The Church Concept

‘Church’, in common parlance, means a building used for public Christian worship. It may even be a particular Christian organization, typically one with its own clergy, buildings, and distinctive doctrines. But this is not the biblical understanding which is more a body of believers than anything else. The word ‘church’ comes from the Greek word ekklesia which means ‘an assembly’ or the ‘called-out ones’.
For all Christian believers, the church is the body of Christ, of which He is the head. The ‘body of Christ’ is composite concept, its two constituents being :  (1) the universal church consisting of  all those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as they believe that they obtained Salvation through faith in Him; and  (2) the local church with a body of believers attached to it. The members of the universal church should seek fellowship with local believers for learning and practicing their faith through a local church.

Origin of Christian in Kerala

It is believed that Christianity was introduced to Kerala by Thomas the Apostle, who visited Kerala in 52 AD to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Although the exact origin remains unclear it is widely believed that Christianity in Kerala is almost as old as Christianity itself and it spread in India even before it did in many other countries.  Some historians argue that Christianity was brought into Kerala by Thomas of Cnana (Cnanai Thomman), who was a trader and who landed in Kodungallur by 345 AD from Syria accompanied by a large group of Christian believers. There is a small section of the present day Christians in Kerala who consider themselves as the pure descendents of those came with Thomas of Cnana. On the other hand there is a larger section of believers who claim direct descend     from, those who were originally converted by Apostle Thomas from Indians. There were also conversions to Christianity during subsequent periods and through the efforts of missionaries. The advent of the Portuguese in the 16th century gave a boost to the growth of Christians in Kerala under Roman Catholic missionaries, the most significant one being St. Francis Xavier. As several European missionaries also came to Kerala the non-Catholic Christian population also grew both in number and diversity. Today, Christianity is Kerala’s third-largest religion. According to the 2001 census, the number of Christian population of Kerala was 60,57,427.


GEORGE, K M. Christianity in India through the centuries, Secunderabad, Authentic Books, 2007. 385 pp.