Stavan John in India

Dear Friends,

This week, please intercede with us for Dr. Stavan John in India.

India, the world’s largest democracy, is home to over 1.38 billion people, 80% of whom are Hindus. Rising Hindu nationalism in recent years has troubled religious minorities, including Muslims (14% of the population) and Christians (2%). The 2019 landslide reelection of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who belongs to both the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party and the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh volunteer paramilitary, has exacerbated fears and escalated discrimination against non-Hindus. In January, Modi inaugurated a large Hindu temple to Ram in Ayodhya, where the 16th-century Babri Mosque once stood before a Hindu nationalist mob destroyed it in 1992.

 
Stavan teaches at South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies (SAIACS), a partner of the Vital SustainAbility Initiative. With Leader Studies support, Stavan earned a PhD in Systematic Theology at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS) in the UK. His dissertation, titled “The Risen and Ascended Humanity of Christ in T.F. Torrance’s ‘Complete’ Christology,” examines Christian understandings of Jesus’ bodily resurrection. Stavan’s research is especially important in Indian contexts influenced by Hindu avatar theology, which emphasizes the spirit over the body. Stavan’s work offers a corrective, clarifying how Christ has achieved the salvation of whole persons. 
 
Stavan contributed a chapter, “Torrance and Global Evangelicalism: Some Potential Generative Exchanges with Contemporary Indian Evangelical Theology,” in Thomas F. Torrance and Evangelical Theology: A Critical Analysis (Bellingham: Lexham Academic, 2023). He also wrote an article (2021) for Modern Reformation on Chalcedon and Indian Christologies. Stavan and his wife Christina have two sons: two-year old Ishan and seven-month-old Roshan.
 
Stavan shares the following message:

Dear Scholars Leaders Prayer Community,
 
Greetings to you in Jesus’ name! I want to thank you for your prayers for me and my family. With the Lord’s help, I was able to successfully complete my PhD at OCMS in June 2022. My wife and I were also able to travel to Oxford in June 2023 for my graduation service. It was a special time to celebrate the Lord’s faithfulness in our lives. A few words from the acknowledgments of my thesis capture this sentiment:
 

As I look back on my journey, I see that the Lord sustained me and brought many people to travel with me on this long and difficult path. I was not alone. The Lord was with me, and through many well-wishers encouraged me to press on, one step at a time. I learned many lessons through this journey, but one aspect of the Lord that encapsulates everything is that he has been my helper. The Lord helped me write and complete this thesis. Soli Deo Gloria.

 
Prayer Updates
 
After the completion of my PhD, I have had a full teaching load at SAIACS, teaching theology courses on Christology, Ecclesiology, Biblical Theology for Ministry, and the Doctrine of the Resurrection. Please do pray for me as I prepare to teach these courses, that my teaching would be God-honoring and student-centered while inspiring lifelong learning. 
 
My PhD dissertation has been accepted for publication as part of a series, for which I thank the Lord. I have been asked to revise the introduction of my thesis to fit the series, and this is something I hope to do soon. I am also currently writing a couple of Torrance-related articles for the Thomas F. Torrance Journal. Please do pray for me as I work on these writing projects.
 
Please pray for the students who will graduate from SAIACS in a couple of months. The challenges they face in this context are immense, so pray that they will serve the Lord faithfully and winsomely. Please also pray for wisdom for the SAIACS leadership as they navigate new challenges while retaining the same commitment to raise servant leaders who will serve the church and the nation effectively.
 
One Christian leader who spoke at SAIACS recently challenged the community to take ownership of sharing Christ’s love to all parts of the country. Rather than depend solely on the initiative of friends of India, he challenged Indians to take up this role. This is a much-needed prayer not just for seminary students, but for churches and organizations across the country. Please pray for unity and a spirit of generosity among Christians in India, so that many of the compassion- and church-related ministries can be supported through indigenous resources. Pray that Christians will continue to serve the nation through excellent schools, hospitals, and other initiatives that provide holistic care to the underprivileged and marginalized in society. 
 
On a personal level, please pray for my family as my mother went home to be with the Lord in March last year. We thank the Lord for surrounding us with his love, comfort, and peace. In the midst of grief, the Lord also brought joy into our family by blessing us with our son, Roshan, in August last year. Please pray for Christina and me as we raise our two sons, Ishan and Roshan.
 
Thank you so much for your prayers for us.
 
Sincerely,
 
Stavan John 

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