Tuesday, February 21, 2006
The Shift of Worldwide Evangelicalism
Yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer included the article "Evangelical Christianity shifting outside West." It is a helpful update in coming to grips with evangelicalism worldwide today. Here is an excerpt:
"As the vibrancy of evangelicalism seems to have waned somewhat in the West, many in the non-West are ready to pick up the banner and move forward," said Kilgore, a former missionary who is now associate provost at Philadelphia Biblical University. "Most Americans have no idea how big the shift has been."
Todd M. Johnson, director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, writes that "Africans, Asians and Latin Americans are more typical representatives of evangelicalism than Americans or Europeans."
The new evangelicals are more exuberant in their worship services; put more faith in spiritual healing, prophecy and visions; and read the Bible more literally than many of their Western cousins.
And many of the new evangelicals are on the fault lines of global unrest, where cultures and religions collide. Christianity and Islam are often competitors in these developing countries, and some scholars, such as Philip Jenkins of Pennsylvania State University, see the possibility there for cataclysmic conflict.