Discipleship as Living Out Baptism: A Dalit Public Engagement with Theology of Bonhoeffer

  • Raj Bharat Patta
Part of the Postcolonialism and Religions book series (PCR)


Dalit Christians’ identity has been layered into several strands in today’s socio-political and religious India. The social identity of Dalits of any religion for that matter is critical. From the perspective of other castes, Dalits continue to be Dalits no matter which religion they adhere to. So even with conversion from their religion, their caste identity never changes. Dalit Christians, who are converted to Christianity, as citizens of India face several challenges in their journey towards liberation. It is in this context of conversion that some theological engagements on baptism and discipleship come to the fore. How is living out baptism understood as discipleship? And what are the implications for citizenship for Dalit Christians in such a context? In attempting to answer these questions a Dalit public engagement with the theology of Bonhoeffer becomes immanent, for Bonhoeffer wrestled with these questions of baptism and discipleship in a context of an oppressive regime, and paved ways for public theological articulations. This chapter brings out Bonhoeffer’s understanding of discipleship as living out baptism, and draws out public relevance for our context in India. Discipleship therefore calls for a public kerygma, public ecclesia and a public baptism. A relevance of such an understanding is drawn towards Dalit Christians in India.


Baptism Discipleship Citizenship Bonhoeffer Public theology Dalit Christians 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raj Bharat Patta
    • 1
  1. 1.Lincoln Theological InstituteUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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