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Joel Carpenter

Back to the Bible

A new Christian heartland.

A recently rediscovered religious text is making huge waves in the world today. With stunning power, it is driving the largest religious change in human history. This book is subversive, revolutionary, and transformative in its approach to good and evil; spirituality; politics; wealth and poverty; race, ethnicity, and social status; gender and sexuality; and health and healing. It also reveals long-hidden truths about Jesus of Nazareth. What is this book? Is it the Gospel of Thomas? No. How about The Da Vinci Code? Hardly.

It's the Bible. All over the global South—in Africa, Asia, and to a large extent in Latin America as well1—people are reading, believing, and living out of the Bible in ways that make it a very different book from the one known in the North Atlantic realms. Not only that, but because of unprecedented migration, this new Christianity is close at hand in the North as well. In The New Faces of Christianity, a stunning sequel to The Next Christendom, historian Philip Jenkins sets out to take a much closer look at the Christianity of the global South. What he finds is a deeply biblical faith that understands the Scriptures in strikingly different ways than are common in the global North.

A New Christian Heartland

Many northern Christians, accustomed to assuming that Christianity's home base is their own familiar turf, have mental habits that make it difficult for them to care what their African and Asian counterparts think. To counter these assumptions, Jenkins quickly recounts the trends toward southern ascendancy that he featured in his earlier work. In 1900, 80 percent of the world's Christians lived in Europe and North America. Today, more than 60 percent of the world's Christians live outside those lands. While only about one million of the 28 million baptized Anglicans in Britain go to church on a Sunday, Nigeria's 18 million Anglicans pack their houses of worship to overflowing. Christianity in the United States seems to be holding its ...

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