Danish-Halle Mission

   The modern Protestant missionary movement began with a joint project of the Lutheran king of Denmark and the Pietists of the University of Halle in Germany.
   In 1705, King Frederick IV of Denmark asked the court physician to recruit some men to go to India as missionaries, working from Tranquebar, the Danish colony on India's east coast. When no Danes volunteered for what was then a novel idea, the king sought support from the Pietists at Halle. Pietism was a movement in the Lutheran Church that called for spiritual transformation in the lives of Christians via prayer and Bible study. Its enthusiasm provided the energy for the missionary endeavor.
   The university recommended former students Bartholomew Ziegenbalg (1682-1719) and Heinrich Plütschau (1677-1747). Lutheran authorities balked at ordaining the men, and church leaders across Europe protested when they set sail in 1705. The Lutheran chaplains serving the Danish residents viewed the missionaries as competitors, and the governor of Tranquebar resented their presence.
   Plütschau remained in India for five years and Ziegenbalg for 15. They learned Tamil and completed a translation of the New Testament. In 1715, Ziegenbalg toured Europe to build support for the mission work. He eventually won the support of two Anglican agencies, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, both originally established to support Anglican ministers in the American colonies.
   Ziegenbalg was succeeded by Benjamin Schultze (1689-1760) who carried the work into Telugu- and Hindi-speaking communities. The work among the Tamil was carried on by Johann Philip Fabricius (1711-91), who spent 50 years in southern India, completed the Bible translation, and translated a number of hymns and Lutheran liturgical materials. Arriving in 1750, Christian Friedrich Schwartz spent 48 years laying the foundation for the present Lutheran Church of india.
   The mission languished in the 19th century, and the Church Missionary Society, a British-based Anglican agency, assumed the support. Eventually, church members were absorbed into the various Lutheran churches that were created to serve the different indian language groups.
   See also Denmark.
   Further reading:
   ■ E. Theodore Bachmann and Mercia Brenne Bachmann, Lutheran Churches in the World: A Handbook (Minneapolis, Minn.: Augsburg Press, 1989)
   ■ J. Herbert Kane, A Global View of Christian Missions (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1971)
   ■ Arno Lehmann, It Began at Tranquebar: The Story of the Tranquebar Mission and the Beginnings of Protestant Christianity in India (Madras, India: Christian Literature Society on Behalf of the Federation of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India, 1956)
   ■ William H. Price, The Life and Labors of the Rev. Christian Frederick Schwartz, the Great Lutheran Missionary to India (Columbus, ohio: Lutheran Book Concern, 1895)
   ■ C. H. Swavely, ed., The Lutheran Enterprise in India 1706-1952 (Madras, India: Federation of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in india, 1952)
   ■ H. M. Zorn, Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg (St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia Publishing House, 1933).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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