08 September 2010

A Transnational Approach To Religion

A Transnational Approach To Religion, by Kwok Pui-Lan (Patheos.com, 6 September 2010)

In the 21st century, Christianity will be a non-Western religion, as Christian demographics has shifted to the global South. At the turn of the 20th century, 70 percent of the world’s Christians were Europeans, but by 2025, Africans and Latin Americans will make up the majority of Christians. To understand the tremendous church growth in Africa, we have to pay attention to the responses of the church to the poverty and suffering that has plagued the continent, the adaptation of African Indigenous Churches to African cultural forms, and the roles of indigenous leadership. As Lamin Sanneh of Yale University has said, it is noteworthy that such vitality has occurred without the structures and institutions that defined Western Christianity. In China as well, it was only when foreign missionaries had left and the Chinese assumed the responsibilities of propagating the Gospel that rapid church growth occurred. It is regrettable that Philip Jenkins uses the concept “the new Christendom” to characterize the coming of global Christianity. By using the medieval concept of Christendom, Jenkins reactivates a Eurocentric script, without paying sufficient attention to the enormous diversity of Christianity in the global South.
Link: A Transnational Approach To Religion