cover image The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South

The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South

Philip Jenkins, . . Oxford, $26 (252pp) ISBN 978-0-19-530065-9

In his highly acclaimed The Next Christendom (2002), Jenkins boldly proclaimed that the center of Christianity was moving slowly out of Europe and North America to Latin America, Africa and Asia. By 2025, he points out, Africa and Latin America will compete over which area is most Christian. In this compelling sequel, Jenkins probes more deeply the differences between northern and southern Christianity, examining various elements that characterize Christian life, especially belief in the Bible. He argues that the mostly agrarian Christian communities in Latin America, Africa and Asia resemble early Christian communities, enabling southern-hemisphere Christians to read the Bible with fresh eyes. Such communities read the Bible communally rather than individually, and they read it less critically and more literally than their North American and European counterparts. Explosive debates over the ordination of women and homosexuals and the authority of the Bible in various global denominations—such as the Anglican Communion—illustrate not only the stark theological differences between North and South but also the sheer size of the southern communions influencing the debate. As part of a proposed trilogy (his book on Europe's coming religious struggle is scheduled for late 2007), Jenkins's prescient religious histories offer brilliant insights on the state of modern Christianity. (Sept.)