In his much-acclaimed Next Christendom, Jenkins called attention to the explosive growth of Christianity in parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Now he more carefully examines what these "southerners" believe and practice---from a strong dependence on the Bible to socially liberating movements. 288 pages, hardcover. Oxford University.
Named one of the top religion books of 2002 by USA Today, Philip Jenkins's phenomenally successful The Next Christendom permanently changed the way people think about the future of Christianity. In that volume, Jenkins called the world's attention to the little noticed fact that Christianity's center of gravity was moving inexorably southward, to the point that Africa may soon be home to the world's largest Christian populations. Now, in this brilliant sequel, Jenkins takes a much closer look at Christianity in the global South, revealing what it is like, and what it means for the future.
The faith of the South, Jenkins finds, is first and foremost a biblical faith. Indeed, in the global South, many Christians identify powerfully with the world portrayed in the New Testament--an agricultural world very much like their own, marked by famine and plague, poverty and exile, until very recently a society of peasants, farmers, and small craftsmen. In the global South, as in the biblical world, belief in spirits and witchcraft are commonplace, and in many places--such as Nigeria, Indonesia, and Sudan--Christians are persecuted just as early Christians were. Thus the Bible speaks to the global South with a vividness and authenticity simply unavailable to most believers in the industrialized North.
More important, Jenkins shows that throughout the global South, believers are reading the Bible with fresh eyes, and coming away with new and sometimes startling interpretations. Some of their conclusions are distinctly fundamentalist, but Jenkins finds an intriguing paradox, for they are also finding ideas in the Bible that are socially liberating, especially with respect to women's rights. Across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, such Christians are social activists in the forefront of a wide range of liberation movements.
It's hard to overstate how interesting, how eye-opening, how frequently surprising (and sometimes disturbing) Jenkins' findings are. Anyone interested in the implications of these trends for the major denominations, for Muslim-Christian conflict, and for global politics will find The New Faces of Christianity provocative and incisive--and indispensable.
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.
"Jenkins incorporates an impressive range of data and tells his story well. This is necessary reading for anyone seeking to understand global Christianity as its growing southern edge, and it just might prompt Christians from the the Northern Hemisphere to read their Bibles in new ways too...Highly recommended."--Choice
"Jenkins's prescient religious histories offer brilliant insights on the state of modern Christianity." --Publishers Weekly
"An engaging book that invites--no, compels--rethinking the future of the global Christian movement." --Richard John Neuhaus, Editor-in-Chief of First Things
"Gracefully and cogently synthesizing mountains of research, Jenkins illuminates a crucial aspect of the burgeoning 'Two-Thirds World' Christianity that he called attention to in The Next Christendom
"In this compelling sequel, Jenkins probes more deeply the differences between northern and southern Christianity, examining various elements that characterize Christian life, especially belief in the Bible.... Jenkins's prescient religious histories offer brilliant insights on the state of modern Christianity."--Publishers Weekly
"By introducing the world of southern Christianity to a northern audience, Mr. Jenkins has thus done a good deed for people on both sides of the equator."--Wall Street Journal
"An important new book by one of the preeminent scholars of contemporary Christianity. Perhaps more than any other church historian in the affluent north, Philip Jenkins understands how the church of the global South will transform Christian faith in the world. The New Faces of Christianity
challenges our usual reading of the Bible with profound insights from Christians who help us re-learn truths that much of Western Christianity has forgotten. Like his ground-breaking The Next Christendom
, this is absolutely essential reading for all who are seeking to understand the future of the church in the 21st century." --Jim Wallis, Editor of Sojourners
and author of God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It
"Philip Jenkins has written another essential book. Finally, we have a place to turn for a clear, balanced, and comprehensive explanation of the ongoing revival in the southern hemisphere. I cannot imagine a better rendering of these issues." --Ted Haggard, President of the National Association of Evangelicals