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The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  636 ratings  ·  76 reviews
This work offers an in-depth examination of the globalization of Christianity and discusses the implications for Christian worship, liturgy, culture, and political life.
Paperback, 316 pages
Published March 19th 2007 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2002)
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Jenkins has given his readers much to consider in The Next Christendom. Starting with statistical evidence that the heart of Christianity no longer lies in the West, but that it lies in the South on the continents of South America and Africa, and in the East in Asia, he paints a picture of current day Christianity that is very non-white, and poor. This revelation alone is enough to cause me to pause, and to begin to reevaluate much of my perspective on worldwide Christianity. Jenkins says, "If w ...more
[Name Redacted]
A compelling corrective which demonstrates the ways in which modern Western claims (particularly by academics and secularists) about the impending "death" of Christianity are in fact based on ethnocentrism and cultural myopia. Such claims, as Jenkins demonstrates, fail to take into account the explosive growth of Christianity in Africa, Latin America and Asia over the last few decades -- growth which is generally ignored because it is occuring among peoples whom claimants (perhaps subconsciously ...more

The Next Christendom, by Dr. Jenkins, is a book about the Christian faith thriving not in the West, but in the global South. He argues, “Christianity is now rooted in the Third World, and the religion’s future lies in the global South.” With his statistics, it is difficult to disagree with Jenkins. In the first chapter, titled “Christian Revolution”, Jenkins observes that within the past century, Christianity has shifted from “white” nations to Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Even furthe
This was a great book. I learned so much about current world trends in Christianity, much of which I never would have guessed. As a westerner, it's easy to think of Christianity in the world as being primarily shaped by what happens in the Christian west. But it is becoming more and more true that the shape of world Christianity is being determined by it's growth in the developing world. What an eye-opener!
As the Goodreads blurb says, this book documents the explosive growth of Christianity (Catholic, Protestant and Pentecostal) in the nations of the Global South in the last 100 years and discusses the consequences for global history, and how this has been going on under the radar, for the most part, of Western media and intellectuals. The first edition (the one I read here) was published in 2002 and so was written prior to 9/11 and America's subsequent engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq. A versi ...more
Jesse Broussard
Jenkins hits his point from all available angles at least twice, but is nonetheless a very satisfying and surprising read.
provacative and engaging.
Gwen Burrow
Roy Howard
The first chapter of this updated edition will send tremors down the spiritual spine of every North American Christian who has ears to hear what the news that the global shift in Christianity portends for us. What Jenkins states will be old news to those who have been paying attention, but to many others it will be disturbing. For all of us, the compelling research presented here about the ongoing decline of the church in Europe and North America alongside the steady rise in Africa, Asia and Lat ...more
Jan 27, 2011 Deana marked it as to-read
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One of these fields of argument is being constructed primarily by historians, anthropologists, theologians, and popular Christian writers, and has taken shape around notions such as “world Christianity” and “global Christianity.” Those participating in this discussion hold that while Christianity has always been global in its ambitions and self-conceptions, there is something about its recent growth, particularly in the global South, that i
Joseph Sverker
Jenkins reveals many interesting aspects of the New Christendom, the Christendom often ignored, neglected or simply dismissed by the "Old" christendom. He might rely a little too much on a clash of the civilisations view of religion and political development, but the conclusions are nonetheless very interesting and I'm sure that he is right that the religious map will look very different and that it will affect the development of the world over all as well. It will be very exciting to see what w ...more
“Christianity is never as weak as it appears, nor as strong as it appears” says Philip Jenkins as he ends this important book on global religious trends. Whatever might be the presence of religion in one’s life, the numbers cannot be ignored. Christianity has gone through its largest boom period in history over the last 100 years, and the pace is only quickening. Due to an often patronizing Eurocentric viewpoint, this fact is usually overlooked in the Northern Hemisphere. Most of the new Christi ...more
Christopher M.
This is a book about Christianity through the eyes of the historian, the one who sees the trends, the ebs and flows, and forecasts how these will go. As such, here is what this book is not: it is not a theological work, separating the wheat from the chaff, defining true religion. But what it is, is a fascinating observation about the direction of Christianity, particularly in regard to its invasion of the global south. The idea of a desperately poor black or latino Pentacostal or Roman Catholic ...more
History classes in the United States, it seems, tend to have a thematic flaw. They focus on the history of the West at the expense of the rest of the world. Besides learning some information about ancient civilizations like the Hebrews and Egyptians, history teaching generally takes a turn from the Greeks to the Romans to Europe, and finally, the United States. This happens in all types of history classes, including Church History. The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity by Phili ...more
While this book first came out around 10 years ago, Jenkins seems to have added quite a bit to the 2011 edition. He offers a clear and comprehensive look at the trends shaping Christianity on the different continents of the world, charting the explosions in Africa and Asia and the emergence of Protestantism (of both the evangelical and Pentecostal varieties) in Latin America along with the trends (of both growth and decline) in Europe and North America.

It's an excellent book and a fascinating lo
I first read this book as a part of a class in much of what he says is happening right before our eyes!!

In the book, we find examples that show us that the number of believers, and consequently the influence of global Christianity is shifting. This shift is from what he describes as the global North (Europe and N. America) to the global South (Latin America, Asia, and Africa). Jenkins asserts that in the next century Christianity will experience a boom in conversions that will mostly
Glenn Williams
This is not a riveting, fast, page-turning book about how the world will come to an end, but it does describe a fascinating journey about the historical development of Christianity throughout the centuries, both its highs and lows, and how it has shaped modern Christianity. Jenkins provides a meticulous look at the shaping influences on how Christianity spreads, including how increasingly it is returning to its roots in what he calls The Global South. Until recently, the overwhelming majority of ...more
Johnny Brooks
I like reading the work of futurists and speculating alongside them about the coming events. Philip Jenkins is not a futurists, but his book The Next Christendom does make future predictions about the Christian religion.

His view is a shift in the religion from being ruled and dominated by the Global North to the South. Mainly Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Lots of numbers in the book. Recitation of statistics, again, again, and again. Makes for some dry reading.

However the historical recap of
Philip Jenkinsboldly heralds the emergence of a twenty-first century Christendom. This new Christian society will be unlike the Christendom of the past in a number of significant ways. The most conspicuous variation is related to geography—while the locus of the last Christendom was located in the northern and western hemispheres, namely Europe, the locus of the next Christendom will be located in the southern and eastern hemispheres. Over the past century, Christianity has fallen into obscurity ...more
K. Smith
It is hard to rate this book because it was a MUST READ and yet it was one of the most boring, hard to get through books I have ever forced myself to finish. Seriously important, seriously fascinating when it comes to concept, and absolutely necessary for anyone who is at all religiously-minded and concerned about the coming generation and century in terms of religious fervor. And yet it was so boring!!! I feel that Jenkins could have written one amazing essay, or series of essays, and it would ...more
A difficult, challenging, and important book for all to read. The author specializes in analyzing demographic trends among people who say they are religious (or whose government says they are religious), especially those who are Christian. He bases much of his research on the standard reference work, the World Christian Encyclopedia (2001). His projections of the next 40 years are startling: the global South will outstrip the traditional seats of power in the North, so far as population goes; po ...more
Dalaina May
It was good in the sense that I learned a lot. But this is a heavy, dense read with more statistical information than anything else. I would have loved to read this book in article form, with the statistics pulled out and the main ideas standing alone. I think the message here is critical for church leadership, but I don't know how many people would actually want to wade through this unless it was required reading.
Jul 22, 2008 Caroline rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in church history, the global church, or missions.
Recommended to Caroline by: Jean Nevills gave me Jenkins' Atlantic Monthly article.
Jenkins reports on the shift in the Christian "center", from the US and Europe at the beginning of the 1900s, to Africa, Asia and South American by the end of the century. It is a combination of recession in the Global North and growth in the Global South.

There has never been a recession as rapid as in Europe, even under the pressure of Islam after Mohammed. There has never been growth as rapid as in China (country) and Africa (continent). But these changes go unreported because they coincide wi
George Shubin
Philip Jenkins is not a futurist, but his book does make predictions about the Christian religion.

His view is that a shift in the "center of gravity" of the Christian Church is happening. What has been a religion dominated by the Global North is now shifting focus to the Global South, mainly Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Statistics, again and again makes for some dry reading, but the historical recap of Christianity is very interesting. We need to remember that Christianity has its roots in
Excellently researched and explained. Jenkins' hypothesis that Christianity is growing by leaps and bounds in the Southern Hemisphere is a fascinating read. That said, once you've read 2/3 of the book, you get the general idea and the last 1/3 is not as compelling.
A great and expansive perspective on Global Southern Christianity as it looked at the turn of the millennium. Recommended for all Christians seeking to gain a better understanding of the status of the religion worldwide and possibly the future.


“If Northerners worry that Southern churches have compromised with traditional paganism, then Southerners accuse Americans and Europeans of selling out Christianity to neo-paganism, in the form of humanistic secular liberalism.” -p201

“Liberals judge
This was a very enjoyable and informative book chronicling the shift in influence in the church from the north to the southern churches of Africa and South America. What sets this book apart in my mind, besides its readability, was its thorough examination and emphasis on the role of Pentecostalism in the explosion of the church in the third world, a development often ignored in such books. There is some focus on some of the excesses, but on the whole a very balanced examination of the phenomeno ...more
Absolutely outstanding. I learned a lot from this book, and it changed my perception of some things I already knew.

The church history, current events and future forecast were each exceptionally well documented and thought through. It was great to have a focused look at the church from the time of Christ onward. Also, the annotated bibliography of this book is priceless, I must have added 20 books to my goodreads to-read as a result of following along in the notes.

Well worth the time it took to
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Philip Jenkins was born in Wales in 1952. He was educated at Clare College, in the University of Cambridge, where he took a prestigious “Double First” degree—that is, Double First Class Honors. In 1978, he obtained his doctorate in history, also from Cambridge. Since 1980, he has taught at Penn State University, and currently holds the rank of Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of the Humanities. He is a ...more
More about Philip Jenkins...
The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia--and How It Died Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 years The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice Laying Down the Sword

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