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My Top 5 Books on World Christianity

2008This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

A World History Of Christianity
Edited by Adrian Hastings

The fourteen historians who contribute to A World History of Christianity do what no single historian could do with much detail: write about Christianity in places far from Europe and North America, while doing justice to the places that have engrossed most historians of Christianity.

Disciples of All Nations: Pillars of World Christianity
Lamin Sanneh

Gambia-born Sanneh, now teaching at Yale, does important work to place the story of Christianity in the Southern world in the minds of Westerners. Disciples of All Nations is the kind of comprehensive work that informed Christians and the community of historians can use as a guide.

The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, Revised and Updated
Philip Jenkins

Jenkins is the exemplar of the "new kind" of church history, which deals with the background to the way the church is "going South." Like Sanneh, Jenkins dramatizes and, some say, over-dramatizes the meanings of this epochal shift in Christian locations and energies.

The Story of Christianity from Birth to Global Presence
Jakob Balling

Balling, a Danish historian, spends as much time reflecting on the story as he does writing his narrative. Sometimes sociological concepts crowd out elements of The Story, but his work will no doubt prompt others to take new looks at power relations in the churches, and help them assess their direction.

Christianity: A Short Global History
Frederick W. Norris

Norris knows where the Christian power shift is taking the church, and helps account for it. For Norris and many other historians (including Balling), the global story in the last two centuries is preoccupying. They provide charters for those who will bring new curiosity ...
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