Reading List for Hindu-Christian Interactions

Understanding Hinduism


“The Cultural Core of Hinduism” by Timothy Paul (link)

“Religious Movements in Hindu Social Contexts” by H. L. Richard (link)
Comparing Hindu movements with Christ-movements

“Religious Syncretism as a Syncretistic Concept: The Inadequacy of the “World Religions” Paradigm in Cross-Cultural Encounter” by H. L. Richard (link)
Moving away from seeing Hinduism as a ‘World Religion’


Hinduism: A Brief Look at Theology, Scriptures, and Social System with comments on the Gospel in India, by H. L. Richard (link)
A very brief introduction to Hindu traditions meant to counter common misunderstandings in the West

Understanding Hinduism by Dayanand Bharati (link)
(Fully revised second edition to appear in 2020 from Munshiram Manoharlal publishers in Delhi)
A broad look at Hinduism from practical issues in daily life to defining what it means to be a Hindu

A Survey of Hinduism by Klaus K. Klostermaier (link)
This exhaustive outline of Hinduism with factual information and nuanced interpretations is one of the best guides for understanding Hinduism.

The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi (Free PDF | link)
Gandhi is no longer a living force but remains a powerful symbol in India. His struggles with Christianity are a major part of this striking autobiography, and his problems echo those of many Hindus today.

Gora by Rabindranath Tagore (link)
This brilliant novel by India’s greatest modern writer spells out tensions in the transition of Hinduism to the modern globalized world. A right wing Hindu spars with a Brahmo Samajist (reformed Hindu, very much under the influence of Christ), with Christianity never far in the background yet never a living option.

Bhagavad Gita (link)
Numerous editions exist, but many are unreliable. This is a cheap, small format that is both accurate and easier to read. The Gita mingles both philosophical and devotional emphases and is one of the profound works of human history.

Hindu-Christian Interface


“A Survey of Disciples of Christ from Non-Dalit Hindu Homes” by P. and S. Kannan (link)
Examining the traditional conversion process and its impact on the family

“From ‘Krishna Bhakti’ to ‘Christianity’ to ‘Krista Bhakti’” by Raghav Krishna (link)
A fascinating pilgrimage of a Brahmin into and beyond cultural “Christianity”

“The Burden of the Past” by Herb Hoefer (link)
An excellent outline of the historical baggage that keeps Hindus away from Christ

“Brahmabandhab Upadhyay and the Failure of Hindu Christianity” by Madhusudhan Rao (link)
An analysis of the life of one of the pioneers of Hindu discipleship to Jesus

“Community Dynamics in India and the Praxis of ‘Church’” by H. L. Richard (link)
A historical analysis of Christianity in India with a critique of the idea of “Christian community”

“Impacting the Hindu Diaspora in North America” by Timothy Paul (link)
Practical guidelines beyond North America for personal evangelism among Hindus from an evangelist with over two decades of experience among Gujaratis in New Jersey

“Syncretism in a Hindu Insider Movement: K. Subba Rao’s Legacy” by H. L. Richard (link)
A study of the only significant insider movement in Indian church history

“Ten Tips for Ministering to Hindus” by H. L. Richard (link)
A summary of lessons on effective evangelism among Hindus

Christian Interaction With Hindus

Disciple Making Among Hindus by Timothy Shultz (2016)
An essential book for all alongsiders to read and digest.

Living Water and Indian Bowl: An Analysis of Christian Failings in Communicating Christ to Hindus, with Suggestions towards Improvement (revised), by Dayanand Bharati (2004)
A practitioner’s account of Christian insensitivity and the valid reasons for Hindu resistance to the biblical message

Rethinking Hindu Ministry: Papers from the Rethinking Forum, ed. H. L. Richard (link)
This collection of papers on Hindu ministry includes an approach to understanding “Hinduism,” lessons from Hindus who followed Christ, and practical pointers for Hindu ministry.

Following Jesus in the Hindu Context: The Intriguing Implications of N. V. Tilak’s Life and Thought, by H. L. Richard (1999)
A study of N. V. Tilak (1861-1919), the outstanding figure in Protestant history for contextual Christian witness among Hindus. Tilak developed a paradigm for contextual biblical witness and remains a model of what it means to truly represent Christ in the Hindu world.

Churchless Christianity (revised), by Herbert E. Hoefer (2001)
An account of Hindus who choose to truly follow Christ without joining the organized church. Fascinating case studies and statistics from Tamil Nadu with profound theological reflections.

Christian Barriers to Jesus by Dr. Paul Pennington (2017)
A look from the North American side of why Hindus are resistant to the way Jesus is communicated.

The Christ of the Indian Road, by E. Stanley Jones (1925)
Jones listened carefully to Hindus and so his account of Hindu attitudes remains valuable despite some definite weaknesses in his approach and in this book; many secondhand copies available.

Song of the Heart by Dhanjibhai Fakirbhai (2015)
A collection of New Testament verses arranged into a dialog format like the Bhagavad Gita. The best book to introduce a Hindu to the message of Christ. Also available as an audible song in Tamil and English.

Other Resources

Rethinking Hindu Ministry 2, a collection of papers from Rethinking Forum conferences that provide both theoretical and practical insights. This is available on request from

(The earlier collection of papers has been expanded into a book and is mentioned above.)

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