D. T. Niles, the Church, and the Fellowship of the Spirit

Jeffrey W. Barbeau


By the time of his death, Daniel Thambyrajah Niles (1908–1970) was among the most well-known Christian leaders in the world. Niles, a Methodist born in Ceylon (later, Sri Lanka), quickly rose to national and international prominence through his work locally, nationally, and internationally. Niles’s theology, which reflects aspects of both Wesleyanism and Barthianism, emerges from a pneumatological vision of the church as the family of God. Although he was a prominent figure in the global ecumenical movement, Niles openly criticized Western cultural practices that permeated Christian churches and missionary work in the middle of the twentieth century. He contended against the widespread distrust of majority world churches and their local leadership. Niles maintained that the Holy Spirit calls Christian churches to participate in matters of national concern and to offer visible witness to the nations through the proclamation of the gospel.


Daniel Thambyrajah Niles; Methodist Church; Sri Lanka; Ecclesiology; Pneumatology; Nationalism

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