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The Transformation of Chin Society: The Effect of the Gospel on the Life of the Hakha Chin in Burma

Lian, Japheth (2011) The Transformation of Chin Society: The Effect of the Gospel on the Life of the Hakha Chin in Burma. Master of Arts (minor thesis) thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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This thesis is the outcome of historical and missiological research into how, over the last 100 years, the Chin people of Burma have left their traditional animistic religion and embraced Christianity. It demonstrates that the gospel has radically transformed Chin society for the better in many dimensions.
The study is divided into three parts:
Part One provides the background to the study. It describes the geography and societies of the Chin Hills, now known as Chin State in Myanmar, and introduces the various Chin tribes. A brief history of the arrival of the Christian gospel through American Baptist missionaries is given.
Part Two deals with the factors contributing to the acceptance of the Gospel and it growth. Between 1899 and 2004 almost the whole Chin population became Christian. The growth of self-supporting, self-governing and self-propagating churches is described, with a focus on Baptist churches, but with reference to other denominations such as the Methodist Church, the Roman Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church, the Anglican Church and the United
Pentecostal Church.
Part Three deals with the impact of Christianity, the transformation of the Chin society and the task ahead.
The nature of traditional Chin village life is outlined from historical sources, showing it to have been a society of warring, head-hunting peoples with rigid class divisions (including slavery). The Chin people were a group of disunited clans whose life-expectancy was short and who were isolated, uneducated and without a written language. There were, however,some admirable social values, such as an ethic of self-sacrifice for the well-being of the
There have been physical, social, intellectual and spiritual dimensions to the transformation of Chin society since the arrival of the Christian gospel. This study explores the many areas in which Chin society has been transformed for the better by the Gospel of Christ. This
includes improvement in the status of women, the abolition of slavery, the disappearance of regular drunken revelry, the abolition of infanticide, the removal of class-restrictions on marriage and the end of isolation of one village from another. There is now a written Chin language, a blossoming body of Chin literature and a representation of Chin people in many areas of leadership, from theological teaching to senior positions in the defence forces and the arts. Most of these have sprung from the Christian message, though some have been due to westernization as much as to Christianization. Along with changes for the better have come some changes for the worse, as have been experienced in many societies affected by western modernity.
The final chapter outlines the future task of the Chin Churches, which includes evangelism in their own country and beyond, as well as taking further the task of indigenisation begun but not completed by the missionaries.

Item Type: Theses (Master of Arts (minor thesis))
Repository Version: Author's Final Manuscript
Keywords: Burma, Myanmar, Chin, Missionaries, Gospel, Cultural Tranformation, History
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220405 Religion and Society
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: D - Missiology
College/Association with University of Divinity: Whitley College
Depositing User: Cate Headey
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2010 00:53
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2011 00:09
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/727

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