PGDIS 504 – Foundations for Indigenous People’s Identity (2 Credits)

Rev Dr Jangkholam Haokip
Dr. David Smith
David William Smith
Last Update September 11, 2022
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About This Course

BKI as a centre for integrated studies takes faith and identity very seriously. While the natures of both are dynamic often leading to conflicts, a rich community life is hardly possible without them. On one hand, people need to build a strong foundation of faith and identity for a dignified community life as equal humans and on the others, the process of identity construction and faith affirmation can risk peaceful co-existence in multi-ethnic contexts.

  • To introduce to students the complex nature of faith and identity
  • To show both positive and negative impact that faith and identity can have in the society
  • To help the students find Biblical resources for identity and identity promotion in a peaceful way

Learning Objectives

The students gained knowledge about the complexities of faith and identity
The students identified the place and role of faith in ethnic conflicts or vice versa
The students received basic biblical foundation and demonstrate skills to deal with issues surrounding human identity from a Biblical point of view
The students learned to accept and enrich their identities without risking peaceful co-existence


  • Bauman, Zigmun, Identity (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2006)
  • Barth, Fredrick, Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Cultural Difference (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2969)
  • Baruah, Sanjib, Durable Disorder: Understanding the Politics of Northeast India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2005)
  • Brett, Mark G., Ethinicty and the Bible (Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc, 2002)
  • Castells, Manuel, The Power of Identity :Oxford: Blackwell, 1997)
  • Das, Rajat Kanti, Manipur Tribal Scene: Studies in Society and Changes (New Delhi: InterIndia Publications, 1995.
  • Dena, Lal, In Search of Identity: Hmar of Northeast India (New Delhi: New Publishing House, 2008.)
  • Esler, Phillip F. Conflict and Identity in Romans: The Social Setting of Paul’s Letter (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003)
  • Haokip, Jangkholam, Can God Save My Village, (UK: Langham Monographs, 2014)
  • Pachuau, Lalsangkima, Ethnic Identity and Christianity (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2002)


Unit I: Understanding the nature of faith

Definitions of faith; Faith as seeking understanding; Faith as continuously seeking understanding; Faith and responsibility

Unit II: Understanding the nature of identity

Definitions of identity; Factors for identity formation; Identity as social construct; identities are both strong and fragile; identity, identity construction and responsibility

Unit III: An overview of the uncritical marriage between faith and identity

A survey of ethnic conflicts in the 20th century; Conflict among Christians in NEI; A critical analysis of the role of faith and the Bible in the process of identity construction; The uncritical marriage between faith and identity and the risk of communal tension.

Unit IV: Biblical foundation for indigenous People’s identity

A Rereading of the Hebrew Bible and the chosen nation; Jesus’s life and ministry for all people; Pauline concept of community; and the eschatological vision of new community.

Unit V: Enrichment of identity for peace

Pauline concept of life and living; Life as interdependent; World Christianity and Indigenous People’s Participation.

Your Instructors

Rev Dr Jangkholam Haokip


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Theological Education

  • February 2006–July 2011: Doctor of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
  • July 1997–April 1999: Master of Theology United Theological College, Bangalore, India
  • July 1994 – April 1996: Bachelor of Divinity Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India
  • July 1990 - April 1993: Bachelor of Theology Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India

Work Experience:

  • April 2017 - December 2019: Associate Professor, Dept of Theology and Ethics
  • Other Responsibilities:
    • Editor-in-Chief, UBS Journal since March 2016
    • Director, Research and Publications
  • April 2014 - March 2017: Assistant Professor of Theology
  • January 2001 - January 2006: Registrar –cum-Lecturer, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India. My responsibilities include; Administration of Academic Office and teaching contextual theologies including Dalit Theology, Tribal Theology, Liberation Theology and Indian Christian Theology.
  • July 1999 - December 2000: Liaison Officer, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India. My responsibility was to establish and strengthen partnerships between the seminary and local churches across denominations within India.

Thesis Supervisions:

  • BD/MDiv - both Senate of Serampore & ATA
  • MTh – both Senate of Serampore & ATA
  • DTh/DMin – Senate of Serampore
  • PhD – Martin Luther Christian University

Voluntary Work:

  • January 2020: Director, Bethesda Khankho Institute, Manipur, India
  • November 2021: Member, Research and Ethics Committee, MLCU, Shillong
  • March 2016 -December 2010: Senior Pastor, Kuki Worship Service Pune (KWSP)
  • October 2012 - March 2013: Leader, Glasgow International Christian Fellowship. This is part of the Renfield St Stephen church’s outreach ministry among internationals in the city of Glasgow.
  • January 2013 - June 2014: Secretary, Bethesda Khankho International (UK)(SCIO) registered with the Office of Scottish Charity Regulators, Charity Number SC04236.
  • August 1999 – January 2006: Chaplain, Kuki Worship Service, Pune, India This congregation consist of mostly university students of Northeast India studying in the city of Pune.
  • January 2005 – 2006: Founding President, Som-Inn, Pune, India. Derived from the people’s cultural tradition, Som-Inn is a residential learning centre for university students in the city of Pune where we provide support, mentorship and Christian discipleship for the residents. The aim of this project is to contextualize the Christian message of love in the people’s own cultural context while we prepare them for responsible global citizens.

Charity Initiatives: In 2009, founded a Charitable Organization called Bethesda-Khankho Foundation among Indigenous communities in Manipur, Northeast India with a vision to transform to transform. BKF has four main prjects including, Bethesda Som-In/Children Home, Bethesda Academy for Integral education, medical project among tribal communities and a Centre for Integrated studies specialised in Indigenous Studies. Ordination: Ordained by the Evangelical Churches Association (ECA), Evangelical Congregational Church of India (ECCI) on the 14th of March 2004. Publications:

  1. Haokip, J & David Smith, eds., Voices from the Margin: Voices from the Margins Wisdom of Primal Peoples in the Era of World Christianity (Carlisle: Langham Literature, 2022).
  2. Haokip, J & Haokip J. eds., Khankho a Kibulphu: Discovering Cultural Foundation (Imphal: Bethesda Khankho Foundation, 2017)
  3. Haokip, J & K. Sungjemmeren Imchen, eds., Becoming a Missional Congregation in the Twenty-first Century Indian Context (Delhi: ISPCK, 2016)
  4. Haokip, J. Colonisation, Identity and Search for Peace [A Transcribed text of and preliminary comments on Operations Against Kuki Tribes of Assam and Burma 1917-1919, A Colonial Document preserved at British Library, London, UK], Pune: Published by Author, 2015.
  5. Haokip, J. 2014. Can God Save My Village? A Theological Study of Identity among the Tribal people of North East India with a Special Reference to the Kukis of Manipur (Carlisle, UK: Langham Monograph, 2014).
  6. Haokip, J. 2011. Houbung Kithah Pat (Re-Visioning the Church for the Post-Centennial Witness for Christ), Lamphelpat, Imphal.

Articles in Books and Journals:

  1. Haokip, J. ‘A Contextual Theology of Khankho’ in Haokip, J & David Smith, eds., Voices from the Margin: Voices from the Margins Wisdom of Primal Peoples in the Era of World Christianity (Carlisle: Langham Literature, 2022).
  2. Haokip, J. ‘Evangelisation and Colonialism: The role of ‘Christianity’ in the Anglo-Kuki War’ in Letkhojam Haokip and Ngamjahao Kipgen eds., Against the Empire: Polity, Economy and Culture during the Anglo-Kuki War, 1917-1919, Delhi: Routledge, 2020).
  3. Haokip, J. 2016. ‘The Shift of Gravity of Christian Presence from the Global North to the Global South and its Implications for Northeasterners in India’ in Haokip, J & K. Sungjemmeren Imchen, eds., Becoming a Missional Congregation in the Twenty-first Century Indian Context (Delhi: ISPCK)
  4. Haokip, J. 2016. ‘The Kuki Mission 1910: Toward a Re-reading of Watkin Robers ‘the intruder’ and his message for the 21st century Christian witness in the context of emerging World Christianity’ 168- 180 in Witnessing to Christ in North East India, eds Marina Ngursangzeli and Michael Biehl, Regnum Edinburgh Centenery Series, Volume 31, Oxford: Regnum Books International.
  5. Haokip, J. 2015. ‘Khankho: An Exploration of Kuki Indigenous spirituality toward social and ecological peace’ UBS Journal Vols. 9.2 - 10.1.March 2016, pp.62-81.
  6. Haokip, J. 2014. “Implications of Having an Independent Missionary: A Review of the 1910 Kuki Mission”  International Bulletin of Missionary Reserch, April Issue.
  7. Haokip, J. 2002. ‘Issues Facing Tribal Christians in Northeast India Today’ 211-249 in Mark T. B. Laing, ed. The Indian Church in Context: Her Emergence, Growth, and Mission (Delhi: ISPCK)

Book Reviews:

  1. Liberating the Gospel: Translating the Message of Jesus Christ in a Globalised World, by David Smith (Darton, Longman and Todd, April 2016, Price Rs.1,182/ UBS Journal, Volume 10.2, November 2016.
  2. Beyond Literate Western Models: Contextualizing Theological Education in Oral Contexts. Edited by Samuel E. Chiang and Grant Lovejoy. Hong Kong: International Orality Network, 2013. Pp. 229. Paperback $14.95; Kindle $9.95 International Bulletin of Missionary Research, January Issue, 2015.

Research Experiences:

  1. As an expert Panel for online research project “Identifying the emerging roles of U.S. missionaries serving in the Majority World (Africa, Asia, and Latin America)” by  Karen Hatley, a Ph.D. candidate in leadership studies at Dallas Baptist University, USA. (October 2014 -
  2. Field Researcher for the topic, ‘Mass Movements among the Mala Madigas in Andra Pradesh and Nadars and Thevars in Tamil Nadu’ published in the book, F. Hrangkhuma, Christianity in India: Search for Liberation and Identity (New Delhi: ISPCK, 1998).


  1. ‘Impact of Christianity on Kuki people: A Preliminary observation’ in the Souvenir of Kuki Worship Service, Gauhati, 200
  2. ‘Celebrating Cultural Differences for Global Peace’ – online Journal Article

Participation at National and International conferences:

  1. Resource person at ‘South Asia Regional Creation Care Conference’ Part of the Lausanne/WEA Global Campaign for Creation Care and the Gospel Hotel View Bhrikuti, Godavri, Lalitpur, Nepal, 12 - 16th September 2016 Organised  by World Evangelical Alliance, Lausanne and EFICOR.
  2. Resource person at ‘Indigenous Ecological Spiritualties and Christian Faith17-20 August 2015 - Jogja, Indonesia, Organized by: Universitas Kristen Duta Wacana (UKDW), Nijmegen Institute for Mission Studies (NIM) and the World Council of Churches (WCC)
  3. Haokip, J. “Christianity and Identity: Opportunities, Risks & Responsibilities” presented at Rethinking Christianity Seminar November 15, 2014, Dorcas Hall, Lamka, Manipur, India.
  4. Haokip, J. “Kuki Mission 1910: Reclaiming the vision of Watkin Roberts for the 21st Century Kuki Communities in South Asia” presented at Unity Beyond Borders Conference November 21 & 22, 2013, St Paul’s Retreat Centre, Imphal, Manipur, India.
  5. Contributor: ‘Christian Mission and Kuki Identity; A Study in the Socio-cultural Impact of Protestant-Evangelical Mission on a Traditional Asian People’  presented at Yale-Edinburgh Conference, Yale University, June 27-29, 2013.
  6. ‘Ethnic Identity and Christianity: A call for fresh theological reflection’ – A Paper presented at the Ecumenical International Conference on “Human Identity and the Gospel of Reconciliation“  at Balatonfüred, Hungary from August 16-23, 2008 organised by IAMS.
  7. Resource person: ‘Gospel and Globalisation’ 2nd South ASia Youth Conference, Bangalore, India, June 8-14, 2005, Sponsored by Church Mission Society (CMS).
  8. Facilitator: ‘Called for Peace’ South Asia Youth Conference, Sri Lanka, May 23-30, 2002 Sponsored by Church Mission Society (CMS), USPG, Methodist church (UK), Church of Scotland and others.
  9. Resource Person: ‘The Role of Lay leaders in the church’ at Diamond Jubilee of the Evangelical Church Association, Manipur, India. 2013
  10. Haokip, J. ‘The Concept of Khankho: Re-Visiting Indigenous Life-world in the context of World Christianity’ Presented at University of Edinburgh, on 4th February 2020.


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David William Smith

Visiting/Consultant Faculty

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Current Position: Honorary Lecturer in the School of Divinity, Philosophy and History, University of Aberdeen. Previous Experience:
  • 2002-2009, Lecturer in Urban Mission and World Christianity and Programme Leader for M.Th in Ministry in an Urban World, International Christian College, Glasgow.
  • 1999-2002, Co-Director of Whitefield Institute, Oxford, supporting grantees in postgraduate research in theology and ethics and engaged in personal research and writing. Visiting lecturer at Redcliffe College, Gloucester; Evangelical Theological of Wales, Bridgend; Irish Bible Institute, Dublin; and the Theological College of Northern Nigeria, Bukuru, Jos.
  • 1990-1998 Principal, Northumbria Bible College, Berwick-upon-Tweed.
  • 1990 Teaching Fellow, Centre for the Study of Religions, University of Aberdeen. Taught in Aberdeen and at the universities of Edinburgh and Saint Andrews.
  • 1985 Visiting Lecturer at Cubao Baptist Seminary, Manilla, Philippines.
  • 1977-1983 Lecturer at Samuel Bill Theological College, Abak, Nigeria.
  • 1965-1976 Minister of Eden Baptist Church, Cambridge.
Academic Experience: Involved in course development at Samuel Bill Theological College, Nigeria for validation with the University of Calabar; led staff team in course construction at Northumbria Bible College, resulting in three Open University validation events; led development of Master’s programme at International Christian College, Glasgow, validated by University of Aberdeen. External Examiner: Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (University of Middlesex); All Nations Christian College, Ware, Hertfordshire (University of Wales); Open Theological College, Gloucester (University of Gloucestershire); Oak Hill Theological College, London (University of Middlesex), and University of Aberdeen. Postgraduate Supervision and Examining: Supervised students at Masters and PhD levels on programmes validated by University of Aberdeen, University of Wales, University of Middlesex, and the Open University. Acted as External Examiner for PhDs at University of Wales, Lampeter; Queens University, Belfast; The Open University; University of Middlesex, and University of Aberdeen. In total six PhD theses examined. Other Relevant Experience: Teach on MTh programme at Irish Bible Institute, Dublin (Validated by York St John’s University); teach for Urban M.Th programme at Scottish Centre for Study of Mission (validated by University of Manchester); engaged in writing and delivering modules for Formission College, Birmingham; and teaching for the Centre for Study of Ministry, University of Aberdeen. Post-Secondary Education:
  • 1990 PhD University of Aberdeen – Thesis Secularisation and Evangelicalism: A Study in the Reaction of Conservative Churches to the Modern World.
  • 1986 MA (Hons), First Class – Religious Studies, University of Aberdeen.
  • 1965 Diploma in Biblical and Theological Studies, South Wales Bible College, Barry, Glamorgan.
Academic Prizes:
  • 1986 Ewan Prize in Religious Studies, Kings College, University of Aberdeen.
  • 1984 Henry Prize in Philosophy of Social Science, Kings College, University of Aberdeen.
  1. 2020 ‘Nations’ in Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception: Berlin: De Gruyter,
  2. 2020 [American Edition]  Liberating the Gospel : Minneapolis: Fortress Press
  3. 2020 Stumbling Toward Zion: Recovering the Biblical Tradition of Lament in the Era of World Christianity: Carlisle: Langham Literature.
  4. 2019 Second [International] Edition of Seeking A City With Foundations with new chapter, Carlisle: Langham Literature.
  5. 2016 ‘Preaching Toward Exile: The Case of Jeremiah ben Hilkiah’. Union Biblical Seminary Journal , 10/2, November, 2016: 75-86.
  6. 2016 Liberating the Gospel: Translating the Message of Jesus in a Globalised World London: Darton, Longman & Todd.
  7. 2014 ‘Envisioning an Alternative Urban World: Theology and the Future of the City’ in Trevor Cairney & David Starling [eds], Theology and the Future: Evangelical Assertions and Explorations London: Bloomsbury, T & T Clark.
  8. 2013 The Kindness of God: Christian Witness in our Troubled World Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press.
  9. ‘Mission, Violence and Suffering’. Theological College of Northern Nigeria Research Bulletin 58: March. 4-15.
  10. 2011 Seeking a City With Foundations: Theology for an Urban World Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press.
  11. 2010 ‘Theology as a Voice for the Voiceless: Jean Marc Ela’s African Cry’, Theological College of Northern Nigeria Research Bulletin Summer, 2010: 19-29.
  12. 2010 ‘Jesus and the City: reflections on the urban context of Galilee’ Evangelical Quarterly LXXXII, October: 316-325.
  13. 2009 ‘Evangelicals and Society: The Story of an On-Off Relationship’ in J. Grant and Dewi Hughes [eds] Transforming The World? The Gospel and Social Responsibility Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press: 246-267.
  14. 2007 Moving Toward Emmaus: Hope in a Time of Uncertainty London: SPCK. Subsequently translated into Russian and published in separate editions in Kiev and Moscow.
  15. 2006 ‘The Forgotten “Grandfather” of Protestant Mission: Perspectives on Globalisation from Jean de Lery’, Missiology XXXIV/3, July: 349-359.
  16. 2005 ‘A Victorian Prophet Without Honour: Edward Miall and the Critique of Nineteenth-Century British Christianity’ in Stephen Clark [ed], Tales of Two Cities: Christianity and Politics Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press: 152-183.
  17. 2003 Against The Stream: Christianity and Mission in an Age of Globalisation Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press. Mission After Christendom  London: Darton Longman & Todd.
  18. 2002 ‘Between Bukuru and New York: Reflections on Islam, Christianity, and Western Values’, Themelios, 27/3.
  19. ‘The Gospel: Made in London or Lahore?’ Third Way, June.
  20. ‘Junction or Terminus? Christianity in the West at the Dawn of the Third Millennium’ in Timothy Yates [ed], Mission – An Invitation to God’s Future Calver: Cliff College.
  21. 1998 Transforming The World? The Social Impact of British Evangelicalism Carlisle: Paternoster Press.
  22. 1995 Stairways to Heaven? God in Other Religions Edinburgh: Rutherford House
  23. 1986 ‘A Survey of New Religious Movements Among The Annang of Nigeria’, Neue Zeitschrift fur Missionwissenschaft 42-1986/4: 264-275.
  24. 1985 ‘Jesus and the Pharisees in Socio-Anthropological Perspective’, Trinity Journal 6NS (1985): 151-156.
Other Published Work:
  1. Articles in New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics (2005); The World’s Religions (2005);  Dictionary of Religions in the Contemporary West (2000); Dictionary of Historical Theology (2000); Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions (1997); Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology (1993).
  2. Managing editor of the IVP series The Global Christian Library which involved working with an international team of writers to produce books in which non-western authors reflect on doctrine from their cultural perspectives.
  3. Regular writer of Bible-reading notes for Scripture Union. Occasional articles in many  mission-related journals and magazines.
Current Activity and Interests:
  • Retain an active ministry in teaching and preaching within the UK and internationally. Make frequent visits to Africa to serve the church in Nigeria and Kenya, and have served Scripture Union International at staff conferences in Europe and South Africa. Have strong links with Eastern Europe, especially with the Brotherhood of the Armenian Orthodox Church in Yerevan. In 2017 addressed International Leadership Conference of OMF in Chiangmai, Thailand on ‘The Changing Global Landscape for World Mission’, taught at Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India, and visited former students in Pakistan and India. Spent four weeks at Theological College of Northern Nigeria, Jos, Nigeria teaching Masters class on Urban Theology. Teach and supervise for Centre for Study of Ministry in University of Aberdeen and contributed to their Summer Schools in 2016 and 2018.
  • Current writing projects include completing the manuscript for Stumbling Toward Zion: Recovering the Biblical Tradition of Lament in the Era of World Christianity.
Life Interests: Member of Kirkintilloch Baptist Church and also worship occasionally at Glasgow Cathedral (Church of Scotland). Lover of orchestral music and subscriber to concerts of BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow. Lifelong supporter of hometown football club in Watford and also enjoy cinema, especially at Glasgow Film Theatre.  
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