The Next Christendom

The Next Christendom : The Coming of Global Christianity

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In looking back over the enormous changes wrought by the 20th century, Western observers may have missed the most dramatic revolution of all. While secular movements like communism, feminism, and environmentalism have gotten the lion's share of our attention, the explosive southward expansion of Christianity in Africa, Asia, and Latin America has barely registered on Western consciousness. Nor has the globalization of Christianity--and the enormous religious, political, and social consequences it portends--been properly understood. Philip Jenkins' The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity is the first book to take the full measure of the changing face of the Christian faith. Jenkins asserts that by the year 2050 only one Christian in five will be a non-Latino white person and that the center of gravity of the Christian world will have shifted firmly to the Southern hemisphere. Within a few decades Kinshasa, Buenos Aires, Addis Ababa, and Manila will replace Rome, Athens, Paris, London, and New York as the new focal points in the Church's universality. In Africa alone, the number of Christians increased from ten million in 1900 to 360 million in 2000.
Moreover, Jenkins shows that the churches that have grown most rapidly in the global south are far more traditional, morally conservative, evangelical, and apocalyptic than their northern counterparts. Mysticism, puritanism, belief in prophecy, faith-healing, exorcism, and dream-visions--concepts which more liberal western churches have traded in for progressive political and social concerns--are basic to the newer churches in the south. And the effects of such beliefs on global politics, Jenkins argues, will be enormous, as religious identification begins to take precedence over allegiance to secular nation-states. Indeed, as Christianity grows in regions where Islam is also expected to increase--as recent conflicts in Indonesia, Nigeria, and the Philippines reveal--we may see a return to the religious wars of the past, fought out with renewed intensity and high-tech weapons far surpassing the swords and spears of the middle ages. Western commentators have recently declared that Christianity is declining, or that it must modernize its beliefs or risk being abandoned altogether.
Philip Jenkins, in writing what is vivid, incisive, and impeccably researched, contends that just the opposite is true: Christianity is on the rise again and in more traditional forms than have been seen in many years. To understand what that rise may mean requires a new awareness of what is happening in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The Next Christendom, a book that will be essential reading for anyone interested in Christianity and in the changing world of the 21st century, takes the first large step towards that new awareness.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 172.2 x 232.2 x 24.9mm | 489.89g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 7 tables, 4 maps
  • 0195146166
  • 9780195146165

Table of contents

1. The Christian Revolution; 2. Disciples of all Nations; 3. Missionaries and Prophets; 4. Standing Alone; 5. The Rise of the New Christianity; 6. Coming to Terms; 7. God and the World; 8. The Next Crusade; 9. Coming Home; 10. Seeing Christianity Again for the First Time
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Review quote

"A valuable and provocative look at the phenomenon widely ignored in the affluent North but likely to be of enormous importance in the century ahead.... The Next Christendom is chillingly realistic about the relationship between Christianity and Islam."--Russell Shaw, Crisis

"Jenkins is to be commended for reminding us, throughout the often gripping pages of this lively work of synthesis, that the history of Christianity is the history of innovative--and unpredictable--adaptions."--New York Times Book Review

"If the times demand nothing less than a major rethinking of contemporary global history from a Christian perspective, Philip Jenkins's The Next Christendom will be one of the significant landmarks pointing the way."--Mark Noll, Books & Culture

"A remarkable and disturbing synthesis.... Jenkins deserves praise for his willingness to assess realities rather than focus on vague aspirations and righteous indignation. The effect of his book's trenchant realism is to highlight the dilemmas that follow the fact that 'we're all liberals now.'"--David Martin, First Things

"Well formed, well supported by empirical evidence, and compellingly argued. The only criticism is the brevity of the book."--Library Journal (starred review)

"Meticulously researched...a wake-up call for northern Christians."--National Review

"His well-researched claims serve as a clarion call for anyone interested in the future of Christianity."--Publishers Weekly

"This book startles, informs, and invites careful reflection about the future of the Christian movement, which is obviously far from over."--The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus

"This is a disquieting, even, at times, startling book, the more so because it is so carefully documented and persuasively argued. Jenkins demonstrates why the tidal wave of religious change that is quickly transforming Christianity into a predominantly non-Western, non-White faith has such enormous potential and cultural implications-some of them chilling, all of them demanding an unprecedented theological analysis. New clashes threaten and new coalitions loom, so we cannot view the 21st century as a mere continuation of the 20th."--Harvey Cox, author of Fire From Heaven and Common Prayers

"The worldwide resurgence of Christianity is a vigorous movement in our day, and it coincides with the waning of the religion in what is now a post-Christian West. The attention of writers representing a variety of approaches has been drawn to the subject as the pace of developments in post-colonial societies shows no sign of slackening. Jenkins' book is a timely work of analysis and synthesis, and represents a bold and provocative interpretation that is bound to have a clarifying effect on the work of scholars, whether or not they agree with him. I welcome the book as an important statement on the recent emergence outside the West of Christianity as a world religion."--Lamin Sanneh, Professor of World Christianity and of History, Yale University
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About Philip Jenkins

Philip Jenkins is Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of many books and articles, including Hidden Gospels, Pedophiles and Priests, and Mystics and Messiahs (all OUP). He lives in State College, PA.
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Rating details

984 ratings
3.87 out of 5 stars
5 27% (269)
4 41% (408)
3 24% (240)
2 5% (50)
1 2% (17)
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