The History and Identity of Christianity Essay

The History and Identity of Christianity Essay

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According to Odia, (2014), Christianity's center of gravity shift from Europe into the global south over the last 100 years has been the most dramatic since the advent of Christianity 2,000 years ago. Quantitatively, Odia also posits that it may also be the largest shift in religious affiliation that has ever occurred, anywhere.
Jenkins, (2002), calls it a transforming moment in the history of religion worldwide: the past five centuries has had Christianity inextricably bound up with Europe and European-derived civilizations, particularly North America. However, this last century has seen a shift inexorably southward. Already today, the largest Christian communities on the planet are to be found in Africa and Latin America.
In 1900 Christians in Europe and North America accounted for more than 80 per cent of the Christian community world, but century’s end these one-time Christian heartlands contributed less than 40 per cent, and in 2010 a mere 25 per cent.
Today, the non-Western world boasts the majority – more than 60 percent – of the globe's Christian population. Whilst some have heralded this as the beginning of Christianity’s transformation from a primarily European religion to a truly global religion, others have noted that it is actually a reflection of the earlier demographic situation: Christians of the Global South were in the majority for the first 900 years of Christian history. “Christianity was born in Africa and Asia, and in our lifetimes, it is going home.”

The idea of Christianity heading south is neither new nor unprecedented; as long ago as the 1970s, European scholars like Edward Norman and Walbert Buhlmann discussed this major demographic shift. And whilst proponents of secularization theory predicted...


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Scott, David W. M. 2014. 'The Southward Shift In Christianity'. Blog. Posts From The Frontier. http://blogs.bu.edu/dscott/2011/04/27/the-southward-shift-in-christianity/comment-page-1/.
Tennent, Timothy C. 2010. Invitation To World Missions. 1st ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.
Van Buskirk, James Dale. 1931. Korea, Land Of The Dawn. 1st ed. New York: Missionary Education Movement of the United States and Canada.
Walls, Andrew. 2000. 'The Expansion Of Christianity: An Interview With Andrew Walls'. Christian Century 117: 2--9.
Walls, Andrew F. 1996. The Missionary Movement In Christian History. 1st ed. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books.
Walls, Andrew F. 1997. 'Christianity'. In A New Handbook Of Living Religions, 1st ed., 59-92. London: Penguin.
Wijsen, Frans Jozef Servaas, and Robert J Schreiter. 2007. Global Christianity. 1st ed. Amsterdam: Rodopi.




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