In Philip Jenkin’ The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, he does an unbelievable job of informing readers what the current scope of Christianity is in the world landscape. He builds on his previous work of suggesting that the Christian movement is moving from the North and West to the East and South.
What are the implications of this?
Here’s one: That the typical global Christian is going to be very poor.
Here’s what he says:
“Considering Christianity as a global reality can make us see the whole religion in a radically new perspective, which is starling and, often, uncomfortable. In fact, to adapt a phrase coined by theologian Marcus Borg, it is as we are ‘seeing Christianity again for the first time.’ In this encounter we are forced to see the religion not just for what it is, but what it was in its origins and what it is going to be in future. To take one example of these startling rediscoveries, Christianity is [now] deeply associated with poverty. Contrary to myth, the typical Christian is not a White fat cat in the United States or western Europe, but rather a poor person, often unimaginably poor by Western standards.” (pgs 215-216)
He notes that most of the greatest Christian growth are occurring in places where it is very poor. The Dalit (untouchables) of India contain many of India’s Christians. Other notable places include South America, Africa, and Asia where they are not economically strong, are places where Christianity is absolutely exploding.
I wonder how this will change the global landscape knowing that the new centers of Christianity in the world are going to be dirt poor?