The Next Christendom Essay

1822 Words Feb 23rd, 2012 8 Pages
THE NEXT CHRISTENDOM
BY PHILIP JENKINS
A SUMMARY AND RESPONSE

Kyle Sutton
Engaging Reformation and Modern Christianity CH503-XD
December 16, 2011

In the preface, Dr. Philip Jenkins clearly states his thesis for The Next Christendom, “Far from being an export of the capitalist West, a vestige of Euro-American imperialism, Christianity is now rooted in the Third World, and the religion’s future lies in the global South”.[1] The distinctions of global North and global South describe the groupings of Europe, North American, and Japan (global North) and Asia, Africa, and Latin America (global South). [2] This ten chapter book can be divided into two major sections. In the first five chapters, Jenkins traces the historical
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“Undeniably, modern Christians have committed their share of atrocities…” Jenkins redirects this general admission to suggest that the pattern of religious conflict has shifted decisively and Islam is the antagonist against the Christian world.[12] Luckily, Jenkins does see a positive possible outcome to these and similar tensions as a new face of Christianity is revealed. Jenkins concludes the book in Chapter 10 by encouraging readers to seek a deeper understanding of what Christianity in the global South looks and feels like and how it differs from the Christianity we are familiar with in the West. But ultimately Jenkins challenges the modern church to consider the core focus and goal of the Christian faith. “In an ideal world, Christians and Muslims, Catholics and Pentecostals, would be engaged in a friendly rivalry as to who could best help the poor, without thought of who was gaining the greatest numbers and influence.” [13]
One nit-picky issue would be how Jenkins defined Christianity. Jenkins builds a good picture of Christendom as a whole with a desire for it to reflect "a true overarching unity and a focus of loyalty transcending mere kingdoms or empires" (p. 10). To that end, while defining the term Christian, Jenkins defined a Christian as "someone who describes himself or herself as Christian, who believes that Jesus is not merely a prophet or an exalted moral teacher, but in

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