A historical overview of the Indian Theological Association reveals that the ITA has multiple roots or sources like the iconic Indian mythical banyan tree. In the words of the founder of the ITA, J. Constantine Manalel, the ITA is a collective of various movements initiated at various points of time namely, “Theology Centre”(1950 – 1980), "All-Kerala Student League"(1952), "All-Kerala Teachers Guild"(1954), "Theology Course for Laity"(1961), "Jeevadhara"(1971), "Jeevadhara Theological Society"(1974). Indian Theological Association which was founded in 1976 by a band of committed theologians, was thus the organic realization of the afore said various movements. In the course of time the vision of ITA had been a catalyst for initiating the movements like “Model Village"(1990) and “Socio- Religious Research Centre"(2001).



A creative and an inclusive theological engagement with the whole of reality for the Reign of God to build up the Church of India is the vision of the ITA. It implies that Indian Christian theology addresses to all peoples, all cultures, all religious traditions and the whole world. That is to say the ITA is not an exclusive and ethnocentric fellowship but a partnership of pilgrims in a dialogical pursuit in a multi religious and cultural contex. Thus its sole vocation and mission is to dedicate to “building bridges of love and hope and peace” for all peoples on the ‘Earth’.



Partnership and solidarity have been the key principles which have undergirded and guided the ITA over the past years. It has always been its endeavour to sustain and keep alive an inclusive and creative platform on which scholars, thinkers and activists can engage discourses on human life in the perspective of Biblical Revelation. It is the policy of the ITA that a participative and dialogical methodology must be followed in its pursuit of doing theology in India/Asia. Hence ITA Methodology calls for a triple-dialogue at three complementary levels:



The Indian Church is of three ritual traditions, namely, Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara which are all of foreign origin. A dialogue of these three SUI JURIS Churches is verily the ecclesial imperative and presupposition to build up an Indian Church.


  1. Meeting of Religions
  2. Solidarity with the Poor
  3. Eco-Beings: We are innately indebted to the whole universe.


  1. Divine origin: We are of God;
  2. Human solidarity: We are all of one and the same human fellowship irrespective of cast, colour, creed, gender and race.
  3. Reconciliation between religions and secular ideologies.



On August 28, 1975 a meeting of the members of the Jeevadhara Theological Society was convened at Kochi to explore the scope of a wider forum in which Indian theologians could come together and enter into a theological discourse rooted in Indian cultural, social and religious concerns. There was unanimous support for such a venture, and taking into consideration of the plurality of Indian context it was decided to hold a representative meeting in 1976 in central India.

Accordingly, twenty theologians hailing from various ecclesial and regional backgrounds came together at Jeevan Jyoti, Hyderabad in January 1976 and founded the Indian Theological Association. From its very inception the ITA was conceived as a fraternity which would be guided by a simple “Constitution” (see Constitution). Freedom of thought is the mother of all creativity and hence the autonomous nature of the Association is conscientiously insisted upon to keep alive its prophetic role. Therefore it was positively decided that the ITA should never, ever come under any patronage. But at the same it was the solid resolve that the ITA should always be in communion and collaboration with the Church and should be a creative agency of the Indian Church in its endeavours of becoming truly Indian/Asian.

he Annual Meeting and Seminar is the consistent event of the ITA since its inception. To date there were thirty one such meetings. Since 1980, one of the characteristic features of the Association is the collective expression of its stance on the debated issue in the Annual Meeting through an ITA Statement. It is the consolidated and consensual articulation of the mind of the Association. We have already produced such 29 Statements over the years. The ITA celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 2001. All the statements up to 2001 were published in a volume in 2002 (See Theologizing in Context, ITA Publications). Apart from that the papers presented in the Annual Seminar were published in a volume each year (see ITA Publications). The statements since 2001 are available in the ITA Web. The following statement titles will offer the reader the tenor and trend of ITA’s thinking process.

  1. Understanding Salvation in Indian Context (1980)
  2. Political Theology in Indian Context (1981)
  3. Reconciliation in India (1982)
  4. Searching for an Indian Ecclesiology (1983)
  5. Theological Education in India Today (1984)
  6. Towards an Indian Theology of Liberation (1985)
  7. Socio-Cultural Analysis in Theologizing (1986)
  8. Communalism in India: A Challenge to Theologizing (1987)
  9. Towards a Theology of Religions: An Indian Christian Response (1988)
  10. Towards an Indian Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism ((1989)
  11. Towards an Indian Christian Spirituality in a Pluralistic Context (1990)
  12. The Role of the Theologian in the Church in India Today (1991)
  13. The Issue of “Rites” in the Indian Church (1993)
  14. A Christian Response to Religious Tensions in our Country (1994)
  15. A Future Vision for an Indian (1995)
  16. The Church in India in Search of a New Identity (1996)
  17. Ecological Crisis: An Indian Christian Response (1997)
  18. The significance of Jesus Christ in the Context of Religious Pluralism (1998)
  19. Hope at the Dawn of the 21st Century (1999)
  20. Challenge of Hindutva: An Indian Christian Response (2000)
  21. Inculturation and Its Practical Consequences (2001)
  22. Christian Commitment to Nation Building 2002.
  23. Society And Church: Challenges To Theologizing In India Today (2003)
  24. Concerns of Women: An Indian Theological Response (2004).
  25. Dalit's Concerns & An Indian Theological Response (2005)
  26. Laity in the Church, Identity and Mission in India Today (2006)
  27. Brahmabandhab Upadhyay: A "Hindu-Catholic", His Significance for Theologizing in India Today (2007)
  28. Church’s Engagement in Civil Society, a New Way of Being Christian in India Today (2008)
  29. Indian Theology of Economics in a Globalised World
  30. Indian Secularism Threatened! A Christian Response
  31. Violence in Today’s Society. An Indian Theological Response
  32. Corruption in Public Life. A Theological Response
  33. Inclusive Development. An Indian Theological Response
  34. Call for a New Theology of Culture. Revisiting Mission Praxes and Paradigms.



The future of the ITA is the future of the Church in India. The Indian Church has to yet to become the Church of India which embodies the claims, struggles, dreams and hopes of this land of Eternal Truth. The mission and vocation of the ITA is to become a creative agency in the growth of the Indian Church in the vision of Jesus embodying the Asian way and wisdom. The ITA’s identity is thus constructed in its engagement with the vital issues of the India/Asia so that the teeming millions of Asia are mentored into Jesus’ “Fullness of Life”!.