The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Planting Lutheran seeds in India's soil

P. Solomon Raj uses art to root the gospel in India

Growing up in the home of a Lutheran teacher and evangelist in Andhra Pradesh, P. Solomon Raj felt that Lutheranism was like a plant growing in a foreign pot, even though Lutheran missionaries Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg and Henrich Pluetschau arrived in India in 1706. Raj decided to change that.

Now 86 and still a Lutheran, Raj lives in an ashram (religious retreat) in Vijayawada, a city in Andhra Pradesh, a region in southern India. He describes a lifelong passion for telling others that not only Hinduism but the Christian gospel can speak through India’s cultural heritage. “Over the years, I was a pastor, a professor and radio producer,” he said. “However, my Sadhana—my personal discipline and avocation—was to root the gospel in the native soil of India.”

P. Solomon Raj has made creating artworks
P. Solomon Raj has made creating artworks like the Nativity batik (above) part of his calling as a Lutheran evangelist and pastor in southern India.
To do this, Raj uses poetry, dance dramas, gospel songs and visual art.

The scholarly underpinnings of Raj’s work are expressed in his writings on art, faith and culture. His doctoral thesis at the University of Birmingham (England) analyzes the theological and liturgical expressions of indigenous missions in India—a major resource for study in churches worldwide.

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