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The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity [Paperback]

By Philip Jenkins (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   336
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.24" Width: 6.35" Height: 0.87"
Weight:   1.04 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 19, 2007
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  019518307X  
EAN  9780195183078  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The first edition of The Next Christendom has been hailed as a landmark in our understanding of modern Christianity. In this new and substantially expanded second edition, Jenkins continues to illuminate the remarkable expanion of Christianity in the global South--in Africa, Asia, and Latin America--as well as the clash betwen Islam and Christianity since September 11. Among the major topics covered are the growing schism between Northern and Southern churches over issues of gender and sexuality, immigrant and ethnic churches in North America, and a special section on the split within the Anglican Communion. The first in a three-book trilogy on the changes besetting modern Christianity, this award-winning book will be welcomed by all of those who have come to recognize Philip Jenkins as one of our leading commentators on religion and world affairs.

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More About Philip Jenkins

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Philip Jenkins, one of the world's leading religion scholars joined Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion as Distinguished Professor of History and Co-Director for the Program on Historical Studies of Religion. He is the author of many books and articles, including the acclaimed The Future of Christianity Trilogy, consisting of The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South, and God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis.

Philip Jenkins currently resides in the state of Pennsylvania. Philip Jenkins was born in 1952 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Pennsylvania State University.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
eye opening  Jan 28, 2008
An important book for a perspective-adjusting view of worldwide Christianity. We Westerners (read, mostly Americans) tend to think our world is THE world and we represent the view and experience of the rest of the world -- or at least, that our view and experience is the correct and most progressive of the rest of the world. Fact is, the rest of the world has a much different perspective. Into that rest-of-the-world reality, Christianity is growing at a staggering pace. Reading this book made me grateful that the corruption and apostasy of the molding Western Church is not the world's norm. Thanks be to God, His people are strong, vibrant, healthy and growing. We have all heard about the fact that the Church is now more brown, black, and yellow than white, but the statistics and facts presented and the outlook for the non-western Church is startling and exciting. This should be required reading for all clergy and those interested in the direction the Church is taking in our modern world.
A fascinating and thought-provoking book  Dec 2, 2007
This book is an update of Jenkins' ground-breaking book published nearly a decade ago and is still a fascinating and timely read today. The book amply demonstrates that our idea of 'traditional' or 'mainstream' Christianity is the result of the situation of Western European society over the last millennium and is not a true reflection of the current situation. Philip Jenkins reminds us that the Western part of global Christendom is shrinking and its importance, numerically speaking, is waning; the new Christendom will probably consist of the Southern churches - Africa, Asia and South America - whose experience of Christianity is very different than ours. Much of their Christian experience is more akin to the early church with supernatural elements being part of daily life, healings and prophecies common and their concept of culture completely different to ours.

Jenkins provides much statistical evidence to back up his points as well as a thorough discussion of how global Christianity spread through mission work in the past and how it might change in the future. There is much encouragement in this book, mainly in the reminder that Christianity is still a growing religion globally and that perhaps Islam will have less of an effect than we think, but it was also occasionally sobering in discovering that the form of Christianity that many of the Southern churches use is not one that would be a comfortable fit with post-Enlightenment western Christians.
christianity north and south  Jan 18, 2007
A little over twenty years ago David Barrett published his book World Christian Encyclopedia (1982; 2002) that documented a growing change in Christianity's center of gravity. After flourishing around the Mediterranean perimeter, Christianity was overtaken by Islam by the eighth or ninth century. For the next millennium, Christianity migrated to Europe. Now, with Philip Jenkins's new book, we can say with confidence that yet another massive shift has occurred in Christianity, away from the wealthy and primarily white regions of the northern hemisphere, to the poor and non-white regions of the southern hemisphere.

Here in the wealthy west believers wrangle over gay rights, the role of women in ministry, declining membership in mainline denominations, increased secularity (at least by some measures), clergy celibacy and the like. But a counter reformation of sorts has already occurred among poor believers in the south, says Jenkins. Their orientation is theologically and socially conservative, with unapologetic belief in the supernatural, healing, exorcisms and so on. With so many failed states and dysfunctional governments in these parts of the world, the leaders of these ascendant Christian movements have gained increased power and prestige.

This upsurge of conservative Christianity runs counter to so much of the modern west, but according to demographics, in the case of the Gospel the modern west might matter less and less. In 1900 Africa was about 10% Christian; today about 46% of the population is Christian. In fifty years, half of the world's Christian population will be in Africa and Latin America, and only about 20% of believers will be non-Latino whites. A Nigerian pope? It might only be a matter of time. If you cannot read his book length version, Jenkins has an abbreviated version of his research in the Atlantic Monthly (October 2002), pages 53-68.
An important look at the future of this century  Mar 6, 2006
While this book is focused on the future, the author from time to time writes of events in the past, to give context to the present situation and the predictions for the future that he makes. I learned a lot of history I did not know, as well as learned about the practices found in Christianity found throughout the world today.

The book's premise that Christianity will become centered in the Southern Hemisphere in this century, breaking away from its previous Western European/North American focus, makes sense to me. It makes a lot more sense to me than the contention of John Shelby Spong and those of a similar stripe, that Christianity is dying and therefore must become "modern" to survive. The Christianity that Spong sees may be dying in Western Europe and North America, but this book by Jenkins gives hope that Christianity will thrive among people with more faith.

I think that this is a book that JOURNALISTS especially should read, as well as academics who analyze world events. Jenkins points out something that I see already, that future government leaders, academics and such in the West will not even comprehend the events of the world because religion is off their radar screen. This book made much sense to me in light of the Denmark Mohammed cartoon controversy. Because they and others were clueless as to the meaning of religion to Muslims, they were clueless as to the response their actions would generate. While this book is about Christianity primarily, still I've seen in other news coverage the complete absence of great conflicts, or when conflicts are covered, they totally miss the point of the conflicts because religion is off their radar screen. This book could help put religion on the radar screen of journalists and academics.

For Christian readers, the value of this book is in preparing for the "New World Order," so to speak, in Christianity, where the direction of the church will be decided by those in Africa and Latin America and Asia more than those in the West. Jenkins describes how this Christianity is likely to appear; for some it will be easy to accept, but for others it will look far different from what they are accustomed to.

I highly recommend this book as an informed, well thought out look at the changes we are likely to see in this century, particularly in Christianity, but also in the world as a result of the influence of Christianity coming from new locations.
a world far different from the one we thought we knew  Sep 16, 2005
In a memorable passage from the movie APOLLO THIRTEEN, a military man in the tense Houston control room shares with a political figure his premonition that the tragedy unfolding before them will be *the* catastrophic moment for the space program. Mission control flight chief Gene Kranz overhears their conversation and addresses it: 'With all due respect, gentleman, I believe this will be our finest hour.' The scene could stand in for the hand-wringing that often accompanies the apparent demise of the Western church when it comes to prognosticating on its fate over against the perceived adversaries of secularism and post-modernism. Philip Jenkins reminds us that, when viewed through a wide-screen lens, the immediacy of threat often yields to a broad panorama of opportunity.

Over against the fear of resurgent religion that shows its face among our cultural elites, Philip Jenkins sketches the rise of 'global Christianity' in predominantly positive terms. The Penn State University scholar of religion has noticed long before most of us that the face of Christendom is already brown, southern, and confident. He helps us to work through the implications of this even as he persuades us that the hegemony of Euro-American Christianity is a thing of the past and that-unless we pay attention-we who are part of it are likely to be, as the old song says, the last to know.

In the first of ten compact chapters ('The Christian Revolution', pp. 1-14), Jenkins starts out with a bang. Professional analysts of global trends have missed out on perhaps the biggest one, a fact that the title of Jenkins' opening chapter provocatively suggests. Religious revolutions are not, as Western intellectuals too often suppose, mere matters of the heart. They bring with them profoundly this-worldly repercussions like crusades, wars, and what Samuel Huntington has famously termed 'the clash of civilizations'. They can also renew societies. Jenkins informs us that a 'Christian revolution' is already underway in the developing world, one that our political leaders ignore to the peril of all of us.

The historian who can write well-researched prose for a popular readership and manage to turn large assumptions on their head is a valuable person indeed. Jenkins accomplishes just this in his second chapter ('Disciples of All Nations' pp. 15-38). He helps us to see that Christianity is not best understood as a western religion. Its African, Middle Eastern, and Asian successes were large and entrenched centuries before it came to be perceived by some as the faith of white men. Even popular myth of Christian crusades dispossessing Muslims of their ancestral turf is misleading in the extreme when viewed against the historical facts of Islamic expansionism and enduring Christian communities among those peoples whom we today identify reflexively as Muslim. Europe entered late into this story. Jenkins wonders, with one of his sources, whether the universal Christianity he describes is not best seen as the 'renewal of a non-western religion', a suggestion that gains credence when one ponders how alien Western skepticism immediately appears when placed beside the biblical documents, on the one hand, and ancient or emerging Christian movements from Africa or Asia, on the other.

If Western mythology about the missionary enterprise(s) is to be believed, it is the power of kings, companies, and missionaries that enforced a European Christian faith upon the reluctant peoples of the Two-Thirds World. Jenkins does not believe it, however, arguing that even when these institutions are given their due, Christianity has become an indigenous brushfire in many of the regions under review ('Missionaries and Prophets', pp. 39-53). Indeed, Christian faith of one variety or another-and sometimes several at once-appears to have thrived since the retreat of colonial powers. A guilty missionary conscience would appear to be a neurosis suffered largely in the West.

When the demise of European empires brought forward the moment for non-Western churches to stand alone, they had little trouble doing so (Ch. 3, 'Standing Alone, pp. 55-78). Indeed, the European retraction coincided with several significant Christian advances that affected both the European-founded churches and newer autochthonous movements. Academic interest in the latter often overshadows the at least as remarkable health of Roman Catholic, Anglican, and other traditional churches. Jenkins observes parallels between the developments he surveys in the 'South' and those that characterized a similar time of awakening, urbanization, and religious effervescence in the industrializing North.

Jenkins' fifth chapter ('The Rise of the New Christianity', pp. 79-105) produces some plausible and startling speculations based upon demographic trends extrapolated out from evidence that is available today. Population growth and contraction look poised to reduce European populations radically while a boom in many southern states continues apace. When turning to religious indicators, all of them suggest that the surge in southern Christianity has barely begun. The picture becomes even more interestingly when population mobility is factored into the equation. Immigration to Europe may well establish a renewed Christian presence on that continent. America looks set to become even more of a Christian nation than it is today, again due to immigration.

In 'Coming to Terms' (ch. 6, pp. 107-139), Jenkins surveys how churches in the Two-Thirds world `inculturate' the gospel in their cultural contexts. Though the results are sometimes alarming to Western Christians, Jenkins' view is rather more sanguine, claiming that most of these adaptations are well within the parameters of recognizably Christian faith. As demographic changes favor the Southern churches, their patterns of life and worship-often viscerally supernatural in their orientation-are bound to become the dominant ones in a new Christendom.

Jenkins' seventh chapter prognosticates about the varying models of church and state that can be expected as important southern countries become demographically Christian ('God and the World', pp. 141-162). The predictions are not all reassuring to heirs of a strong tradition of separation between the two. Even more unsettling is the possibility of a secular north looking down its nose at-and perhaps coming to blows with-a fervently religious south. In the limited but important realm of ecclesiastical politics, events since the 2002 publication of the book make Jenkins look prescient, a virtue he takes scholarly care to disown. Developments in the American political landscape make one wonder whether this country might become divided in two along the same lines rather than ease into alignment with its secular northern compeers. The sight of sophisticated American Episcopalians separating from local oversight, calling themselves 'Anglicans', and placing themselves under the pastoral care of African bishops may be the robin that calls this particular Spring.

Jenkins' book is highly quotable and for this reason often brandished as a triumphalist Christian tract. That this is a misreading of his work is nowhere more obvious than in his prediction of continued and severe Muslim-Christian conflict ('The Next Crusade', 163-190) in those regions where both Islam and Christianity are experiencing a resurgence. Jenkins acknowledges that a world in which powerful adversaries take religion far more seriously than does today's sophisticated North should keep strategic planners up at night. Simple parents imagining the world in which their children will come of age might also join this insomniac corps.

What effect will southern Christianity have on northern churches and culture? This is Jenkins' question in 'Coming Home' (pp. 191-209). Events since the late 90s have given the author some hard facts to work with. The southern churches are almost all theologically and culturally more conservative than their northern partners. But are they so distinct so as to be incapable of re-evangelizing secularized Europe and the USA? Maybe not. Stay tuned.

Jenkins takes up his final opportunity ('Seeing Christianity Again for the First Time', pp. 211-220) in the first person plural, for the first time plainly identifying himself as a Christian social scientist who cares deeply about the 'we' of Christian faith. Dispassionate analysis is exchanged for what becomes almost an indictment of northern Christian myopia. From the angle which Jenkins permits us to view the world of, say 2050 A.D., the persecution and poverty of which so much are made in the New Testament literature is also the context of the majority of today's Christians (not to mention those who await their moment a half-century hence).

As a Christian reviewer whose work takes him to those corners of the world (or are they its centers?) that Jenkins surveys, I find in Jenkins' work the ring of truth. Many Christians exult in the statistics of Christian resurgence that crowd the pages of this book and allow its title to sound something other than arrogant. In my judgment, they have misread Jenkins. There is more challenge here than pom-poms for waving by those of us whose historical circumstances make it comfortable to cheer on impoverished brethren who remain-by and large-at a safe distance.

This is not an optimistic book, though it is profoundly hopeful. It is perhaps among the two or three that Western Christians ought first to read in this decade, as we hope for a revision of this fine work in the next. We live on the cusp of extraordinary Christian advance, indeed it is already upon us. In the light of these demographic trends, however, the ancient voice of Tertullian sounds ever more pertinent to the world that is already taking shape, a world that Jenkins urges us to see from an entirely fresh angle. 'The blood of the martyrs', that church father still soberly reminds us, 'is the seed of the church.'

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