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

by Philip Jenkins
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (Future of Christianity Trilogy) The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (Future of Christianity Trilogy) 4.2 out of 5 stars (16)
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Book Description

March 31, 2002 0195146166 978-0195146165 First Edition
The explosive southward expansion of Christianity in Africa, Asia, and Latin American 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 focal points of the Church. 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.
Jenkins shows that Christianity is on the rise again, and to understand what that rise may mean requires a new awareness of what is happening in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The Next Christendom takes the first large step towards that new awareness.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Jenkins (history and religious studies, Pennsylvania State Univ.) believes that we are on the verge of a transformational religious shift. As he explains it, Christianity, the religion of the West, is rapidly expanding south into Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and he predicts that by the year 2050, only about one-fifth of the world's three billion Christians will be non-Hispanic Caucasian. By numbers alone, they will be able to overwhelm the present political secular nation- and city-states and replace them with theocracies, similar to the Islamic Arab nations. He ends with a warning: with the rise of Islam and Christianity in the heavily populated areas of the Southern Hemisphere, we could see a wave of religious struggles, a new age of Christian crusades and Muslim jihads. These dire prognostications could be seen as just another rant from a xenophobic pseudo-prophet; however, the author is a noted historian, and his statements are well formed, well supported by empirical evidence, and compellingly argued. The only criticism is the brevity of the book. One hopes that The Next Christendom is only an introduction to a deeper analysis of a fascinating topic. Recommended for all libraries. Glenn Masuchika, Rockwell Collins Information Ctr., Cedar Rapids, IA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Fear of Islam is peaking, fueled by reports that the religion is burgeoning in numbers as well as militancy. Jenkins grants that Islam is indeed booming but marshals the evidence that today's largest religion, Christianity, will grow exponentially, too, and will remain the faith of the largest proportion of humanity. But the Christianity of 2050 will be very different from that molded by the 1,300 years during which Christianity was the faith of a rapidly developing Europe. The new Christianity will be liturgically anarchistic compared with the staid services of white, upper-middle-class people today. It will be overwhelmingly the faith of poor nonwhites living south of Europe, the U.S., and present-day Russia, and it won't reflect the values of the wealthy global north. It will revive Christianity's root emphases on healing and prophecy because its adherents will resemble the poor and oppressed who first embraced the redemption, the healing, and the blessing that Jesus promised. As he makes his case, Jenkins dispels some fashionable myths about historic Christianity; about historic Christian-Islamic relations; and about the nature of presumably pacific Hinduism when it is politicized. He also speculates trenchantly on how the problems of the Islamic and Christian global south will affect the global north, requiring genuine charity of the rich and genuine discernment of their leaders. A book everyone concerned about humanity's immediate future ought to read. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; First Edition edition (March 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195146166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195146165
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #944,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Philip Jenkins is the author of The Lost History of Christianity and has a joint appointment as the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of the Humanities in history and religious studies at Penn State University and as Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. He has published articles and op-ed pieces in The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe and has been a guest on top national radio shows across the country.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
118 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a world far different from the one we thought we knew September 15, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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.
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80 of 85 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Jenkins's *The New Christendom* is an incredibly thought-provoking estimate of the new faces Christianity will wear in the next half century. Given that population and religious enthusiasm is waning in the northern hemisphere, and just the opposite is going on in the southern one, Jenkins predicts that Christianity's center of gravity will migrate to Africa and Central and South America in the immediate decades ahead. This will result in the emergence of new symbols, new styles of worship, new metaphors, and new ethical sensibilities, all of which mean that Christianity will no longer be dominated by an Eurocentric history and ethos.
Because southern Christianity will become increasingly pentecostal, evengelical, and politically and morally conservative, northern sensibilities, which already tend to take the Christian message with an urbane grain of salt, are likely to dismiss Christianity even more. It will be dismissed as "jungle religion," (p. 169) contrary to both enlightened and postmodern ways of viewing the world. Thus the north will find pseudo-legitimation for its steady move toward secularism in religious revival of the south.
In defending this thesis, Jenkins indirectly raises serious concerns about the spiritual health of North American and European Christianity. If his predictions are in any way true--and they certainly have the ring of plausibility--then it follows that mainstream institutional Christianity, Catholic and Protestant alike, needs to reflect seriously on both its style and convictions. If it's become so indifferent to its own message that it finds enthusiastic support of that message distasteful, things have reached a sorry state.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death of Christianity? Think again. March 17, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you are interested in the future of religion in general and Christianity in particular, the one must read book this year has been written by Phil Jenkins.
A respected professor at Penn State University who has been known for "going against the flow," Jenkins argues that the rapid growth of primitive/Pentecostal Christianity around the world (both within and alongside existing traditions) will literally reshape the world, with possible religious conflict affecting everything from historic European denominations (already happening in Anglicanism) to geopolitics.
In a post-modern world, religion returns to center stage, and Jenkins has already turned on the spotlight. This is a must-read for all futurists--including the armchair variety such as myself. After reading Jenkins' seemingly airtight (even understated) analysis, it is difficult to give credence to any author suggesting the passing of Christianity. For every empty cathedral in Europe, there is a burgeoning congregation in Africa or Latin America. In fact, the western, modern version of Christianity may be be all but swept away in the next 50-100 years, but the primitive variety is reemerging at an incredible pace.
Not many works from Oxford University Press read like thrillers. This is an exception.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Paradigm-altering but tedious January 4, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, Philip Jenkins paints a picture of the future of Christianity in colors unfamiliar to typical American thinking. He clearly delineates the characteristics of the rapidly growing Christian churches outside Western Europe and the United States: conservative and charismatic. He illustrates the potential conflicts between Christianity and other major religions such as Islam or Hinduism. And he speculates about what the effects will be on established churches of having a Christian majority outside the West. The information he presents is fascinating and paradigm-altering. His writing is clear and his organization straight-forward. Nevertheless, I found the book to be tedious. The writing is dry and seemingly designed only for the utilitarian purpose of conveying information, far removed from any literary pleasure. But the information contained in this book is critical for formation of an accurate picture of the past, present, and future of global Christianity. On those grounds I recommend it to anyone interested in the growth of the Christian church, although I wouldn't recommend it for reading enjoyment.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I bought the book as a present
The present owner likes the book very much. He is a teacher in Russia where such literature is not common. His gratitde should be sent to the author.
Published 11 months ago by Alexander Rokhlenko
4.0 out of 5 stars A challenge to the western church
The following is an analytical book review of Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom.

Philip Jenkins, the author of 24 books, and 120 book chapters and refereed articles,... Read more
Published on August 22, 2011 by Daniel Im
3.0 out of 5 stars good book
good book that sheds some light on the church worldwide and points out what international christendom will do for the future of the church.
Published on May 17, 2011 by peTer
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but flawed arguments
Jenkins dreives some interesting perspectives from his observations of the interaction of 3rd world and 1st world Christianity. Read more
Published on March 13, 2011 by Leif Njordsson
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Enlightening
Having read a very interesting book by the author on the power and decline of Middle Eastern/Asian Christianity in the Middle Ages, I looked forward to this older work concerning... Read more
Published on May 18, 2010 by Ky. Col.
4.0 out of 5 stars The Next Christendom: Global
Title: The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity by Philip Jenkins

Pages: 316

Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 20 months. Read more
Published on February 15, 2010 by Patrick J. Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars The New Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity
Everthing seemed to be in order! I was very glad to see that the 2d edtion of this book was available at a good price.
Published on October 12, 2009 by William B. Carr
4.0 out of 5 stars Precarious development
The future of Christendom does not look so bright? This is the question after reading the book of Jenkins. Read more
Published on March 21, 2009 by Roman Nies
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book of Hope
Jenkins' writing is exciting, but his research and findings are even more so. As I read the book in one sitting, I put the book down and prayed a prayer of thanksgiving and I rose... Read more
Published on February 14, 2009 by Aldhelm of Malmsbury
5.0 out of 5 stars Magisterial Book
Whether you like his thesis or no, Philip Jenkins as accurately depicted the future of a truly global Christendom, one that is anchored in, and in some respects orchestrated by,... Read more
Published on July 6, 2008 by B. Turley
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