It is now universally understood that the center of Christianity has shifted from Europe and North America to Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Books and articles by Philip Jenkins, Dana Robert, Todd Johnson, Lamin Sanneh, Andrew Walls, and Mark Noll have highlighted this shift. In the year 1900, 80 percent of the world's Christians were in Europe and North America; by 2050, experts predict that 80 percent will be non-European/North American.
Still, as Jenkins notes, "I suspect that most [Americans] see Christianity very much as it was a century ago—a predominantly European and North American faith."
Numbers don't tell the whole story, of course. For many North American evangelicals, statistics blur together and prevent us from grasping what is probably the most significant development in church history in the past 500 years. The unique contribution of Miriam Adeney's most recent book, Kingdom Without Borders (InterVarsity), are the stories she tells that arise out of Christianity's new contexts.
Adeney's stories should open the eyes of many Western Christians. She notes how university graduates in the Philippines take jobs as maids, nannies, and construction workers in order to enter restricted-access nations in the Muslim world. Practicing downward mobility and embracing suffering, these under-the-radar missionaries are making an impact in some of the most difficult regions in which to introduce the gospel.
Adeney also uses stories to communicate complex missiological concepts. Take, for example, the growing scholarly interest in missio Dei, an emphasis on God's mission, which precedes human effort. Adeney doesn't delve into the specifics of missio Dei but instead demonstrates how, for example, Chinese philosophy and ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more