Fortress Press

The Spirit Shaped Church: A Spirit Ecclesiology in India

In The Spirit Shaped Church, Swarup Bar argues that the church is defined by its relationship with others. A relational church depends on the porousness of its borders, which means that, while a church has its distinctiveness, it ought to be open to negotiate relational engagements with the world around it. This sort of relationally distinct, permeable church is found to be possible through the leading of the Spirit and the work of Christ. Such engagement is found to be relevant in a plural, religio-cultural context and in situations of marginalization in India.

The Spirit Shaped Church reflects an ongoing commitment on the part of Fortress Press to engage the needs of Christian communities around the world. The book is aimed at teachers, clergy, students, and anyone with an interest in the lived experience of Christians in India.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506466897
  • eBook ISBN 9781506466903
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 320
  • Publication Date February 23, 2021


"Drawing Indian and Western theologians into conversation, Swarup Bar develops a 'permeable' account of the church that is Christologically centered yet open to the work of the Spirit beyond its boundaries. While he writes explicitly within a post-colonial Indian context, Bar's insights remain salutary for ecclesiological studies elsewhere. This is a valuable addition to recent literature on church and society."

David Fergusson, University of Edinburgh

"A highly commendable contribution, indeed, to intertwine cultural-contextuality and concerns of the marginalized for a viable Indian ecclesiology. The author does it through a pneumatological vision that does justice to Christology. The project is illumined by bringing into conversation significant Spirit-theologians of India with Western paradigms. The dialectics of relationality and distinctness gives unity and coherence to the whole work."

Felix Wilfred, University of Madras

"India has a long history of modern Christian thought which wrestles with how to be a church in the context of religious plurality and social marginalization. The contemporary West has much to learn from P. Chenchiah, M. M. Thomas, Samuel Rayan, and the other Indian theologians introduced here. Swarup Bar does a great service to the worldwide church by bringing Indian and Western ecclesiologies into dialogue in this theologically sophisticated work."

Kirsteen Kim, Fuller Theological Seminary

"What is an appropriate ecclesiology for the church amidst India's religious pluralism, cruel poverty, caste oppression, and the multiple religious belonging of many of its people? Swarup Bar presents here a creative new understanding of the church, a permeable Spirit ecclesiology. Grounded in Christ yet open in the Spirit, it is a vision of the church that is at once faithful to the gospel and genuinely India. A remarkable and welcome accomplishment!"

Don Schweitzer, St. Andrew's College