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.