Global Christianity
Bartholomew Ziegenbalg and
Heinrich Plütschau
(1683 - 1719) and (1678 - 1747)
Global Christianity

First Protestant missionaries to India.

King Frederick IV of Denmark decided to send missionaries to the Danish settlement of Tranquebar, along the southeast coast of India; August Francke, leader of Pietism at the University of Halle, recommended Ziegenbalg and Plütschau who arrived in India in 1706. Believing that people best hear and learn the Gospel in their own language and cultural context, their first tasks were to learn Tamil and to understand Hinduism. They preached for a definite conversion as the point of entry into Christianity. Ziegenbalg and Plütschau operated a school for reading and writing in Tamil, so that each convert could read the Scriptures. Ziegenbalg translated the Scriptures, Luther's Catechisms, and other works into Tamil. The missionaries encouraged indigenous leadership of Indian Christians; the first Indian pastor, a convert from Hinduism, was ordained in 1733. In several years' time there was a Christian community of about 350 in Tranquebar.

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