Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New Faces of Christianity-Philip Jenkins

From Here to Timbuktu

Jenkins' basic thesis is that Christianity is rapidly going south, the Global South. This expansive growth seems to bother both conservative and liberal Western Christians. It bothers the libs because Southern Christianity is well, conservative, or what might be called by American liberals, fundamentalist. Mainly speaking, southern Christians are opposed to homosexual lifestyles, ministers, and practice. Many are also opposed to ordaining women and have a deep sense of the integrity and authority of Scripture. In all of these issues, they think they have the Bible on their side.

American conservatives, although they have more in common with southern Christians, may also be a bit bothered. Southern Christianity in China (not in the south but it is), Brazil, and Africa is full of Pentecostals, healing, miracles, charismatics. This does not fit well with a stodgy, informed Presbyterianism. It may not fit well with modern American Baptists either. But the church is exploding in these areas. They ARE Christians. God is doing something really huge, perhaps bigger and more meaningful in a shorter timeframe, than anything globally that He has done thus far. How will we view this?

"By 2025, Africa and Latin America will vie for the title of the most Christian continent. A map of the statistical center of gravity of global Christianity shows that center moving steadily southward, from a point in norhtern Italy in 1800, to central Spain in 1900, to Morocco by 1970 and to a point near Timbuktu today."

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