the extension and welfare of all under law in the temporal realm. This dissertation is written as a faithful confession of God’s word within the Lutheran doctrinal tradition with an intention to provide a resource to help and equip the church, and Christians in India, to continue to be faithful in the midst of Hindutva challenges in the public square towards the common good for all.