Kerala Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson, who said there is a need of "self-introspection with regard to the mission of the church", has now backtracked from his statement, claiming he was misunderstood.
While giving the keynote speech on the mission of the Church at the bicentenary celebrations of the Malankara Orthodox Church in Kottayam on Thursday, 26 November, he reportedly said it is the mission of the church to spread Christianity, adding that it was Biblically essential to bring people unto Jesus.
However, on Saturday, 28 November, he said he wasn't supporting proselytisation, and had only said the church's mission is to "preach the gospel".
"What I wanted to say is a Christian has to take care of his fellow beings as part of personal evangelisation," he said, adding that he is "constitutionally entitled" to speak as a member of the church.
In Thursday's function, which was also attended by Kerala Governor Justice (retd) P Sathasivam, Thomson emphasised the significance of evangelisation as well.
"I am standing before you not as the chief secretary of Kerala but as a proud son of the Malankara Orthodox Church," said Thomson in his speech.
"You and I should take the duty to preach the gospel across the world. The biggest mission of the church is to spread the gospel. The Bible clearly talks about that. This is an occasion for self-introspection with regard to the mission of the Church," he said.
He also said the "ultimate mission of the Church is to spread Christianity", and that there are three ways to do that: Church evangelisation, personal evangelisation and mass evangelisation.
"While mass evangelisation is being done through the Bible conventions, everyone can go on the path of personal evangelisation," he added, breaking down the word gospel as "go" and "spell".
Thomson said Kerala will in the next couple of months witness "a series of incidents of mass evangelism during Bible conventions", adding that personal evangelism doesn't "require the help of the clergy".
Mentioning a paralysed boy who spread the gospel from his apartment, Thomson encouraged others to follow his path.
"When that mission (of spreading the gospel) is accomplished, only at that moment can I say I am a Christian," The Indian Express quoted him as saying.