The book of the week comes from Mr. Philip Jenkins, professor of history at Penn State, entitled “The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity”
I’m not to familiar with Philip Jenkins other than he is a religious & historical professor who had written this good balanced book.
Before giving a quick review, keep in mind that the book was written in 2002…
Mr. Jenkins’ main, watered-down premise has to do with the exponential growth of Christianity by the year 2050. He specifically focuses on South America and Africa, bringing in Asian countries here and there. He provides many maps and charts of population to establish his thesis. I think he did a good job.
Firstly, he notes of some of the Christian countries of the past to show that a growing Christian population can govern and govern according to the Laws of God (although he didn’t say that last part). He lists of Armenia, Ethiopia and Constantinople as three historical evidences.
Next he shows the statistical growth of Christians in Africa saying “[In 1938] Africa had about 10 million Christians of all denominations, including the Copts… by 1950 that figure had risen to 34 million, by 1965 there were 75 million Christians, a quarter of the whole.”
One sad point is that the major religious movement to go to these countries is Pentecostalism. He quotes another saying of the people of Africa and Latin America… “People are looking for solutions, not eternity.” And this can sum up the Pentecostal movement generally and the Word of Faith movement specifically. On a side note I believe Reformed theology (real Reformed theology) can abridge the earthly life and the heavenly life not minimizing either but emphasizing the Other!
Lastly my favorite section of the book comes from page 94 where he states that there are innumerable opportunities in Africa, South America and Asia for Christian denominations to evangelize and disciple. Then he asks almost as a challenge, “Will the harvest fall to Christians or Muslims? And if Christians, will the winners be Catholics or Pentecostals?” This really convicted me as Evangelical (let’s forget Reformed for a second) Christians weren’t on the list to disciple and win these countries. How Muslims, Catholics, and Pentecostals have a greater desire for these countries is shameful to “biblical Christians” who are the who have the true gospel and the power therein! Really sad…
Be that as it may, professor Jenkins truly did a great job of displaying the facts of worldwide Christianity and whatever the outcome we know that the Lord is sovereign to advance the truth, viz., the Reformed faith, and people will come to a greater understanding of the Lord!
Enjoy this one. I gave it a 4/5!