This year the world learned about William Wilberforce. Now it's time to learn|
about Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg. "Who?," we ask. Exactly.
Many believe that Englishman William Carey was the founder of modern Christian
missions and that such missionary work in former European colonies had more
detrimental outcomes than good. Until this film project Beyond Empires, I had
never even heard of Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg, the very first Protestant
As I hear Indian people of diverse religious backgrounds singing the praises and
actually celebrating this remarkable young German three hundred years after his
arrival there, I am amazed that we in the west don't know of him, and his
legacy to modern India. Since he and Lutheran missionaries who followed him
were devoted to uplifting ordinary and lower caste Tamil indians, their story
has failed to make the pages of western history.
Ziegenbalg and his Tamil mentors seem to be among the true reconciling agents of
history and we have much to learn from this story right now, when most of us
long for a circuit breaker on sectarian violence.
Let's help Chris Gilbert and friends inspire the world anew with the timeless
beauty, truth, and goodness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and his love for
Kelly Monroe Kullberg
Founder, The Veritas Forum
Author, Finding God Beyond Harvard: The Quest for Veritas (2006)
Editor, Finding God at Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Thinking Christians (2007)