Historian: Christianity heads back to its roots

Historians in the News
tags: religion, Christianity



Vibrant colors of flags representing several nations paraded down the chapel aisle before history professor Philip Jenkins from Baylor University described the consequences of the movement of Christianity toward the Global South from its predominant foundation in North America and Europe since 1900.
"Christianity is a religion that was born in Africa and Asia and, in our lifetimes, has decided to go home," Jenkins said at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary's 10th annual Intersect conference. 

This is not the end of Christianity in the West, but a shift from the prominent influence of Western culture, Jenkins said, projecting that Christianity's strength by 2050 would not just be in the U.S. but in such Southern Hemisphere regions as Mexico, Brazil, Uganda, Nigeria, the Congo, Ethiopia, the Philippines and China. 


Christianity's rise in the Global South will cause the faith at large to be expressed with unique and new characteristics of each culture where it expands, Jenkins said. The attributes that develop in predominantly poor areas, he said, likely will bring major repercussions to Western, affluent, industrial Christianity.

For instance, the Bible will be heard rather than read within predominantly poor and illiterate people groups, Jenkins said, pointing out that listening changes the way authority is perceived. Biblical parables often overlooked by Western churches, he noted, tend to resonate with people of poorer cultures who can identify with searching their home for one lost coin or know firsthand that someone who is robbed and left on a well-traveled road will be passed by until a genuinely kind person decides to stop...




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