Matthew Robert has written an interesting piece for The Brussels Journal in which he describes how the nations of the Global South have become the nascent heart of a new Christendom:
“In short, the Global South does not care whether Westerns deny that a particular practice is Christian. Westerners, in their eyes, no longer define what is Christian.
Regarding the politics of the Next Christendom, European terms like ‘right’ and ‘left’ do not apply. While these Third World Christians may agree with American social conservatives on a few issues, they practice anti-Western identity politics and often demand wealth redistribution from the First World to the Third. Third World Catholics, for instance, may cite the 1967 papal encyclical Populorum Progressio , calling for “bold transformation to redistribute wealth globally.” In this respect, Samuel Huntington has identified the modern Catholic Church as one of the the principal engines for Third World progressive movement in the 1980s. The Catholic Church also sides with the Third World and against the West on the issue of mass immigration.”
Throughout, Robert treats Phillip Jenkins’ new book , “The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity,” which makes some striking conclusions:
“If ‘Europe is the faith’ for Western Christianity, then, Jenkins maintains, ‘Africa is the faith’ for the coming Christianity. In 1900, Europe possessed two-thirds of the world’s Christians. By 2025, that number will fall below 20%, with most Christians living in what Jenkins calls the ‘Global South’, largely a proxy term for ‘Third World’. The Global South could be thought of as slightly modified Gondwanaland, including Africa, Latin America, the Philippines, southeast Asia/India, etc. This Global South, not the West, will be the new heart of Christendom.”
Additionally, Mark Noll of Notre Dame, speaking at “Faith and Conflict: The Global Rise of Christianity,” a conference hosted by The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, said that
“In order to grasp the current situation of world Christianity concretely, consider what went on last Sunday. More Roman Catholics attended church in the Philippines than in any single country in Europe. More Anglicans attended church in each of Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda than did Anglicans in Britain and Canada and Episcopalians in the U.S. combined. And in Europe the church with the largest attendance last Sunday was Kiev, and it is a church of Nigerian Pentecostals.”
Read more here
We launched the First Things 2023 Year-End Campaign to keep articles like the one you just read free of charge to everyone.
Measured in dollars and cents, this doesn't make sense. But consider who is able to read First Things: pastors and priests, college students and professors, young professionals and families. Last year, we had more than three million unique readers on firstthings.com.
Informing and inspiring these people is why First Things doesn't only think in terms of dollars and cents. And it's why we urgently need your year-end support.
Will you give today?